Photo By: Noah Nickel
On Sunday, Aug. 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a snap election to be held on Monday, Sept. 20, two years earlier than planned, in hopes to secure a majority government.
The Liberals will need 170 seats in the House of Commons to secure a majority. In the 2019 Federal Election, they won 157 seats and have governed with a minority government since. Trudeau has cited the fight against COVID-19 as the reason behind the sudden call for an election.
The Liberals have been campaigning on increasing the number of vaccinated Canadians and boosting the economy as well as building the middle class and fighting climate change. Most recently, the Liberals announced a $62 billion investment plan entitled Forward for Everyone that will be implemented over the course of five years. The plan emphasises balancing the budget by taxing insurers and banks, likely as a response to critics wondering how Canada will address the debt that was accumulated as a result of pandemic-related stimulus spending.
Conservative Leader Erin O’ Toole has recently put a fine point on his plans for implementing infrastructure projects ranging from transit to 5G networks, including a GTA transit plan. Further, the Conservatives have been running on promises of creating jobs and providing Canada with ubiquitous high-speed Internet by 2025. The Conservatives also plan to scrap the Canada Infrastructure Bank in an effort to speed up infrastructure initiatives by, “removing onerous requirements to receive federal infrastructure funding.”
In the first leg of the 36-day campaign, the Liberals maintained a marginal lead over the Conservatives, however since late August the Conservatives have taken the lead nationally according to recent polling data.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) has grounded their campaign on commitments for social equality by lowering expenses across multiple domains including education, housing and cell phone plans. Moreover, the party has placed an emphasis on reducing the need for cars by implementing robust public transit options including the use of electric buses and expanded railways as part of the party’s commitment to fight climate change.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has been leading a campaign that has caught the eye of many young people as he’s gained a large following across social media platforms. This has drawn the ire of critics and supporters alike. Deterers claim Singh is pandering to younger people by hopping on trends while supporters of the Toronto native claim he’s relatable and understands the issues that they face. Regardless, the NDP remains consistently in third-place according to up-to-date polling data.
Led by Annamie Paul, the Green Party remains devoted to action on climate change, affordable housing, saving Canada’s Old Growth Forests in BC, and helping COVID-19 long term care (LTC) patients. On Aug. 26 Paul called for a 24-hour suspension of party leaders’ campaigns to focus on a rescue plan for Afghan refugees amidst the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan.
Straddling an uncertain fourth place with the Green Party is the People’s Party of Canada who are running on the drawing back of federal legislative power, increasing the oil and gas industries and lowering personal and corporate taxes while cutting COVID-19 programs. The PPC’s response to climate change is minimal as they list on their website that, “there is however no scientific consensus on the theory that CO2 produced by human activity is causing dangerous global warming today or will in the future.” Critics have been quick to denounce this claim, citing the hot spells this past July in BC and Alberta as examples of climate change’s threat to the environment.
Also, sitting in the pocket of an undecided fourth-place are the Bloc Québécois who are pushing for a distinct Quebec identity, stressing environmental measures which include creating a “green equalization” program for provinces, as well as replacing the Indian Act. They are seeing their position within Quebec fall slightly to the Liberals as per recent polling.
For those looking to vote in-person, polling stations will be open across the country on Monday, Sept. 20 for 12 hours. For those wishing to avoid crowded areas, other options are available such as mail-in or advanced in-person voting dates. More information on those will be available on your voter information card.