The Green Party of Canada has released a partially costed breakdown of platform commitments, saying a government headed by Annamie Paul would deliver $210 billion in new spending over the next five years, with no plan to return to budgetary balance before then.
The Greens say that their fiscal plan will reduce the “nominal deficit” to less than $30 billion a year, if the economy continues to grow.
According to documents released by the party, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) provided a costing of only some of the party’s promises, leaving two of the biggest programs; long-term care reform and pharmacare, off the list.
The Greens provided their own costing of those programs, saying they will cost $107 billion over the next five years, with $68.5 going toward reforming long-term care and $38.5 billion going toward a new pharmacare program.
The Green platform promises to implement a universal pharmacare program and to create a universal long-term-care system that would be governed by national standards of care under the Canada Health Act.
The platform also promises to introduce a guaranteed livable income that “would provide every Canadian with a basic revenue source, ensuring that people can cover basic expenses such as food and accommodation.”
The partial costing of the Green platform promises comes on the last day of the election campaign and only 20 minutes before Paul, in British Columbia for the day, appeared at a press conference in Victoria.
Party to pay for programs with new tax
The costing document does not, however, provide a cost for a guaranteed livable income by either the PBO or the party, raising questions about how it would maintain the fiscal discipline required to reduce the deficit to the target of $30 billion.
The PBO did provide details of what it would cost to cancel all student debt and to provide free post-secondary education to all Canadians: $66 billion over five years, with $17.3 of that coming in 2021-22.
The PBO also said that funding the Green childcare and early education program would cost $10.6 billion over five years that it would spend another 9.2 on the Green Climate Fund.
While these programs are costed on a yearly basis, it remains unclear when they would be rolled out across the country.
The party says that pharmacare, a guaranteed livable income and tuition-free post-secondary education are going to be tied to “Canada’s future economic outlook” and “expected additional revenues through tax-raising measures,” when conditions permit.
“The proposed policy shifts in the Green Party of Canada’s platform will be implemented over time in a way that will not undermine fiscal sustainability for federal and provincial and territorial governments,” it said.
The party says it will pay for this new spending by imposing a 0.5 per cent tax on all financial transactions in Canada, raising what the PBO says would be $146 billion over the next five years.
The PBO says the party will also bring in $11.7 billion over five years by eliminating tax deductions and incentives for the oil and gas sector.