There are only two ways to create more wealth and prosperity: we can either work more or work more efficiently through increased productivity. Investments in R&D, innovation, more efficient production processes, machinery and equipment are critical to improvements in productivity and living standards.
Improved productivity leads to better, higher-paying jobs. And in a context where there are manpower shortages in many sectors, investment is a way to increase production without necessarily having to employ more workers.
Unfortunately, Canada’s business climate is less and less welcoming to investors. Since 2015, business investment has gone down not only in the oil and gas sector, but in many other sectors as well. Canada is also attracting less foreign direct investment.
More government intervention in the economy is not the answer to our economic challenges. Every time the government takes an additional dollar in taxes, or borrows it, this is a dollar that individuals or businesspeople will not be able to spend or invest.
-A 2018 study by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary found $14 billion worth of direct and indirect federal business subsidies. Some of these measures may be worth keeping, but most create unfair market distortions by favouring some companies or sectors at the expense of others.
-According to the latest OECD figures, Canada’s combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate is the 12th highest amongst the 36 OECD countries. A more competitive tax rate would ensure that Canadian businesses become more profitable, pay higher salaries and invest more.
-By reducing the return on investment, a capital gains tax not only lowers overall investment, it also hinders the allocation of capital to its most efficient uses and discourages riskier ventures that are likely to bring more innovation.
Many of our trading partners do not tax capital gains. There was no capital gains tax in Canada until 1972. Abolishing it would encourage every Canadian to save and invest more and would give our entrepreneurs access to a larger pool of capital. The benefits to our economy would vastly exceed the loss of government revenues.
Ottawa should stop taking billions of dollars from the private sector and redistributing them through subsidies. It should instead lower taxes for all businesses and encourage saving and investment to make our economy more productive.
A People’s Party of Canada government will:
- Eliminate all corporate subsidies and other inefficient government interventions (bailouts of failing companies, regional development grants, conditional loans and loan guarantees with an implicit subsidy, tax credits, etc.) that unfairly support some companies or business sectors. This will generate savings of between $5 billion and $10 billion a year.
- Gradually reduce over the course of one mandate the corporate income tax rate from its current 15% down to 10%. When completed, this measure will make about $9.5 billion available to businesses, allowing them to increase salaries or invest in productivity improvements.*
- Over the course of one mandate, gradually abolish the personal capital gains tax by decreasing the inclusion rate from the current 50% down to 0%. When completed, this measure will put about $7 billion per year back into the pockets of Canadians.*
*According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s Ready Reckoner website.
The aboriginal population of Canada is extremely diversified. It accounts for about 5% of Canada’s population and comprises First Nations, Inuit and Metis. There are more than 600 First Nations communities dispersed across the country. More than half of First Nations Canadians don’t live on reserves.
Aboriginal issues are also very complex. Some communities are prosperous, others much poorer than the Canadian average. Many suffer from acute social problems, including crime, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide. Many don’t have the basic services that we take for granted such as access to clean water. There are other major issues to address regarding treaty negotiations, housing, property rights on reserves, etc.
It is not possible to address more than a few of these issues in the context of this election platform. Here is what a People’s Party government would prioritize on the basis of its four key principles.
Many injustices were committed in the past by the Canadian government towards aboriginals. We cannot rewrite the past, but only seek the best way to live together harmoniously in the future. This relationship must be based on mutual respect and a balanced approach taking into account the needs of the aboriginal population and the interests of the Canadian population as a whole.
- A People’s Party government will explore options to replace the paternalistic Indian Act, which keeps aboriginals in a state of dependency and allows the federal government to control most aspects of their lives, with a new legal framework that guarantees equal rights and responsibilities to aboriginal people as Canadians, and promotes the self-reliance of communities.
- A People’s Party government will respect our Constitution and treaties. It will reaffirm the federal government’s power to approve natural resources and infrastructure projects, after adequate consultations with affected aboriginal groups, and in partnership with them to ensure they can benefit from these economic opportunities.
The lack of real private property on reserves is in part responsible for the poor state of housing and the social ills that derive from it, and is one of the greatest impediments to economic development.
- A People’s Party government will explore further avenues to promote the establishment of individual property rights on reserves so as to empower its residents, and give them increased control over their lives.
