What you need to know for the 2019 Canadian Election

Canadians will hit the polls on October 21, 2019, ready to cast their ballot for their choice candidate. This decision is not an easy one this year, as many people feel uncertain as to which federal leader holds their best interest, and ultimately deserves their vote.

According to Abacus Data, Millennials are now the largest demographic of eligible voters for this year’s federal election. This bloc of voters, if united on a candidate, hold an incredible amount of power in swinging this year’s election. But first, we must get out and vote.

Unsure of where to start? First, check Elections Canada to make sure that you are registered to vote. Elections Canada states that you must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years old on election day, and prove your identity and address. You must vote at your assigned polling station as shown on your voter information card.

But before the big day, make sure you do your research on what candidate best aligns with your values. Keep reading to get more information on the party’s platforms, and their take on major issues driving this election.

Liberal Party

Party Leader: Justin Trudeau

Top priorities as described by platform:

1. More money for middle class families: Liberals propose a tax cut, where a middle-class family gets $600 and the wealthiest one per cent get zero. The middle class will pay no federal taxes on the first $15,000 they earn, by raising the Basic Personal Amount (BPA) by almost $2,000 for people earning under $147,000 a year.

2. Real action to address climate crisis: A re-elected Liberal government promises to take action to fight climate change, by committing Canada to net zero by 2050, planting two billion trees, and making Canada become the best place in the world to build a clean tech company.

3. Stronger Gun Control: A re-elected Liberal government promises to strengthen gun control and ban assault weapons in Canada.

Liberal stance on the big issues:

Education: Proposal to make student loans interest-free two years after graduation and you won’t have to pay until you earn over $35,000 annually. They also propose to allow parents pause loan payments until their youngest child turns five years-old and to boost the Maximum Canada Student Grants for full-time students from $3,000 to $4,200.

Health Care: Proposal to develop and execute a national pharmacare program but offer little details on the full plan. The party proposes to double the child disability benefit and increase funding for mental health, addictions and home care programs.

Environment: Proposal to protect a quarter of Canada’s natural land and ocean habitats by 2025. The party wants to create a Canada Water Agency, a national group with a focus on water infrastructure and security and to ban single-use plastics by 2021.

Employment: Proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. The party wants to extend sick benefits from 15 to 26 weeks and ensure reliable benefits for seasonal workers.

Reconciliation: Proposal to implement the Indigenous Languages Act and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The party proposes to give at least five per cent of federal contracts to Indigenous-owned businesses.

Conservative Party (PC)

Party Leader: Andrew Scheer

Top priorities as described by platform:

1. More money for you, for your kids, and for your retirement: this will be done by scrapping the carbon tax, providing a Universal Tax Cut, taking the GST off home heating, making maternity benefits tax-free, and more.

2. More good jobs: reverse tax hikes on small business, creating a National Energy Corridor to generate opportunities, boosting innovation and commercialization, supporting economic immigration, and more.

3. More innovation to fight climate change: take the fight against climate change global and incentivizing industry to develop emissions-reducing technology that can be shared with the world’s highest-emitting countries.

4. More help at home: Support veterans, improving our correctional system, securing our neighbourhoods, strengthening border protection, reducing health care wait times, and more.

5. More strength abroad: By confronting the global complexities of climate change, human migration, cybersecurity, and national defence, renewing relationships with important allies, and more.

Conservative stance on the big issues:

Education: Proposal to boost RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) contributions from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar invested. This is for every dollar invested up to $2,500 per year. The party proposes a post school, work program that creates jobs for international students to help them stay in Canada after completing their studies.

Health Care: Proposal to find coverage for people not already covered provincially, or at work. The party has promised $1.5 billion worth of MRI and CT machines, to expand eligibility for the disability tax credit and to develop a national autism strategy.

Environment: Proposal to send plastic waste abroad for recycling. The party proposes to protect forests by increasing funding and to improve technology to predict and monitor wildfires.

Employment: Proposal to build pipelines which will bring jobs (including the Trans Mountain pipeline) and to end foreign oil imports. The party proposes to rework the current temporary foreign workers program to make it easier for immigrants to get jobs.

