This post has been updated. Again.
With less than a week to go before election day, the Conservatives are releasing their party platform -
it was to be released following leader Stephen Harper's speech to the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club in Toronto - but so far, no sign of it, and now the Conservative.ca website seems to be experiencing some trouble, so watch this space. - called The True North Strong and Free - is now available here in PDF form - but caution that the site is still having trouble.
As the prime minister has alluded to recently, the platform does not represent a major departure from the "modest" announcements of the past few weeks. But there are some new items: more money for technology and innovation funds that will help hard-hit manufacturers, and a decision to drop controversial changes to the television and film tax credits that had brought accusations of censorship from filmmakers.
The Liberals released their full election platform Sept. 22. The previously announced Green Shift is still there, along with details on the party's other major campaign announcements: increased infrastructure spending; plans to increase day care funding to the provinces; extending coverage for drugs for catostrophic illness; changes to funding for post-secondary students; and increased funding for arts and women's groups. The platform, titled Richer, Fairer, Greener, costs out the Liberal promises within a balanced budget. The full 72-page platform document is here - though demand must be high (among media?) because the Liberals' site has slowed significantly.
The NDP released their platform Sept. 28, a Sunday, and received a good amount of Monday-morning press for the platform's previously-unannounced promise of a new child benefit for low-income families - up to $400 a month per child for children under 18. The 46-page platform document - which by the cover could be called the "Orange Book" - vows to return the corporate tax rate to 22.12% (the level before the Martin government) and recover unpaid corporate taxes in order to increase social spending while maintaining a balanced buget.
The platform touches on many of the issues that have played out in headlines leading up to the election: food safety, regulation of the banking and finance sector, consumer protection and the doctor shortage, as well as the NDP's core values: affordable housing, supports for workers and income supports. The party includes "explanatory tables" to support its math.
The Greens released their "Looking Forward" platform online Sept. 17. The platform, which goes well beyond the party's environmental image, includes a promise to raise the GST by one cent and pass that money on to cities; a plan for investment in "green" industries; plus policy on health care and measures to address poverty. The Greens' platform launch included a separate website called www.votefortomorrow.ca that lays out the highlights of the platform, and the full 160-page platform document as a PDF. The party has also released a budget plan (both a snapshot PDF version and a longer, detailed document). The Green budget promises a balanced budget but no reduction in the federal debt over the next four years.