Fairness demands that all Canadians benefit from roughly equivalent services wherever they live. It’s unacceptable that some aboriginal communities live in conditions that resemble those of third world countries. But the current model to solve these problems is based on top-down bureaucratic solutions imposed by Ottawa on dependent communities with no voice in the process.
- A People’s Party government will ensure that aboriginal communities take more ownership of the services they receive in partnership with Ottawa and other levels of government.
Although Ottawa spends about $21 billion a year on aboriginal programs, there is little evidence that living conditions have been improving in aboriginal communities. The federal government and aboriginal administrations have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent.
A People’s Party government will review federal spending to ensure that programs are better targeted to benefit the aboriginal population, in particular the communities that have the greatest needs.
The Canadian Armed Forces has a proud history and is one of the most capable and respected military forces in the world.
Unfortunately, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have largely chosen to forget this proud history. They have starved our military forces of funds, equipment and support, and broken their trust with those who made an exceptional personal commitment to put life and limb at risk in the interests of the nation.
The backbone of any military is the character of the men and women who serve. The fastest way to demoralize and undermine a country’s military is to fail to look after injured soldiers when they return home or to provide for the families of those who did not make it back.
Until 2006, veterans injured or disabled during military service received a tax-free lifetime disability pension under the Pension Act, as determined by a veteran’s disability assessment, including support and survivor benefits for spouses and dependent children.
On April 1, 2006, the New Veterans Charter replaced those pensions with a one-time lump sum disability payout that is wholly inadequate, leaving many injured and disabled veterans in dire financial straits. It created two classes of veterans.
The Trudeau government campaigned on the re-establishment of a lifelong disability pension, a “Pension For Life”, which actually amounts to a hodgepodge of existing benefits recycled and repackaged as something new. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has calculated that the Pension for Life provides the average veteran lifetime payments less than one third of what would have been provided under the Pension Act. Moreover, it has become increasingly difficult for veterans to navigate all the programs and obtain the benefits they are entitled to.
When a veteran who had lost a leg asked Justin Trudeau at a Town Hall why his government was still fighting veterans groups attempting to get the support they were promised, Trudeau said: “Because they’re asking for more than we are able to give right now.”
The government of Canada has an obligation to honour the nation’s sacred commitment to our military men and women and make sure our veterans receive the support they deserve.
A People’s Party government will:
- Recognize and respect the unique sacrifices of those who serve and have served in Canada’s Armed Forces.
- Enshrine in legislation the country’s obligations to our veterans in a Military Covenant between the government and those who serve in the Armed Forces.
- Reinstate the fair disability pension as previously provided for by the Pension Act. The pension will apply retroactively to 2006 and lump sum payments received since then will be treated as advance payments.
- Instigate a line-by-line review of the New Veterans Charter (including the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act of 2011), to determine which policies and programs should be retained, simplify the system and make it easier to navigate.
- Reemphasize the legislative guarantee of the “Benefit of doubt” standard under the Pension Act.
A nation must be based on a sense of belonging, of participating in a common national project, and sharing the same values. It’s only when these sentiments are widely shared that we can develop the trust and common understanding necessary for our society and institutions to function.
In the past, immigrants who came to Canada gradually integrated into our society. They did of course keep some aspects of the culture of their country of origin. They became Canadian, but with a distinct flavour. This is a type of multiculturalism that enriches our society.
However, over the past decades, the government of Canada has pursued a policy of official multiculturalism that encourages immigrants to keep the values and culture they left behind instead of integrating into Canadian society and adopting Canadian values and culture.
With his cult of diversity, Justin Trudeau has pushed this ideology even further into a form of extreme multiculturalism. He described Canada as the first post-national state, with no core identity.
In a free society, immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage. However, that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it, with government programs and taxpayers’ money. The vast majority of Canadians rightly expect them to learn about our history and culture, master one of our official languages, and adopt widely shared Canadian values.
Canada is and has always been a diverse country. We have First Nations and Inuit, two official languages, a multiethnic population, and very different regional cultures. The culture of Cape Breton is very different from that of the Eastern Townships in Quebec, or that of southern Alberta, or Nunavut. All these cultures are intrinsically Canadian. They developed in Canada. They don’t exist anywhere else in the world. They deserve to be nurtured and to survive.
