Link’s Guide to the 2021 Federal Election

Elections can be difficult things. Party platforms (the documents that outline the stance of a political party) are dense and full of political jargon, making it difficult for the average person to decipher. As Canada is preparing for a federal election, it’s important to understand who you’re voting for. We reviewed the platforms of the three primary parties so you didn’t have to (though you still can) and summarized them as well as we could. At nearly 100 pages each, we could not fit everything into this list of policies, but we tried to highlight what we thought were the most impactful items. Hopefully, this will help you decide who you will cast your ballot for. If you want to see more, check out the party’s official platforms on their websites.

 

 

 

 

Education

Liberal: 

  • Create a national autism strategy & invest 15.6 million.
  • Increase the threshold for repayment assistance for student loans to $40,000/year & reduce the cap on monthly payments to 10% of household income.
  • Continue the waiver of interest accrual of Canada Student & Apprentice Loans until March 2023.
  • Extend the doubling of the Canada Student Grants to $6,000 for full-time students until July 2023.
  • Increase grants and repayment assistance for students with disabilities by $429 per individual.

NDP: 

  • Create a student loan forgiveness plan for up to $20,000 of student debt per person.
  • Permanently double the non-repayable Canada Student Grant.
  • Introduce a plan to make post-secondary education part of the public education system.
  • Develop & implement a national Autism strategy.
  • Remove interest permanently on federal student loans; implement a five-year moratorium on student loan payments for new grads.

Conservative:

  • Invest $250 million over two years to create the Canada Job Training Fund. 
  • Implement a national mentorship strategy for women of all ages to give them access to networks that will position them for senior leadership roles.

Housing & Affordability

Liberal:

  • Continue negotiations with provinces for $10/day childcare funding agreements. All but AB & ONT have agreed. 
  • Send $100 million more to food banks & local food organizations.
  • Introduce a national tax of 1% annually on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian-owned residential real estate that is vacant or underused.
  • Invest $3.8 billion to build or repair 35,000 housing units. 
  • Invest $300 million to help convert excess commercial property to rental housing. 

NDP:

  • Create 500,000+ units of quality, affordable housing in ten years.
  • Introduce a universal affordable childcare system.
  • Waive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units.
  • Implement a 20% Foreign Buyer’s tax on home sales.
  • Create a guaranteed livable income for all Canadians.
  • End homelessness in Canada.
  • Provide a low-income EI benefit with a $2,000+ dollar payment.

Conservative:

  • Convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a tax credit to cover 75% of low-income childcare.
  • Increase the limit on eligibility for mortgage insurance & index it to home price inflation.
  • Double the disability supplement from $744 to $1,500.
  • Build 1 million homes
  • Release +15% of the federal government’s real estate portfolio (37,000 buildings) for housing.
  • Ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes for a two-year period.

Healthcare & Covid-19

Liberal:

  • Mandate that federal employees & international travellers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Dedicate $3 billion to ensuring an equal standard of care in long-term care homes.
  • Invest $4 billion to help provinces and territories clear health-care system backlogs caused by the pandemic
  • Invest $250 million into new cancer treatments.
  • Provide $116 million to tackle Canada’s drug crisis.
  • Invest $82.5 million in COVID-19 testing infrastructure at airports.
  • Expand the EI Sickness Benefit to 26 weeks.

NDP:

  • Universal coverage of prescription drugs, dental care, contraceptives, & sexual health care.
  • Introduce a universal paid sick leave program.
  • Ensure equal access to gender-confirming surgery & immediately end the gay blood donation ban.
  • Ensure that Canada maintains a stockpile of personal protective equipment & establishes a crown corporation charged with domestic vaccine production.
  • Introduce a national perinatal mental health strategy.
  • End the criminalization of drug addiction & declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

Conservative:

  • Implement a tax credit for 25% of additional mental health coverage for the first three years.
  • Create a nationwide three-digit suicide prevention number.
  • Provide more rapid tests to provincial governments.
  • Allow 3 days of paid bereavement leave following a miscarriage & 8 weeks of EI following stillbirth or the death of an infant or child.
  • Invest $325 million to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds & build 50 recovery community centers across the country.
  • Work to harmonize ICU training to ensure credentials are transferable among jurisdictions.

Climate Change

Liberal:

  • Aid large-scale clean energy technology projects by investing $1 billion. 
  • Invest $5 billion to help companies reduce emissions. Issue an additional $5 billion in bonds to fund green infrastructure projects.
  • Create a Pacific salmon restoration centre with $647.1 million.
  • Provide interest-free loans up to $40,000 for homeowners to complete energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Support wildlife preparedness in national parks with $100.6 million.
  • Invest $36 million for sustainable clean energy projects in Indigenous communities.

NDP:

  • Reduce emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Pass Environmental Bill of Rights to protect 30% of our land, freshwater, & oceans by 2030.
  • Set a target of net carbon-free electricity by 2030 & move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040.
  • Retrofit all buildings in Canada by 2050; by 2025 ensure every building built here is net-zero.
  • Launch a 10-year plan to reverse species loss.
  • Expand federal funding to respond to disasters & support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructures. 

