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This report objective is to bring some light and discussion on the main topics from the Liberal Party 2015 Election Platform that may have an impact on businesses and the economy. Each Platform topic will start with the information available from the Liberal Party followed by the discussion and supporting data.

On a stunning majority with Justin Trudeau bring back the Liberals to the Canadian government. It was a historical election process, with more engagement than usual. Could this be the return of Trudeaumania, which brought his father into power with strong popular support in 1968? Hard to say… However, the fact is Justin Trudeau started as a weak third place, surging into the lead late in the campaign. Preliminary results show voter turnout close to 70%, significantly higher than the 60% average during Harper government.

To start, let us check how the stock market behaves in a conservative government in comparison to a Liberal government.

Do the Canadian Stock Market like the Liberals?

Is there any trend associated with which party is in power in Canada? The chart below illustrates the TSX index, which covers approximately 95% of the Canadian equities.

TSX_COMP_IDX_(Trade_Price)

An analysis of the chart shows that the stock market had a hard time when the conservatives where in power. The index would oscillate, but with little gains overall. When the Liberals had the command, the markets trended, both up and down. This is an important difference, because it is easier to deal with a trending market than with a market that is going nowhere…

Nevertheless, the Liberals went through very hard times. Pierre Trudeau’s second government lived the 81/82 crash. John Crétien saw a 50% decline from the top in 2000 to the bottom in 2002, caused by overall weakness in the global markets that brought the developed countries to a recession. But this did not prevent the next Prime Minister to be a Liberal, Paul Martin, who benefited from the major commodities bull market that started in 2002.

During Harper the market experienced a crash in 2008, a recovery in 2009 – 2010 and a stall, driven by low commodities prices.

Jobs.

Platform points:

We will invest to create more jobs and better opportunities for young Canadians

After ten years under Stephen Harper, good-quality job opportunities for young Canadians are tougher and tougher to find. Faced with high unemployment and underemployment, many young people have stopped looking for work altogether.

This is hard for both young people and their families. Many parents are seeing their household debt rise and retirement savings dwindle as they struggle to support their grown children, who often return home. It is time to invest in young Canadians – to help them get the work experience they will need to start their careers and contribute fully to our economy.

We will create 40,000 good youth jobs – including 5,000 youth green jobs – each year for the next three years, by investing $300 million more in the renewed Youth Employment Strategy.

We will more than double the almost 11,000 Canadians who access Skills Link each year. This program helps young Canadians – including Aboriginal and disabled youth – make a more successful transition to the workplace.

After this initial three-year boost in funding, we will set the renewed Youth Employment Strategy’s funding level at $385 million per year – a $50 million increase from 2015/16.

We will invest $40 million each year to help employers create more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business programs.

And to encourage companies to hire young Canadians for permanent positions, we will also offer a 12-month break on Employment Insurance premiums. We will waive employer premiums for all those between the ages of 18 and 24 who are hired into a permanent position in 2016, 2017, or 2018.

We will also work with provinces, territories, and post-secondary institutions to develop or expand Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs. This will provide up to $10 million per year to help young Canadians gain the skills they need to enter high-demand trades.

We will end the rule that discriminates against new workers and those reentering the workforce by requiring them to accumulate 910 hours of work to qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, including training support.

We will invest $25 million per year in a restored Youth Service Program, to give young Canadians valuable work and life experience, and provide communities with the help required for much-needed projects.

We will help Canadians get the training they need to find and keep good jobs.

In a changing economy, Canadians need more opportunities to improve their skills and upgrade their credentials. We will make it easier for adults to access training programs by increasing investment in skills training.

To help those receiving Employment Insurance get the training they need to rejoin the workforce, we will invest $500 million more each year in provincial and territorial Labour Market Development Agreements.

To help those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance or are not currently employed, we will invest an additional $200 million in training programs led by the provinces and territories.

We will also invest $50 million to renew and expand funding to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, and provide $25 million each year for training facilities, delivered in partnership with labour unions.

We will work with employers and workers to determine an appropriate apprenticeship ratio for all federal infrastructure projects.
“Our total investment of an additional $775 million per year for job and skills training will help Canadians get the training they need to find and keep good jobs.”

We will expand export opportunities that benefit Canada.