Our distinct values are those of a contemporary Western civilization. They include: democracy; individual rights and freedoms, including freedom of religious belief and freedom to criticize religion; equality between men and women; the equal treatment of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation; the rule of law; separation of state and religion; tolerance and pluralism; and loyalty to the wider society instead of to one’s clan or tribe.
Official multiculturalism is based on the idea that there is no unified Canadian society and no distinct Canadian identity to integrate into, and that we are just a collection of ethnic and religious tribes living side by side. But if we want to keep our country united, and ensure social cohesion, we must focus on what unites us as Canadians, not what divides us.
A People’s Party government will:
- Repeal the Multiculturalism Act and eliminate all funding to promote multiculturalism. Emphasize instead the integration of immigrants into Canadian society.
- Substantially lower the total number of immigrants and refugees Canada accept every year, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000 (see Immigration policy).
- Ensure that every candidate for immigration undergoes a face-to-face interview and answers a series of specific questions to assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms (see Immigration policy).
The Liberal government is deliberately attempting to erase our borders. Over the past three years, it has done nothing to stop the flow of tens of thousands of asylum seekers illegally crossing our borders. Accepting all these refugees will cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars.
Moreover, in 2018, Canada welcomed more resettled refugees than any other Western country; more than the United States, a country with ten times our population, and as many as all of the European Union.
The UN’s Global Compact for Migration, which the Liberal government signed last year, aims to normalize this kind of situation and to make it easier for millions of people to move to Canada and other Western democracies at will.
Since early 2017, more than 45,000 migrants have illegally entered Canada, mainly at Roxham Road in Quebec, avoiding official border checkpoints where they would be turned away and told to file refugee claims in the United States. About 40% of the refugee claims that have been processed have been rejected. These false refugees will eventually have to be deported, after costing governments tens of thousands of dollars each.
A report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer found that the federal government spends on average about $14,000 for each asylum seeker crossing into Canada outside of official border points. The total annual cost for federal agencies to process these claims is expected to reach $396 million in 2019-2020. It does not include expenses incurred by the provinces, territories or municipalities, which pick up costs related to social services.
Our current refugee policy is unsustainable, costly, and it is being abused by false refugees at our borders. This must end. The moral obligation of Canada’s government is to first help those in need among our own population, and then to give priority to real refugees.
A People’s Party Government Will:
- Accept fewer resettled refugees (see also Immigration policy).
- Take every measure necessary, in partnership with our American neighbours, to stop the flow of illegal migrants at the US-Canadian border.
- Declare the whole border an official port of entry for the purposes of refugee claims to send back to the US anyone trying to enter Canada illegally.
- Fence off the areas where illegal border jumping is prevalent, such as Roxham Road in Quebec.
- Rely on private sponsorships instead of having the government pay for all the costs of resettling refugees in Canada.
- Stop our reliance on the United Nations for refugee selection.
- Give priority to refugees belonging to persecuted groups who have nowhere to go in neighbouring countries. For example: Christians, Yazidis, and members of other minority religions in majority Muslim countries; members of the Ahmadi community, and other Muslims in these countries who are persecuted because they reject political Islam and adhere to Western values; and members of sexual minorities.
- Take Canada out of the UN’s Global Compact for Migration.
The primary aim of Canada’s immigration policy should be to economically benefit Canadians and Canada as a whole. It should not be used to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of our country. And it should not put excessive financial burdens on the shoulders of Canadians in the pursuit of humanitarian goals.
Despite Canada already accepting more immigrants than almost any other country, both the Liberals and Conservatives support an unsustainable increase in the annual immigration intake, and are using mass immigration as a political tool to buy votes among immigrant communities.
Right now, only 26% of all the immigrants and refugees who come to Canada every year are directly chosen because they have the right qualifications and work experience to fulfill our economic needs. The rest are dependents (spouses and children), come through the family reunification program or as refugees, do not work, or do not have the skills that we need even if they find work.
Immigrants generally have lower wages than non-immigrants. They pay on average about half as much in income taxes as other Canadians but absorb nearly the same value of government services. A study puts the cost to taxpayers in 2014 at roughly $5,300 per immigrant living in Canada, for a total annual cost of somewhere between $27 billion and $35 billion.
Demographic studies have shown that newcomers are a bit younger on average than Canadians, but not enough to have a noticeable impact on the rate of aging. The Liberal government has made matters worse by increasing the number of parents and grand-parents accepted under the family reunification program.
