Election Campaign Day 17: Promises Include Balancing Budget, Cracking Down on Housing Speculators, and Food Security

By Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.
August 31, 2021 Updated: September 1, 2021

As the election campaign reaches the mid-way point of its third week, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole campaigned in Ottawa on Aug. 31, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in B.C. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier continued his campaign in Alberta, and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul was in Toronto.

Speaking in Katana, Ottawa, Trudeau said a re-elected Liberal government will spend almost $6.5 billion for a dedicated “Canada Mental Health Transfer” that will be available across the country. This new funding will reduce wait times and increase mental health professionals, including 1,200 additional counsellors for colleges and universities. The funding will also create special “distinctions-based” mental health strategies for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people.

Trudeau also promised to provide improved mental health services for indigenous peoples during his campaign stop at Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Aug. 30, along with promising $2 billion over four years for better housing.

O’Toole said that a Conservative government will get government spending under control and balance the budget over the next decade.

If elected, the party will “adopt a responsible and measured approach to balance the budget” by reining in deficits to address inflation and the rising cost of living, winding down pandemic supports gradually as recovery progresses, and investing in “targeted stimulus measures” to create jobs that will improve quality of life.

O’Toole said Canadians face a critical choice in the coming election: to continue with “soaring debt” or create “great jobs and rising wages.”

In Coquitlam, B.C., Singh said the NDP is committed to fixing Canada’s housing crisis. The party would increase the capital gains tax from 50 percent to 75 percent so that wealthy speculators who are profiting from using existing capital gains loopholes by “gaming” the housing market like a stock market to drive prices up will have to pay their fair share.

Bernier, who is campaigning in Alberta, wrote in a Tweet on Aug. 31 that “Establishment parties keep dividing us by race, gender, and religion with their constant identity politicking. Now they also want to segregate us by vaccination status.”

Although the PPC will “oppose vaccine passports and other authoritarian measures imposed by provinces,” Bernier said in an interview with the Western Standard on Aug. 30 that his party is “not anti-vaccine or anti-mask. We are for freedom of choice. Everyone must be able to decide if they want the vaccine or not.”

Campaigning in Toronto, Paul addressed the issue of food security, saying at a press conference that an over-reliance on global supply chains compromises Canada’s national security and threatens the country’s sovereignty. The replacement of one-third of Canada’s food imports with domestic production will “bring at least $15 billion worth of food production dollars back into our country that will help to foster economic diversification and rural vitalization where it is needed most,” she said.

The Green Party’s plan also includes creating land trusts, supporting research, and investing in local markets.

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.