Elections in Canada: meet top political party leaders

Canadians will elect the country’s 44th parliament on Monday, culminating in just over five weeks of campaigning in which federal party leaders pledged to combat climate change, respond to a deepening housing crisis and tackle the pandemic. of COVID-19.

The Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole have been voting side by side in the lead-up to the vote, while Jagmeet Singh’s new left Democrats are in third place. with about 20 percent support.

The nationalist Bloc Quebecois of Quebec, the Green Party of Canada and the far-right People’s Party of Canada round out the six main parties influencing Canadian politics.

Here, Al Jazeera looks at who the party leaders are and what they have promised:

Justin trudeau

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is the current 23rd Prime Minister of Canada. [Justin Tang/Pool via Reuters]

Justin Trudeau is the current 23rd Prime Minister of Canada.

The 48-year-old is in his second term as prime minister after his Liberal Party secured a 157-seat minority government in the last federal elections in October 2019.

Trudeau, who won the Liberal leadership in 2013, became Prime Minister in 2015. The Liberals won a majority in that year’s election, beating the Conservative Party, which under then-leader Stephen Harper had been in power for almost a year. decade.

Trudeau, who serves in an electoral race in Montreal, and the Liberals draw much of their support from Atlantic Canada, on the east coast of the country, as well as in the pockets of Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces.

Trudeau triggered the snap elections this month in hopes that his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic stimulus plan would give him a parliamentary majority. But he has faced angry anti-vaccine protesters in the election campaign.

The Liberals’ electoral platform promises C $ 78 billion ($ 62 billion) in new spending over five years, with a focus on health care, should the party form the next government. They have committed to offering free coronavirus booster shots to all Canadians, as well as $ 1 billion in funding to provinces and territories that want to implement vaccine passport systems.

On the environment, the party, which has been criticized by backing a contentious pipeline expansion project – says it will reach net zero emissions by 2050. In recent weeks, it also pledged tens of millions of dollars to help indigenous communities search for unmarked graves in “residential schools,” said it would tighten gun regulations existing in Canada and promised to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Erin O’Toole

Erin O’Toole won Conservative Party leadership in 2020 [Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters]

Erin O’Toole is the leader of the official opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada.

After the defeat of the Conservatives in the 2019 elections and the subsequent resignation of then-leader Andrew Scheer, O’Toole, who is serving as a Member of Parliament in Eastern Ontario in Durham, won the party leadership in 2020.

Conservatives draw much of their support in the central Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, as well as parts of Ontario and Quebec.

Conservatives have vowed to meet the original Paris Agreement targets of cutting emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, a promise that falls short of what Canada has promised since. They have also proposed that 30 percent of all sales of light vehicles, such as passenger cars, be zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

Conservatives have pledged billions in new investment if elected, and O’Toole says the party would balance the budget in 10 years “no cuts” through its growth and economic stimulus plan.

On COVID-19, O’Toole has said that he would work with Canadian provinces to implement a proof of vaccination across the country system, but has opposed mandatory vaccinations for federal employees and has not made a requirement for conservative candidates to be vaccinated.

Conservatives say they back the liberal promise to resettle some 20,000 Afghans.

Jagmeet Singh

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has promised to cut carbon emissions to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. [Christinne Muschi/Reuters]

Jagmeet Singh is the leader of Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), which is ranked fourth in parliament.

The 42-year-old, who is Sikh, won the party leadership in 2017 to become the first visible minority leader of a federal party in Canada. Previously, Singh, who currently represents Burnaby South in British Columbia, served as Deputy Leader of the Ontario NDP.

After a surprisingly strong performance in Quebec in 2011, dubbed the “Orange Wave,” propelled the party to official opposition status, the party lost some ground in the 2015 elections. It then had disappointing results in 2019, securing just 24 seats. , 20 less than in the previous vote.

Most of the seats for the new Democrats are in British Columbia and Ontario.

The NDP is propose a minimum wage of $ 20 for all federal workers and 10 days of paid sick leave. Singh recently criticized Trudeau for promising paid sick leave during the campaign, but refusing to approve the measure while in government.