Mass immigration also inflates housing prices. More than 41% of all immigrants to Canada settle in and around Toronto and Vancouver, which have some of the least affordable housing among big cities in the world.
Our immigration policy can benefit Canadians only if we welcome the right kind of immigrants. It should prioritize Canada’s economic interests and be calibrated in a way that does not jeopardize Canadian values and the maintenance of our national identity.
A People’s Party government will:
- Substantially lower the total number of immigrants and refugees Canada accept every year, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000, depending on economic and other circumstances.
- Reform the immigration point system and the related programs to accept a larger proportion of economic immigrants with the right skills.
- Accept fewer resettled refugees (see Refugees policy) and limit the number of immigrants accepted under the family reunification program, including abolishing the program for parents and grand-parents.
- Limit the number of temporary foreign workers and make sure that they fulfil temporary positions and do not compete unfairly with Canadian workers.
- Change the law to make birth tourism illegal.
- Ensure that every candidate for immigration undergoes a face-to-face interview and answers a series of specific questions to assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms (see Canadian Identity policy).
- Increase resources for CSIS, the RCMP and Canadian Immigration and Citizenship to do interviews and thorough background checks on all classes of immigrants.
Under the influence of radical environmental activists and American left-wing foundations, the Trudeau government has done everything it can to stifle the growth of Canada’s oil industry by preventing it from transporting and selling its products.
With Bill C-48, the Liberals imposed a ban on oil tanker traffic on the north coast of British Columbia, which brought the cancellation of the Northern Gateway and Eagle Spirit pipeline projects. After years of legal uncertainty, investors pulled out of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and sold it to the federal government for $4.5 billion. It is still uncertain when it will be completed.
Unrealistic environmental requirements from the National Energy Board also killed the Energy East pipeline. Finally, Bill C-69 makes the process of building pipelines and other major energy projects so complex and difficult that it could prevent any new investment. Among other things, that bill requires projects to be analyzed based on “the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors.”
Because of these constraints, capital investments in the oil and gas industry have collapsed, from $81 billion in 2014 to $37 billion in 2019. Our overdependence on the American market for exports also costs the Canadians economy billions of dollars in foregone revenues every year. Alberta’s economy has suffered a major setback, with tens of thousands of jobs disappearing in the oil patch and many more in local communities that depend on this industry.
Researcher Vivian Krause has spent years documenting a well-organized campaign to landlock Canada’s oil, funded by American foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Tides Foundation. Almost all the groups involved in various types of campaigns and court cases against pipeline construction received money from them.
Despite the emergence of alternative sources of energy, global demand for oil is expected to keep rising for several decades. Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world and is well placed to answer this demand.
If this oil doesn’t come from Alberta and Saskatchewan, it will come from elsewhere, mostly countries with poor environmental or human rights standards such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. And if it is not transported by pipelines, it will be transported by rail, a much more dangerous method for both the environment and humans, as we saw with the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.
The oil and gas industry has been for decades a major source of employment, government revenues, and economic well-being for all of Canada. It should be allowed to grow, export its products, and bring prosperity to our country.
A People’s Party Government will:
- Counter anti-oil and anti-pipeline propaganda from radical environmentalists and foreign foundations.
- Repeal Bill C-48.
- Repeal Bill C-69.
- Approve pipelines projects using a streamlined process.
- Find a private buyer for Trans Mountain.
- Reassert federal jurisdiction over pipelines construction by invoking section 92(10) of our Constitution, whereby Parliament can declare any project to be for the general advantage of Canada.
The rights of Canadians to freely hold and express beliefs are being eroded at an alarming speed under the Trudeau government. Some of its recent decisions even require that Canadians renounce their most deeply held moral convictions and express opinions they disagree with.
In 2018, the Liberal government denied summer job funding to organizations, including charities, that would not sign an attestation supporting abortion. It also passed bill C-16 as part of a trend to force Canadians to express support for the existence of various gender identities beyond the biological categories of male and female, and to use pronouns demanded by those who identify with these other genders.
In addition to these assaults on conscience, the government launched a series of regulatory attacks on free speech on the internet and is pressuring social media companies, which are already censoring speech that isn’t politically correct, to crack down even more. It is also considering bringing back Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This hate speech provision was repealed by the Conservative government in 2013 because it was being used arbitrarily to censor statements that offended some people on the internet.
