Liberal platform adds $9.3B in spending next year, sees deficit hitting $27.4B

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals launched their full campaign platform on Sunday with promises of new support for post-secondary students and graduates, paid for, in part, by new taxes on internet giants and luxury goods.

In total, the Liberals are proposing new investments that would total $9.3 billion in 2020-2021, rising to $17 billion in the fourth year of a second mandate. The federal deficit would increase to $27.4 billion in 2020-2021, declining to $21 billion in 2023-2024.

The Liberal leader announced his party’s platform at the University of Toronto campus in Mississauga, Ont. Sunday. is carrying live reaction to the Liberal platform from the NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh below.

The Liberals promised in 2015 to run three years of deficits before returning the federal budget to balance in 2019. 

With the new promises, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio would still decline, from 30.9 per cent in 2020-2021 to 30.2 per cent in 2023-2024.

Under the Liberal plan, the maximum annual amount available under the Canada Student Grant program would rise to $4,200, an increase of $1,200. 

Interest charges on student loans would also not be charged for two years or until a graduate is making a salary of at least $35,000. In the event that an individual’s salary drops below $35,000, interest charges would be suspended.

Finally, graduates who are new parents would have the option to suspend student-loan payments until their child reaches the age of five.

To raise new revenue, the Liberals are proposing a 10 per cent “luxury tax” — an additional excise tax on luxury cars, boats and personal aircraft that sell for more than $100,000. 

Watch live: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responds to Liberal platform

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attends a town hall in B.C. 0:00

Tax on digital giants

Digital companies that make at least $1 billion in annual global revenues and at least $40 million in Canadian revenues — companies like Amazon, Google, Netflix, Apple and Facebook — would pay a three per cent tax on revenue generated through the sale of online advertising and user data.

The Liberals would also undertake a new review of federal spending and tax expenditures, with a focus on tax measures that “disproportionately benefit Canada’s wealthiest individuals and large corporations.” 

The Liberal platform does not specify any items in particular to cut, but the Liberals hope to find $2 billion in savings in 2020-2021, rising to $3 billion in four years.

The 85-page Liberal platform restates a number of existing commitments and policies already implemented. But it does include a number of new promises.

The federal minimum wage, for instance, would rise to $15 per hour and the Liberals would create a $200 tax credit to cover the cost of theatres, museums, art galleries and other cultural venues for children over the age of 12.

New powers for privacy commissioner, terrorism prosecution

The Liberals are promising to implement mandatory training for judges on sexual assault, effectively reviving a measure put forward in a private member’s bill by former Conservative MP Rona Ambrose. Survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence would be provided with free legal aid.

The privacy commissioner would be empowered to enforce a new digital charter that gives internet users greater power over the use and retention of their data and social media platforms would be required to remove illegal content, including hate speech, within 24 hours.

In partnership with Indigenous leaders, a Liberal government would co-develop legislation to cover Indigenous health care, plans to build infrastructure in Indigenous communities and pass legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Liberals would also create a director of terrorism prosecutions, a new office with a mandate to pursue cases of Canadians who travel abroad to join terrorist organisations.

The Liberal party’s platform adds $9.3 billion in new spending, but Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says their financial track is sustainable as long as the economy continues to grow in relation to the federal debt. 2:14

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