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Illustration by Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail (source image: Reuters)


On Sept. 20, Canadians will decide which parties govern Parliament in an election that’s been stranger than any other thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about each party’s platform and where they stand on the issues that affect Canadians the most.

Live updates: Canada 2021 federal election results

Subscribe to The Globe and Mail’s politics newsletter for the latest election updates. Party-preference polls from Nanos Research, in partnership with The Globe and CTV, are released every morning through the campaign.


Overview: The parties

  • Liberals: When he triggered this election, Justin Trudeau declared that it would be a performance review of his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the government brought in billions in social benefits for Canadians. If he wins a majority this time, he will have more room to act on the economic recovery, implement a national child-care system and continue its plan to bring Canada to net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.
  • Conservatives: Leader Erin O’Toole hopes to break through against the Liberals in ways his predecessor, Andrew Scheer, failed to do in 2019. That’s involved serious policy shifts on climate change (the party once opposed carbon pricing, but Mr. O’Toole supports a form of it) and distancing itself from social-conservative stands on same-sex marriage.
  • NDP: The support of Jagmeet Singh’s socialist party has been critical to the Trudeau government on budgets, pandemic policy and more. They’re in third place in the polls and are aiming to gain ground so they can continue to hold influence in a minority parliament.
  • Bloc Québécois: The once-ailing separatist party had a good year in 2019, taking 32 out of Quebec’s 78 seats. After two years of challenging the Trudeau government on confidence motions, Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet’s goal this time is to hammer Quebec-specific wedge issues that will allow it to hold those seats.
  • Greens: The environmentalist party came out of the last election with three seats, but by 2021 it had only two, and a new leader, Annamie Paul, struggling to contain internal feuds over racism and Middle East policy. Ms. Paul has spent most of the campaign in the Toronto riding she hopes to win.
  • People’s Party: Founded by former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, this far-right populist party won no seats in its 2019 debut and got just 1.6 of the popular vote. Party-preference polls in this campaign have shown it doing as well or better than the Greens, but it’s faced criticism for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and being endorsed by white-nationalist groups for its anti-immigration policies.


More explainers


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Health care

Liberal Party of Canada

A re-elected Liberal government would spend an additional $6-billion to help address health-care wait times. The Liberals would also spend $3.2-billion to help provinces and territories hire 7,500 new family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners and $400-million over four years to improve access to virtual care. The party is also pledging to incentivize health professionals to practise in underserved rural areas by increasing the maximum debt relief under the Canada Student Loans forgiveness program to $60,000 from $40,000 in the next five years and would make dentists, pharmacists, midwives and early childhood educators eligible for debt relief. The party’s platform includes a promise to cut back health transfer payments to provinces that allow extra billing for publicly insured services.

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The Liberals would also create new regulations under the Canada Health Act to underscore the need for access to sexual and reproductive services across the country and would deny charity status to anti-abortion organizations such as crisis pregnancy centres. Mr. Trudeau is pledging to create new mental health transfers, and the party is promising a range of initiatives to address the opioid crisis, including $500-million for treatment programs. The Liberals would also create a national long-term care act to improve conditions in such facilities, provide 10 days of paid sick leave and develop a national school nutrition program.

Conservative Party of Canada

A Conservative government would increase health care funding by $60-billion over the next decade, but only $3.6-billion of that would arrive in the next five years. The party is also pledging to create a national mental health plan that would ask the provinces to dedicate a portion of health care funding to mental-health initiatives. And employers that offer mental-health coverage would receive a tax credit for 25 per cent of the cost for the first three years. The party also wants to create a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. The Conservatives would also increase employment insurance benefits for seriously ill individuals to 52 weeks from 26. Mr. O’Toole has promised his government would protect the conscience rights of health care workers by allowing them to refuse abortion care or medical assistance in dying – but those workers would still have to refer patients to another provider. Also, a Conservative government would restore the 10-day waiting period for anyone who requests medical assistance in dying and would also reinstate the requirement for two independent witnesses to ensure an individual is not being coerced, along with a number of other changes. Mr. O’Toole has promised to spend $325-million over the next three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres.

New Democratic Party

If elected, the NDP would introduce a national pharmacare program. The party is also emphasizing its commitment to a public health care system and working with provinces to improve wait times, as well as improving access to virtual care. The party wants to improve Canada’s pandemic response to deal with future threats and develop a federal vaccination strategy. The NDP would also eliminate private, for-profit nursing homes and create national standards for long-term care. In addition, the party would create a universal dental care program and provide public coverage for mental-health services, eye and ear care and fertility services. To address the opioid crisis, the NDP would end the criminalization of drug addiction and provide a regulated alternative to street drugs. The party also supports supervised drug-use sites.

