Protecting renters, lowering cellphone and internet bills, expanding public transit, and getting more Canadians vaccinated were some of the main topics party leaders addressed as the federal election campaign entered week 4.
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau reiterated his party’s housing plan while campaigning in Montreal Tuesday. Among several measures previously announced on Aug. 24, he promised to stop “renovictions” and deter unfair rent increases.
Campaigning in Welland, Ontario on Sept. 6, Trudeau pledged to provide more support for workers and businesses amid the pandemic. This would include extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to March 2022 and expanding the Canada Workers Benefit to include another 1 million Canadians in low-wage jobs, while increasing benefits for the most vulnerable.
The recovery plan would also introduce a new “Labour Mobility Tax Credit,” which would allow workers in the building and construction sector to deduct up to $4,000 in eligible expenses when they need to travel or relocate temporarily for work, for a tax credit of up to $600 per year.
The Liberals also vowed to table legislation to protect businesses who choose to require proof of vaccination from their employees and customers to do so “without fear of a legal challenge.”
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole announced Tuesday he would lower cellphone and internet bills if his party is elected. His plan would include allowing telecommunications companies from Europe and the United States to provide services to Canadians, lowering prices by increasing competition and consumer options, he said in Ottawa.
O’Toole stressed that his party would stand up to “corporate Canada” and reject telecom mergers that could decrease competition and lead to layoffs and higher prices for consumers. Local and regional telecommunication service providers would have access to the spectrum they needed to help reduce prices for consumers, he said.
During a campaign stop in Ottawa on Sept. 6, O’Toole also pledged to double the Canada Workers Benefit, up to a maximum of $2,800 for individuals or $5,000 for families. It would be paid as a quarterly direct deposit instead of a tax refund at the end of the year. O’Toole also promised to double the disability supplement from $713 to $1,500.
While campaigning in Vancouver on Sept. 5, he promised to hire 200 new RCMP officers to combat gang violence and the smuggling of guns and drugs, with most officers to be based in the Greater Toronto Area and the Lower Mainland in B.C. O’Toole additionally committed to providing $100 million over five years to train non-provincial police forces in the areas of sexual exploitation, investigation of sexual offences, cyber-security and online offences.
The NDP promised to increase spending on public transit in municipalities across Canada to further their plan to address climate change, Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a campaign stop in Toronto Tuesday.
Singh pledged to double the fund used for public transit in municipalities from $2.2 billion to $4.4 billion, saying the increase would expand transit systems, increase transit access and affordability, “electrify” fleets, and “make sure that we do our part to reduce our emissions.”
During a campaign stop in Hamilton on Sept. 6, Singh pledged, if elected, to immediately implement 10 days of paid sick leave for workers in federally regulated workplaces. His party would also introduce $10-a-day universal child care, a $20 federal minimum wage, and changes to Employment Insurance to cover more people.
On Sept. 5 in Ottawa, Singh committed $1 billion to ramp up vaccinations and to work with provinces and territories to create “targeted, inclusive programs” that aim to “remove the remaining barriers” among unvaccinated people to get their shots. He also repeated his commitment to implementing a national vaccine passport. On Sept. 4, he wrote a letter to other party leaders to join him in recording a multi-partisan video to tell Canadians that “vaccines are safe, easy, and necessary.”
During his campaign stop in Penticton, B.C. on Sept. 5, Bernier proposed a series of measures to cool down the housing market in Canada, particularly in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.
“A People’s Party government will substantially reduce immigration quotas, from about 400k planned by the Liberal government, down to 100k-150k per year,” Bernier said. “This will help reduce the excessive demand for housing and cool down the market.”
The PPC would also modify the Bank of Canada’s inflation target from 2 percent to 0 percent to cool down inflation in all sectors including housing, he added. Other measures would include stopping the funding of social housing, privatizing or dismantling the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and working with provinces to curb speculation and money laundering by “foreign non-resident” home and land buyers.
The party additionally intends to repeal Bill C-16 and modify Bill C-6, to fight “radical gender ideology,” Bernier announced in Abbotsford, B.C. on Sept. 4.
“Bill C-16 recognized gender self-identification and opened the door to compelled speech. Since then, businesses and government agencies have banned the use of words like ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ in favour of ‘menstruating people’ and ‘birthing people,’ which negate the existence of women,” he said.
Bill C-6 would criminalize therapeutic counselling to children suffering from gender dysphoria, and instead encourage them to start gender transitioning at a young age, Bernier added. He vowed to modify C-6 in order to protect children from “predatory doctors and activists.”
The Green Party released its election platform Tuesday, with a focus on the environment, housing, health care, and reconciliation. The plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and includes the cancellation of all new pipelines and oil exploration projects.
“We are in a climate emergency but, by acting now, Canada has the chance of a lifetime to accelerate its transition to a net-zero economy and become a world leader in cleantech and renewable energy,” Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said in a press release.
In a Twitter post on Sept. 5, Paul also supported Singh’s letter to “put partisanship aside” to urge Canadians to get vaccinated.
“Rather than turning this into a political football, let’s send a clear cross-partisan message to Canadians to take their shot,” she wrote.