Stephen Harper is promising a majority Conservative government would bundle all the law-and-order legislation it’s been trying pass into one omnibus bill – and pass it within 100 days of taking power.
This is one of the pledges being unveiled Friday when the Tory Leader unveils his election platform in the Greater Toronto Area, one that attempts to wedge the vote to Mr. Harper’s advantage.
The bold justice bill pledge, leaked to media outlets early Thursday evening, is an attempt to more clearly differentiate the Conservatives from Liberal and New Democrat opponents, forcing voters to decide between what the Tories hope are now stark alternatives.
The Liberals have been muddling their message on crime this week. The party’s public safety critic, Mark Holland, announced that a Liberal government would not undo any Tory legislation passed to date. It was an attempt to dispel Conservative charges that Mr. Holland’s party is soft on crime.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff later contradicted Mr. Holland, and is making no promises to preserve Conservative laws already passed.
A significant portion of the Conservative platform has already been released. It includes all measures in the tiny 2011 budget, which was shelved after opposition parties defeated the government on March 25.
The Tories say their “Here for Canada” basket of election promises will cover five areas: measures to create jobs, help families including seniors, eliminate the deficit, toughen crime laws and defend Canada including the Arctic.
It will be unveiled at 10 a.m. ET at a convention centre in Mississauga, Ont.
The Conservatives have already unveiled a number of significant promises that weren’t in the budget, including a March 31 pledge to guarantee a $4.2-billion loan for a Newfoundland and Labrador hydro power project that angered Quebec.
A day later the Tories softened the blow for Quebec with a big-ticket promise to give the province $2.2-billion in compensation for harmonizing its sales tax with the federal goods and services levy.
Mr. Harper has also tossed a controversial pledge in the pile, promising that if he wins a majority he would scrap a per-vote taxpayer subsidy, one that his rivals have come to depend on heavily.
The Tories have unloaded a raft of tax break promises for Canadians but with the caveat most won’t be delivered until the deficit is eliminated. This means this relief would not arrive for three or four years under current forecasts.
This applies to one of the centrepiece Conservative election promises unveiled so far in the campaign: a $2.75-billion tax cut for families with children. This won’t take effect before the federal government’s books are balanced, Mr. Harper announced March 28. The pledge, to allow income-sharing between parents for tax purposes, will average $1,300 in tax savings for 1.8 million families.
The delayed-gratification message is a deliberate attempt to contrast the Tories with the Liberals, who are promising to raise taxes and roll back Tory corporate tax-cut commitments.
There are 11 Conservative justice bills that Parliament did not pass before the Harper government was defeated March 25. Together, these bills would:
» Crack down on organized drug crime;
» End house arrest for serious and violent criminals;
» End house arrest for serious personal injury offences such as sexual assault;
» Eliminate pardons for serious criminals;
» Establish tougher sentences and mandatory jail time for sexual offences against children;
» Strengthen the handling of violent and repeat young offenders (Sébastien’s Law);
» Give law enforcement and national security agencies up-to-date tools to fight crime in today’s high-tech telecommunications environment;
» Give the government more discretion when considering requests to transfer Canadian prisoners to Canada from other countries;
» Provide police and the courts more tools to investigate and prevent terrorism;
» Allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism in Canadian courts;
» And streamline long and complex trials.
– Article from The Globe and Mail.