Conservative:

  • End the ban on Shipping Traffic on the North Coast of BC.
  • Increase funding to control pest species in national parks & federal lands.
  • Invest in technology that will improve the detection of wildfires & predict fire behaviour.
  • Reach the target of protecting 17% of Canada’s land & water and work towards 25%.
  • Restore funding for the National Wetland Conservation Fund & the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program.
  • End sewage dumping & ban the export of plastic waste.

Indigenous Rights & Judicial Reform

Liberal:

  • Invest in Indigenous-led mental health & wellness services with $597.6 million.
  • Invest in Indigenous early learning & childcare with $1.4 billion.
  • Increase the hiring of nurses & other medical professionals in isolated First Nations communities with $354 million.
  • Support infrastructure maintenance & construction in Indigenous communities with $6+ billion.
  • Provide $12.4 million to Canadian Heritage to honour the survivors of residential schools & commemorate their legacy.
  • Negotiate agreements with interested Indigenous governments to enable them to raise tax revenues on their lands.

NDP:

  • Revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada with legislation & funding.
  • Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate & prosecute child abuse in the residential school system.
  • Support and resource Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare systems.
  • Create a plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, & LGBTQ2+ people.
  • Develop a First Nations justice and policing strategy.
  • Implement a federal use-of-force standard with a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate use-of-force.
  • Immediately ban carding by the RCMP, & work to end the practice in Canada.

Conservative:

  • Create a Canadian Indigenous Enterprise Corporation & provide an initial $5 billion investment.
  • Commit $25 million to a national police program to reduce the incarceration rates of Canada’s Indigenous people.
  • Provide $1 billion to Indigenous Drug Addiction & Mental Health Support facilities & networks.
  • Hire 200+ RCMP officers to combat gangs & the smuggling of guns & drugs.
  • Fund investigations at all former residential schools in Canada. Allocate resources for communities to honour any individuals discovered through the investigation.
  • Build a national monument that honours residential school survivors & children who were lost. 

Jobs, Taxes, the Federal Budget, & Canada’s Economic Future

Liberal:

  • Introduce a $15/hr federal minimum wage (currently $13/hr).
  • Invest $250 million in Canadian aerospace.
  • Invest $400 million into helping charities & nonprofits recover from the pandemic.
  • Invest $470 million in helping connect level one apprentices with small businesses.
  • Create 85,000 on-the-job learning opportunities with a $708 billion investment.
  • Support high-speed internet access in remote areas with $1 billion for the Universal Broadband Fund.

NDP:

  • Create a national $15/hr minimum wage; eventually, increase that to $20/hr.
  • Ban unpaid internships.
  • Develop a national industrial strategy to build an advanced low carbon manufacturing economy. 
  • Boost the top marginal tax rate by two points, put in place a luxury goods tax, & introduce a wealth tax.  
  • Raise corporation tax by 3 points.
  • Give every Canadian affordable access to high-speed broadband within four years.

Conservative:

  • Double the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit for the next three years to help create more places for apprentices.
  • Pay up to 50% of the salary of new hires for six months following the end of CEWS.
  • Implement a 3% tax on large multinational corporations that don’t pay tax in Canada.
  • Invest $5 billion to fund programs aimed at making major advances in underdeveloped industries.
  • Month-long GST holiday this fall.
  • Connect all of Canada to high-speed internet by 2025.

Why Vote?

While I have voted in every local, provincial and federal election since I turned 18, I still cringe when someone tells me that I must vote. My inner rebel wants to launch into a full-fledged debate whenever I’m reminded that voting is my civic duty. There are many reasons I may not vote, such as not being comfortable with supporting the current parties and their platforms, being unable to vote due to physical barriers or personal issues, or encountering registration problems. As usual, there are so many internal factors that influence me, so, if don’t want to vote, I don’t have to vote!

However, this internalized “I don’t have to vote” anger is usually the very thing that gets me to the polls. By the time election day comes around, I’ve had plenty of time to think about Canada’s long, dark history. We have a record of assimilating minority groups while proudly claiming diversity and inclusiveness. Our country has repeatedly silenced the screams of vulnerable people and we all know that electing a new figurehead isn’t going to magically change that.

But… change is slow, and we have to start somewhere, right?

Historically, the right to vote was withheld from people that society deemed as “weak” or “lesser” like women and people of colour. White women gained the right to vote in 1921. Chinese, Japanese, and South Asian women couldn’t vote until 1948, 29 years later. Finally, in 1960, indigenous women were permitted at the polls—marking the first time in history that all women in Canada were finally allowed to vote. This exhaustingly long process would have taken even longer if eligible citizens didn’t voice their opinions by voting.

Change is happening now. When reviewing the summarized platforms, I can already see how parties have adjusted to entertain our generation. Parties are increasing their focus on topics that interest us like student debt, the housing crisis, global warming, and inclusivity. These topics wouldn’t have been addressed if they weren’t important to most voting Canadians.

So, if you’re like me and you cringe at the idea of voting for a country that has historically wronged so many humans, vote because you can. There are still so many people living in this country that aren’t able to vote. Recognize your right to vote as a privilege and express your vision for the future!