Canadians will elect the country’s 44th parliament on Monday, capping just over five weeks of campaigning that saw federal party leaders pledge to fight climate change, respond to a deepening housing crisis and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole have held neck-and-neck polls ahead of the vote, while the left-wing New Democrats under Jagmeet Singh are in third place. with about 20 percent support.
The Quebec nationalist Bloc Québécois, the environmentalist Green Party of Canada and the far-right People’s Party of Canada round out the six main parties that influence politics in Canada.
Here Al Jazeera looks at who the party leaders are and what they have promised:
Justin Trudeau is the current and 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.
The 48-year-old is in his second term as prime minister after his Liberal party won a minority government with 157 seats in the last federal election in October 2019.
Trudeau, who won the Liberal leadership in 2013, became Prime Minister for the first time in 2015. The Liberals won a majority in the election that year, beating the Conservative party, which had been in power under then-leader Stephen Harper for nearly a decade. .
Trudeau, who is competing in an election drive in Montreal, and the Liberals get much of their support from Atlantic Canada, on the country’s east coast, as well as in parts of Ontario and Quebec — the two most populous provinces.
Trudeau led the snap elections this month in hopes that his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic stimulus plan would win it a parliamentary majority. But he faced angry, anti-vaccine protesters on the campaign trail.
The Liberals’ electoral platform promises Canadian dollars 78 billion ($62 billion) in new spending over five years, with a focus on health care, should the party form the next government. They have pledged to offer free corona booster shots to all Canadians, as well as $1 billion in funding to counties and territories looking to implement vaccine passport systems.
As for the environment, the party — which has been criticized for supporting a controversial oil pipeline expansion project — says it will have net-zero emissions by 2050. In recent weeks, she has also pledged tens of millions of dollars to help indigenous communities search for unmarked graves at “residential schools”, said it would tighten existing gun regulations in Canada and pledged to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees in the wake of the Taliban takeover. from Afghanistan.
Erin O’Toole is the leader of the official opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada.
Following the Conservative defeat in the 2019 election and the subsequent resignation of then-leader Andrew Scheer, O’Toole – who serves as an MP in Durham in eastern Ontario – won party leadership in 2020.
The conservatives are receiving strong support in the central Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as parts of Ontario and Quebec.
Conservatives have pledged to meet the Paris Agreement’s original goals of cutting emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 — a promise that falls short of what Canada has since promised. They have also proposed that by 2030, 30 percent of all light vehicle sales, such as passenger cars, should be zero-emission vehicles.
Conservatives have pledged billions in new investment if elected, and O’Toole says the party would balance the budget “without austerity” in 10 years through its economic stimulus and growth plan.
On COVID-19, O’Toole has said he would work with Canadian provinces to implement nationwide proof of vaccination, but he opposes mandatory vaccines for federal workers and has not mandated that conservative candidates be vaccinated.
The conservatives say they support the liberal pledge to resettle about 20,000 Afghans.
Jagmeet Singh is the leader of Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), which has the fourth most seats in parliament.
The 42-year-old, who is a Sikh, won party leadership in 2017, becoming the first visible minority leader of a federal party in Canada. Previously, Singh – who currently represents Burnaby South in British Columbia – was deputy leader of the Ontario NDP.
After a surprisingly strong showing in Quebec in 2011 – dubbed the “Orange Wave” – propelled the party to official opposition status, the party lost some ground in the 2015 elections. It then had disappointing results in 2019, gaining just 24 seats. – 20 less than in the previous vote.
Most of the New Democrats’ seats are in British Columbia and Ontario.
The NDP proposes a $20 minimum wage for all federal employees and 10 days of paid sick leave. Singh recently criticized Trudeau for promising paid sick leave during the campaign, but refused to implement the measure while in government.
To tackle the climate crisis, the party has pledged to cut carbon emissions to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and create more than a million “good jobs” as part of a shift that includes building “green infrastructure” in communities around the world. Canada.
On the rights of Indigenous peoples, the NDP has proposed establishing a First Nations Justice and Police Strategy to address the disproportionate representation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s prison system, while promising the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Singh and the New Democrats also support waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and technology transfer to help end the global pandemic.
Yves-Francois Blanchet is leader of the Bloc Québécois, a party that controls only candidates in Quebec and that itself is “the only party” representing the interests of the French-speaking province at the federal level.
Blanchet previously served as a member of the Quebec legislature with the separatist provincial Parti Québécois (PQ) from 2008 to 2014, as well as a minister of PQ. He ran unopposed for the Bloc leadership in 2019 and won.
Under Blanchet, who represents a driving force south of Montreal, the party increased its seats in parliament from 10 to 32 in the last federal election.
The party says it will introduce a bill to make knowing enough French a condition of granting Canadian citizenship to new immigrants in Quebec, and says the French language is in decline and must be protected.
The Bloc’s platform calls for no interference from Ottawa in the implementation of Quebec’s laws and that no government money be spent on lawsuits against them. In recent years, Quebec Bill 21, which bans the wearing of religious symbols in the public sector, has faced several legal challenges.
The Bloc has pledged to create a “green equalization” program that would reward provinces that fight climate change effectively. The party called for an end to fuel subsidies and insisted that the money be funneled into clean energy projects. On health care, the Bloc says the federal government should increase its funding to provinces – which control their respective health systems – from 22 to 35 percent.
Annamie Paul is the leader of the Green Party.
She is the first black Canadian and Jewish woman to lead a federal party. The 48-year-old won party leadership last year, replacing longtime leader Elizabeth May.
But she is the only federal party leader who is not a Member of Parliament after losing a by-election in the Toronto Center riding school in October 2020. She’s campaigning for that same seat in this election — and she’s skipped the campaign trail to focus on her race.
The Green Party, which does not have a full list of candidates in this election, won three seats in the last federal vote in 2019.
With the environment as the party’s main focus, the Green Party aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, with the goal of being net negative by 2050. The party also calls for all pipeline projects to be canceled, provided zero fuel subsidies, and a ban on the sale of all “internal combustion engine passenger cars by 2030”.
In addition, the Greens have proposed “replacing every high-paying job in the fossil fuel sector with a high-paying job in the green sector” through payroll insurance.
On COVID-19, the party says it will extend all wage and housing benefits until all coronavirus restrictions are lifted, and will keep the corporate tax rate at no more than 9 percent.
The party’s foreign policy obligations include signing and ratifying the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Treaty, calling for global nuclear disarmament, and ending federal aid to Canadian exporters involved in the sale of fossil fuels. and weapons.
Maxime Bernier is the leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada (PPC).
Bernier, a former MP and Conservative Party minister, narrowly managed to win party leadership in 2017, prompting him to leave the Conservatives just over a year later to form the PPC.
But under the banner of the PPC, Bernier lost his seat in Quebec’s rural Beauce riding, which he had held since 2006, in the last federal election in 2019. He lost by more than 10 percentage points to the local conservative candidate.
The PPC, which does not have a full list of candidates in these elections, has no representative in parliament. It won just 1.6 percent of the vote in 2019.
The party currently has about 6 percent support and is stealing some votes from the Conservatives, but has little chance of a seat in parliament.
The PPC is campaigning for an anti-coronavirus vaccine, an anti-immigration platform, and is getting a lot of support from the far right in Canada.