Reconciliation: Proposal for a national action plan on the National inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). The party proposes to review the Indian Act.

New Democratic Party (NDP)

Party Leader: Jagmeet Singh

Top priorities as described by platform:

1. Making life more affordable for everyday people: People are getting squeezed as everything from housing to medication gets more expensive. We’ll put a stop to skyrocketing prices and make sure young people can build a good life.

2. Building an economy that works better for more people: People are finding it harder to keep up as wages flatline while the wealthiest people keep getting richer. New Democrats will build an economy where it’s easier to get a good job and earn a fair wage.

3. Protecting our air, land, and water, securing our future: Canada is facing a climate emergency and we need a government with the courage to make the right choices for our environment and for people.

4. Taking better care of each other: We’re committed to a Canada where we take better care of each other – and reinvest in the public services we all count on – like a new deal for health care that includes pharmacare for everyone.

5. Reconciliation at the heart of what we do: We’re committed to the important work of reconciliation in true and equal partnership with Indigenous communities. We’ll ensure Indigenous communities have safe housing and clean water, high quality education, and access to health care.

6. A new deal to build stronger, more vibrant communities: We can build safe and welcoming communities, invest in public infrastructure, support Canadian art and culture, and make sure people have access to the services they count on no matter where they live.

7. The courage to do what’s right: New Democrats are committed to a future where racism, discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia have no place, where we fight for reproductive justice and an end to gender-based violence, and where government treats people with the respect and dignity we all deserve.

NDP’s stance on the big issues:

Education: Proposal to work towards free university and college tuition and will first start by reducing tuitions. The party proposes an end to federal interest rates on student loans and to expand the education benefit to implement a national school nutrition program.

Health Care: Proposal for a “Pharmacare for all” plan to expand current health care model to include mental health, dental and eye and hearing coverage. The party pledges to create a national autism strategy.

Environment: Proposal to protect 30 per cent of the country’s natural land, freshwater and oceans by 2030. The party promises to ban single-use plastics by 2022.

Employment: Proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The party wants to launch a national basic income pilot project and ban unpaid internships if they don’t count for school credit.

Reconciliation: Proposal to develop an action plan for reconciliation, based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The party wants to create a national council for Reconciliation.

Green Party

Leader: Elizabeth May

Top priorities as described by platform:

1. Reconciliation with Indigenous people: addresses land rights, Indigenous sovereignty and ending the genocide of Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit people.

2. Addressing the climate emergency: described through science-based climate action and Indigenous partnerships.

3. Transitioning through a green economy: addressed through a just transition, renewable energy and fair taxation.

4. Invoking Ecological Wisdom: this addresses oceans, plastic waste and species protection.

5. Renewing the social contract: this is addressed through health care, affordability, education, seniors and childcare.

6. Advancing the just society: This is addresses LGBTQI2+ rights, gender equality, two spirit and trans healthcare.

7. Good governance: This addresses the democratic reform and government accountability.

8. International Relations and Defence: This addresses foreign aid, international development and the climate threat.

Green stance on the big issues:

Education: Proposal to eliminate university and college tuition and forgive any existing federal student debt. The party proposes to make sure that all Indigenous students have access to post-secondary education while expanding the curriculum on Indigenous education overall.

Health Care: Proposal to boost funding to train doctors and nurses and expand health care coverage to include universal Pharmacare plus dental care for low-income Canadians. The party proposes that it will decriminalize all drug possession, in an effort to address the opioid crisis.

Environment: Proposal to protect 30 per cent of Canada’s natural land, freshwater and oceans by 2030. The party wants to ban all neonicotinoid pesticides and some single-use plastics by 2022 and plans to provide Canadians with safe drinking water across the country.

Employment: Proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and ban unpaid internships that aren’t for school credit. The party wants to enforce a robot tax which enforces companies to pay a tax when they replace a human employee with a machine.

Reconciliation: Proposal to dismantle the Indian Act and provide more money to Indigenous education. The party would implement all recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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