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WELL, WE MADE IT
Election day is tomorrow which means this 40-day national
catfight campaign is almost over.
Can we get an amen?
Before it’s all said and done, we’re here to recap the highs and lows of this election so you can cast your ballot with confidence.
Party on: Your 2019 election primer is here. (We got you, Carly P.)
STATE OF PLAY
The polls in this race have shown the Liberals and Conservatives locked in a fierce battle for frontrunner status.
The Grits owe a lot of their momentum to steadfast support in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada while the Tories remain ahead in Western Canada — particularly in Alberta where energy (read: pipelines) and the economy top the agenda. Firmly entrenched in third place is the New Democratic Party (NDP) who has mounted a comeback in recent days (thanks in large part to its uber-popular leader) and has sent the chattering class into a tizzy over the possibility of a Liberal-NDP coalition.
Both the Green Party of Canada and separatist Bloc Québécois have some momentum going into the election with polls showing the latter party likely to grow its parliamentary ranks. The same can’t be said, however, for the populist People’s Party of Canada which isn’t predicted to make much (if any) of a dent in the final tally.
Compared to the
dumpster fire presidential race shaping up down south, you’d be forgiven for thinking Canadian politics are comparatively dull.
But our federal election hasn’t been completely without drama and scandal.
Of course, we’re talking about Brownface-gate — a.k.a. the Brownface firestorm that almost derailed Justin Trudeau’s entire campaign.
The controversy erupted on Sept. 18 when Time magazine published a 2001 photo of Trudeau dressed up in brownface and a turban for a private school gala. The photos are, in short, mortifying and Trudeau didn’t waste any time responding to the racist incident (and neither did his opponents).
Still, despite this “turning point” moment, the scandal failed to make much of a dent in Trudeau’s popularity.
TOP OF THE ORDER
Even with hundreds of candidates running across the country, there are only a handful that people are paying close attention to. Of course, we’re talking about the leaders of Canada’s main political parties who are a mix of shakeup and status quo compared to the last time we went to the polls.
• Justin Trudeau
It’s safe to say the storm clouds have rolled in for Justin Trudeau. The Liberal leader, once famous for his “sunny ways” approach to politics is facing the real possibility of presiding over a minority government or even becoming a one-term PM. From fallout over the SNC-Lavalin scandal to pipeline problems and some embarrassing global gaffes, it’s not clear if even Barack Obama himself can help Trudeau at this point.
• Andrew Scheer
Saskatchewan MP and former House Speaker Andrew Scheer became Conservative leader in 2017 much to the surprise of, well, everyone. And though he’s an experienced legislator, this is the first time Scheer has ever spearheaded a federal campaign. While Scheer has worked hard to increase his name recognition among Canadian voters over the last month, there’s one name he’s been desperate to avoid.
• Jagmeet Singh
On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Jagmeet Singh also found himself in unfamiliar territory as the head of a national party going into an election. The former deputy leader of the Ontario NDP became leader of the federal NDP in 2017 and later secured a spot in the House of Commons by winning a byelection in B.C. Singh lacked momentum early in the campaign, but thanks to strong debate performances and popular stances on some key issues, his personal popularity has soared.
• Elizabeth May
One of Canada’s most outspoken environmentalists is again leading her party through a national election. Elizabeth May has been leader of the Green Party for 13 years and is a vocal advocate for overhauling Canada’s environmental standards. Though she acknowledges she won’t be the one forming government, she believes climate change will be a driving force in getting voters out to the polls.
ALL IN THE DETAILS
We’re not here to tell you who to vote for, but we are here to make sure you’re informed. And judging by the record number of people who turned out to the advanced polls, Canadians everywhere want to be in the know.
Here’s a snapshot of key policy planks from Canada’s four main, national parties so you can decide which candidate most deserves your vote tomorrow.
• Environment and Climate Change
Liberal: Become carbon neutral by 2050; Ban “harmful” single-use plastics as soon as 2021; plant two-billion trees; and ensure all federal buildings run on clean electricity by 2022.
Conservative: Set emissions standards for top polluters; Focus on green technology over carbon taxes; Establish tax credit for energy-saving renovations.