Trade is vital for our economy. It opens markets, grows Canadian businesses, and creates good-paying middle class jobs – jobs that pay wages that are 50 percent higher than industries that are not export intensive. That is good news for the middle class and the communities they call home.

Stephen Harper’s approach to trade, however, has failed. His Conservative government has recorded the largest trade deficit in Canadian history, and Canadians are paying the price in lost job opportunities.

While Stephen Harper may sign trade deals, he walks away from partnering with businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure they can succeed in new markets and create wealth and jobs for Canadians.

Properly negotiated and implemented, free trade agreements are good for the Canadian economy. We will carefully consider all trade opportunities currently open to Canada, and explore deeper trade relationships with emerging and established markets, including China and India.

We will develop a new export promotion strategy that will help businesses take advantage of new trade agreements.

We will invest in our cultural and creative industries to create jobs and grow the middle class, and to strengthen our rich Canadian identity.

Canada’s cultural and creative industries are a vibrant part of our national identity and our economy, providing employment to more than one million Canadians.

Unfortunately, these industries have been under attack during the Harper decade, hit by funding cuts that have made it harder for Canadian artists to share Canadian stories, here in Canada and around the world.

We will invest in our cultural and creative industries to help support and grow these nation-building efforts.

Targeted investments will include:

  • doubling investment in the Canada Council for the Arts to $360 million each year;
  • increasing funding for Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board, with a new investment totalling $25 million each year; and
  • restoring the Promart and Trade Routes international cultural promotion programs cut by Stephen Harper, and increasing funding in these programs to $25 milllion each year.

As part of our commitment to create 40,000 youth jobs each year, we will increase funding for the Young Canada Works program to help prepare the next generation of Canadians working in the heritage sector.

We will also make significant new investments in cultural infrastructure as part of our investment in social infrastructure.

We will make it easier and more financially rewarding for Canadian businesses to invest in creating clean jobs.

Clean technology can deliver real benefits for our environment and our economy, including more good, middle class jobs.

We will invest $100 million more each year in clean technology producers, so that they can tackle Canada’s most pressing environmental challenges, and create more opportunities for Canadian workers.

We will deliver more support to emerging clean tech manufacturing companies, making it easier for them to conduct research and bring new products to market.

CleanTechJobs

We will also invest $200 million more each year to support innovation and the use of clean technologies in our natural resource sectors, including the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors.

To support both large- and community-scale renewable energy projects, the new Canada Infrastructure Bank will issue Green Bonds to fund projects like electric vehicle charging stations and networks, transmission lines for renewable energy, building retrofits, and clean power storage.

We will enhance existing tax measures to generate more clean technology investments, and work with the provinces and territories to make Canada the world’s most competitive tax jurisdiction for investments in the research, development, and manufacturing of clean technology.

We will deliver a better quality of life for all Canadians by working with the provinces to set stronger air quality standards, monitor emissions, and provide incentives for investments that lead to cleaner air and healthier communities.

As the country’s single largest employer, customer, and landlord, we will lead by example and increase government use of clean technologies. This will boost domestic demand for clean technology, support entrepreneurs, and fuel new jobs.

We will improve energy efficiency standards for consumer and commercial products, and use new financing instruments to encourage investments in energy-saving retrofits to Canada’s industrial, commercial, and residential buildings.

We will provide more support for our clean technology companies to successfully export their products by training trade officials and leading trade missions focused on clean technology. These companies will also be provided with useful training, data, and technical assistance on export opportunities in a more coordinated way.

We will look for ways for government to be an “early adopter” of emerging green technologies, and will support clean transportation by adding electric vehicle charging stations at federal parking lots, and rapidly expanding the federal fleet of electric vehicles.

To foster the creativity that leads to cutting-edge research, we will establish Canada Research Chairs in sustainable technology.

We will also work closely with the provinces and territories to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy to protect Canada’s energy security; encourage energy conservation; and bring cleaner, renewable energy onto the electricity grid.

Discussion:

There is no clear trend in unemployment rates in Liberal governments as compared to Conservative governments. The following chart illustrate this aspect. The vertical axis is the unemployment rate, the horizontal axis is the year. The red color highlight a Liberal government and the blue color highlights the Conservative government.

Unemployment

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