Green Party of Canada

The Greens would create a national pharmacare program and expand universal health care to include long-term care and improved access to mental-health services. The party would also increase provincial health transfers based on demographics and health needs. The Greens are promising to negotiate with provinces and territories to prioritize access to mental-health and rehabilitation services, as well as access to abortion care and gender-affirming health services. The party would change Health Canada’s mandate to focus on mental health and addiction, health promotion, disease prevention and the risks of climate change. The party’s platform pledges a number of initiatives, such as banning neonicotinoid pesticides and toxic ingredients in personal care products. The Greens would decriminalize the possession of drugs for personal use, ensure access to a safe supply of drugs and increase funding for community organizations to test street drugs. The platform also emphasizes the need to expand access to virtual care and telemedicine.

Bloc Québécois

The Bloc wants to improve domestic production of vaccines and personal protective equipment. The party would prioritize the negotiation of lower drug prices, improve paid sick leave and increase health transfers to all provinces and territories.

People’s Party of Canada

The PPC is campaigning on a promise to replace cash health transfers with a permanent transfer of tax points of equivalent value to all provinces and territories.

source photo fred lum/the globe and mail

Jobs

Liberals

The Liberals are promising to extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until March. The program covers part of the cost of hiring back workers or increasing employees’ hours for businesses that saw major revenue drops during the pandemic. The Liberals are tying job creation plans to child care, worker retraining and a push toward a low-carbon economy. The party’s $10-a-day child care program is intended to bring more women into the work force while increasing the number of jobs in the child care industry. The Liberals say they will create a $2-billion fund to retrain oil and gas workers for green jobs. And they promise to introduce a new EI benefit for self-employed Canadians that would provide assistance for up to 26 weeks.

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Conservatives

The Conservatives are promising something similar to the Canada Recovery Hiring Program. It would cover 50 per cent of the salaries of new hires for six months after the end of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program in October. The party is also looking to spur job creation through a set of tax credits aimed at boosting business investment. That includes a 5-per-cent tax credit for investments in capital equipment over the next two years and a 25-per-cent tax credit for individual investments of as much as $100,000 in small businesses. The Conservatives say they will require “gig economy companies” to make contributions equivalent to CPP and EI premiums to a new, portable “employee savings account.”

NDP

The NDP says it would continue to offer wage and rent subsidies for small businesses until they’re “able to fully reopen.” The party would also introduce a long-term hiring bonus to cover the employer portion of EI and CPP for new or rehired staff. The NDP jobs plan is geared toward “a low-carbon future,” with the party promising to support jobs in energy-efficiency retrofitting, renewable energy and public transit. But the platform also focuses on manufacturing jobs, especially in the auto industry. The party is proposing a number of changes to employment insurance, including making EI available to people who quit their jobs to go back to school or to provide child care, and expanding EI for seasonal workers.

Greens

The Greens support extending wage and rent subsidies until pandemic-related restrictions are fully lifted. The party is focused on creating jobs in the green energy economy, with the aim of replacing “every high paying fossil fuel sector job with a high paying green sector job through wage insurance, retraining programs and early retirement plans.”

Bloc

The Bloc’s main concern is federal transfers to Quebec for health care and support for struggling sectors such as tourism. Party leader Yves-François Blanchet is adamant that those transfers not come with strings attached.

PPC

The PPC plan to boost employment involves cutting the corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent and eliminating taxes on personal capital gains. The idea is to leave more money in the hands of business owners so they can invest in productivity-enhancing equipment. The party says it would eliminate all government subsidies to businesses, including regional development grants and conditional loans and loan guarantees.

Source photo Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Climate targets and how to meet them

Liberals

In government, the Liberals pledged to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40-45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Their strategy involves the country’s carbon price steadily rising to $170 per tonne by the end of the decade (with accompanying rebates rising as well) and an array of complementary programs, such as the $8-billion industrial decarbonization fund in this year’s budget. Their biggest new climate promise in this election campaign is the proposed requirement that at least 50 per cent of passenger-vehicle sales be electric by 2030, supported by an extension of EV purchase rebates and increased spending on charging infrastructure. Other new commitments include an expanded strategy to make buildings more energy efficient, a net-zero power grid by 2035 and new tax credits to subsidize renewable electricity generation and clean technologies.

Conservatives

The Conservatives say they would return Canada to its previous target of a 30-per-cent reduction in emissions by 2030. Although they no longer oppose carbon pricing outright, they would dramatically scale it back – pledging to cap the fuel charge paid by most fossil-fuel consumers at $50 per tonne, while switching from the current system of rebates to one in which every payment would go into a personalized “low-carbon savings account.” They, too, are promising an EV sales quota – 30 per cent of 2030 new vehicle sales – but have made no promises regarding rebates. They are similarly committed to a building retrofit strategy. One area where they would go beyond current government policy is requiring a 20-per-cent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold domestically, up from 13 per cent under the federal Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Another is an additional $3-billion for natural climate solutions, with a focus on working with farmers.

