“Emmett Macfarlane: Who’s more progressive, the Liberals or the NDP?”

Emmett Macfarlane (The Ottawa Citizen)

On tax policy: “One point to the Liberals.”
On child care: “Call this one a draw.”
On democratic reform: “This point goes to the Liberals.”

“On top of these differences are a lot of important similarities. Both parties articulate a need for a nation-to-nation approach to the state’s relationship with Canada’s indigenous peoples, promise to invest in renewable energy and other ‘green jobs,’ pledge to scrap Conservative decisions like income splitting, and emphasize rhetoric focusing on ‘the middle class.'”

“It is hardly clear that the Liberals are campaigning to the NDP’s left, though their proposals so far are generally as progressive. What is remarkable, however, is the relatively moderate nature of both parties. There is no plan to significantly increase government revenues – the tax increases proposed by both parties are at least partially offset by tax cuts. Both leaders steadfastly avoid talking about carbon taxes (…) or – gasp! – raising the GST. Aside from significant child care spending, neither party has yet to announce the creation of a major new program (…).”

“The parties are operating in a box designed by the Conservatives, one where government revenues are constrained and, as a result of a desire among all leaders to be seen as good fiscal managers, spending is therefore constrained as well. The parties may be looking, even this late in the game, for something to excite uncommitted progressives. And there is a lot of campaign left, so it is more likely than not that the differences between the Liberals and NDP will grow, and there might be a few surprises in store.”

Full article here