Tomorrow Canadians will head to the polls to elect the 44th Parliament of Canada. Advance polls show a surge in turnout across the prairies compared to 2019, and it’s expected that a record number of voters will vote by mail in ballot.
In the last week the Leaders crisscrossed the country, visiting key target ridings, where polls are predicting many close races.
The latest CBC Poll Tracker has the Liberals with a narrow lead in polling, but with the advantage in seat count.
Bloc Quebecois 6.6%
With the campaign coming to a close, here’s a look at some key policy promises for the leading Parties.
Ahead of the first French debate, the Liberals tabled their platform after criticism from the media and stakeholders about a lack of a clear policy document from the governing party. The Liberal platform promises $78B in new spending, with large amounts focused on the environment, health- care, child-care and housing affordability, including a pledge to achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and further builds off of promises already made in Budget 2021. The platform also proposes several revenue-seeking measures, including taxing luxury vehicles, planes and boats as outlined in Budget 2021. Additionally, the platform reaffirms the Liberal’s commitment to $10-a-day childcare.
On Infrastructure, the Liberals have committed to maintain their current investments, and in addition pledged to:
- Create open-access climate toolkits to help develop projects that ensure Canada is on the path to net-zero emissions.
- Invest an additional $200 million in the Natural Infrastructure Fund to support community led green space projects.
- Create a new $100 million infrastructure and innovation fund over the next 5 years.
- Re-establish the Sectoral Workforce Solution Program pledged in their last budget, which includes an investment of $960 million over 3 years to retrain and reskill people in various sectors, including construction, clean tech and heathcare.
- Introduce a Career Extension Tax Credit to help seniors who want to stay in the workforce.
- Introduce amendments to the Canada Labour Code to provide 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers.
- Creation of a rent-to-own program.
- A new tax-free First Home Savings Account, which will allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 towards their first home.
- Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000
- Invest in building of 1.4 million new homes.
- Implementing a Home buyers’ Bill of Rights, which among many things would ban blind bidding, establish a legal right to a home inspection, and ensure banks and lenders offer mortgage deferrals for up to 6 months in the event of a job loss or major life event.
Energy and Environment:
- A Clean Electricity Standard that commits to a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.
- Develop additional investment tax credits for a range of renewable energy and battery storage solutions.
- Transition away from high-emitting fossil fuels, including through a $2 Billion Futures Fund aimed at transitioning resource intensive industries in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.
- Ensure that the oil and gas sector reduces emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050, including requiring oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions by at least 75% below 2012 levels by 2030.
- Accelerate the transition from fossil fuel-based heating systems to electrification through incentives and standards, including investing $250 million to help low-income Canadians get off home-heating oil.
- Launch a community-led net-zero homes initiative that supports projects that pursue multiple concurrent retrofits in a community or neighbourhood to reduce overall costs.
- Introduce an interim electric vehicle mandate, which will require half of all cars sold in Canada to be zero-emission by 2030.
- Double the Mineral Exploitation Tax Credit.
- $6.5 billion for a National Mental Health Strategy.
- $3.2 billion for provinces and territories for hiring 7,500 new family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners.
- $400 million over 4 years for virtual care.
- Raise wages for personal support workers, including a guaranteed minimum wage.
- Tackling the ongoing opioid crisis to invest $500 million to support the provinces and territories, as well as $25 million for public education efforts.
- Work with Indigenous partners to develop Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.
- An additional $1.4 billion for distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy.
- Provide the necessary supports for communities who wish to continue to undertake the work of burial searches at former Residential Schools.
- Establish a $75 million per year fund for colleges and universities to help commercialize leading research.
- Establish a Canada Advanced Research Project Agency.
- Reform the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program to reduce red tape.
Conservative Leader, Erin O’Toole, released “Canada’s Recovery Plan” on the second day of the campaign in Ottawa. The platform was presented as the post-pandemic recovery plan in an early attempt to differentiate himself from the Prime Minister in several areas including affordability, job creation, housing and healthcare. The platform seeks to differentiate the Conservative Party of 2021 from the Party of 2019, with a number of new proposals and initiatives. With a focus on pandemic recovery, the plan proposes an expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account into the Main Street Business Loan, raising the limit to $200,000, as well as the creation of a 15% tax credit for vacation expenses of up to $1,000 per person for Canadians to vacation domestically and a one-month GST Holiday in December. One of biggest policy differences between the Liberals and Conservatives likely to factor into this election is around childcare, with the CPC pledging to scrap the Liberal’s childcare program and implement the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of the cost of childcare for lower income families.