NDP

The New Democrats are calling for Canada’s emissions-reduction commitment to be raised to 50 per cent by 2030. Their platform is less detailed than that of the Liberals or Conservatives in terms of explicit spending or regulatory planks. Among their more specific proposals are the addition of carbon budgets to federal climate accountability legislation, which would allocate permissible emissions by sector over multiyear periods; a 2030 target for a net-zero power grid; and the creation of a civilian climate corps, to enlist young people for conservation efforts. The NDP is also more pointed than the other parties about favouring domestic industries when making climate investments, including larger sales rebates for EVs made in Canada.

Greens

The Greens have the most ambitious 2030 emissions-reduction target: 60 per cent. They are the only party to advocate raising the carbon price more sharply than the current plan dictates. They also propose ending the sale of gas-powered personal vehicles entirely by 2030 and introducing a buyback program for existing ones. They propose roughly quadrupling Canada’s climate financing to developing countries to US$4-billion annually. Like the NDP, they suggest the introduction of carbon budgets and a civilian climate corps. And while the Liberals, Tories and NDP all express interest in tariffs (known as carbon border adjustments) on some carbon-intensive imports, the Greens are unequivocal about imposing them.

Bloc

The Bloc’s platform does not set an emissions-reduction target for 2030, nor does it feature a comprehensive set of climate promises. Almost all the green policies it does propose are designed to benefit Quebec, especially by promoting or protecting the province’s abundance of hydroelectricity. It calls for the formula for equalization payments to benefit provinces with relatively low emissions, proposes funding to expand Quebec’s electricity sector while warning against any efforts to impose interprovincial transmission onto it and demands that Ottawa stop subsidizing large auto makers in Ontario and direct more funding to clean-tech companies in Quebec instead.

PPC

The PPC rejects the science of climate change and would reverse all significant government policies aimed at reducing emissions.

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The future of the fossil fuel industry

Liberals

The Liberals are effectively promising a gradual, managed transition away from oil production. Their platform includes a new promise to set increasingly restrictive caps on emissions from the oil-and-gas sector at five-year intervals. (It’s not yet clear how they would be enforced.) They are also pledging to end subsidies to that industry – though that would apparently not rule out government supports for investments that help fossil-fuel companies lower their emissions, including carbon capture technology, for which a new federal tax credit was in development when the election was called. Meanwhile, they are promising $2-billion for a new “futures fund” for oil-reliant provinces, aimed at economic diversification and helping workers retrain – part of the broader “Just Transition” strategy for which the government launched consultations just before the campaign.

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Conservatives

The Conservatives remain the friendliest of the leading parties toward the oil-and-gas sector and are particularly bullish on natural gas exports, which they would promote as a transitional fuel for countries trying to get off coal. They are promising an array of clean-technology supports aimed largely at helping the industry reduce emissions and remain competitive, including $5-billion for carbon capture. While the Liberals have also promised support for using natural gas sites to produce hydrogen, a fuel source that does not produce emissions when used and is increasingly in demand globally, the Tory platform puts more emphasis on it. They also pledge new legislation to crack down on blockades by protesters, such as those opposing pipelines; an end to the federal ban on oil tankers off British Columbia’s northern coast; and a revival of the scrapped Northern Gateway pipeline. They do not promise a transition or diversification strategy for oil-producing provinces.

NDP

The NDP platform does not provide such a clear picture of the oil-and-gas sector’s trajectory. However, they promise to end subsidies to that sector, which seems to mean no federal support for investments in technologies that could simultaneously reduce the industry’s emissions and improve its viability, such as carbon capture. Although they have sharply criticized the government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, they have not committed in this campaign to scrapping it or stopping its expansion. To help workers displaced by a transition to cleaner energy sources, they are promising a strategy that includes expanded employment insurance, retraining and job placement help, as well as the protection of retirement benefits.

Greens

The Greens propose the most aggressive transition away from fossil-fuel production, with an end to the leasing of federal land for that purpose, an end to all new oil exploration and pipeline projects and a phase-out of existing bitumen operations between 2030 and 2035. They cite wage insurance and early retirement as part of their plan for transitioning workers.

Bloc

The Bloc is adversarial when it comes to anything to do with the Western resource industry. In addition to joining several other parties in proposing an end to fossil-fuel subsidies, its platform reiterates its opposition to oil pipelines or additional rail transport through Quebec. It calls for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to be scrapped and an end to any promotion of oil exports. It also takes aim at the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ support for “blue hydrogen,” produced from fossil-fuel sites while using carbon-capture technology to minimize emissions, in favour of “green hydrogen,” produced from renewable resources such as Quebec’s hydroelectricity.

