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YOU ASK, WE ANSWER: VOTING TIME
“I am curious about the Canadian political parties. I have not voted before, and I want to make sure I vote for a group I agree with, and have no idea what the parties are about. Help 😬😂”
– Neko G., Winnipeg, MB.
It’s been nearly four years since Justin Trudeau and his “sunny ways” toppled the Tories and swept into power. But, with gaffes and scandals overshadowing many of their achievements, it’s safe to say storm clouds could be rolling in for the Grits.
Don’t be caught off guard by the 2019 federal election. Get to know the leaders, the parties and their platforms so you can cast your ballot with confidence this fall.
Rock the vote, Bullet readers. It’s time to talk politics.
FOLLOW THE LEADER(S)
Where better to start with this election primer than at the top? Literally.
The leaders of Canada’s main political parties are a mix of shakeup and status quo compared to the last time we went to the polls, which is making this pre-writ period even more interesting.
• Justin Trudeau
The embattled prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party has been riding a wave of negative press in recent months, largely because of the SNC-Lavalin scandal (and resulting fallout) that has dogged him for much of the year. With his approval rating hovering at about 33%, Trudeau has work to do to avoid becoming a one-term PM.
• Andrew Scheer
Saskatchewan MP and former House Speaker, Andrew Scheer, became the Conservative leader a little more than two years ago in a surprising victory over front-runner Maxime Bernier (more on him later). And though he’s an experienced legislator, Scheer is a novice when it comes to spearheading a federal campaign.
• Jagmeet Singh
On the opposite end of the political spectrum, Jagmeet Singh also finds himself in unfamiliar territory as the face of a national party going into an election. The former deputy leader of the Ontario NDP became leader of the federal party in 2017 and later secured a spot in the House of Commons by winning a byelection in B.C.
• Elizabeth May
One of Canada’s most outspoken environmentalists will once again lead her party into the fall election. Elizabeth May has been leader of the Green Party for nearly 13 years and is currently one of two Green MPs in the House of Commons.The above leaders aren’t the only ones to be aware of this election cycle. Here are two more whose parties could make waves come October.
• Yves-François Blanchet
He may be head of the Bloc Quebecois but Yves-François Blanchet didn’t have a whole lot of competition getting there. In January 2019, Blanchet was named leader of the separatist party after no other candidates entered the race. He is now charged with defending the Bloc’s 10 seats in the House of Commons.
• Maxime Bernier
Former Tory MP Maxime Bernier founded the right-wing People’s Party of Canada after losing to Andrew Scheer in the 2017 Conservative leadership race. Bernier says he plans to run a full slate of candidates (meaning all 338 ridings across Canada) in the October election.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, we’re firm believers that knowledge is power. That’s why we’ve summarized the promises (to the extent they are public) made by Canada’s four main parties so you can decide which candidate most deserves your vote come election day.
• Liberal Party
It’s clear the Liberals are laser focused on the environment going into October despite not yet releasing a full election platform. For example: in addition to the party’s proposed (and apparently very popular) single-use plastics ban, the Grits are well into the first year of their carbon tax pledge and intend to funnel more cash towards public transit, renewable electricity and eco-friendly infrastructure moving forward.
Justin Trudeau is also trying to appease fiscal-minded voters by championing the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion which his cabinet approved for a second time last month.
So, will Liberal promises be enough to overshadow the government’s misfires over the last few years? Only time (and a final vote tally) will tell.
• Conservative Party
Unwilling to be upstaged on the environment, the opposition Conservatives have put forward their own plan they say won’t come at the expense of taxpayers, including setting emissions standards for top emitters and focusing on green technology over carbon taxes (which they intend to cancel as part of their economic plan). They’ve also pitched the idea of a trans-Canada corridor to move oil, electricity and telecommunications across the country.
In addition, the Tories have outlined their strategy to “restore integrity” to Canada’s immigration system with a multi-point plan that includes, but isn’t limited to, clamping down on illegal border crossings, emphasizing economic immigration, reuniting family members, promoting private refugee sponsorship and restoring the Office of Religious Freedom.
The first party to unveil their full election platform, the NDP election roadmap hinges on raising taxes on the ”very richest multi-millionaires” to cover its numerous election promises, including a universal pharmacare program to level the playing field on accessing prescription drugs.
An NDP government would also ban single-use plastics and move toward the goal of electrifying public transit and other municipal fleets by 2030. Additionally, it would invest $1 billion in affordable childcare in 2020, create 500,000 units of affordable housing and commit to closing the education gap for Indigenous youth. Click here to read the full NDP platform.
• Green Party
In case its name doesn’t give it away, the Green Party of Canada is chiefly about one thing: the environment. In May, the party released “Mission: Possible” — a 20-point action plan to combat climate change that lists putting an end to fossil fuel imports, ensuring all new cars are electric by 2030 and banning fracking among its priorities.
In addition, a Green Party government would establish a guaranteed livable income, national housing strategy and increased access to social housing for Indigenous peoples living on and off reserve. It would also expand public healthcare to include pharmacare, include basic dental care in national coverage and develop more safe injection sites around the country.
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON
With election day exactly three months away (unless the courts decide otherwise), the time is
yesterday now to start studying up on the candidates and issues that matter to you.
And don’t worry, we’ll be here to help every step of the way.