Would Bernie Sanders be so radical in Canada? Perusing his presidential platform

WASHINGTON -- For an American presidential contender, Bernie Sanders is considered a pretty radical left-winger: a proud socialist who boasts of corporate America hating him, warns of an oligarchy destroying democracy and promises tax hikes to be offset by more generous social programs.

See Full Article

But what if he were Canadian? Where would the senator sit on Canada's political spectrum -- far left, centre-left, centre, or centre-right?

Some of Sanders' policies:

HEALTH

Create single-payer health system.

In Canada: The status quo. Every major Canadian party professes support for universal, government-run medicare -- which Sanders sometimes points out.

TAXES

Income-tax hikes. To pay for his health plan, he proposes a 6.2-per-cent premium on employers, a 2.2-per-cent tax on income. People earning more than $250,000 would get progressively higher increases, topping out at a 13-per-cent hike for incomes above $10 million. Sanders insists employers and taxpayers would come out ahead -- by saving on insurance.

In Canada: This would feel familiar. The increases would bring U.S. taxes closer to the northern neighbour's -- perhaps higher in some cases, depending on the state and province, the tax bracket and how much of the employer premium gets passed on to workers.

It's difficult to draw a sweeping conclusion because every jurisdiction taxes differently, said UBC economist Kevin Milligan. That being said, "(Sanders' plan) would certainly close the (tax) gap -- and potentially quite a bit of the gap (with Canada)," Milligan said.

Higher estate taxes. In the U.S., inheritance below $5.4 million is federally exempt. Sanders wants the threshold lowered to $3.5 million.

In Canada: Inheritance from a parent is generally subject to capital gains, which redistributes wealth from one generation to the next.

POVERTY

Boost the minimum wage. It's currently $7.25 federally in the U.S. Sanders wants to make it $15.

In Canada: This would be dramatic too. Even in Canadian dollars, $15 would be almost one-third higher than the highest provincial minimum wage.

INFRASTRUCTURE

A major spending boost. Sanders wants $1 trillion for improved roads, bridges and transit over a five-year time frame.

In Canada: This would be a sizeable increase. The Liberals have promised to spend C$125 billion over 10 years. The previous Conservative government spent $33 billion starting in 2007, and had another program underway.

TRADE

Cancel trade deals, notably NAFTA. Sanders has advocated this position for decades.

In Canada: This would leave Sanders to the left of any major party, none of which has proposed NAFTA's cancellation. Polls have shown mixed feelings about past trade deals among Canadians, but they and their politicians are generally more supportive of them than their American neighbours.

EDUCATION

Free tuition at public colleges.

In Canada: A big change. Canadian postsecondary institutions charge tuition -- albeit generally much lower than in the U.S.

FAMILY POLICY

Introduce parental leave. The U.S. is the only industrialized country without paid leave for new parents. Sanders wants that changed. He proposes 12 weeks' paid leave.

In Canada: He'd be slashing a social program. Every Canadian province offers about three times what Sanders is proposing, with some offering up to 52 weeks.

Create a universal childcare and pre-kindergarten program.

In Canada: This would go farther than just about any Canadian province. Quebec pioneered the $5-a-day public day-care model in the 1990s. Federal parties have since promised to replicate it nationally, without success.

FINANCIAL REGULATION

Break up the big banks.

In Canada: Not much of an issue. Unlike their U.S. peers, Canada's big banks weathered the financial crisis without bailouts. Canada has different financial regulations, and also blocked bank mergers under the Chretien-Martin Liberals.

Cap credit-card interest rates at 15 per cent.

In Canada: There aren't any such caps on Canadian credit-card rates, although there are different caps on payday loans.

LABOUR

Bolster collective bargaining with an Employee Free Choice Act. A key feature would make it easier to form unions. In addition to the current method of voting to certify, Sanders proposes adding a so-called card-check option that would create unions when a sufficient number of workers sign cards.

In Canada: This would restore the previous status quo. Card checks were undone last year by a private member's bill supported by the then-Conservative government.

POLITICAL FINANCING

Limiting money in politics. Sanders wants more public financing, tighter limits on third-party spending, more disclosure requirements and a constitutional amendment giving politicians the right to regulate campaign spending -- overriding recent Supreme Court rulings.

In Canada: It's complicated. Different courts, different political culture. In some ways, Stephen Harper was more progressive than Sanders on the financing issue. He completely banned corporate and union donations and limited personal donations to $1,500 (2015 limit). On the other hand, Harper did away with public support for parties, which Sanders favours.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • North Korea replaces border guards following defection

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - North Korea appears to have replaced all of its guards at a jointly patrolled border area where a North Korean soldier defected last week under a hail of gunfire, South Korean media said Friday. Source
  • Trudeau to apologize to excluded residential school students

    Canada News CTV News
    GOOSE BAY, N.L. - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Goose Bay today to apologize for abuse and cultural losses at residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. Former students at five schools in the province were left out of a compensation package and national apology in 2008 by former prime minister Stephen Harper. Source
  • Flynn breaks with Trump team on Mueller probe

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - It's a move that could signal co-operation with special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. Lawyers for former national security adviser Michael Flynn have told U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team that they are no longer communicating with them about Mueller's investigation. Source
  • Eight claiming to be North Korean fishermen wash ashore in Japan

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO - Japanese authorities were investigating Friday eight men found on Japan's northern coast who say they are from North Korea and washed ashore after their boat broke down. Investigators believe the men are not defectors and wish to return home, according to Japanese media reports. Source
  • Oscar Pistorius's sentence more than doubled to 13 years, 5 months

    World News CBC News
    South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday increased Oscar Pistorius's murder sentence to 13 years and five months after the state argued that his original sentence of six years was "shockingly lenient." Pistorius was imprisoned in July last year after being found guilty on appeal of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013 in a case that attracted worldwide interest. Source
  • Zimbabweans preparing to greet country's new leader

    World News CTV News
    HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabweans converged on a stadium ahead of the presidential inauguration Friday of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who will become the country's second leader since independence from white minority rule in 1980. Mnangagwa, fired earlier this month as vice-president, is poised to lead after the resignation of 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, who succumbed to pressure to quit from the military, the ruling party and massive demonstrations. Source
  • Hamilton school bus driver charged in alleged abduction of 14-year-old girl

    Canada News CTV News
    Hamilton police say a 70-year-old school bus driver is facing abduction charges after several alleged incidents involving a 14-year-old girl. Police allege the developmentally delayed girl was abducted four times in late October while being driven to and from school in the city's east end. Source
  • China reports breaking up gang that moved $3 billion abroad

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - Chinese police say they have broken up a gang that smuggled 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) out of the country, evading financial controls imposed by Beijing to stem an outflow of capital from the economy. Source
  • Texas trooper killed during traffic stop; suspect arrested

    World News CTV News
    FAIRFIELD, Texas - A Texas state trooper was shot and killed during a traffic stop in East Texas on Thanksgiving. The Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement on its Twitter account Thursday night identifying the trooper as Damon Allen, 41. Source
  • Chinese authorities look into kindergarten abuse claims

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - Chinese authorities are investigating allegations that children attending a kindergarten in Beijing run by a U.S.-listed company have been abused and molested. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said Friday it would inspect kindergartens in the Chinese capital, a day after the reports drew widespread attention. Source