In what appears to be a first step towards restricting our right to criticize some religions, it adopted M-103, a motion that condemns religious discrimination but only specifically mentions one religion, Islam, and without defining the term “islamophobia.”
Finally, on university campuses, a growing number of faculty and administrators—those who should be fighting for open debate of controversial ideas—have become aggressive advocates for censorship.
History and social scientific research show that freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, when maximally protected, advance the intellectual life of a nation, foster greater ideological diversity and societal understanding, and nurture other freedoms necessary for a successful democracy.
This is why Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees citizens freedom of conscience and religion, as well as freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
What some people find politically incorrect, offensive or even hateful cannot serve as the legal basis for discrimination and censorship. Canadians should be able to enjoy maximum freedom of conscience and expression as guaranteed in Section 2 of the Charter.
A People’s Party Government will:
- Restrict the definition of hate speech in the Criminal Code to expression which explicitly advocates the use of force against identifiable groups or persons based on protected criteria such as religion, race, ethnicity, sex, or sexual orientation.
- Repeal any existing legislation or regulation curtailing free speech on the internet and prevent the reinstatement of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- Repeal C-16 and M-103.
- Ensure that Canadians can exercise their freedom of conscience to its fullest extent as it is intended under the Charter and are not discriminated against because of their moral convictions.
- Withhold federal funding from any post-secondary institution shown to be violating the freedom of expression of its students or faculty.
The exclusive priority of the government of Canada on the international scene should be to manage our relations with other countries in order to protect and further the interests of Canadians. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening.
There is a growing trend to dilute national sovereignty, and to favour increased international policy coordination as well as the redistribution of wealth from rich to poor countries under the supervision of the United Nations. This globalist vision has been heavily promoted in Canada under Justin Trudeau, who believes that we are a “post-national state” with “no core identity.”
Over the past several years, Canada has signed many UN treaties, accords and compacts on issues ranging from global warming to migration and sustainable development, that tie us to this corrosive globalist agenda.
Meanwhile, as our national debt continues to mount, the Liberal government devotes more and more resources trying to solve social and economic problems in other countries. It spends billions of dollars every year to help countries in Africa and Asia build roads, educate children, and reduce their CO2 emissions. It plans to spend $1.4 billion every year to offer abortion and reproductive health services to women in developing countries.
The United Nations is a dysfunctional organisation where non-democratic countries, because of their large numbers, have the most influence. This leads to ridiculous situations. For example, several of the member states on the UN Human Rights Council are among the worst human rights offenders in the world. As one country among almost 200, Canada has no interest in seeing the UN grow into a more powerful, quasi-world government.
There is no persuasive moral or economic efficiency argument for development aid. Countries that remain poor are those where governments are still crushing private initiative. Until they liberalize their economy and free their citizens, no amount of development aid will solve their problems. On the contrary, it creates a cycle of dependency and often helps these authoritarian governments stay in power.
Canada needs a common-sense foreign policy focused on the security and prosperity of Canadians, not an ideological approach that compromises our interests.
A People’s Party government will:
- Continue to work closely with our allies to maintain a peaceful international order, but will not get involved in foreign conflicts unless we have a compelling strategic interest in doing so.
- Prioritize relations with our main trading and defence partner, and work with the Trump administration, or whoever occupies the White House, to reinforce our friendship and cooperation.
- Withdraw from all UN commitments, including the Global Compact on Migrations and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, that threaten our sovereignty, and reduce our presence in UN institutions to a minimum.
- Liberalize trade with as many countries as possible, while ensuring our security and protecting our economy from the threat of potentially hostile foreign investors.
- Save billions of dollars by phasing out development aid, and focus Canadian international assistance exclusively on emergency humanitarian action in cases such as health crises, major conflicts and natural disasters.
The Liberal government is spending billions of dollars at home and abroad to fight global warming—or “climate change” as it is now called to account for every natural weather event and its opposite.
In order to lower greenhouse gas emissions, it has imposed taxes and countless regulations, it subsidizes inefficient and costly “green technology,” and it is blocking the development of oil resources crucial to our prosperity.
