What the Federal Election Means to Mississauga

 

Election Breakdown: The Economy

With the federal election fast approaching (Oct. 19), you might be trying to decide who to vote for. I mean, it seems like most people already know their party, but some like to evaluate all the platforms before hitching themselves to a political wagon.

We thought we'd break down each party's (minus the Bloc because we can't vote for them) platform and analyze how they relate to Mississauga.

Today, we'll talk economics.

Here are the basics.

The Green Party

The Economy: One hallmark of the Green Party's platform is sustainable economic development. The document mentions the financial struggles of young families facing increased housing, education and childcare costs. The party proposes to access the "dead money" that's sitting in some big businesses' coffers (meaning money that's essentially sitting in a corporate savings account and not being re-invested in the economy). In terms of jobs, the Green Party wants to revive the "manufacturing, tourism, value-added forest products and cultural industries."

Impact on Mississauga: While Mississauga isn't a hub for tourism or forestry, it does have the struggling young families that party leader Elizabeth May and her team are talking about. Mississauga is one of the more expensive cities in the country and the exponential growth of housing prices has made it more difficult for young people to afford homes (rent is also high because it's invariably tied to housing prices). If people have student debt, their struggles are compounded. A platform that seeks to take "dead money" and re-invest it in the national economy might appeal to young Mississauga voters. The party's pledge to tackle student debt issues might also appeal -- especially to current and former Sheridan and UTM students. It's also worth noting that the party wants to abolish tuition fees altogether. That's lofty, but a lot of recent grads will dig it.

The New Democratic Party (NDP)

The Economy: Jobs, jobs jobs. The NDP platform laments the lack of access to "decent, good-paying jobs." This decidedly left-of-centre party, led by Thomas Mulcair (and the current official opposition), quotes the CIBC and says that the "quality of jobs today is at its lowest level in 20 years." While some Canadians (and Mississauga residents) are doing well, others are struggling with recurring recessions, stagnant wages and increasing living costs. The NDP's focus is championing manufacturing jobs and growth, reducing small business taxes from 11 per cent to 9 per cent, investing in infrastructure and transit and creating opportunities for young Canadians through NGO (non-government organization) and private sector training partnerships.

Impact on Mississauga: There are manufacturing companies in Mississauga who probably think they could benefit from a little more federal TLC and there are definitely small businesses who could do with a little tax relief. The standout? Transit and infrastructure. With aging roads, geographically disparate hubs and a growing population, Mississauga's infrastructure needs attention. Also, any promise to try to tackle the disparity between wages, job availability and the cost of the living is a welcome one -- especially for the city's youth.

The Liberal Party

The Economy: The Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, promises investments in public transit, social and green infrastructure. Their economic plan pledges to quadruple federal investment in public transit with flexible funding for municipalities, provide $20 billion over 10 years for affordable housing, child care spaces, community centers and more and invest $6 billion over the next four years in green infrastructure.

Impact on Mississauga: The promise of increased and flexible investment in public transit is something Mississauga should consider. With aging infrastructure and increasing traffic, talk about a sound transit plan is getting louder and more urgent. If the city can access more federal money to build a bigger and better public transit system, that might be something for Mississauga voters (especially those who don't want to rely on or pay for cars) to consider.

The Conservative Party

The Economy: Led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party has been in power since 2006, operating both minority and majority governments during its nine-year reign. In terms of the economy, their platform pledges to create 1.3 million new jobs by 2020 and protect manufacturing jobs with a "low tax, balanced budget Manufacturing Strategy." They also boast that they delivered a balanced budget a year ahead of schedule. If you're an older Mississauga resident, you might like to know the party has introduced a $2,000 Single Seniors Tax Credit that's designed to benefit single and widowed seniors.

Impact on Mississauga: Since the Conservatives are the incumbent party, they aren't really selling a brand new platform -- they've established themselves and their policies. If Mississauga residents are happy with the federal government and support their job creation initiatives and emphasis on manufacturing, they might decide to stick with Harper in this close election. People who work for larger companies (and there are several in the city) might also support the corporate tax rates that the Conservatives have enacted.

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