In keeping with that principle, the NDP's platform doesn't contain many surprises for anybody who's kept a reasonably close eye on the party's activity over the past few years. But there are certainly a few points worth highlighting - particularly to the extent they contrast against the plans of the Cons and Libs.
Some of the more noteworthy promises which haven't received much notice so far include the following:
- in addition to delivering the funding and pharmacare program promised throughout the campaign, resuming federal enforcement of the Canada Health Act (p. 1, 33);
- expanding parental leave, including by providing specific leave for a second parent (p. 7);
- not only reforming the temporary foreign worker program, but also ensuring that temporary foreign workers have a path to citizenship (p. 19);
- modifying Employment Insurance eligibility rules to take into account the changing nature of work (p. 20);
- cracking down on both unpaid internships and two-tier employment contracts (p. 26); and
- deferring government appointment powers to board jointly selected by the government and Official Opposition (p. 56).
Anybody who watched the debates may be familiar with the distinction in the parties' positions on climate change - with the NDP wanting to commit to a target which can then be the subject of future planning, while the Libs talk about wanting to take action while declining to be pinned down as to what can or should be done. But the same distinction arises in other areas as well, particularly the ones which are likely to be of the most concern to progressive voters.
Both the NDP and the Libs promise some specific actions to combat poverty among children and seniors. But the Libs stop there, while the NDP pairs its immediate steps with an ultimate poverty target of zero and a commitment to establish a council and interim targets along the way (p. 28).
And both the NDP and the Libs promise to work on child care plans. But the NDP has targets as to how many spaces should be created and at what cost (p. 6-7), while the Libs leave for later any decision as to what a "framework" might look like.
To some extent, that distinction fits with one of the Libs' campaign messages: the NDP is indeed willing to ensure that federal money and authority is used to achieve specific outcomes. But it's left to progressive voters to decide whether they prefer a government which knows what it wants to accomplish and orients discussion with the provinces and other parties toward that end - or whether they're prepared to settle for one which doesn't see the need to decide.
[Edit: fixed wording.]