This October 19th, Canada will have its next federal election. You may be asking yourself what this means for you, if you should vote, or what each party stands for- look no further! This series is a guide to the 2015 Canadian Federal Election.

Staff Writer: Alex Agouridis

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Today in Canada, the three most popular parties are Conservative, NDP, and Liberal. For this reason, we will focus on some economic, social, and environmental policies of those three parties that are relevant to us as youth and students.

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Conservative Party is led by Stephen Harper and has been in power since 2006. This party has a laissez-faire/classical liberal attitude and favors lower taxation over social spending.

This year’s platform includes:

  • Reduction of the small-business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019
  • Reduction of the corporate tax rate from ~22% to 15%
  • Increase of the annual contribution limit for tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs) from $5,500 to $10,000 (already enacted)
  • Approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and support the proposed TransCanada Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines
  • Passed Bill C-51 (read about it here: https://bccla.org/2015/03/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-bill-c-51/)
  • Not decriminalize or legalize possession of marijuana

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The New Democratic Party is led by Tom Mulclair. This party has a social-welfare based attitude, focused more on the middle/lower classes and issues including civil rights, social assistance and environmental leadership.

This year’s platform includes:

  • Reduction of the small-business tax rate from current 11% to 9%
  • Reversing changes to the TFSA contribution limits as the party believes higher limits only helps wealthier Canadians
  • Increase income tax for the largest Canadian corporations to where it was before the Conservative government took power
  • Repealing Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act
  • Opposition of Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines
  • Decriminalize marijuana, open to talks of legalization
  • Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women

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The Liberal Party is led by Justin Trudeau, and has held the longest periods of power throughout Canadian history. This party favors various policies from both left and right sides of the political spectrum, including budget balancing and social welfare spending.

This year’s platform includes:

  • Cutting the middle class income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5% and creating a new 33% tax bracket for annual incomes over $200,000
  • Reversing changes to the TFSA contribution limits as the party believes higher limits only helps wealthier Canadians
  • Amending Bill C-51 through limits of personal data sharing with government and national security agencies
  • Oppose Northern Gateway, support Keystone XL & Energy East
  • Legalize marijuana and allow its sale & taxation
  • Call a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women