PPC

The PPC platform promises robust support for pipeline projects, a reversal of the government’s Northern B.C. oil tanker ban, as well as efforts to “counter anti-oil and anti-pipeline propaganda from radical environmentalists and foreign foundations.” It also promises to “eliminate all corporate subsidies,” which presumably would include those to oil and gas producers.

source photo Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty images

Foreign policy

Liberals

The Liberals promise to establish a “Canadian Centre for Peace, Order and Good Government” to expand the availability of Canadian expertise and assistance to countries seeking to advance justice, promote human rights, inclusion and democracy and deliver good governance. They would establish Canada as a safe haven for people fleeing political or security crises, especially human-rights defenders, journalists, feminists, LGBTQ2 activists or members of religious or ethnic minorities at risk. In that vein, they would enable staff at Canada’s embassies around the world to support the work of feminists and LGBTQ2 and human-rights activists by quadrupling the annual investment in the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, which funds projects in developing countries. They would also help establish an international anti-corruption court; donate at least 200 million vaccine doses to vulnerable populations around the world through the COVAX initiative by the end of 2022; launch a comprehensive Asia-Pacific strategy to deepen diplomatic, economic and defence partnerships in the region; introduce legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad are not contributing to human-rights abuses; and work with G7, NATO and like-minded partners to develop and expand collective responses to arbitrary detention, economic coercion, cyberthreats, foreign interference in democratic processes and egregious violations of human rights.

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Conservatives

The Tories would shift Canada’s international trade priorities away from China and toward other countries in the Indo-Pacific and Africa. As part of this, they would pursue a Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom (“CANZUK”) free trade deal that includes the free flow of capital investment between partner countries, enhanced defence and security partnerships and expanded intelligence co-operation. They also pledge deeper ties with India, including a free trade deal and investment treaty. They would pass a foreign agents registry act for individuals and companies acting as agents of foreign principals (country, corporation, entity or individual) in a political or quasi-political capacity, including lobbying, policy development, advertising, and grassroots mobilization. They would work with allies to address efforts by China, Russia, Iran and others actively undermining democratic norms, institutions and the rule of law. They would also advance the idea of an international anti-corruption court; pass legislation mandating an office of religious freedom and conscience to promote and protect freedom of thought and conscience as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; pursue reform of the UN Human Rights Council to prohibit gross human-rights abusers from becoming members and stop the council from singling out Israel for criticism; withdraw from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure and further investigate the company’s role in providing surveillance technology used against the Uyghur minority in China; and grant asylum to mainland Chinese proponents of freedom, as well as persecuted minorities such as Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners and others.

NDP

An NDP government would “stand up to China with a strong and coherent strategy to defend Canadian interests at home and abroad.” The NDP says it would work with allies on a “co-ordinated international response to China’s disregard of the rule of law” and “call out human-rights abuses by China, stand with Hong Kong pro-democracy asylum seekers, and provide co-ordinated support for those facing threats by Chinese entities here in Canada.” The NDP would also boost Canada’s international development assistance, with the goal of contributing 0.7 per cent of this country’s gross national income to international aid. They also pledge to support the waiving of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and ensure the necessary transfer of technology “so that low-income countries can start making vaccines locally.” They would also “contribute more to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to end these epidemics and support heath care systems in developing countries.”

Greens

The Green Party says it would sign and ratify the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which more than 60 countries, including Canada and most NATO member states, have refused to sign. It would cease all federal support to Canadian exporters of arms and fossil fuels, with the exception of potential necessary sales of peacekeeping equipment in co-operation with the United Nations. It would lead an international discussion to define “environmental refugee,” include it as a category of refugees accepted into Canada and grant asylum to an “appropriate share.” It would pursue fair trade policies that prioritize the protection of human rights, labour standards, cultural diversity and ecosystems. The Greens say they would strengthen the mandate and tools available to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to independently investigate the conduct of Canadian companies operating abroad and report publicly on its findings. They also promise to lead international discussions to reform the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to ensure that “intellectual property rights are not barriers to the achievement and furtherance of international human rights and clean development.”

Bloc

The Bloc does not seek to govern Canada – it only runs candidates in Quebec – but has goals for Quebec’s international relations. The party’s platform says the Bloc adheres to the Gérin-Lajoie doctrine, first formulated in 1965, which says Quebec should conduct its own international relations – including signing treaties – in areas under its jurisdiction, such as education and culture. The Bloc would like to see Canada obliged to obtain consent from Quebec before taking international positions on any issue within Quebec’s jurisdiction. The party also calls for Canada to stop selling military goods to Saudi Arabia because of that country’s intervention in the war in Yemen, where the Saudis are accused of killing civilians.

PPC

The PPC pledges to withdraw from all United Nations commitments that “threaten our sovereignty,” calling the UN a “dysfunctional organization where non-democratic countries, because of their large numbers, have the most influence.” It says it has no interest in seeing the UN “grow into a more powerful quasi-world government.” It would withdraw from UN agreements such as the Global Compact on Migration and the Paris Agreement on climate change and “reduce our presence in UN institutions to a minimum.” The PPC would also end development aid to foreign countries by phasing it out and focusing Canadian international assistance “exclusively on emergency humanitarian action in cases such as health crises, major conflicts and natural disasters.”