It is an undisputed fact that the world’s climate has always changed and will continue to change. Until twelve thousand years ago, much of Canada was under ice, and it is thanks to natural climate change that we can live here today.
There is however no scientific consensus on the theory that CO2 produced by human activity is causing dangerous global warming today or will in the future, and that the world is facing environmental catastrophes unless these emissions are drastically reduced. Many renowned scientists continue to challenge this theory.
The policy debate about global warming is not grounded on science anymore. It has been hijacked by proponents of big government who are using crude propaganda techniques to impose their views. They publicly ridicule and harass anyone who expresses doubt. They make exaggerated claims to scare people. They even manipulate school children, getting them to pressure their parents and to demonstrate in the streets.
Climate change alarmism is based on flawed models that have consistently failed at correctly predicting the future. None of the cataclysmic predictions that have been made about the climate since the 1970s have come true. No new ice age. No steady warming in direct relation with increases in CO2 levels. No disappearance of polar ice caps. No exceptional rise in ocean levels. No abnormal increase in catastrophic weather events. No widespread crop failure and famine.
In fact, CO2 is beneficial for agriculture and there has recently been a measurable “greening” of the world in part thanks to higher levels. Despite what global warming propaganda claims, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is an essential ingredient for life on Earth and needed for plant growth.
Given the uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize our prosperity with more government interventions.
A People’s Party government will:
- Withdraw from the Paris Accord and abandon unrealistic greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
- Stop sending billions of dollars to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions.
- Abolish the Liberal government’s carbon tax and leave it to provincial governments to adopt programs to reduce emissions if they want to.
- Abolish subsidies for green technology and let private players develop profitable and efficient alternatives.
- Invest in adaptation strategies if problems arise as a result of any natural climate change.
- Prioritize implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.
Supply management is a government-imposed cartel that keeps the prices of dairy, poultry, and eggs artificially high through the control of production, the banning of imports, price fixing, and the prevention of competition in the market.
The system forces producers to buy quotas which grant permission to produce a set amount. For example, it costs between $20,000 and $40,000 to get the right to milk one cow. It keeps out imports by imposing exorbitant tariffs that range from 150% for eggs to 300% for butter. Because our market is closed to most imports, our farmers are not allowed to export their products.
Supply management negatively impacts other sectors of our economy. Businesses in the food processing and food preparation sectors like restaurants are forced to pay more for basic products and are therefore less competitive.
Although they account for only about 10% of all Canadian farms, farmers under supply management constitute one of the most influential lobbies in Ottawa. When Canada negotiates free trade agreements with other countries, protecting the system always ends up as the focus of talks. Canada could have obtained a better deal during negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico to renew NAFTA if we had put supply management on the table, as demanded by the U.S. government.
In order to satisfy one small but powerful lobby, we restrict the development of other businesses and prevent the creation of thousands of jobs in these other sectors.
According to the OECD, Canadian consumers had to pay $3.6 billion more every year between 2011 and 2015 for all products under supply management.
A study done by University of Manitoba economists showed that the system imposes a financial burden of $339 annually on the poorest 20% of Canadian households, which is the equivalent of a 2.3% tax on their incomes.
The “market” value of quotas was estimated at $35 billion in 2016. But that’s not what it would cost the government to buy them back if it decided to abolish the system. The accounting value of quotas after depreciation would form the basis for compensation. Farmers who bought them recently would be reimbursed close to the market value, while those who bought them at lower prices years ago would get less, and those who got them for free would get nothing. The Conference Board of Canada estimated such a buy-out would cost between $3.6 billion and $4.7 billion in total.
The supply management system is inefficient and fundamentally unfair to consumers, farmers, and other sectors of our economy.
A People’s Party government will:
- Create a free, open, and fair system that will save Canadians billions of dollars annually thanks to the lower prices they will pay for these products.
- Phase out the supply management system over a number of years to allow farmers to adapt, and compensate them for the lost value of their quotas.
- Allow Canada’s dairy, egg and poultry farmers to thrive and sell their products internationally.
More than a century and a half after Canada’s founding, Canadians still cannot buy, sell, or work freely within their own country. In order to protect local special interests, provincial governments have adopted all kinds of measures that erect barriers to trade and labour mobility.
