The Williams Lake Tribune/Weekend Advisor reached out to federal candidates in the upcoming Oct. 19 election in the Cariboo-Prince George riding. This is the third set of answers to five questions posed to candidates, which will be published leading up to the election. Each candidate was given a 200-word limit per answer.
What do you feel needs to be done to reduce the growing gap between the very rich and the very poor?
Christian Heritage Party Adam De Kroon
One thing I’ve been talking about in my campaign is that I support complete personal income tax exemption for people who earn roughly $30,000-35,000 per year and under. Currently you are only exempt from income tax for roughly the first $11,000 earned. This is not enough and many low-income individuals are still having to pay taxes while they struggle to pay for essentials like housing, food and transportation.
My plan for increasing the income tax exemption would help lower income earners to get ahead.
Independent candidate Sheldon Clare
The fact of the matter is our market-economy is built around offering different wages and prices for different types of labour and goods. It is not the government’s role to fix these differences with wealth redistribution or other methods, as it has become clear that kind of intervention often fails to achieve meaningful results.
What does work is when the government assists people in access to higher education. The more educated our population, the more innovative and capable people are in both the workforce and public life.
While primary and secondary schooling are almost solely provincial matters, post-secondary institutions and their students often need federal funds to properly function.
The Federal government must begin to earmark transfer-payments specifically for making education more affordable, instead of allowing provinces to simply put transfers into general revenue.
This, combined with eliminating interest on student loans and ensuring grants aren’t eaten by administrative fees will help more people from lower-income backgrounds improve their opportunities.
Non-affiliate candidate Gordon Campbell
Democracy for the consumer age equals apolitical spending.
As an apolitical candidate I envision Canadian taxpayers being given the power to make decisions about their country’s priorities through a simple system that makes every consumer purchase a form of vote.
I envision a world in which consumers would be able to pick what proportion of the taxes they pay go to each major government program through an elaborate packaging system already in place. The same system that allows Airmiles, etc.
The poor and rich together, would use a packaging system that allows the God-almighty poor a chance to pick a policy by picking a specific label. Every can of beans or pack of cigarettes sold every day would be a vote to put the tax revenue generated by that item into a specific program.
I see it as a way to put the total power of consumerism into the hands of the humble, the meek, the blind and most importantly the poor.
Without an apolitical option on the ballot something like I’m suggesting can never happen and the poor will forever be a prisoner of the rich.
Liberal Party candidate Tracy Calogheros
The “very poor” is a wide-ranging demographic which includes single seniors, people on disability, and single parents with young children. The growing gap between the rich and poor is similarly complex. We can start to address the problem by giving a voice to those who are often overlooked in society, and encouraging them, in turn, to participate in community discussions. When making policy decisions, we must consider and address the needs of those who are less fortunate to achieve any long-term improvement in their lives. The Liberals have made key policy decisions which include lowering the retirement age to 65, cutting middle-class taxes, creating the Canada Child Benefit, developing Pharmacare, creating the Seniors Price Index for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement, protecting pension splitting for seniors while eliminating income splitting for working wealthy Canadians, and making infrastructure investments for low-cost housing and seniors facilities. In short, targeting help to this vulnerable segment of our society. By creating a new tax bracket for Canadians earning over $200,000 a year, we are asking the most successful Canadians to contribute a little more. All of these steps will help to resolve the gap between the very rich and those less fortunate.
Green Party candidate Richard Jaques
In order to restore balance between the classes, taxation must be utilized to make the playing field an equal and fair exercise. Raising the corporate tax to 19 per cent and reinvesting in our social safety net would improve the quality of life for those less fortunate.
Conservative Party candidate Todd Doherty
We need to maintain a low-tax environment which allows people to succeed, and not merely create dependencies on taxpayer dollars.
Our government has reduced the tax burden on Canadians, especially those working hard to succeed in Canada, more than any other government in several decades. We’ve removed hundreds of thousands of working families and seniors from the tax rolls, and provided the greatest level of tax relief in decades.
Since 2006, we’ve reduced federal income taxes on individuals earning under $30,000 by over 90 per cent. For families earning more, we’ve reduced taxes by up to 25 per cent — the average family has received a tax break of up to $6,600.00 in 2015. We’ve done this and more while balancing the budget after launching a stimulus spending program to respond to the worst recession since the 1930s. It’s clear for Canadians that taxes are lower, our budget is balanced, and there are more opportunities both here and the region and internationally for Canadians to take advantage of.
New Democratic Party candidate Trent Derrick
Tom Mulcair and the NDP have a concrete plan to address income inequality. We will close the stock-option loophole, a Conservative tax giveaway that only benefits the wealthiest Canadians. We will rollback the Conservative income splitting and TFSA doubling plans, which only benefit 15 per cent of Canadians, while protecting income splitting for seniors.
New Democrats also believe that Canada’s largest corporations should pay their fair share, at a rate that’s still lower than the average while Stephen Harper has been Prime Minister.
We will put this revenue to work lifting seniors out of poverty, supporting Canadian veterans, and providing quality affordable childcare.