2019 Federal Election Campaign

Canadians are heading to the polls in tight election race

The Federal Election is officially on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Governor General Julie Payette at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada asking her to dissolve Parliament, launching Canada’s 43rd general election.

It will be a short campaign as voters will head to the poll to cast their vote on October 21st for what the Liberals are hoping is Trudeau’s second four-year mandate. Early in the polls it shows that the Liberals and Conservatives are in a dead heat among decided voters.

Trudeau’s Liberals will spend the next 40 days pitching Canadians on the party’s accomplishments — especially their efforts to lift children out of poverty and create jobs for the middle class and those trying to get there — while trying to contrast themselves on social issues with their main rivals, the Conservatives and New Democratic Party.

Liberals will also be working hard to distance themselves from the lingering SNC-Lavalin scandal, which re-emerged just hours before the election call, as reports come in that the RCMP’s probe into potential obstruction of justice in the SNC-Lavalin affair has been hindered because the federal government won’t lift cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, starting his first general election campaign as leader of the party has gone on the attack going after aspects of the government’s record — especially Trudeau’s ethics breach in the SNC-Lavalin affair — while promising to ease Canadians’ economic anxieties.

Last month, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to urge Wilson-Raybould to overrule a decision denying a deferred prosecution agreement to Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

“He has lost the moral authority to govern,” Scheer said. Calling for the PM to resign, saying that “Canadians just cannot trust Justin Trudeau.”

We are sure that you are going to hear a lot of that over the next 40 days as all political parties try to sway voters to place an X by their name.

When the election was called, according to CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, the Conservatives and Liberals have identical poll numbers with 33.8 percent of the decided voters, with the NDP at 12.9 percent, The Green Party at 10.7 percent, The Bloc Québécois at 4.4 percent and the newly formed People Party at 3.3 percent.

Looking a little deeper into the actual ridings numbers the polls show that the Liberals are projected to win the most seats — but whether any party can secure a majority after the 40-day campaign remains to be seen as the probability of the Liberals winning a majority is only
41 percent with the odds of a Conservatives majority only being 11 percent. That makes it for an interesting race for who comes in third as they would have the swing votes needed in the House of Commons.

The NDP and their leader, Jagmeet Singh, have been flighting slumping poll figures but now find themselves pitching the party as a viable alternative to the two front-running political parties, appealing to those that are looking for sweeping changes to government in Ottawa.

But the NDP are not the only ones pitching the third-party alternative as the Green Party and their leader Elizabeth May campaign with hopes to make a breakthrough in this election and build on her party’s current two-seat caucus in the House of Commons.

The Bloc Québécois and their leader Yves-François Blanchet will be looking to win at least 12 seats in Quebec and regain official party status. Something it has not had since 2011.

Former Conservative Maxime Bernier is hoping to take some of the hard-core Tory votes for his new party, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) and not only hold on to his own seat but also bring new MPs to Parliament for the party.

We all know that during the 40-day campaign all the party leaders will cover a lot of issues as they attempt to win over Canadians, but the economy will be a big one. So, these are the things that we believe will be the talking points for the economy as we head to the polls in October.

Climate change and the economy

The effects of climate change are already being felt from coast to coast and that issue has emerged as a key one among voters.

The four main parties are offering different paths forward on how to deal with one of the most pressing threats to Canadian society.

The Liberals will build on their plan that prices carbon at $20 a tonne. That prices will rise $10 each year to $50 a tonne in 2022. The Trudeau government has seen fierce pushback from several provinces and the parliamentary budget officer has warned that Canada will fall short of reaching its Paris climate accord targets under the plan.

Following a push from Conservative premiers in Alberta and Ontario, Scheer has said he will eliminate the carbon tax altogether. Instead, he is proposing tax incentives to target large emitters as part of his $2.5-billion climate plan.

The NDP are calling for $15 billion in federal investments in environmental initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which they say would create 300,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, May’s Greens are promising to transition fossil fuel workers to jobs in the renewable energy sector, which includes job retraining programs and massive cleanup projects designed to create employment. The plan also calls for a carbon price for all emitters that will keep increasing until a transition to renewable energy is complete.

Job Creation

The middle class was a major talking point for candidates in 2015 and it will likely be heard again at campaign stops as leaders crisscross the country.

The Liberals come into this election on a jobs high. Unemployment is at a record low and there are more than a million more Canadians working now than when Trudeau came into power 4 years ago, but Liberals will have to convince voters that things have gotten better over the last four years and that might be a hard sale to close with votes this time around.

Of course, the other parties pitching voters on the idea that things could be better if they were in control and are looking for the opportunity to put their plan into effect come October 21st.

Childcare

The Canada Child Benefit has been a key part of the Liberals’ policies aimed at “the middle class and those working hard to join it.” The benefits have given roughly $23.7 billion to about 3.7 million Canadians and their families, according to government numbers. The Liberals recently announced the maximum benefit will increase to $6,639 for each child under the age of six and $5,602 for each child between the ages of six and seventeen.

Scheer says he will make maternity and paternal benefits “tax-free,” providing a non-refundable tax credit of 15 percent, and include a corresponding credit to apply in Quebec.

The NDP is planning to invest $1 billion in affordable childcare in 2020 with plans to grow that investment annually. The Greens have yet to release any specific plans in this area.

Pipelines & Oil Sector

The oil and gas sector is Alberta’s largest industry and voters there have been pushing to build pipelines to get more oil to global markets.

The current Liberal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan to help complete the project despite objections from First Nations and the B.C. government.

The Conservatives want to move ahead with the pipeline and have also promised to kill Bill C-69, which the federal government introduced to overhaul Canada’s regulatory process for large resource projects.

The NDP and Greens have vowed to kill the pipeline outright.

Communications

Look to rising cellphone and internet bills will be a popular talk point of this year’s campaigns as most consider this an essential need which needs more regulation by government.

The Liberal’s campaign pledge is to reduce cellphone and internet costs either through a cap on monthly bills or by requiring major service providers to offer mobile virtual network operators.

The NDP has announced it would impose a “price cap” on monthly bills that it estimates will save households about $10 a month for each service.

The Greens have pledged to mandate affordable cellphone plans but have not provided any specifics yet. The Conservatives and People’s Party have not released any plans at this time but say that details are coming regarding their commitment to voters on wireless rates and services as the campaign continues.

In the coming weeks a lot of promises will be made and there will be much for voters to think about as they head to the polls on October 21st. We just ask that you look at the facts, educate yourself on the platforms of all parties and make sure that you get out and vote for what you believe is right for you, your business and our great country.

by Greg Rodman