Goods such as alcohol and agricultural products cannot be sold freely across provincial borders because of government monopolies or regulations. Nurses, accountants, or engineers have problems finding work in another province because their skills are not automatically recognized. Safety rules vary from one province to another.
In some cases, it is easier for a Canadian company to sell its product in another country than in another province or territory. This hinders competition and impedes the growth of firms. Canadian consumers are therefore forced to pay more for goods and services.
This is not what the Fathers of Confederation had intended. Section 121 of the Constitution states that goods must be “admitted free into each of the other provinces.” However, in the 2018 landmark Comeau case, the Supreme Court ruled that measures which have the effect of limiting trade are unconstitutional only if it can be demonstrated that this is their “primary purpose.” This level of proof would be extremely difficult to establish in most cases.
The 1994 Agreement on Internal Trade negotiated between Ottawa, the provinces, and the territories, failed to eliminate barriers. Its successor, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, came into force in 2017, but almost half of its 345 pages contain exceptions and opt-out measures, rendering it ineffective.
From an economic point of view, interprovincial barriers have the same effect as customs tariffs imposed on imports from other countries. According to a recent Statistics Canada study, the level of trade within Canada corresponds to what would be expected if each province imposed a 7% tariff on “imports” of goods and services from other provinces.
A 2016 study published in the Canadian Journal of Economics concluded that interprovincial trade barriers cost Canadians roughly $100 billion in lost economic opportunities annually. This is equivalent to a staggering $7,500 per household every year.
Freeing our economy from these interprovincial trade barriers would help families and businesses. It would also increase competition, raise productivity, and unite our country.
A People’s Party government will:
- Reassert the authority and leadership of the federal government on internal trade.
- Use section 91(2) of the Constitution, which gives Ottawa exclusive power to regulate matters of international and interprovincial trade, to force provinces to apply the principle of mutual recognition where applicable. This principle means that if a worker, product or service meets regulatory standards in one province, then other provinces will trust that they meet their own standards.
- Appoint a Minister of Internal Trade whose sole responsibility will be to conduct studies, raise public awareness, counteract the influence of special interests that benefit from interprovincial barriers, and put pressure on provincial governments to get rid of them.
Canada’s public health care system has the dubious distinction of having the worst wait times of any developed country. Health care costs have been increasing at an unsustainable rate, putting more and more financial pressures on the budgets of provincial governments. The situation is likely to get worse with Canada’s aging population.
Healthcare is an exclusive provincial jurisdiction. However, for years the federal government has insisted that the provinces satisfy a series of conditions set in the Canada Health Act in exchange for transfer payments. These conditions discourage innovation. Also, the money does not directly fund health care services. It is simply added to the provinces’ budgets and they decide where and how they spend it.
All this confusion and undue interference leads to bickering between Ottawa and the provinces over who is responsible for the failings of our health care system, and how much money Ottawa should contribute. It prevents the implementation of sound reforms.
Canada is among the OECD countries that spend the most on health care. Ottawa’s health care transfers to the provinces have doubled since 2006, from $20 billion to $40 billion in 2019-20, with nothing to show for it.
The fundamental problem is that we are the only developed country where the government has a monopoly on medically required care. All other OECD countries have mixed private-public systems and (with the exception of the United States) universal systems that guarantee citizens equal access.
Patients in these countries have a lot more choice than Canadians. They can be treated in public or private hospitals, with the government or their private insurance paying for the treatment. Wait times are non-existent or very short, and nobody is denied care because of low income.
It is up to the provinces to implement reforms in line with the more efficient and less costly mixed universal systems of other developed countries. Throwing more federal money at the problem is not the right approach. On the contrary, it is part of the problem. Provincial governments will never make the tough decisions if they can always blame Ottawa for not sending enough money. We must end the current confusion over who does what and who is responsible for the problem.
A People’s Party government will:
- Replace the Canada Health Transfer cash payments with a permanent transfer of tax points of equivalent value to the provinces and territories, to give them a stable source of revenue. In practice, Ottawa will give up its Goods and Services Tax (GST), and let provincial and territorial governments occupy this fiscal room. In 2019-20, the GST is expected to bring in $40 billion in revenues, the same amount currently transferred by Ottawa.
- Establish a temporary program to compensate poorer provinces whose revenues from the tax will be lower than the transfer payments they used to receive.
