Justin Trudeau, Liberals
For Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the end of the Stephen Harper era four years ago was meant to be just the start of a long-lasting progressive revolution in Canada. But a host of forces – some global, such as Donald Trump’s trade nationalism; others internal, such as the SNC-Lavalin affair; others personal, such as the blackface scandal – have altered Mr. Trudeau’s vision and how the world perceives him. Now, The Globe and Mail’s Adam Radwanski writes, his pitch to Canadians is much closer to the Liberal messages of old: Returning Conservatives to power would be bad and only support for the Liberals can stop it. Mr. Radwanski asks how Canadians can interpret that message, and the Liberals’ record, in 2019:
To judge Mr. Trudeau through the rosy lens of 2015 ... is to ignore the real world in which he has been governing. The more confounding question is whether he has taken the opportunities he has actually had to advance his priorities, and whether he has reacted sufficiently to the many unexpected challenges that have arisen. And that leaves voters to consider whether they can live with the sort of modern centrism that Mr. Trudeau has attempted, while being stuck in the middle, even if it’s not quite most people’s ideal.
Andrew Scheer, Conservatives
When The Globe’s Campbell Clark and Mr. Radwanski profiled Andrew Scheer in September, one revelation in particular – that he was never licensed as an insurance agent or broker in Saskatchewan, despite claiming in various official bios that he was a broker before entering politics – led to pointed questions on the campaign trail, and a call from the Liberals to have Saskatchewan authorities investigate. More broadly, the profile looked at the reality behind Mr. Scheer’s everyman image, how his upbringing brought him toward social conservatism and a kinship with libertarians, and how the Conservatives settled on him as the consensus candidate to lead them into this election. Some insight into Mr. Scheer’s political philosophy came when he was asked why one of his favourite films is A Man for All Seasons, the story of a 16th-century English politician refusing to compromise his Catholic beliefs for his king:
I just thought, ‘There’s someone who says that doing the right thing is the only option. You can’t console yourself with maybe short-term gains, material gains, if you are compromising your core beliefs. You’re violating your own conscience or you’re twisting yourself into something you’re not.’ Now, obviously, lots of issues you can be pragmatic about. You can make compromises and work as a team on different issues, but having those kinds of navigation points in your life that just say, ‘This is what I am about.’
Jagmeet Singh, NDP
When the New Democrats chose the young and hip Jagmeet Singh as leader in 2017, they hoped he would be the charismatic figure they needed to win back left-wing voters from Mr. Trudeau. During the campaign, there have been some setbacks – internal party divisions, falling fundraising, national media appearances where Mr. Singh looked unprepared – but his response to photos of Mr. Trudeau in racist makeup brought him countrywide praise, and a bump in the NDP’s poll numbers too. The Globe’s Ann Hui chronicled how he handled issues of race on the campaign trail, and he told her how his upbringing as a Sikh in Ontario prepared him for a life in politics:
Living in the struggle, living when things are tough, is very normal for me. Those painful things taught me to see the connection we share – that we’re all often feeling like we don’t belong, and that many people are also hurting and struggling.
Elizabeth May, Greens
In the last federal election, the Greens’ lacklustre performance left Elizabeth May wondering whether it was time to find a successor. When she asked around and couldn’t find a suitable replacement, she scuttled her retirement plans – and stayed at the helm of the Green Party in an election where the resurgent climate movement has much at stake. At her home and on the campaign trail in B.C., Ms. May told The Globe’s Justine Hunter about why this election is so pivotal:
This is the election, literally, of our lives, where voters decide whether Canada is going to go along with pretending we care about climate change but not doing anything about it, or whether we are going to take our responsibilities as a wealthy, industrialized country, respected in the world, and do what is required.
First the leaders, now the issues
Consult our library of election explainers to get an overview of where the parties stand on everything from climate policy to gun control.