Features 

The McGill Daily has compiled a primer to educate Daily readers on the stances of the four major parties prior to the federal election on October 21, 2019. This list is not exhaustive – we have selected issues that we believe are important to students, but encourage people to do their own individual research as well. 

The four parties featured are representative of the threshold requirements set out by the federal Leaders Debate Commission and an Editorial decision to not include parties polling under 10 per cent. All platform notes are sourced directly from official party platforms or official party press releases unless otherwise specified. 

 

Environmental Issues

Liberals:

  • Plan to use revenue from the Trans-Mountain pipelines to invest in unidentified “clean energy projects”
  • Want to “protect Canada’s natural legacy” by teaching all Canadian children how to camp. The skills children will learn and how that will help in the protection of the environment is unclear
  • Limit carbon emissions by developing five-year milestones to reach net-zero emissions; the consequences for failing to meet these expectations are unclear, as are the emissions targets at each milestone

NDP:

  • Spotlight Indigenous knowledge and the work done by Indigenous people as land stewards. To centre their voices, the NDP sets out to “invest in Indigenous-led science and support the creation of Indigenous-managed protected areas”
  • Limit global warming to a 1.5°C increase. They plan on generating science-based green-house gas reduction targets
  • Move towards a zero-waste future by improving waste management and recycling programs. Also wants to implement a ban on single-use plastic and claimed they would hold “companies responsible” for the plastic they produce, though the planned steps to achieve this are not specified

Conservatives:

Greens:

  • Oppose the development of pipelines and drilling for coal, oil, or gas. This includes canceling the Trans Mountain pipeline agreement and divesting from the fossil fuel industry
  • Move towards renewable energy and reducing energy waste. This includes the renovation of buildings to make them more energy-efficient, as well as developing zero-carbon public transportation and promoting electric transportation

 

Education

Liberals:

  • Pledge to make unspecified “additional compensation” available to students not already on the Canada Student Loans Program
  • Plan to “help […] 600,000 Francophone students in Ontario access better post-secondary education,” and establish the Université de l’Ontario français, a project that is already set to open in 2020
  • Increase Canada Student Grants by $1,200 per year for both full and part-time students. Loans will be interest-free for two years post-graduation, and won’t need to be paid until the graduate makes a minimum of $35,000 per year

NDP:

  • Want to “build towards making post-secondary education part of the public education system so kids can go from kindergarten to a career without the barrier of cost”
  • Pledge to “work with the provinces to establish Indigenous history education programs for all Canadians, based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 62 and 63 – and ensure that the development and implementation of these programs are led by Indigenous peoples”
  • Vow to provide every child a safe place to learn and an opportunity to succeed, on or off the reserve, by implementing equitable access to education via federal backed investments and infrastructure.

Conservatives:

Greens:

  • Pledge to provide free post-secondary education for all Canadian students, which “would be financed by redirecting existing spending on bursaries, tuition tax credits, saved costs of administering the student loan system, and the hundreds of millions of dollars of student loan defaults written off every year”
  • Plan to “remove the two per cent cap on increases in education funding for Indigenous students and ensure all Indigenous youth have access to post-secondary education”

Indigenous Issues and Reconciliation

Liberals:

NDP:

  • Plan to establish a national council of reconciliation to formulate a national plan for reconciliation
  • Pledge to implement UNDRIP by 2021
  • Strive to partner with Indigenous communities to develop a healthcare plan that includes suicide prevention, addiction treatment services, and mental health services

Conservatives:

Greens:

Healthcare

Liberals:

  • Expressed a commitment to ensuring that all Canadians have access to a family doctor in order to “improve the quality of care for the nearly five million Canadians who today lack access”
  • Hope to “set clear national standards for access to mental health services so Canadians can get the support they need quickly,” but have not further specified how they plan to implement these standards
  • Plan to “implement national universal healthcare,” giving affordable drug coverage to all Canadians by committing $6 billion over the next four years

NDP:

  • Plan to fight for “a national, universal, public pharmacare program,” as well as push to include dental care in the Canada Health Act and work towards covering vision care and mental health services for all Canadians.
  • Wish to “tackle wait times and improve access to primary care”

Conservatives:

Greens:

  • Express a commitment to providing pharmacare and dental care for low-income Canadians, although qualifications for the plan are not specified
  • Pledge to “uphold Jordan’s Principle in full, ensuring Indigenous people receive the healthcare they need without being delayed by bureaucratic disagreements over jurisdiction,” and committed to supporting Indigenous communities “in (re)building traditional knowledge systems around healing and wellness, including the formal inclusion of traditional healing within mental wellness and home and community care programs”
  • Plan to “establish a national mental health strategy and a suicide prevention strategy”

Affordable Housing

Liberals:

NDP:

  • Pledge to create “500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next ten years, with half of that done within five years.” They have pledged a federal investment of $5 billion in the first year and a half of their term
  • Plan to “set up dedicated fast-start funds to streamline the application process [for social housing] and help communities get the expertise and assistance they need to get projects off the ground”

Conservatives:

  • Pledged to “fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first-time homebuyers aren’t unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages”
  • Commit to launching “an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector” to combat corruption that results in housing price inflation; social housing initiatives are not included in the inquiry

Greens:

  • Pledge to appoint a Minister of Housing, whose role will be to “strengthen the National Housing Strategy so that it meets the needs for affordable housing that are unique to each province, and oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers” The party’s target is installing 25,000 new units and rehabilitating 15,000 new units each year for the next decade
  • Plan to work towards a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy, to “update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with [the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate (CMHC)], co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders”
  • Vow to specifically assist at-risk groups by providing “financing to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives to build and restore quality, energy-efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families”

 

LGBTQ2+ Issues

Liberals:

