Liberals have promised universal pharmacare, but no details on how it will be paid for. While I support filling in the gaps as per earlier post when report came out, I’ve always said it is important for any new programs to say how you will pay for it. Some voters may not care, but promises that are not properly costed can come out to bite one. Fact Liberals are not using PBO for costing is worrisome, but still have 27 days, so hopefully they do it before e-day and hopefully long enough before so it can be analyzed and debated. That being said, this may be a pie in the sky promise as any national pharmacare requires a provincial buy-in and unlike in 2015, the line up of provincial governments does not look too friendly for this so my guess as health minister alluded to earlier is only a few provinces sign up initially thus cost is much lower. Much like medicare, hope is it is popular enough that other provinces are forced to sign on due to political considerations. I will do a post on tax reform, but with Liberals’ big promises, I think its now time to start discussing raising the GST back to 7%. That is $16 billion right there and would give all parties a lot more leeway on their promises. Liberals may promise to tax the rich more, but according to PBO site, every % point increase on top rate only raises $400 million never mind due to behavioral changes it will negatively impact provincial budgets. My guess is since Liberals seem to be stealing planks from others, they will raise the capital gains inclusion rate to 75% and introduce a wealth tax on wealth over $20 million. Both would cover the promises in theory assuming no behavioral changes, but contain risks which I will discuss in another post. Still in sum it appears the Black face photos have changed tactics to focusing on issues (which is a good thing) over looking for gotcha moments. Now that Trudeau has been caught in one, little room to hit other parties on this.
Tories have promised to eliminate stress test making it easier to get mortgages. Of all promises to date, I believe this one is incredibly irresponsible and I hope this never sees light of day. This will just drive up prices further until the bubble bursts and in markets like Vancouver this would be devastating. I believe helping making housing more affordable is important, but solution is to increase supply and also rental units. This means working with municipalities and provinces and thus will take time, but it is the right thing long term.