Federal Election Candidates Speak At Concordia

  • Daniel Green of the Green Party was one of the local riding candidate in attendance to discuss his party’s platform with students at Concordia University. Photo Josh Fischlin

Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates spoke at Concordia’s Hall Building last Wednesday to discuss their parties’ platforms for the Ville-Marie precinct. The Conservative party candidate was not present.

The Political Science Student Association (PSSA), who organized the event, maintained that the discussion was meant to be non-partisan, and the lack of the Conservative presence was due to poor communication. A small group of students attended.

Liberal candidate Marc Miller, NDP candidate Allison Turner and Green Party candidate Daniel Green are all running in the Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs riding.

Below are summaries of what each candidate said about a variety of topics.

Allison Turner, NDP

Economic Stimulation

The NDP’s plan to create jobs and help students find employment is to put an emphasis on small and medium sized businesses, rather than the oil industry.

“We know that it’s there where 80 per cent of the new jobs are created,” she said.

“While focusing on the small and medium sized businesses, we’d want to, in particular, decrease the tax rate from 11 to 9 per cent.”

Tax credits would be reallocated for innovation, research and development, and the purchasing of equipment for small and medium sized businesses.

Youth Employment and Student Debt

The NDP is aiming to create 40,000 jobs “developed and created with students in mind,” in order for those in debt to enter the job market straight out of school.

She also addressed the issue of unpaid internships, and claimed that the NDP is the only party that has introduced legislation that would end the practice. They would also strive to pass legislation that would make the workplace for internships “safe, and compliant with existing law.”

Environment

Turner claimed that it is possible to maintain a strong economy while preserving a clean environment, and believes that Canada should be a leading force in reducing greenhouse gases.

“We should focus on innovative and alternative sources of energy,” she said. “That’s a hugely untapped sector of our economy. The NDP wants to build that and become a world leader when it comes to alternative sources of energy.”

Canada’s Democracy

She spoke about reforming the electoral system from “first past the post” to a “mixed member proportional representation system.”

“Only with [this] system, I believe, can Canada truly say that the representatives in Ottawa reflect the will and the points of view of Canadians.”

The NDP would also attempt to abolish the unelected senate.

Bill C-51

Turner does not believe that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) should obtain policing powers.

She believes that creating another group of civil servants who will police Canadians is an “abuse of authority.” According to Turner, Bill C-51 is based off of a general threat, and “it brings us much closer to a police state than we’ve ever been before.”

The NDP wants to repeal the bill.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

The United Nation has requested that Canada take in 46,000 people. The NDP has pledged to meet that number by 2019. They would take in 10,000 by the end of the year, and in the four following year, would take 9,000 annually.

Tax

There would be a Corporate Tax increase under an NDP government. Turner claimed that Canada offers corporations the lowest tax rate in the G7.

It would be increase from 15 to 17 per cent incrementally. It is the only increase announced by the NDP.

Marc Miller, Liberal Party

Economic Stimulation

The liberal party plans to make infrastructure investment to stimulate economic growth. Miller gave $60 billion figure that will be split into three parts of $20 billion: bricks and mortar infrastructure, green infrastructure, and social housing.

They have committed over $1 billion to creating youth jobs. The youth employment plan will span over 3 years, and aims at creating 40,000 youth jobs a year, for a total of 120,000 after the allotted time has passed. 5,000 of these jobs will be dedicated towards “green” jobs—in parks and other “various recognized green initiatives.”

$50 million has also been pledged towards “aboriginal employment skills.”

The party is expecting to run deficits until 2019.

Tax

Under the Liberals, people making $40-80,000 will have income taxes reduced by 7 per cent. Those making $200,000 and more will expect income taxes raised from 29 per cent to 33 per cent. Corporate taxes will “remain steady.”

Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Liberals have committed to taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

“The security issue is important, but it’s also a distraction,” Miller said. “We talk about human dignity, we talk about jobs… It’s even more so the case with Syrian refugees. They need to get in here now, we need to help them.”

Daniel Green, Green Party

Poverty

Green believes that the Green Party has become the “new left” of Canada, meaning that their social agenda is considered by some to be socialist.

“The Green Party is proposing in its agenda a guaranteed liveable income,” Green said.

Green spoke about the costs of poverty that the state must constantly address.

According to Green, Canada is capable of helping its poverty-stricken citizens, and in doing so, would reduce many of the costs that the state currently has to bear.

Canada’s Oil Industry

The Green Party would stop subsidizing oil companies and mines, which might indirectly lower greenhouse gas emissions.

He addressed the disaster at Lac-Megantic, where 47 people were killed in a blast caused by a derailed train that was carrying oil. It was a “defining moment” in his career as an environmentalist, he said.

He called it an avoidable accident, and emphasized that it was a security failure that led to the disaster.

“The danger to our security, and our country, isn’t from terrorists. It’s from the pipelines, it’s from the oil trains, and it’s from maritime transport of oil coming from the west,” he said.

Corporate Tax

They would raise corporate taxes from 15 to 19 per cent, which would keep Canada in the lowest corporate tax bracket of the G7.

School Fees and Student Debt

They would like to propose the abolition of post-secondary education fees and get students out of debt.

“I can’t imagine, at 25 years old, having $60,000 in debt,” he said. “[Post secondary] education would be free in Canada, and we want to put a cap—$10,000—on the current student debt.”

First-Nations

Green spoke about an “exodus” of First Nations and Inuit peoples that come to Montreal for medical treatment and decide to stay.

“Why? Because there are problems with housing, domestic violence and alcoholism in the North. And these First Nations living in Montreal are literally refugees in their own land,” he said.

It is a federal responsibility to help them, according to Green.

The Green party would like the federal government and the city of Montreal to step in and help out the Children’s Hospital, so that they can invest in a community centre for Inuit and First Nation populations.

Correction: A previous version of this article said the Liberals will commit $50 billion to “aboriginal employment skills.” The amount has been corrected to $50 million. The Link regrets the error.

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