Green Party – Stephen LaFrenie
First-time Green candidate Stephen LaFrenie is a performer and teacher of physical theatre. For the past two years he was the Green shadow cabinet’s critic for International Cooperation and the Canadian International Development Agency. LaFrenie is a community volunteer and has experience working with third-world development charities, especially in Haiti. In 2006, the Greens won 3.8% of the vote in Trinity-Spadina.Education: Increase post-secondary funding through a program that would replace the Millennium Scholarship Fund. Forgive 50 per cent of a student’s loan when they complete a degree or certificate program. Use targeted grants to promote trade and technical education.Energy: Phase out nuclear power completely. Use regulation to promote energy consumption efficiency in households.Environment: Amend Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to add the right to clean air and water. Carbon tax of $50 per tonne and the creation of a rubric to measure environmental progress.Food safety: The platform mostly addresses sustainable production and expanding local agriculture. Also includes developing area-specific food safety regulations that help local farmers meet national standards.Health care: Keep single-tier health care system. Restoration of the 2005 agreement to create a universal child health care program. Invest to promote healthy lifestyle as prevention measure.Housing: Loans and funding for sustainable, affordable housing developments. Subsidization of private developers to stall neighbourhood gentrification through creation of mixed-income housing.Transit: Double federal funding for urban transit. Investment in sustainable transportation infrastructure such as pedestrian, cycle, and car-sharing. Immediate cancellation of federal funding for certain highway and bridge expansions that encourage urban sprawl and vehicle use.Also of note: The Greens support the draft of UN Declaration on Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples for those affected by mining and oil and gas exploration in Arctic areas. They would ask for a UN ruling on the disputed areas and the US gas and oil leases in these regions.
Liberal Party – Christine Innes
Christine Innes is a Toronto lawyer who has lived in Trinity-Spadina for over 25 years. The wife of former Liberal MP Tony Ianno, who lost to Olivia Chow by a narrow margin in the last election, she is running for the first time.Education: $5000 in loans for all students, regardless of family income. Lower interest rates and extend the grace period for interest-free repayment from six months to two years. 300,000 new bursaries and access grants for post-secondary education. Energy : The Carbon Plan would raise taxes on fossil fuels and make new investments in renewable energy and conservation. Environment: The Green Shift, the keystone of the Liberals’ campaign platform, plans to tax polluters while giving tax breaks on personal income, investment, and innovation.Food safety: $50 million to improve food safety system. Hire more inspectors and conduct review of Canadian Food Inspection Agency.Health care: The focus is on a $900-million plan for catastrophic drug coverage for Canadians with serious illnesses. $420 million to address the shortage of doctors and nurses. Housing: Improve access to affordable housing with funding for 30,000 new units and the repair and renovation of 30,000 existing units. Transit: $8 billion to help cities expand their public transit systems and make them more environmentally friendly Also of note: Cut poverty by 30 per cent and child poverty by 50 per cent in the first four years of a Liberal government.
New Democratic Party – Olivia Chow
The incumbent MP ran unsuccessfully in Trinity-Spadina in 1997 and 2004 before winning in 2006. Chow is married to NDP Leader Jack Layton, and both live in the riding. Chow was elected Toronto school board trustee in 1985. She served as Toronto city councilor between 1991 and 2005.Education: $1,000 grant to undergrads who qualify for student loans. Reform the Canada Student Loans system so that students doing internships, co-ops or placement programs aren’t asked to repay loans at the same time. Increase graduate and postgraduate research funding.Energy: Stop tax breaks to the tar sands, nuclear power, and oil and gas industries. Funding for energy-efficient homes and buildings.Environment: Reduce carbon emissions through a “cap and trade” system. $3-billion “green-collar” jobs and remove bureaucratic hurdles for zero-emission vehicles.Food Safety: Hire more inspectors and improve warning system. Require labeling of genetically modified foods and farmed fish.Health care: Train up to 28,000 additional health care workers. Streamline credential recognition for foreign professionals. Create a national home care system and a national prescription drug plan.Housing: Give one per cent of federal spending to affordable housing by 2018. Build new affordable housing projects, upgrade old ones, extend homelessness programs and transitional housing.Transit: An extra cent per litre from the federal gas tax and fining big polluters comes to $4 billion ($840 million for Toronto) over four years. Increase railways and bike paths.Also of note: National minimum wage of $10 an hour. Reduce overcharging and hidden fees by major corporations, including a ban on ATM fees and incoming charges on text messages. Allow provinces to ban handguns.
Conservative Party – Christine McGirr
Christine McGirr is a consultant and a former school trustee candidate. She sits on the board of directors for two riding associations. McGirr has worked on campaigns for a number of conservative candidates.In an unusual move, the Conservatives waited until the campaign’s last week to release an official platform. The Tories landed a distant third in the last election.Education: Tax breaks for programs geared towards saving for post-secondary education. $2,000 bonus to apprentices from certain trades who complete their training. Energy: $2 billion to promote smarter energy use, greater use of clean energy sources, and cleaner use of traditional energy sources.Environment: Reduce Canada’s greenhouse emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and cut air pollution in half by 2015. Industrial polluters will be forced by law to meet certain standards for emissions, with a Canada-wide limit on four major toxins that contribute to smog and acid rain.Health care: Tax break for children enrolled in arts and sports programs, with deductions up to $500 per year. Stephen Harper has stated he would ban candy-flavored tobacco products. Housing: $2 billion plan to combat homelessness. With current anti-homelessness programs expiring in March, a new five-year plan has been promised. Transit: Harper announced a $1 billion transit grant for Toronto in March, and promised another $586 million later.Also of note: Proposes stiffer sentences for offenders as young as 14 years for first and second degree murder and other serious crimes: it would now be as much as life in prison. Also proposes removal of ban against publicizing their names.