The writ is about to be dropped, and Canadians head to the polls on 21 October. This promises to be an exciting election with scandals and broken promises, followed up by promises of transparency and a greater tomorrow. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the major political competitors:
Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has left many of his campaign promises unfulfilled. His suspicious interpretation of Keynesian economics led him to promise a balanced budget in the fourth year of his government, which has since been shown not to be the case. His foreign relations failures have damaged Canada’s reputation. His support of the Saudi arms deal and fossil fuel subsidies have outraged the left, while his social justice legislation, provisions for abortions as part of foreign aid, media subsidies, and tax credit cancellations, have irritated the right.
Marred by scandal and broken promises, the Liberal brand is facing serious challenges. The SNC Lavalin scandal showed there are two sets of laws in Trudeau’s Canada, one for ordinary people and one for the elites — one that punishes hard work and the other that rewards bribery and corruption.
His central promise of campaign reform was among the first to be broken. Many among the left gravitated to Trudeau in hopes that their future votes, for third parties, would have meaning. He’s going to have an uphill battle regaining their trust for the next election.
His main competitor is Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party. Scheer’s chief weakness is that he, much like Trudeau, doesn’t have a meaningful resume beyond having been a career politician. The Conservative Party, sitting in Parliament right now, has also had an opportunity to govern, and their record is one of out-of-control spending (even before the global recession), pointless wars, and extreme prohibitions against drug users. Scheer does, however, have an impressive performance in the House, easily defeating Trudeau in verbal jousts.
The rising Green Party’s Elizabeth May offers an alternative to Scheer and Trudeau. As the NDP continues to diminish in the polls, many of their candidates are defecting to the Green Party. May offers a history of principled leadership and advocacy for the environment, as well as libertarian positions on opposing war and raising concerns about central banking. On the other side, her carbon taxes and enormous corporate welfare for green tech companies raise concerns about Canada’s competitiveness in global markets.
Her main competitor is Jagmeet Singh. His socialist agenda has thus far failed to resonate with Canadians. He has proposed universal dental care and universal pharmacare, but given that the Liberals have already initiated a pharmacare plan, this failed to energize the left in Singh’s favour. To date, the socialist NDP are a dying party.
Maxime Bernier is leading his party’s populist movement. Bernier has various libertarian positions on economics but is courting anti-liberty perspectives on war, drugs, and immigration. His party initially began with 17% support, which was considerable enough to propel him to a legitimate third party status. However, his campaign’s obsession with immigration in a country that doesn’t have major issues with immigration has dwindled his campaign to less than 3% of public support.
The excitement of the election has international repercussions. The direction of a major G7 country is about to be determined. Whether or not Canadians will tolerate Trudeau’s failures or prefer changing the course of the country will be determined.