Canadians elect the country’s 44th parliament on Monday, with just over five weeks of campaign promised by federal party leaders to fight climate change, responds to a deepening housing crisis and tackles the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Liberal Party, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole, voted neck-and-neck in the run-up to the vote, while the left-wing New Democrats under Jagmeet Singh are third with about 20 percent. support.
The Quebec Nationalist Bloc Quebecois, the environmentally conscious Green Party of Canada and the far-right People’s Party of Canada round out the six most important parties influencing politics in Canada.
Here Al Jazeera looks at who the party leaders are and what they promised:
Justin Trudeau is the current and 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 during the last federal election in October 2019.
Trudeau, who won the Liberal leadership in 2013, first became prime minister in 2015. The Liberals won a majority in the election that year, leaving the Conservative party, which was led by then-leader Stephen Harper, nearly a decade long in power.
Trudeau, who is running in an election campaign in Montreal, and the Liberals get 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 caused this month’s quick election in the hope that the handling of the government by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic stimulus plan would yield a parliamentary majority. But he stood up angry anti-vaccine protesters on the campaign.
The Liberals’ election platform promises 78 billion Canadian dollars ($ 62 billion) in new spending over five years, focusing on health care, if the party forms the next government. They have promised to provide free coronavirus tools to all Canadians, as well as $ 1 billion in funding to provinces and territories that want to implement vaccine passport systems.
About the environment, the party – for which criticism has been received support for a controversial oil pipeline expansion project — says it will achieve net release by 2050. In recent weeks, it has also promised tens of millions of dollars to help indigenous communities search for unmarked graves at “residential schools”, said it would tighten existing gun regulations in Canada and promises to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
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 resignation of the then leader Andrew Scheer, O’Toole – who serves as a member of parliament in the eastern part of the Ontario direction of Durham – won the party leadership in 2020.
The Conservatives get much of their support in the central Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as parts of Ontario and Quebec.
The Conservatives have promised to achieve the original goals of the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 30 percent below the 2005 level by 2030 – a promise that does not live up to what Canada has promised since then. They also suggested that by 2030, 30 percent of all sales of light vehicles, such as passenger cars, will be zero-free vehicles.
The Conservatives have promised billions in new investments if elected, and O’Toole says the party will balance the budget over ten years ‘without cuts’ through its economic stimulus and growth plan.
On COVID-19, O’Toole said he would work with Canadian provinces to implement it a nationwide proof of vaccination system, but he opposed mandatory vaccines for federal employees and did not require conservative candidates to be vaccinated.
The Conservatives say they support the Liberal promise to resettle some 20,000 Afghans.
Jagmeet Singh is the leader of Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), which holds the fourth most seats 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 the Burnaby South drive in British Columbia – was a deputy leader of the Ontario NDP.
After a surprisingly strong performance in Quebec in 2011 – called the ‘Orange Wave’ – drove the party to official opposition status, the party lost some ground in the 2015 election. It then achieved disappointing results in 2019 and only 24 seats secured – 20 less than in the previous vote.
Most of the seats of the New Democrats are in British Columbia and Ontario.
The NDP is proposes a minimum wage of $ 20 for all federal workers and 10 days paid sick leave. Singh Trudeau recently criticized for the promise of paid sick leave during the campaign, but refused to accept the measure while in government.
To tackle the climate crisis, the party promised reduce carbon emissions up to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as creates more than a million ‘good jobs’ as part of a shift that includes building ‘green infrastructure’ in communities in Canada.
On Indigenous rights, the NDP proposed the creation of a First Nations Justice and Policing Strategy to address the disproportionate representation of indigenous peoples in Canada’s prison system, while promising to fully address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls for action to implement.
Singh and the New Democrats also support the waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines and technology transfers to end the global pandemic.
Yves-Francois Blanchet is leader of the Bloc Quebecois, a party that only manages candidates in Quebec and bills themselves are “the only party” that promotes the French – speaking province’s interests at the federal level.
Blanchet was previously a member of the Quebec legislature at the separatist provincial Parti Quebecois (PQ) from 2008 to 2014, as well as a minister of the PQ. In 2019, he ran unopposed for the Block leadership and won.
Under Blanchet, who represents a row south of Montreal, the party increased its seats in parliament from 10 to 32 in the recent federal election.
The party says it will introduce a bill to make knowledge of sufficient French a condition for granting Canadian citizenship to new immigrants in Quebec, and says the French language should deteriorate and be protected.
The block’s platform demands no interference from Ottawa in the implementation of Quebec laws and that no public money be spent on lawsuits against it. In recent years, Quebec Bill 21, which bans the use of religious symbols in the public sector, has faced several legal challenges.
The bloc has promised to put in place a ‘green equalization’ program that will reward provinces that are effectively fighting climate change. The party has put an end to fuel subsidies, and insists that the money be diverted to clean energy projects. On health care, the bloc says the federal government should increase its funding to provinces – which control their respective health systems – from 22 to 35 percent.
Annamie Paul is the leader of the Green Party.
She is the first Black Canadian and Jewish woman to lead a federal party. The 48-year-old won the party leadership last year and replaced the longtime leader, Elizabeth May.
But she is the only federal party leader who is not a member of parliament after losing a by-election during the Toronto Center ride in October 2020. She is running for the same seat in this election — and she skipped the campaign to focus on her race.
The Green Party, which does not have 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 will to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030 compared to the 2005 level by the year 2030, with the aim of reaching a net negative by 2050. motor vehicle engines by 2030 ”.
In addition, the Greens proposed replacing ‘every job with a highly paid fossil fuel industry with a highly paid job in the green sector’ through wage insurance.
On COVID-19, the party says it will extend all wage and rental subsidies until all coronavirus restrictions are lifted, keeping the business tax rate at a maximum of 9 percent.
The party’s foreign policy commitments include signing and ratifying the Nuclear Weapons Convention, calling for global nuclear disarmament and ending federal aid to Canadian exporters involved in the sale of fossil fuels and weapons.
Maxime Bernier is the leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada (PPC).
Bernier, a former Conservative MP and minister, barely managed to win the party leadership in 2017, forcing him to leave the Conservatives just over a year later to form the PPC.
But under the PPC banner, Bernier lost his seat on Quebec’s rural Beauce ride, which he has held since 2006, in the last federal election in 2019. He lost by more than 10 percentage points against the local Conservative candidate.
The PPC, which does not have a full list of candidates in this election, has no representative in parliament. It won only 1.6 percent of the vote in 2019.
The party currently votes for about 6 percent support and steals some votes away from the Conservatives, but it has little chance of winning a seat in parliament.
The PPC is campaigning against a coronavirus vaccine, an anti-immigration platform, and is gaining a lot of support from the far right in Canada.