by Charlene Aviles, Staff Writer
On August 15, 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the next Canadian federal election will be on September 20, 2021. We break down each major parties platform to help you make an informed decision.
To support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau promises to implement proof-of-vaccine credentials, mandatory vaccination for travellers, and booster vaccination shots. By offering provinces and territories a $1 billion COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Fund, the Liberals aim to support the launch of vaccine credentials throughout Canada for non-essential businesses and public places.
To address accessibility and affordability for Canadian mental health services, the Liberals hope to establish a three-digit suicide prevention hotline and provide specialized services for Indigenous peoples to address these concerns. Similarly, they plan to improve the health-care system by hiring more staff, reducing surgery waitlists, and increasing online and rural health services.
In their election campaign, the Liberals also feature several projects to promote climate action, such as funding research on Canada’s freshwater and investing $1 billion to conserve lakes. Through new legislation, Trudeau pledges to reduce plastic waste by mandating manufacturers responsibly dispose of plastic materials and require all plastic packaging to be 50% recycled plastic by 2030.
They also outline various initiatives to provide Canadians with affordable housing, such as their rent-to-own program and new First Home Savings Account, which “will allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home.” Through the rent-to-own program, the Liberals intend to boost tenants’ chances of buying a home: “The landlord must commit to charging a renter a lower-than-market rate [and] commit to ownership in a five-year term or less; and proper safeguards will be in place to protect the future homeowner.” Similarly, they will adjust the guidelines for the First Time Home Buyer Incentive to offer homeowners flexible payment plans.
Erin O’Toole, the Conservative Party leader, plans to improve the financial well-being of Canadians through an increase in the Canada Workers Benefit and Employment Insurance sickness benefits, creation of a “Super EI” as a temporary solution for potential recessions, and by requiring large companies to have employee board representatives. He also promises to “invest $250 million over two years to create the Canada Job Training Fund.” Through this fund, the Conservatives aim to make job training more accessible to unemployed and marginalized Canadians, which they say will help small businesses and sectors struggling financially.
The Conservatives will also support families by reducing the costs for banking, food, housing, internet access, and mobile phones. One affordable housing project their campaign features is their promise to “build 1 million homes in the next three years.”
In their plan for future pandemics, the Conservatives will invest in Canadian personal protective equipment, pharmaceutical companies, and vaccine research. In addition to preventive measures, they also will “develop evidence-based contact tracing systems.”
To target various aspects of Canadian health-care, the Conservatives propose initiatives such as “[a] three-digit suicide prevention hotline,” a tax credit for mental health services, and greater funding for palliative care.
Under Jagmeet Singh’s leadership, the NDP promises to increase affordability for cell phones, housing, internet access, and post-secondary education. To make post-secondary education affordable, they will forgive “up to $20,000 in student debt, end interest charges on student loans, and permanently [double] non-repayable Canada Student Grants.” Two NDP affordable housing initiatives are offering new homeowners flexible mortgage payment plans and a bigger tax refund through the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit.
Canadian health-care’s affordability and accessibility are two major concerns for the NDP. They say they will make health-care affordable through publicly funded dental care and pharmacare, among others. Similarly, they plan to reduce wait times, produce Canadian-made vaccines, and invest in health sciences research.
Regarding Indigenous communities, the NDP announced they would honour treaties and “fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.” One of NDP’s initiatives to meet this goal is the Indigenous National Housing Strategy, which will provide affordable and energy-efficient housing to Indigenous peoples.
Climate action is another important component of the NDP’s platform. They announced plans for several sustainable initiatives, such as enforcing a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, implementing green technology in public transportation, and investing in renewable energy sources.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul’s campaign is focused on sustainability. By investing in clean energy sources, ecotourism, and local farmers, the Greens intend to promote the economy without compromising the environment. Similarly, they will reduce fossil fuels for public transportation through investments in railroads, electric buses, and cycling.
Affordability is another key theme throughout the Greens’ platform. Under Paul’s leadership, the Greens plan to address poverty by creating social housing programs for the homeless and Indigenous people on and off reserves. They intend to reach their goal by creating a “culturally sensitive Housing First approach” for the homeless.
To support post-secondary students, the Greens will provide free education, offer grants to graduate and doctoral students, and “adopt student debt cancellation programs for student debt that exceeds $10,000.”
The Greens will prioritize the health of Canadians by addressing the opioid crisis and the high costs of dental care and medication. For example, the Greens aim to introduce pharmacare and publicly fund basic dental care, especially for children with financial needs. They pledge to promote harm reduction projects, such as increasing supervised injection sites and enforcing tighter regulations on prescribed opioid medications.
To revamp Canada’s current electoral system, the Greens propose implementing the proportional representation (PR) system. They predict electoral reform will increase voter turnout and increase citizen’s political literacy.
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet prioritizes Quebec’s interests by addressing “issues in areas such as Quebec sovereignty.” He promises more funding for Quebec’s child care. Blanchet also advocates for Quebec’s involvement in international treaties and the World Health Organization (WHO). Under Blanchet’s leadership, the Bloc will mandate the ability to speak French for Canadian citizenship in Quebec.
Their campaign features several climate action goals, including investments in Québec’s natural resources and exceed the Paris Agreement’s targets by redirecting “unspent money on the Trans Mountain pipeline to renewable projects, and compel provinces that have emissions higher than the national average to pay into a ‘green equalization’ fund to be distributed to provinces polluting less.”
The Bloc intends to make prescription drugs, housing, and health-care more affordable. To offset the costs of prescription drugs, the Bloc will call on Canadian pharmaceutical companies to reduce costs. According to CBC, “The Bloc has called on the federal government to increase its share of health-care funding to 35%t of its cost.”
They also hope to create an equitable hiring process for government employees. One way they plan to meet their goal is to implement resumes without names.
Visit CBC News to review updated information on the major parties’ platforms. To compare the similarities between your political beliefs and the parties’ platforms, complete CBC’s Vote Compass questions. Go to Elections Canada’s website for student resources on voting.