Source photo Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Defence

Liberals

The Liberals would work with the U.S. to modernize NORAD – upgrading the North Warning System, deploying new technology to improve surveillance and monitoring and improving command and control systems. They would work to root out all sources of anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, LGBTQ2 prejudice, gender bias and white supremacy in the Canadian Armed Forces and implement the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Systemic Racism. They would also expand the resources available to sexual assault survivors in the military through the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre and make these services available to all Department of National Defence employees, veterans and members of military families. They would implement the recommendations of the independent external comprehensive review led by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour to address sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, including instituting external oversight and independence over the processes of reporting, investigating and adjudicating complaints, outside of the chain of command. The Liberals would also expand Canada’s long- and short-range strategic airlift capability in order to increase Canada’s contribution to NATO, coalition and allied military operations abroad and to improve support for domestic and international emergency response.

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Conservatives

The Tories would increase defence spending to “move closer” to a NATO pledge to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence. They would call a public inquiry into harassment and discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces; develop a new Arctic naval base at Churchill, Man., that would make the Arctic more accessible to the Navy year round; update and enhance the North Warning System and extend it to protect the entire Canadian Arctic; create a NATO centre of excellence for Arctic defence at the Resolute Bay CAF Training Centre to enhance co-operation and interoperability with allies; join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Australia, India, Japan and the United States) in the Indo-Pacific to address increasing instability in the region, which they say is a security threat that Canada can no longer ignore; and procure two armed, heavy icebreakers for the Royal Canadian Navy to contribute to Canada’s efforts to “own our north” in the face of increased Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic.

NDP

The party promises that contracts for new military equipment, including ships and fighter jets, will ensure industrial benefits and jobs for Canadians. They would immediately implement the recommendations of the Deschamps Report, including establishing independent oversight and accountability for sexual harassment and assault in the military; improve search-and-rescue response times by raising them to international standards and ensuring that our capabilities are sufficient to meet the needs of the North; make mental-health support for Canadian Armed Forces members and their families a priority; oppose the privatization of services on military bases across the country; and ensure that funding supports national defence and international commitments, with a renewed priority of advancing multilateral peacekeeping initiatives around the world.

Greens

The Greens would also quickly implement the recommendations of the Deschamps Report. They would sign and ratify the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and press for the conversion of military industries in Canada and worldwide into peaceful and restorative industries. They would realign Canada’s defence spending to increase our ability to deliver disaster assistance (e.g. through the Disaster Assistance Response Team), respond to domestic crises and contribute to UN peace missions and cyber-defence initiatives. The party would reinforce Canada’s Arctic sovereignty through expanded patrols and funding for community infrastructure development, regional sustainability projects, research, cultural and other socioeconomic activities. It would also assess Canada’s membership in military alliances such as NATO and NORAD to ensure they are meeting Canada’s priorities when it comes to diplomacy, development and defence.

Bloc

The party wants the Davie shipyard in Lévis, Que., to receive a larger share of the federal government contracts to build ships for the Royal Canadian Navy. It urges a complete revision of the shipbuilding strategy to make Davie a full partner.

PPC

The PPC pledges to prioritize its relationship with the United States and work closely with other allies to “maintain a peaceful international order” – but says it would not get involved in foreign conflicts without “a compelling strategic interest in doing so.”

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Gun control

Liberals

A Liberal government would continue its crackdown on magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles by introducing a buyback program. Owners will be able to sell their guns or have them rendered permanently inoperable. Other measures would ban magazines capable of being modified to hold more than five rounds, set aside $1-billion for jurisdictions that ban handguns and increase the maximum penalty for gun smuggling from 10 to 14 years.

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Conservatives

Mr. O’Toole has shifted his position on last year’s federal ban on some semi-automatic rifles. While his platform says he would repeal the ban, Mr. O’Toole stated recently that he would keep it in place. Conservative Party gun proposals focus on a review and replacement of the current firearms classification system. The platform proposes increasing penalties for gun smugglers, expanding RCMP border enforcement teams and stiffening punishments for people who commit gun crimes while prohibited from possessing a firearm. Another proposal goes after so-called straw purchasers – licensed gun owners who buy firearms legally before selling them on the black market – by requiring anyone who transfers more than three guns a year to get a business licence.

NDP

Firearms policy warrants a single paragraph in the NDP platform. The party vows to keep assault weapons and illegal handguns “off our streets” while addressing gun smuggling, organized crime and gang violence.

Greens

The party platform does not mention guns, but Ms. Paul said during the second French-language debate that she favours banning all “assault firearms” and tackling root causes of crime such as poverty and homelessness.

