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Federal Parties: Buy Now… Pay Later?

The federal election campaign so far has led to heated debates and some controversy, sometimes to the detriment of good ideas that could directly affect your purchasing power and consumer choices. Let’s take a look at some of these vaguely evoked or quietly lulled promises on political agendas.

Bedroom

All parties are courting the electorate scared by the real estate crisis. And all militate, with some nuances, for the massive financing of social housing. But many also want to make home loans easier, especially for first-time buyers.

“In the North American context, it is access to property that makes people dream. We do not have this tradition of social housing as in Europe, laments Paul Morin, professor at the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Sherbrooke. Here, we consider HLMs and cooperatives to be for poor households. “

If it comes to power, the New Democratic Party (NDP) would reinstate a 30-year repayment period for loans insured by CMHC. The Conservative Party (PC) would advocate for terms of seven to ten years and raise the eligibility threshold for CMHC mortgage insurance.

Justin Trudeau’s liberal team who, like Jagmeet Singh (NDP), promises to increase the tax credit for the purchase of a first home, would also allow the opening of a tax-free home savings plan account (with a limit $ 40,000). To stop speculation, the Liberal Party (PLC) is considering a resale tax within 12 months.

All measures aimed at facilitating the purchase of a residence can have a perverse effect, warns Jean-François Rouillard, professor of economics at the University of Sherbrooke. “It’s good to help first-time home buyers, but if it’s not a goal, it can drive up initial prices. ”

Furthermore, these programs that hinder the construction of large-scale social housing and new housing ignore the current labor shortage that creates pressure on costs. “It would not change anything, even if the supply of workers increased by 2 or 3%. “

Income support

The other area of ​​intervention that interests the four main parties more or less equally is that of income support.

Everyone calls for a reform, mild or far-reaching, of the employment insurance program, especially in favor of the self-employed, seasonal or seriously ill. The PC even thinks of a kind of “super job insurance” in the event of a recession.

A gouvernement directed by Erin O’Toole (PC) doublerait le Supplément pour invalidité (from $ 713 to $ 1,500), from même que l’Allocation canadienne pour les travailleurs (maximum of $ 2,800 for private parties and $ 5,000 to pour the families).

Retirees are not left out. The Bloc Québécois (BQ) wants to increase the Old Age Pension by $ 110 per month, while the PLC would increase the amount of the Guaranteed Income Supplement from $ 500 to $ 750 and reduce the retirement age from 67 to 65.

Environment

In its fight against climate change, the Green Party is wielding the carrot and the stick: it is committed to subsidizing the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles and prohibiting the purchase of vehicles equipped with a combustion engine within 10 years.

The PC would require 30% of light vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emissions by 2030. Instead, the PLC wants it to be half of all vehicles sold in Canada by 2030, and then all by 2035. As for the NDP would facilitate the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle by exempting it from the GST and subsidizing it if it is built in the country.

Jesse Caron, automotive expert from CAA-Quebec, appreciates these proposals, but remembers that the fleet of vehicles in the country is still 95% made up of gasoline cars and trucks. “The 2035 deadline may be too short. Without a doubt, it is playable if we put plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric cars in the equation. “

The fight against plastic waste, at least on paper, worries the NPD, the PC and the PLC. The first two want to ban their export, while the PLC would require that all plastic packaging be made from 50% recycled plastic by 2030. The New Democrats would ban single-use plastics.

Marginalized problems

Despite the growing popularity of telecommuting, party platforms pay little attention to access to more affordable telecom services. The PC would simply bet on greater competition by opening the Canadian market to foreign operators. The more interventionist NDP would like to limit tariffs to the level of the world average.

Planned obsolescence, an issue of great importance to consumers, seems to interest only the NDP and the Bloc, which intends to present a bill aimed at curbing this commercial strategy.

Finally, the Bloc program is the only one that wants to reactivate the agri-food debate: it asks for the labeling of transgenic foods and a seafood traceability plan.

¹ Since certain programs proposed by one or other of the pan-Canadian federal parties, such as drug insurance and the $ 10 child care network, already exist in Quebec, we do not consider it useful to mention them. Furthermore, most of the proposals included in the Green Party’s program are of a general nature; therefore, we retain only those that were really in focus.

>> Also read: Fish still misidentified: when will we see better traceability?

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