Justin Trudeau’s Liberals released their full platform on Monday. The 88-page booklet reiterated many of the party’s promises, such running three years of deficits, boosting child care benefits and cutting income taxes for middle-class Canadians, but a few other pledges also stuck out.
The Liberals would scrap the education and textbook tax credit and funnel the money towards more generous grants for students from low-income families and to middle-income families by raising the income threshold of eligibility to still receive grants. The Liberals would also make students loans repayable only after graduates earn more than $25,000 a year.
The Liberals would establish a task force that would design a system for the legal sale and distribution of pot, subject to federal and provincial taxes. The Liberals would remove consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code but stiffen punishments on those who provide marijuana to minors, drive when they are high, and sell pot illegally to anyone.
The Liberals would repeal C-42, making it harder for gun owners to transport their weapons without a permit, including to places such as a firearms range.
The Liberals would require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a handgun or restricted firearm and would require all sellers of firearms to confirm a licence’s validity before completing a sale.
Allow spying on Canadians — with a warrant
The Liberals would repeal what they call controversial elements of Bill C-51 and establish all-party national security oversight committee to review all security agencies.
They say they would limit the reach of the electronic spy agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, by allowing it to spy on Canadians but only after obtaining a warrant.
CSEC, which is similar to the United States’ National Security Agency, is supposed to monitor foreign communications for intelligence purposes, not spy on Canadians — although it has been found to collect Canadians’ private data. Bill C-51 included CSEC in 17 security agencies that would be allowed to share information more freely. The Liberals’ promise does nothing to curb that but it does ensure judicial oversight for activities involving Canadians.
Stiffen penalties for domestic violence
The Liberals would amend the Criminal Code to reverse the onus on bail for accused previously convicted of intimate partner violence — physical, sexual or psychological harm caused by a current or former partner. The suspect would now have to establish a reason not be be held without bail; currently, the Crown must show why a suspect must be kept in jail.
The Liberals say they would ensure such violence is considered an aggravating factor at sentencing, and they would increase maximum sentences for repeat offenders, although they do not say by exactly how much.
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