Bloc

The Bloc proposes adding a category to the Criminal Code with a precise definition of an “assault weapon” in order to ban all such firearms. It says a buyback program must be mandatory but must also respect the rights of law-abiding hunters. And it wants to see more weapons intercepted at the border.

PPC

The PPC would replace the Firearms Act “with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime”; replace the current licensing system with a lifetime certification system; simplify the firearms classification system to eliminate what it calls “ineffective restrictions”; repeal the federal cabinet’s 2020 ban on some 1,500 types of firearms; and “mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only.”

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Small business

Liberals

Early in the pandemic, the government created wage and rent subsidies to help businesses that lost revenue due to COVID-19. Those subsidies are set to end on Oct. 23. If re-elected, the Liberals say they would keep up “temporary” wage and rent support just for the tourism sector, which has struggled with lockdowns and travel restrictions. They would also extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which began this summer to cover a portion of the costs of new hires. The Liberals also say they would introduce a program promised in the spring budget to help small businesses with e-commerce. They also promise to finally move forward with a plan to lower credit card fees charged to merchants.

Conservatives

The Tories’ Canada Job Surge Plan would cover 25 to 50 per cent of the salaries of new hires, depending on how long the employee was out of work. It would run for six months after the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy expires. The Conservatives have the only proposal aimed directly at the hard-hit food-service industry: a 50-per-cent rebate for Monday-to-Wednesday dine-in meals at restaurants for a single month. It was inspired by a program that ran in Prince Edward Island last year. For retailers, the party proposes a month-long GST holiday. And the Conservatives also propose a number of new loans and tax credits for small-business owners: a loan of as much as $200,000 (with up to 25 per cent of it forgivable, based on revenue losses); a 25-per-cent tax credit on as much as $100,000 personally invested in a small business; and a refundable tax credit for new capital investments.

NDP

The New Democrats would extend the wage and rent subsidies indefinitely for small businesses – until they are fully reopened. The NDP also promises to pay the employer portion of EI and CPP premiums for new and rehired staff. The party would also cap the fees credit cards charge merchants on every transaction to 1 per cent from the current 1.4 per cent.

Greens

The Greens would also extend the wage and rent subsidies until all pandemic restrictions are lifted. The party also proposes subsidizing the adoption of clean technology among small and medium-sized businesses and creating a $1-billion venture capital fund to support new green startups.

Bloc

The Bloc platform says seasonal businesses, such as festivals and tourist spots, have lost two seasons due to the pandemic and need targeted assistance. And the party says the federal procurement strategy needs to change to favour small and medium-sized enterprises.

PPC

The PPC platform does not specifically mention small business. In a statement, a spokesperson said the party would help small businesses by encouraging provinces to end all lockdowns and vaccine passports and by shrinking the size of the federal government.

Source photo Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press

Indigenous issues

Liberals

The Liberals say they would move ahead on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by confronting the legacy of residential schools and launching an Indigenous urban, rural and northern housing strategy. The party also says it would make “any investments necessary” to eliminate all remaining long-term drinking water advisories for First Nations – after previously promising to eliminate them all by March, 2021 – and are promising $6-billion to ensure access to clean drinking water for all First Nations.

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Conservatives

The Conservatives also say they recognize safe drinking water as a fundamental human right and would end long-term drinking-water advisories. They say they would work with Indigenous communities to find new approaches to the issue. The party has also pledged to take other steps, such as enacting a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing strategy. Their platform also includes a promise to work with Indigenous people to create a “Canadian Indigenous Enterprise Corporation” for resource development.

NDP

In its platform, the NDP says it would fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action. The party also says it would work with Indigenous peoples to co-develop a national plan for reconciliation. It says it would establish, through legislation, a national council for reconciliation to “provide oversight and accountability for this process, reporting regularly to Parliament and Canadians.” The party also says it would pursue negotiations on issues such as self-government, education, housing and health.

Greens

The Green party’s platform promises to support the Indigenous-led protection of conservation areas and to fund the stewardship of lands and waters by Indigenous guardians. It also promises to establish a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing support program for all off-reserve and urban Indigenous communities. On drinking water, the Greens promise to end all boil-water advisories. And the party says it would protect the traditional fishing rights of Indigenous people, including the right to engage in fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood.

Bloc

The Bloc’s platform proposes working with Indigenous communities to strengthen and guarantee their inherent rights. The party says it would ensure the federal government fully implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also says it would abolish the Indian Act and believes in the inherent right of Indigenous communities to self-govern.

PPC

The PPC says Indigenous issues are complex and that many Indigenous people suffer from social issues, including homelessness, crime, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide. It also cites other major issues, including the legacy of residential schools, and says it is not possible to address more than a few of those issues in the context of an election platform. It says its approach would be guided by the principles of respect, freedom, fairness and responsibility.

