During this election season, Canada’s political parties are sharing their visions of our future and making promises to the voters.
These promises include reducing taxes, increasing services, balancing the budget, protecting the environment and improving Canada’s economy.
However, voters need to evaluate these promises and consider what they will mean.
Election promises come at a cost. Sometimes the cost is in higher taxes to fund new ideas and new initiatives. Sometimes the cost is passed from one level of government to another, with the province or the municipality taking over an initiative once provided at the federal level. And sometimes, when budget cuts are made, the cost is passed directly to the taxpayer.
If a party pledges to reduce taxes, this promise will reduce the amount of money coming in to federal coffers. And this in turn will affect the funding for federal programs and services. Which services will be cut, and what effect will this have?
If the promise is to expand health care or to add affordable housing units, how will such a promise be funded?
If a party promises to promote a green economy or vows to reduce pollution, how will such promises affect the oil industry and the price at the gas pumps?
If the focus is on increasing Canadian trade internationally, will this be done by promoting the export of raw materials, manufactured goods or technological innovations?
And if the promise is to balance the budget, how will this be done?
Election promises and platforms are important as they show the party’s direction and focus for the coming years. The promises a party makes during the campaign will set the tone for its actions after the election is over. As a result, the vote is as much an endorsement or rejection of the platform as it is a show of support for the local candidate.
Examine these promises carefully. Consider what will need to happen in order to make an election promise a reality. And consider whether the promise is worth the cost.
The decisions made during this election will affect us all.