The Liberals have rolled out their first major policy plank of the campaign – the Learning Passport, which will mean $1,000 a year to every student attending post-secondary education.
The biggest knock on Ignatieff has always been that voters don’t know what he stands for. With that in mind, the Liberal platform will be especially important this campaign, as it will be the document that defines Ignatieff. So how does this policy look?
When looking at a campaign policy, there are seven key questions that need to be asked:
1. Is it easy to understand? Can this policy be explained in a 10 second pitch or on a 140 character tweet? In this case, you can explain it in 11 words: “one thousand dollars a year to students, to encourage University education”.
2. Will it be seen as meaningful by voters? For anyone in University, or with children approaching that age, this will certainly help.
3. Does it address a need or fix a problem? Yup – university tuition rates have skyrocketed in recent years.
4. Does it say something about the party’s values? In this case, it shows the Liberals and Ignatieff value education.
5. Does it differ you from your competition? That remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely the Tories will make a similar pledge.
6. Does it speak to your base and your target vote? Liberal voters tend to be university educated, so this is clearly something they value.
7. And, least importantly, is it good policy? There are probably better ways to go about this but, at the absolute worst, it incentivizes post secondary education.
On all counts, this policy performs quite well. To me, it looks like a winner.
Hopefully we see more of this over the course of the campaign.