Good morning. Wendy Cox in Vancouver here.
My nephew is 19 and has lived in Canada for only two years after spending most of his life abroad with his parents. I’m asking – demanding – that he vote on Monday. Not surprisingly, he looks at me like I have asked him to study for an exam.
Election day is only a weekend away. The campaign has been panned by opinion columnists and letter writers to the Globe as a dispiriting exercise in mud-slinging and hyperbole.
Amid the name-calling, the character questions, the polling and the strategy, many voters like my nephew are either confused or downright reluctant to cast a ballot. But it’s important: Voter turnout hit the lowest point since 1945 in 2008 when only 58.8 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot. Turnout has ratcheted up in the last two elections to 68.3 per cent in 2015. But that hopeful sign isn’t that much to cheer about considering it is still lower than at any point after 1993.
So what’s a voter to do? The Globe can help.
Over the last week, the Globe has been publishing what we call Explainers: There’s no narration, no quotes, no party leaders offering opinions. We plow through the parties’ platforms and statements to gather the basic facts to help you make up your mind on the issues.
The issues explainer reveals all of the parties have something to say about – carbon pricing, pipelines, taxes, jobs, pharmacare, child care, housing, Indigenous policy, foreign policy, immigration, Bill 21 and gun control. A close read will find some significant differences in approaches.
We’ve pulled together several other explainers that explore specific issues in-depth. A national drug plan has been talked about for years, but received sharper focus in this campaign. The Liberals made it a key part of their platform, as did the NDP and Greens. The Conservatives do not include such a plan in their promises, suggesting instead that the cost of it is prohibitive.
With polls showing an election without a clear frontrunner, every vote will count. I’ve written a column this week explaining the impact that women voters have had on choosing governments. Campaign offices used to sport posters with the slogan One Vote and a list of elections from all over the world where one extra vote made the difference.
My nephew lives in a riding that has been Liberal since the 1980s. It will likely remain a Liberal stronghold after Monday’s vote. But at 19, it’s important for him to learn to use his voice. I’ll be offering him a cup of coffee and an option: Would he prefer to read our explainers in print or in digital?
This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here. This is a new project and we’ll be experimenting as we go, so let us know what you think.
Around the West:
MANNING CENTRE: A former chief electoral officer says the next government must change a loophole that allowed the Manning Centre to collect donations and then pass them along to third-party election advertisers without disclosing them. Jean-Pierre Kingsley says that while donations from the Manning Centre to groups like Canada Strong and Proud are legal, they violate the spirit of the legislation, which was to let Canadians know who was attempting to influence federal elections.
CLIMATE PROTEST: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was in Alberta this week, a provocative visit that put her in the middle of the debate about how to confront climate change and the future of the province’s oil sector. Ms. Thunberg’s appearance at a rally in Edmonton went off without incident and she didn’t directly wade into the debate about the oil sands.
VANCOUVER MAYOR: The mayor of Vancouver is warning against an Andrew Scheer victory on Monday, saying a Conservative government would be bad for the city. Kennedy Stewart, a former New Democrat MP, is nonetheless avoiding endorsing any of Mr. Scheer’s rivals, including the NDP.
JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD: Former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould is attempting to win as an Independent in the riding of Vancouver Granville – a riding where the contest is wrapped up in questions of race and echoes of the SNC-Lavalin affair. Nancy MacDonald takes the temperature in the riding.
TRUCKING: The Alberta government has reversed course on training and licensing requirements for agricultural truckers, announcing that drivers who received exemptions from stricter rules will now be required to take the updated training and tests.
DRUG POLICY: The opioid crisis has hit Western Canada the hardest, as health officials scramble to curb a trend that has killed thousands of people in B.C. and Alberta in recent years. Andrea Woo combed through the major parties’ platforms to see what they plan to do about overdoses – and what they’re not talking about.
BRETT WILSON: Former Dragons Den judge Brett Wilson has become an agitator in Alberta politics, using his Twitter account to launch biting attacks against the federal Liberals and other perceived opponents of the oil-and-gas sector. The Globe’s Kelly Cryderman sat down with Mr. Wilson, who says he enjoys a freedom to speak his mind: “I’m not elected, so I can’t get kicked out. I’m not employed, so no one can fire me."
Gary Mason on Greta Thunberg’s Alberta visit: "There is no question that Ms. Thunberg’s stopover will bring the province and government unwanted world-wide attention. People will learn, for instance, about the $30-million war room (now officially called the Canadian Energy Centre) designed to investigate and “correct” oil-sands critics. It will also be an opportunity for more people to learn about the public inquiry that the government called to look into the funding sources of some of those same critics. "
Eric Reguly on nuclear power: “If Suncor can dabble in wind energy, dabbling in another form of clean energy – uranium – does not seem so far-fetched. Note that Suncor calls itself Suncor Energy, not Suncor Oil, implying that it’s open to projects other than gouging oily guck out of the ground.”
Jordan Westfall and David Mendes on opioid overdoses and the federal campaign: “The implicit message taken from this exclusion: It doesn’t matter how many people die, how many family members are in mourning, or how many more people Canada will lose to overdose in the future. These lives are not worth discussing, except – as in the case of Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives – for those who use them as political scapegoats.”
David Miller on climate change: “By taking the best of these ideas and replicating them at scale, we can help Canada to quickly get on a path to cut emissions in line with the scientific evidence, and thereby prevent climate breakdown. A sustainable future that benefits every Canadian citizen and resident is possible. We just need to choose it.”
Adrienne Tanner on the mayor of Port Moody: "As much as it might seem unfair to force someone who has not yet been tried and convicted to step away from their job, the Port Moody example shows the damage of allowing them to stay is even greater. "