- Create the conditions for provincial and territorial governments to innovate. They will be fully responsible for health care funding and management, and fully accountable to their citizens for the results, while Ottawa will respect the Constitution and stop meddling.
The legal use of firearms has always been part of Canadian tradition and culture. Today, there are over 2 million hunters, ranchers, trappers, farmers, target shooters, recreational shooters and collectors who legally possess firearms in our country.
However, despite this group being exceptionally law abiding and the most highly vetted segment in the Canadian population, the existing firearms legislation unfairly targets them, does not respect their property rights, and is highly arbitrary.
In 1995, Bill C-68 created the Firearms Act, the strictest gun-control legislation in Canadian history. Its most controversial feature, the creation of a long-gun registry, was repealed in 2012.
The Act continues to classify firearms into different categories for reasons which frequently have nothing to do with their function. Firearms can also be assigned new classifications at the whim of a bureaucrat. What is legal one day can become illegal the next.
Under the licensing system of the Act, the ownership of firearms has become a privilege that can be revoked or altered at any moment. Legal gun owners can lose their property and even have their life ruined by being criminally charged through their inaction (by not keeping their paperwork up to date) or due to the moving goalposts of Canadian firearms law.
Canada’s firearms legislation must protect society from the criminal misuse of firearms and prioritize the deterrence and punishment of criminals.
Legal firearms owners deserve a legal framework that protects their property rights and treats them with fairness and respect. We need a common-sense approach to gun control that promotes safety while removing the threat of arbitrary criminal prosecution.
A People’s Party government will:
- Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.
- Replace the costly and burdensome licensing system with an efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners following mandatory vetting, safety training and testing. To avoid criminalizing legal gun owners and guarantee their property rights, this system will legalize simple possession of firearms for certified Canadians as long as they use their firearms lawfully and don't commit some other crime which would disqualify them from firearms ownership.
- Require that all firearms categories be based on function, not on looks or arbitrary political whims, and remove ineffective restrictions which unfairly target sport shooters, but have no deterrent effect on criminals.
- Mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only. This means that neither the RCMP nor cabinet will be able to move the legal goalposts for legal firearms owners without the approval of Parliament.
When it was started in 1957, the equalization program had a noble intention: to ensure that all Canadians have access to a similar level of services from their provincial government, regardless of whether they live in richer or poorer provinces. Equalization was seen as a way to unite the country.
Unfortunately, that is not how it turned out. The program is unfair and inefficient, both for citizens of richer provinces that do not receive equalization payments like Alberta and Saskatchewan—whose economies are hurting because of the downturn in the oil sector—and for citizens of provinces that have been on the receiving end for decades (Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI), because it keeps these provinces in a state of dependency and underdevelopment.
Equalization payments encourage recipient provinces to maintain large public sectors, keep taxes high, and intervene more in their economies, which drives out investment and lowers employment and productivity. They don’t have the correct incentives to make their economies more competitive and develop their natural resources, because more private sector growth will lead to smaller equalization payments. It’s a poverty trap.
Equalization payments were first introduced in 1957. The 1982 Constitution Act includes a vaguely worded commitment to “the principle” of equalization, the goal being to ensure that provinces “have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.”
In 2019-20, the equalization program will transfer nearly $20 billion. Quebec will receive $13 billion, Manitoba $2.3 billion, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia $2 billion each, and Prince Edward Island $419 million. The governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario will not receive any payments. Under the current formula, the total amount of equalization payments increases steadily, in accordance with nominal GDP, even when there is a reduction in wealth disparities among the provinces.
Provinces should not be receiving equalization payments for decades, just like individuals should not be receiving welfare cheques all their lives. It’s time to stop rewarding provincial governments for not adopting better economic policies.
The Constitution does not commit the federal government to spend $20 billion a year on equalization; does not prescribe any specific formula; and does not define what “reasonably comparable” means.
A People’s Party government will:
- Reduce the total amount of equalization payments to provinces, and make sure that only the provinces with the greatest needs benefit from it.
- Establish a parliamentary committee to review and make recommendations on a new formula that will avoid the welfare trap and provide poorer provinces with the right incentives to adopt pro-growth economic policies and reduce their dependence on federal money.
- Ensure that the new formula respects our Constitution, makes provincial governments more responsible for their policy decisions, and is fair for citizens of all provinces.