66. Social Principles
The Conservative Party is committed to a strong and effective health care program, well-funded post-secondary education and an effective safety net so that Canadians will be able to face the challenges of life. We believe the government should work with the provinces and territories to strengthen the social fabric of Canada to improve the quality of life for all Canadians but especially children, seniors and the disabled.
67. Post-Secondary Education
The Conservative Party believes in greater accessibility to education by eliminating as many barriers to post-secondary education as possible. The transfer should be distributed to provinces and territories on the basis of the numbers of enrolled students. We believe strongly that provincial jurisdiction must be respected. However, the federal government must play a role in addressing tuition and standards.
We support removing post-secondary education funding from the Canada Social Transfer and creating an independent Canada Education Transfer. The Transfer should be funded at a base level and increased annually according to inflation and demographic growth. It should be negotiated with the provinces and territories to ensure the funding is targeted to post-secondary education.
We believe the government must ensure that scholarships and bursaries, which were made tax-free in the 2006 budget, are not taxed in the future.
The Conservative Party recognizes the investment of Canadian students and will make an additional eight months of interest relief available on Canada student loans to allow students to better adapt to evolving market conditions.
68. Student Loans
The Conservative Party believes that post-secondary education is to be available to Canadians through a Student Loan program that provides funds to those in need. This program is to be student focused and is to promote ease of access for all students.
The Conservative Party supports eliminating the inclusion of parental income and assets in the assessment of loan applications and supports a loan availability model based on personal resources.
We support providing greater flexibility to students paying back federal student loans by implementing Income Contingent Loans and providing a preferred interest rate on student loans post-graduation.
69. Employment Insurance
The Conservative Party supports the establishment of an independent employment insurance system, with a self-accounting fund administered by employees and employers, the surplus of which being used to increase workers’ benefits or reduce contributions.
70. Family and Marriage
The Conservative Party believes that the family unit is essential to the well-being of individuals and society, because that is where children learn values and develop a sense of responsibility.
Therefore government legislation and programs should support and respect the role of the Canadian family.
We believe in the right and duty of parents to raise their own children responsibly according to their own conscience and beliefs. We believe no person, government or agency has the right to interfere in the exercise of that duty except through due process of law.
We believe that Parliament, through a free vote, and not the courts should determine the definition of marriage.
We support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
We support the freedom of religious organizations to refuse to perform unions or allow the use of their facilities for events that are incompatible with their faith and beliefs.
71. Shared Parenting
The Conservative Party believes that in the event of a marital breakdown, the Divorce Act should grant joint custody and/or shared parenting, unless it is clearly demonstrated not to be in the best interests of the child. Both parents and all grandparents should be allowed to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children and grandchildren, unless it is demonstrated not to be in the best interest of the child.
72. Child Care
The Conservative Party recognizes that parents are in the best position to determine the care needs of their children, and that they should be able to do so in an environment that encourages as many options as possible, and in a manner that does not discriminate against parents who opt to raise their children in the family, social, linguistic, and religious environment that they judge to be best for their own families.
We believe that support should go to all parents and families raising children, especially to lower and middle income parents. We strongly support the Universal Child Care Benefit.
The Conservative Party supports the full participation of women in the social, economic, and cultural life of Canada.
The Canadian workforce has evolved to include more women than ever. We believe all Canadians have the right to freedom from discrimination in the workplace and equality of opportunity.
Individuals should be only judged on skills, qualifications and merits. Women must be entitled to equal pay for equal work.
We recognize the value of the caregiver. We will examine measures within the tax system to help offset economic costs without discrimination.
We condemn discrimination against girls through gender selection
The Conservative Party recognizes that those over the age of 65 are becoming a dominant segment of our population. We also recognize that in ten years, the baby boomers will have reached retirement age, representing a significant portion of the population. We are committed to ensuring that seniors continue to have quality of life, accessible health care and the ability to stay in their homes longer.
Four million Canadians are now over the age of 65, a number that is growing rapidly as Canadians are living longer. Many Canadians wish to continue working but are penalized by the loss of retirement benefits. We oppose the discriminatory practice of mandatory retirement and believe Canadians should be given the choice of retiring or continuing to work without the loss of federal retirement benefits.
We believe that those over the age of 65 should only pay Employment Insurance premiums if they qualify to receive Employment Insurance benefits.
Policies must be developed in order to enable a greater number of Canadian seniors in need of care to remain in their own homes, rather than in more expensive institutional accommodations where their independence suffers and costs are higher to the taxpayer. We support tax incentives for non-professional caregivers to look after the elderly or disabled in the home.
We favour tough measures to prevent elder abuse, and more severe punishment for those who commit this crime.
We believe the government should work with provincial counterparts to identify seniors entitled to either federal or provincial benefits. We believe the government should review the retroactivity policy of entitlement to federal benefits.
75. Retirement Savings
The Conservative Party values retirement security as a vital element of independence. We confirm our commitment to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security.
We favour economic and fiscal policies that will ensure government retirement programs are affordable and sustainable over the long run, protecting the sanctity of the CPP investment fund so that it will not be available to be raided as a vehicle to balance the budget or for any other political purpose.
We emphasize the importance of ensuring the CPP Investment Fund is mandated to seek maximum security and to maximize the rate of return being earned on behalf of Canada’s pensioners. No other policy objective should be permitted to interfere with the objectives of security and maximum rate of return.
We believe the Tax Free Savings Account must be preserved and enhanced.
We believe that the significant increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement exemption must be maintained.
76. Housing and Homelessness
The Conservative Party believes that all Canadians should have a reasonable opportunity to own their own home and to have access to safe and affordable housing.
We support a broad-based tax relief, income support programs and tax incentives to make home ownership and rental accommodation more attainable and accessible.
We believe that all governments should address homelessness by assisting in the provision of shelters and by recognizing, addressing and seeking solutions to contributing factors of homelessness.
We believe the government should partner and link with the respective jurisdictions of provincial, territorial and municipal governments, business initiatives and the work of social agencies and non-profit organizations, in dealing with housing, homelessness, social infrastructure and related support services, such as skills development, literacy, substance abuse
treatment, health and social development.
We believe the government should work with the provinces and municipalities to develop framework agreements that help low-income city dwellers access affordable housing, through the use of tax incentives for private sector builders. We recognize that most renters live in urban centres, and that the pressures of population growth as well as certain economic factors have made it increasingly difficult for many renters to find housing.
77. National Disability Act
The Conservative Party supports a National Disability Act designed to promote reasonable access to medical care, medical equipment, education, employment, transportation and housing for Canadians with disabilities.
78. Harassing Telephone Calls
That the harassing telephone calls Section 372 (3) of the Criminal Code be amended to include digital communications (e.g. text messages).
79. Faith Based Organizations
The Conservative Party supports the right of faith based organizations to refuse the use of their facilities to individuals or groups holding views which are contrary to the beliefs or standards of the faith based organization without fear of sanctions or harassment and that discrimination based on the beliefs of a faith based organization be excluded from the definition of disallowed discrimination under Human Rights.