NDP: Reduce GHG emissions to 450 megatonnes by 2030; Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, ban single-use plastics by 2022; Create “climate bank” to spur investment in clean technologies.
Green: Become carbon neutral by 2050; Cut emissions to 60% below 2005 levels by 2030; Ban production, distribution and sale of “unnecessary” single-use plastics by 2022; Halt new fossil fuel projects; Ban fracking and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies within a year.
• Economy and Affordability
Liberal: Implement federal minimum wage of $15/hr; Increase Canada Child Benefit by 15% for kids under one; Make parental leave tax-exempt at source.
Conservative: Create a National Energy Corridor to transport resources from coast to coast; minimize environmental impacts and create jobs.
NDP: Kill the Trans Mountain pipeline project; Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour; Set a price cap on mobile and internet services; Invest $1 billion in affordable childcare in 2020; Create 500,000 units of affordable housing; introduce universal pharmacare program.
Green: Kill the Trans Mountain pipeline project; Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour; Establish a guaranteed livable income program; Institute universal pharmacare and dental coverage for low-income Canadians.
• Taxes and Spending
Liberal: Raise the basic personal income amount an individual can earn before paying any tax to $15,000; Gradually increase new spending from $9.3 billion in 2020–21 to $17 billion by 2024; Reduce deficit to $21 billion by 2023–2024 from $27 billion in 2021.
Conservative: Introduce a “universal tax cut” to slash the tax rate on income under $47,630, from 15% to 13.75%; Find $1.5 billion in annual savings through an overhaul of business subsidies and economic development programs; Balance the budget within five years.
NDP: Implement a 1% tax on wealth exceeding $20 million and increase top marginal tax rate to 35% for highest income Canadians; Lower the country’s debt-to-GDP ratioover 10 years.
Green: Raise the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 15 percent; Lower the debt-to-GDP ratio to 30% by 2024. Implement a surcharge on bank profits and exert higher taxes on large transnational corporations; Balance the budget within five years.
• Immigration and Foreign Policy
Liberal: Proceed with Municipal Nominee Program to allow local communities, chambers of commerce and labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants; Make it free for permanent residents to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Conservative: Slash foreign funding by 25% ($1.5 billion) and focus aid on the world’s poorest nations; Clamp down on illegal border crossings, prioritize economic immigration and promote private refugee sponsorship.
NDP: Eliminate the cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents; Improve foreign credentials recognition.
Green: Ban Saudi oil imports and halt armoured vehicle contracts with Saudi Arabia; Review NATO commitments and ban autonomous weapons; Eliminate Temporary Foreign Workers Program and boost immigration to resolve labour shortages.
• Crime and Gun Control
Liberal: Spend $250 million over five years towards helping cities combat gang violence and gun crime; ban military-style assault rifles and establish a buy-back program for all legally purchased assault weapons.
Conservative: Crack down on parolees who maintain gang ties and anyone found knowingly in possession of a smuggled firearm; Establish new mandatory minimum sentences for ordering gang crimes.
NDP: Direct $100 million to keeping youth out of gangs; Ban carding by federal law enforcement and organize a national working group on tackling cyber hate.
Green: Abolish mandatory minimum sentences; Launch an anonymous buyback program for handguns and assault weapons.
• Indigenous Issues
Liberal: Address all major infrastructure needs in Indigenous communities by 2030 and eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021; Confront public safety issues in First Nations communities and fully implement the Indigenous Languages Act.
Conservative: Consult with Indigenous communities on energy projects, but will not commit to backing UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
NDP: Spend $1.8 billion on ensuring clean drinking water across all Indigenous communities; Work with Indigenous peoples to co-develop a National Action Plan for Reconciliation and establish a National Council for Reconciliation to provide oversight and accountability; Establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Green: Dismantle the Indian Act in partnership and with First Nations taking a lead role in the process; Create a Council of Canadian governments that includes Indigenous nations and peoples as equal partners; Improve access to education and work to end drinking water and boil water advisories in First Nations communities.
So there you have it. You are now fully informed on all things federal election which means you have no (and we mean, NO) excuse to sit on the sidelines.
In case that’s not clear: GO. AND. VOTE!