To deal with the climate crisis, the party has committed to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as create over a million “good jobs” as part of a change that includes building “green infrastructure” in communities across Canada.

Upon Indigenous rights, the NDP has proposed the creation of a First Nations police and justice strategy to address the disproportionate representation of indigenous peoples in Canada’s prison system, while promising to fully implement the 94 Calls to Action Commission for Truth and Reconciliation.

Singh and the New Democrats also support the waiver of intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines and technology transfers to help end the global pandemic.

Yves-Francois Blanchet

With Yves-Francois Blanchet, the Bloc Quebecois increased its seats in parliament from 10 to 32 in the last federal elections of 2019 [Blair Gable/Reuters]

Yves-Francois Blanchet is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a party that only presents candidates in Quebec and that has bills is “the only party” that promotes the interests of the French-speaking province at the federal level.

Blanchet previously served as a member of the Quebec legislature with the provincial separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) from 2008 to 2014, as well as as a cabinet minister for PQ. He ran unopposed for leadership of the Bloc in 2019 and won.

Under Blanchet, who represents a horse south of Montreal, the party increased its seats in parliament from 10 to 32 in the last federal election.

The party says it will introduce a bill to make sufficient knowledge of French a condition for granting Canadian citizenship to new immigrants in Quebec, and says the French language is on the decline and should be protected.

The block platform asks that Ottawa not interfere in the implementation of Quebec laws and that public money not be spent on lawsuits against it. In recent years, Quebec’s Bill 21, which prohibits the use of religious symbols in the public sector, has faced several legal challenges.

The Bloc has pledged to create a “green equalization” program that would reward provinces that effectively fight climate change. The party called for an end to fuel subsidies and urged that the money be redirected to clean energy projects. In health, the Bloc says the federal government should increase its funding to the provinces, which control their respective health systems, from 22 to 35 percent.

Annamie Paul

Annamie Paul is the first black Jewish and Canadian woman to lead a federal party [Blair Gable/Reuters]

Annamie Paul is the leader of the Green Party.

She is the first black Jewish and Canadian woman to lead a federal party. The 48-year-old won the party leadership last year, replacing leader Elizabeth May.

But she is the only federal party leader who is not a member of parliament after losing a by-election in downtown Toronto in October 2020. She is campaigning for that very seat in this election, and she has skipped the campaign. to focus on your career.

The Green Party, which does not present a full list of candidates in this election, won three seats in the last federal vote in 2019.

With the environment as the main focus of the party, the Green Party wants reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, with the goal of reaching a negative net result by 2050. The party also calls for the cancellation of all pipeline projects, the granting of zero fuel subsidies and the prohibition of the sale of all products of “internal combustion passenger motor vehicles by 2030”.

In addition, the Greens have proposed replacing “all well-paid work in the fossil fuel sector with well-paid work in the green sector” through wage insurance.

In COVID-19, the party says it will extend all wage and rent subsidies until all coronavirus restrictions are lifted and keep the business tax rate at no more than 9 percent.

The party’s foreign policy commitments include signing and ratifying the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, calling for global nuclear disarmament, and ending federal support for Canadian exporters involved in the sale of weapons and fossil fuels.

Maxime bernier

Maxime Bernier launched the far-right People’s Party of Canada after losing the race for leadership to the Conservative Party in 2017 [Michael Hawkins/Reuters]

Maxime Bernier is the leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

Bernier, a former Conservative Party MP and cabinet minister, narrowly failed to win the party’s leadership in 2017, leading him to leave the Conservatives just over a year later to form the PPC.

But under the PPC banner, Bernier lost his seat in Quebec’s Beauce rural horse riding, which he had held since 2006, in the last federal elections of 2019. He lost by more than 10 percentage points to the local Conservative candidate.

The PPC, which does not present a complete list of candidates in this election, does not have a representative in parliament. He won just 1.6 percent of the vote in 2019.

Currently, the party has about 6 percent support and is stealing some votes from the Conservatives, but has little chance of winning a seat in parliament.

The PPC is campaigning for a coronavirus vaccine, an anti-immigration platform, and gets much of its support from the far right in Canada.


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