Canadians will go to the polls on September 20, 2021 to vote for a party to manage the country’s affairs. Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau called a snap election betting that his handling of the public health and economic crises, wrought by the pandemic, would help him to gain a majority in the House of Commons.
Interestingly, polls show the Liberals and the Conservatives deadlocked, and analysts credit public irritation with Trudeau’s decision to call an election during a pandemic in what critics see as a cynical bid to regain a majority. Acknowledging that this might be true, we also understand that winning a majority would mean Trudeau would no longer need to rely on opposition parties to advance his agenda and stay in power.
Caribbean Camera has examined the platforms of the three main parties and has decided to make a recommendation to our readers based on our assessment of the party’s stand on issues affecting our Caribbean population in particular, and the minority community in general.
The Camera recognizes that elections are when politicians tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. This campaign is no exception – the candidates are promising everything, flip flopping on issues, and even going against their support base in an effort to attract voters. The electorate is obviously confused so we will attempt to clarify the issues.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) has a very progressive platform that is proposing to spend $38.5-billion over five years on a national pharma-care plan, $11-billion more for dental coverage, as part of a platform that would expand government spending by $214-billion over that period. To pay for part of it, the NDP proposes $166 billion in new tax revenues, including expanded levies on capital gains, corporations, and a wealth tax, which would add a one-per-cent tax on those with more than $10-million in wealth.
The Conservative Party proposes to spend $51.28-billion in new spending over five years and does not plan to balance the budget for at least 10 years. Stalwart conservatives are against this proposal since it goes against their fundamental principles, and destroys their “moral authority” to talk about debt and deficits.
The Liberals are proposing to spend $78 billion, and will set aside $27 billion over five years to cover the funding deals they signed with some provinces for their proposed $10 a day child care. Although recent Abacus Data show that only four percent of potential voters see making child care affordable as crucial to their vote, Camera believes that this is a major issue for minorities, especially since the pandemic.
The pandemic revealed that without reliable child care, mothers are less productive and have a difficult time getting into the paid economy. The government realized that they couldn’t open the economy without daycare and that the national childcare program added 240,000 workers to the labour force. Since Caribbean and other minorities need these services and dominate this labour pool, we should support this program.
The Camera believes that Canada is not a conservative country; therefore the majority of Canadians will not endorse the policies approved at the Conservative Party convention. Mr. O’Toole won the leadership by being on both sides of a number of issues. He was pro-LBGTQ and pro-choice, he has modified the party’s stance on reducing greenhouse gases just enough to convince skeptical centrists that the party no longer denies climate change.
Mr. O’Toole promised conservatives that he would protect their right not to perform procedures such as abortion or medical assistance in dying, or even offer referrals to others. He changed that position, saying doctors must refer patients to another physician if their conscience won’t allow them to help directly.
On gun control, he backed down from a promise to repeal a Liberal ban on 1,500 types of guns and assault weapons in the face of intense public criticism. He promised to expand commuter rail, build more subways and support a new passenger rail line between Toronto and Quebec City, but his platform does not include money to fund it.
The conservative platform pledges to shut down the recently created Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). This would be disaster for the indigenous and minority communities because thousands of jobs would be lost and the country’s infrastructure would be negatively impacted.
The CIB will invest $35 billion to increase infrastructure investment in Canada. The focus is investing in public transit, clean power, green infrastructure, broadband and trade and transport. These are the growth areas of the future and the delivery of high paying technical jobs that will expand the middleclass and move significant numbers of working and services employees out of low wage jobs and poverty.
CIB’s $10B three-year Growth Plan will strengthen Canada’s economic growth and accelerate Canada’s transition to the low carbon economy; the plan also proposes to invest one billion toward the Indigenous community infrastructure development. As of today, the CIB is participating in 25 projects; the minority community must embrace this opportunity because it offers upward mobility.
Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is defending their performance over the past six years. To his credit, Canada has one of the highest immunization rates in the Group of 20 nations with about 68 percent of Canadians fully vaccinated, and the Childcare program has increased the number of women in the workforce, decreased the number of mothers depending on social assistance, and resulted in a decline in poverty.
As far as Black non-profit and for-profit businesses, the Liberal party, through The Ecosystem Fund, has established, funded and awarded millions to black business, and black led non-profit organizations in an attempt to address systemic racism. It is now up to the awardees to deliver to the black community the services they promised. The Camera will be focusing on these organizations to ensure they deliver.
The Camera’s position is that the NDP, which currently holds 24 seats in the House, cannot win the election. The Conservative leader Mr. O’Toole has framed himself as a “conservative progressive” in order to lure blue collar workers and make them think that the party is no longer the tool of the rich and powerful. He’s trying to convince voters that this is a new, more open mainstream, center oriented Conservative Party, a party that has discarded the extreme right-wing policies of previous Conservative party platforms.
One reporter wrote that Mr. O’Toole has done the most blatant bait-and-switch in Canadian political history, because his centrist platform is at variance with what he presented to his party to win the nomination. O’Toole appears to be a political opportunist who will do and say anything to win; he fooled his party and will fool the electorate.
The Camera endorses the Liberal Party and exhorts its readers to go to the polls and vote for the Liberals because the past 6 years have demonstrated that they are serious about improving our community.