  • Promise to end the blood donation ban “that is discriminatory to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.” However, they have not acknowledged trans women and non-binary peoples’ inclusion in the ban. Furthermore, they discussed taking this action in the last election, which they didn’t follow through with during their term
  • Pledge to amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy, despite rejecting a petition calling for the same thing this March

NDP:

  • Propose a variety of policy changes, including ending Canada’s discriminatory blood donation ban and officially banning conversion therapy, as well as adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the Employment Equity Act
  • Plan to “establish a clear and permanent path for resettlement of LGBTQI2S+ refugees in Canada to replace the current […] approach that only deals with emergency cases as they arise”

Conservatives:

  • The Conservative Party has no official stance regarding LGBTQ2+ issues

Greens:

  • Vow to “repeal all federal laws and policies that are discriminatory on the grounds of sexuality, including Section 159 of the Criminal Code,” which was already repealed in June 2019
  • Promise to “ban and condemn the practice of conversion therapy, in all its forms,” which has not yet been done on a federal level.
  • Vow to “ban and condemn the practice of medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children”

 

Immigration Policy

Liberals:

  • Pledge to end the fee for citizenship applications, which can be up to $630 for adult applicants
  • Plan to create a new Municipal Nominee Program, in order to increase immigration to more rural parts of Canada, which “will allow local communities, chambers of commerce, and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants”
  • Vow to make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program permanent, which will create a pathway to permanent residency for foreign workers and international graduates who want to live or work in the four Atlantic provinces – NB, NS, NL, and PEI.

NDP:

  • Plan to end the cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents. It is currently set at 20,000 applications per year, and in 2019, the cap was hit within minutes
  • Vow to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement and instead allow people to make asylum claims at official points of entry across the border, in order to make sure people don’t attempt unsafe journeys into Canada at unofficial points of entry
  • Pledge to address the backlog of applications that delay family reunification

Greens:

  • Advocate for the creation of the category “environmental refugee,” in order to “accept an appropriate share of the world’s environmental refugees into Canada”
  • Plan to eliminate the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, which allows employers to “hire foreign nationals to fill temporary labour and skill shortages when qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available”
  • Will terminate the Safe Third Country Agreement

Conservatives:

Jobs

Liberals:

  • Strive for Canada to be the second largest exporter of agricultural products by 2025 and will dedicate a Minister of Rural Economic Development to ensure that rural and farm communities continue to get the investment they deserve
  • Will “create the Canada Entrepreneur Account, administered through the Business Development Bank of Canada, to provide up to 2,000 entrepreneurs with as much as $50,000 each to launch their new businesses.”
  • Strive for a federal minimum wage of fifteen dollars per hour

NDP:

  • Will increase the minimum wage federally to fifteen dollars per hour and ban unpaid internships that are not eligible for school credit
  • Plan to grow the Canadian market for manufactured goods by implementing a national strategy to create a low-emissions manufacturing industry
  • Plans to bring more investors to Canada to “make Canadian dreams a reality” under the iCanada act

Conservatives:

Greens:

  • Will increase the minimum wage federally to fifteen dollars per hour and ban unpaid internships that are not eligible for school credit
  • Plan to replace a third of Canada’s food imports with domestically-grown products
  • Will “institute a tax for large corporations that is the equivalent to the income tax paid by employees who have been laid off due to AI. Small businesses will be exempt” and “use this tax revenue to fund educational and transition programs for laid-off workers, including trade schools

Foreign Policy

Liberals:

NDP:

Greens:

Conservatives:

Child Care

Liberals:

  • Promise 250,000 more before-and-after school spaces for children under 10; at least 10 per cent of these new spaces will be set aside for care outside of standard before-and-after school care times
  • Will lower child care fees for before and after school programs by 10 per cent across the board to help families deal with the high cost of care
  • Claim that they will work with provinces and territories to create a national secretariat to lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian child care system. However, this seems like a lot of buzzwords that in reality amount to very little

NDP:

  • Intend to make childcare more available and affordable, including making the spaces more inclusive to Indigenous children
  • Plan to pay childcare providers a livable wage and implement a national school nutrition program, and create 500,000 new child-care spaces over four years
  • Pledge to commit $1 billion in the year 2020 to affordable and not-for-profit child care services, and to grow that investment annually

Conservatives:

  • Pledge to maintain Liberal initiatives, specifically to continue the Canada Child Benefit program and increase social transfer payments by at least three per cent every year (to help finance childcare and early learning)
  • Leader Andrew Scheer made a new promise to make Employment Insurance benefits tax-free for new parents
  • Concretely, are not committing to anything specific

Greens:

  • Advocate that the Federal Government minimize the need for daycare by enabling families to take care of their own children before age three; however there is no mention of specific plans to support extended or improved parental leave to facilitate this
  • Express sentiments towards, but no concrete plans to: “strengthen inclusion and respect for diversity for children with disabilities, diverse ethnic and racial groups, newcomers and disadvantaged Canadians”

 

The student vote is crucial in this election. All students, faculty, and staff who are Canadian citizens, including those with a permanent address outside of Quebec, can vote on campus from October 5 to 9. All special polling stations in the country are also open for voting until October 15. You are able to register to vote at the special polling location if not already registered. 

All three special polling stations at McGill meet Elections Canada’s Polling Place Suitability Checklist, which sets standards for physical accessibility in polling stations. However, the Daily cannot confirm that off-campus polling stations are accessible. Furthermore, certified stations will not necessarily accommodate for other accessibility needs. If you require specific accommodations, call your local Elections Canada office prior to the date on which you plan to vote. Members of the McGill community should note that the legal allowance for time off to vote does not apply during the special polling period prior to the election date, and McGill will not be canceling classes on Election Day.