- The platform calls to abolish the Canada Infrastructure Bank and pledges that the outstanding funds of the original $35 billion will be reinvested in more streamlined projects.
- Doubling the current Apprentice Job Creation Tax Credit for three years.
- Investing $250 million over two years to create the Canada Job Training Fund to provide grants to organizations for projects that help address the skilled labour shortage and provide opportunities for laid off workers seeking immediate access to training.
- The CPC platform promises to build one million homes over the next three years, including conducting a review of the federal government’s real estate portfolio to see what can be retrofitted into housing.
- Repurpose Community Land Trusts for affordable housing by creating an incentive for corporations and private landowners to donate property to Land Trusts for the development of affordable housing.
- Implement a ban on foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes here for a two-year period.
Energy and Environment:
- As outlined in the “Secure the Environment” plan released in April, the Conservatives will focus on conserving 17% of Canada’s land and water, with a goal to raise the target to 25% over time.
- The plan also promises to end sewage dumping and ban the export of plastic waste unless the exporters can prove it will be recycled.
- Repealing Bill C-69 and Bill C-48.
- The requirement of 30% of “light duty” vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030.
- Restart and build the Keystone XL pipeline.
- Developing a National LNG Export Strategy.
- Investing in new programs in direct response to COVID-19, aimed at fostering capacity for future mitigation.
- Creation of a National Mental Health Strategy, which would implement a national 3-digit suicide prevention hotline, $150 million in grants to non-profits for the delivery of mental health and wellness plans and an attempt to incentivize employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans by offering a tax credit for 25% of the cost of additional mental health coverage for the first three years.
- A public review of Canada’s entire handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Creation of a Canada Emergency Preparedness Plan that would be updated annually with the goal of shoring up domestic vaccine protection and ensuring ample stockpiles of PPE.
- Increasing the Canada Health Transfer payments to the provinces to 6%.
- Addressing the opioid crisis through a $325 million investment over three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres across the country.
- Working with First Nations and other Indigenous groups to ensure they are partners in the development of natural resource projects by creating a Canadian Indigenous Enterprise Corporation, with initial funding of $5 billion.
- Development of specific indigenous housing plan within the larger CPC housing plan.
- Creation of a specific program to increase indigenous presence in the defense and security industries.
- Seeking to implement UNDRIP Section 18 that allows for communities to designate someone other than an elected chief as a representative in negotiations.
- Committing $25 million to a national police support and community training program to reduce the incarceration rates of Canada’s Indigenous communities.
- Prioritize indigenous communities in the expansion of rural broadband funding.
The NDP were the first Party to release their platform, ahead of the call of the election. “Ready for Better”, outlines the NDP plan on affordable housing, pharma care and dental care, and a package targeting pandemic relief. The NDP platform however significantly mirrors their 2019 plan, in hopes of contrasting themselves with the Liberal party, stating they will take real action that Prime Minister Trudeau only promised to take. The plan seeks to increase revenue through a number of measures, including reverting the corporate tax rate to 18% and introducing a new 1% Wealth Tax on those with over $10 million in wealth.
- Setting the Federal Minimum Wage to $15.
- Creation of a Rural Infrastructure Funding Program.
- Mandating the use of Canadian steel and aluminum products on any infrastructure project funded by the Federal Government.
- Building at least 500,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years.
- Reintroducing 30-year mortgages insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
- Establishing a 20 percent foreign buyers’ tax on home sales.
Energy and Environment:
- Setting a new emissions reduction target of 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Creation of an “Environmental Bill of Rights” that would protect 30% of land, freshwater and oceans by 2030.
- Establishing a new Canadian Climate Bank to boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low carbon technology.
- Creation of a Climate Emergency Cabinet Committee.
- Establishing a National Pharmacare and National Dental Care Plan
- Ending private for-profit long term care facilities.
- Creation of a national care standard for home care and long-term care.
- Expanding sickness benefits by 50 weeks.
- Declaring the opioid crisis, a public health emergency.
- Work toward the lifting of the boil-water advisories on First Nations Reserves.
- The implementation of Jordan’s Principle.
- Creation of a separate Indigenous National Housing Strategy.
- Striking up a National Council for Reconciliation to enact the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report.
- Developing a First Nations Justice and Policing Strategy.
We’re Here to Help
If you have any questions please contact one of Prairie Sky’s team members below.
Brian Gilbertson – Senior Strategy Advisor