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Child care

Liberals

Affordable and expanded child care is a centrepiece of the Liberal platform, with the party highlighting its plan in the April budget to give the provinces and territories $29.8-billion for child care through to fiscal 2025-26. That promise (a feature of Liberal platforms since 1993) aims to expand the number of subsidized spaces and reduce fees by 50 per cent in 2022, on its way to reducing out-of-pocket costs to an average of $10 a day in 2025-26.

Conservatives

The Tories are proposing refundable tax credits that would replace both the Liberal subsidies and the existing tax deduction for child care expenses, which has been criticized for favouring wealthier families. The cost of those credits – $2.6-billion over five years – would be far less than the $29.8-billion the Liberals propose to spend on child care over that same period; however, the Conservatives say they have subtracted the $1.5-billion annual expense of the existing tax deduction and are counting on increased labour force participation in their $2.6-billion estimate. Otherwise, the total cost of the Tory plan would be closer to the Liberal outlay.

NDP

The New Democrats are again promising cheaper, universal child care. The party has not provided costing or other specifics beyond saying it wants to implement a “$10 a day child care system that’s there for all parents.”

Greens

There are few specifics in the party’s platform, but the Greens say they would implement affordable, universal child care in partnership with the provinces and others, as well as gradually increasing federal spending on child care to 1 per cent of GDP.

Bloc

The Bloc does not have much to say about national child care. But the party says it would push Ottawa for the $6-billion earmarked for Quebec under the Liberal child-care plan. The Quebec-based party has consistently said it wants federal transfers to be free of conditions.

PPC

No policy beyond promising to reverse new spending programs announced by the Liberals – which presumably includes the billions of dollars earmarked for child care.

istock

Taxation

Liberals

The party would implement a number of targeted tax increases, raising $25.5-billion in new revenues through to 2025-26 – although almost half that amount is supposed to come from stepped-up enforcement by the Canada Revenue Agency. The Liberals would increase the corporate income tax rate to 18 per cent from 15 per cent on earnings over $1-billion for banks and insurance companies. They would also levy a “Canada Recovery Dividend” on those businesses, raising $5.5-billion over four years. Tightening the rules for the federal minimum tax for individuals would raise $1.7-billion over five years. And the Liberals would tax vaping products, raising $395-million over five years. They would also boost a number of tax credits, most notably by expanding the Canada Caregiver Credit and turning it into a refundable benefit.

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Conservatives

There are no permanent broad-based tax changes in the Conservative platform, but there are a host of proposed credits and some targeted tax cuts. The biggest credit by far is the doubling of the Canada Workers Benefit for low-income individuals and families, a measure that would cost $5.8-billion a year by 2025-26. Other measures include credits for construction workers, seniors care, mental-health benefits and expanding the Canada Child Benefit. The Conservatives do propose cutting taxes, but those measures are targeted or time-limited. They include extending the deferral of capital gains taxes for rental housing investments and credits for investments in small businesses. The closest the Tories come to a broad tax cut is their proposal for a one-month GST holiday in December for purchases at brick-and-mortar retailers, carrying a price tag of $1.8-billion. They would also give the Canada Revenue Agency additional funds to squeeze more money from tax dodgers.

NDP

The party is proposing a wide range of tax increases that would raise $166.3-billion over five years, partly through more aggressive tax collection and cracking down on what the NDP calls tax havens. Unlike the Liberals, the NDP is proposing broad-based tax increases, including boosting the top rate for individuals, scaling back the favourable tax treatment of capital gains, increasing corporate taxes and a levy on “excess profits” for this fiscal year. The party’s single largest tax increase would be an annual wealth tax on households with a net worth of at least $10-million, a measure the NDP projects would raise $60.1-billion over five years. The party is not proposing any tax reductions, although it would boost some tax credits and allow seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement to keep more of their benefits even as their incomes increase.

Greens

The Greens would introduce sweeping tax increases – ending favourable treatment of capital gains, boosting the corporate tax rate to 21 per cent and an annual wealth tax for households with a net worth of $20-million or more.

Bloc

The Bloc supports a wealth tax and a real estate speculation tax, as well as cracking down on what it describes as tax avoidance by large companies. But its platform does not go beyond those broad statements.

PPC

The PPC says it would eliminate targeted tax measures that do not serve a “compelling public policy purpose” and then, after erasing the federal deficit, implement broad-based reductions in personal income and capital gains taxes and corporate taxes.

