On Thursday, May 25, the Socialist Caucus held a press conference posing 10 questions to the then 5 candidates in the running for leader of the NDP.
These questions, covering topics varying from international relations, economic policy, and civil and indigenous rights, were aimed to provide a clearer image on where each candidate stands on key socialist issues.
Since the presentation of these questions, one candidate has exited the race, and the Socialist Caucus has made its position of critical support for Niki Ashton clear. Beyond presenting a uniform position on a preferred leader, and considering the ranked ballot system employed by the NDP, the Socialist Caucus finds it suitable to provide our members with broader information on the policies of all candidates with the hopes of empowering a more informed voting process.
To do this, we have thoroughly reviewed each candidate’s policies in relation to our 10 questions. For each question, candidates were given a score ranging from 0 – 3, with 0 indicating no coverage of the issue, 1 indicating acknowledgment of the problem, 2 indicating that their policies meet to a great extent with our proposal and 3 fully satisfying the questions. These individual scores were then aggregated to arrive at the candidate ranking found below. The full question by question break down can be found here.
It is worth noting, that for this exercise, we have chosen to focus exclusively on what candidates have included in their official policy releases, be it on their website or through personal press releases. A conscious effort was made to omit stances given in debates and campaign events as we believe a manifesto is the best indicator of a candidates true standing.
Niki Ashton – 20 points
Niki Ashton has consistently provided the most socialist oriented set of policies with promises of aggressive tax reform including the removal of the capital gains exemption as a whole, and a restructure to the income tax brackets while introducing two new ones — making the top brackets start at $150,000, $202,000 and $300,000 respectively with marginal rates of 32, 35 and 38 per cent.
Ashton is also promising to double the GST/HST tax credit, to introduce preventative dental and pharmacare health coverage along with a comprehensive mental health care plan.
Oddly, Niki has no reference in her policy to the Keystone XL pipeline although she has voiced her opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Guy Caron – 13 points
Guy Caron has promised to reduce the workday to 7 hours, making him the only candidate to suggest a reduction of working hours with no reduction in pay to counter the oncoming threat of automation.
Most of his points were accumulated due to an aggressive green policy standing against both pipelines and recommending an end to fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks and investing $32 billion in green energy infrastructure.
Guy’s suggested changes to income tax, however, are the least aggressive with a promised cut from 15% to 14% for income under $45,000, and an increase from 20.5% to 22% on income over $45,000.
Jagmeet Singh – 10 points
Jagmeet Singh comes into third place for having balanced policies, providing him with minor points across the board.
Most notably, Jagmeet presents a more aggressive stance on taxation than Guy Caron, yet less aggressive than Niki Ashton. He has promised to introduce two new tax brackets at $350,000 and $500,000, with marginal rates of 35 and 37 per cent respectively and has also committed to raising capital gains taxes from 50 to 75 per cent.
His policies do not touch on issues of social housing, public ownership, or inclusion of dental and pharamcare coverage.
Charlie Angus – 5 points
Charlie Angus has by far missed the pulse of the left, the 5 points he has accumulated are for a strong green policy promising to create a crown agency to promote sustainable development and eliminate subsidies in the oil and gas sector. He has also promised to add pharmacare coverage.
His policies however, do not cover any of the other 8 questions put forth by the Socialist Caucus.