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Countdown to September 20 Election

Countdown to September 20 Election-canada-mileniostadium
Ballot box with national flag on background – Canada. Credit: DR.

With less than ten days left before you head to the polls and decide who will be the next Prime Minister of Canada, you may still be confused on why you are in the midst of a last-minute election.

Why was this election called, and why now?

The simple answer is that the existing Prime minister feels that the polls are in his favor and can form a majority government. When it is all said and done this election comes down to power… who has it and how he or she can control the agenda moving forward in this country. The decision to call a snap election and a quick vote is because the plan moving forward is so crucial to this country and who will lead it. Now that you know why an election was called let’s look at what the party leaders stand for so you can make up your mind on who will be Canada’s next Prime Minister.

The past year and a half have been unlike any other in recent history. The pandemic has upended life as we know it, and between climate change, protests against systemic racism, and a long-overdue reckoning with Canada’s colonial history and identity, we’re in a politically charged and important time. As expected, Justin Trudeau is banking on a boost in popularity after Canada’s successful vaccine rollout and keen for a Liberal majority in the House of Commons so he called a snap fall election on September 20. So, what are the main issues Canadians are concerned about?

According to early polling, Canadians are looking at healthcare, the cost of living, climate change, the economy, and reconciliation with Indigenous people as factors which will influence their vote. These issues are the main concerns but there are smaller issues including how we keep everyone healthy, and kick start the economy again. Sounds simple, but it really is not. So regardless of who gets elected, our future moving forward is still unpredictable and shaky at best.

The Liberal party’s election platform is an ambitious document that offers billions in new spending to address both long-standing policy problems and new ones that have emerged during the past 19 months of the pandemic. The Liberals are proposing $78 billion in new spending which differs substantially from the Conservative plan. It proposes to invest more in Liberal priorities – such as efforts to fight climate change, indigenous reconciliation and the arts and cultural sector – while promising tighter restrictions on firearms and new money for provinces that ban handguns.

The party is also promising to restore employment to pre-pandemic levels and go beyond its previous pledge to create one million jobs by extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program – which subsidizes businesses that hire new workers until March 2022 arguing that the Conservatives are opposed to supporting workers and businesses.

The Liberals are suggesting that the Conservative Party presents a risk to the country because it won’t deliver on mandatory vaccinations for public servants and the travelling public. Plans to implement a national childcare plan the Liberals maintain would dramatically reduce costs for parents. The Liberals claim that a Conservative-led government would undermine Canada’s universal public health care system by pushing two-tier care. These are the usual claims that all Liberal governments have made against any party running against them. However, the Liberals are once again claiming that they would strengthen federal powers under the Canada Health Act to deduct fund transfers from the provinces that allow extra billing.

Liberal Platform

Trudeau is trying to win his third election after coming to power in 2015. He was elected to a majority government that year but reduced to a minority government in 2019. The Liberals would like to see ten days of paid sick leave in regulated sectors and introduce a national $10 a day childcare system. Raising wages for personal support workers to at least $25.00 per hour. Hire up to 50,000 more PSWs to support seniors in long-term care.

Training 1,000 new wildfire firefighters is a staple in their platform, as well as maintaining COVID-19 relief programs and add more money for arts, film, and television sectors. Doubling up on home accessibility tax credit to help seniors stay home longer.

Conservative Platform

Erin O’Toole is the official opposition leader, meaning his party has the second-highest number of seats in the House of Commons, making the Conservatives the biggest challenger to the Liberal government.

The Conservatives want to recover 1 million jobs lost during the pandemic, with special attention paid to hard-hit sectors. In addition, they want to introduce a new anti-corruption law to increase accountability in government.  O’Toole would give more money to the provinces for mental health services and would create a nationwide three-digit suicide prevention line. Winding down the COVID-19 emergency spending over the next decade to balance the budget is a priority for him and his Conservative Party.

The Conservatives would support domestic vaccine production and PPE stockpiles.

NDP Platform

Jagmeet Singh has been the leader of the left-leaning federal NDP party since 2017. He is the first Indo-Canadian to lead a federal party. He is the only leader to use Tik Tok heavily to interact with his supporters.

The New Democratic Party would make essentials such as housing, post-secondary education, and cellphone plans more affordable for Canadians. Mr. Singh is very high on affordable childcare and higher taxes for businesses that experienced huge profits during the pandemic thus pivotal policies of the NDP platform.

The NDP would like to see ten days of paid sick leave and give the worker the benefit of the doubt as a tactic to get that labor support. As well, this party would support efforts leading to net-zero carbon emissions. They would establish universal dental care and cost mental healthcare for Canadians without work or school benefits as another plank in their platform to get your support.

Green Party Platform

Annamie Paul took over leadership of the federal Green Party from Elizabeth May, who lead the party for 13 years. The Green party usually gets about 5% of the popular vote which is spread across the country. The Green Party has not released its whole platform as of writing this article, but here are some of the important issues for the Green Party.

The issue of prioritizing reconciliation with Indigenous people is at the top of their list as one of the major priorities if elected. Getting Canada to net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible is the cornerstone of their platform and cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and transitioning away from fossil fuels to green energy. The Green Party is also calling for a universal pharmacare program for all Canadians.

Bloc Quebecois Platform

The Bloc Quebecois only run candidates in Quebec, and therefore Canadians outside of Quebec need not worry about their issues. Still, you may want to keep them on your radar as Quebec seats may decide whether the next party to get elected forms a majority government. The Liberal Party has been working this province and l will give you more inside information next week.

These are the issues around this Federal election that are trending now…. hoping that we have given you some additional insight and knowledge before you get to the polls on September 20, 2021. I will predict who wins the next Federal Election in my column next week…

Stay tuned!

Vince Nigro/MS

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