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Housing

The three leading parties agree that the country has a shortage of affordable housing. Each party has promised to increase the supply and make it easier for young Canadians to buy a home. They agree on the need for a federal registry of beneficial owners of property, and each has a plan to make it harder for foreigners to buy residential property. Here is where they differ:

Liberals

The party would cut the federal mortgage insurance rate by 25 per cent for home buyers with down payments of less than 20 per cent; create a new tax-free savings account for first-time home buyers; increase the rebate on closing costs for first-time home buyers; and fund a $1-billion program for rent-to-own projects. The party would also create a new home-renovation tax credit for families adding a secondary unit for a live-in family member. They would also give home buyers more consumer protections, such as banning blind bidding, which would require home sellers to disclose competing offers on their properties. And the party has promised to build or repair 1.4 million homes over the next four years and create a $4-billion fund to push Canada’s largest cities to create 100,000 homes within three years.

Conservatives

The party would “encourage” seven- and 10-year fixed mortgage terms in order to provide stability for first-time buyers; make it easier for homeowners to renew their mortgages with another lender; and provide tax incentives for owners of rental properties. The party said it would create one million homes over three years via proposals such as tying public transit funding to increased density and converting at least 15 per cent of the federal government’s portfolio of buildings into housing.

NDP

The party plans to lengthen the maximum mortgage amortization period to 30 years from 25 for insured mortgages on first-time home purchases; increase the rebate on closing costs for first-time home buyers; and provide struggling renters with subsidies of as much as $5,000. The party is promising 500,000 affordable homes over 10 years, which would rely on a funding mechanism to streamline the application process. And it promises to cut the GST on the construction of affordable units and use federal lands for some of the properties.

Greens

Most of the party’s housing proposals target the creation of affordable housing. It pledges to build a minimum of 300,000 affordable housing units over 10 years; make it easier to develop and support co-operative housing; and require federally funded housing developments to allocate 30 per cent of their units to affordable housing or make them available to people with disabilities and special needs. The party promises to revamp Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s mandate to focus on developing affordable and co-operative housing instead of providing mortgage insurance. The party also plans to extend the moratorium on evictions until the pandemic is over and raise the 1-per-cent vacant home tax for foreign owners who leave their properties unoccupied.

Bloc

The Bloc proposes using federally owned properties to develop low-income housing and supports a tax on real estate speculation; but, unlike the other parties, does not make facilitating home ownership a priority – ostensibly because renting is more socially acceptable and common in Quebec than in other parts of the country.

PPC

The party proposes tackling the housing crisis by slashing annual immigration levels to between 100,000 and 150,000 from the current goal of approximately 400,000. It plans to cut the Bank of Canada’s inflation target to 0 per cent from 2 per cent, which it says would cool home price inflation. It would stop providing federal funds for social housing.

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source photo Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Mandatory vaccination

Liberals

Mr. Trudeau has promised that, if re-elected, his government would require passengers to be vaccinated in order to travel on interprovincial trains, flights, cruise ships and other federally regulated forms of transportation. He has also pledged to create new rules that would require federal public employees to be vaccinated. While he has stated that there would be consequences for people who fail to comply with the policy, he has not provided any details. Liberal candidates must also be fully vaccinated, according to the party. In response to antivaccination protests outside hospitals, Mr. Trudeau has said the Liberals would create a new law barring such events from blocking access to health-care facilities. A Liberal government would also make it illegal to intimidate or harass a health professional carrying out their professional duties. Mr. Trudeau has promised to create a national vaccine passport for international travel.

Conservatives

Mr. O’Toole says his government would not mandate vaccines for federal employees, but if they are unvaccinated, they would need to take a daily rapid COVID-19 test before going to work. Passengers on federal vessels would need to provide a recent negative test or undergo a rapid test before boarding a train, plane or ship. Mr. O’Toole condemned the antivaccination protests outside hospitals this week, calling them “unacceptable,” but has not said if his party would amend or change the laws to address the issue. A Conservative government would also establish a national proof-of-vaccination program that Canadians could use for international travel. The Conservative Party is not requiring candidates to be vaccinated during the campaign, saying the decision to get vaccinated is a personal one.

NDP

Under an NDP government, federal employees would need to be vaccinated in order to be on the job or risk discipline or termination, according to Mr. Singh. In response to recent anti-vaccine protests, Mr. Singh said an NDP government would make it illegal to harass or obstruct anyone from seeking medical care and would introduce new penalties for anyone who assaults a health-care worker. The NDP supports the use of vaccine passports, and Mr. Singh has called on the government to roll out a national system as soon as possible. The party says all its candidates must be fully vaccinated.

Greens

Ms. Paul says it’s important for Canadians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – but cautions that a mandatory vaccination program risks alienating or excluding some individuals and groups.

Bloc

Mr. Blanchet says he would like to see more vaccine production based in Quebec.

PPC

Mr. Bernier opposes mandatory vaccination and is the only leader of a major federal political party who is not vaccinated against COVID-19. The party platform promises to repeal vaccine passports and mandates and includes numerous references to misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Compiled by Adam Radwanski, Steven Chase, Kristy Krikup, Carly Weeks, Mark Rendell, Rachelle Younglai, Charis Hannay, Patrick Brethour and Patrick White


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