Harper likely to proceed with full platform

STEVEN CHASE
October 15, 2008

CALGARY — On the surface, another minority government mandate would appear to frustrate Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s plans to enact all of his $8.67-billion in campaign platform promises. But with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s future in question after his party’s loss, Mr. Harper could have free rein if the Liberals abstain on Commons votes. The Tory Leader has already said he would interpret a win as a mandate to proceed with his full platform.

The Tories’ tough-on-crime plans will be the most controversial in the Commons.

Measures likely to proceed more easily Allocating another $400-million for key manufacturing sectors in Ontario and Quebec: $200-million each for the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

Slashing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment by $345-million a year.

Giving self-employed Canadians access to employment insurance parental-leave benefits.

Extending country-of-origin labeling to all consumer products instead of just food.

Sweetening the $100-a-month universal childcare benefit to index it to inflation and make it tax free for single parents who are the sole supporters of their children.

Allocating $500-million over four years for farms and farm towns.

Reaffirming the ban on bulk exports of water.

A question mark hangs over the Tory crime agenda Eliminating long guns from the firearms registry.

Eliminating the Criminal Code’s “faint hope” clause, which allows criminals to seek early release.

Allowing Canadian victims to sue the sponsors of terrorism, including states designated as sponsors of terrorism.

Amending the Criminal Code to make pregnancy “an aggravating factor in sentencing if a woman is assaulted or killed,” but the Tories would not initiate or support legislation to regulate abortion.

Making registration and DNA sampling mandatory for sex offenders and dangerous offenders.

The Senate

Mr. Harper wants to limit terms to eight years and establish a new selection process, but Liberal senators could frustrate him until 2010 when retirements shrink their ranks.

Limiting Ottawa’s scope

The Tories will introduce measures to constrain Ottawa’s ability to intrude on provincial powers.

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