Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21 – The Globe and Mail

Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21 - The Globe and Mail
Federal election campaign to officially kick off Wednesday
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Leaders • Issues • Debates • Digital spin, and how to watch out for it • How do I get ready to vote? • More reading

Despite a summer full of parties exchanging partisan attacks, and campaign ads and slogans being unveiled, tomorrow will mark the official kickoff. With the formal launch expect the battling for votes to ramp up, more partisan mudslinging, contenders across the country knocking on doors and debating, as well as a daily offering of new platform proposals and policy ideas for Canadians to weigh when deciding who theyll cast their ballot for.

Four years ago, Justin Trudeau presented himself as a youthful optimist with a message of progressive change, and ended nine years of Conservative government. Its not a strategy that will work twice: His main opponents are younger than he is, First Nations and environmentalists have impugned his progressive credentials because he supports the Trans Mountain pipeline extension, and the SNC-Lavalin affair (more on that later) has tarnished his image and divided the Liberal ranks. But with an economy thats generally healthier than how he found it, despite large deficits, Mr. Trudeau can still craft a message of stability and prosperity for the middle class voters he courted last time. And as the world grapples with what Parliament has officially named a climate emergency, he is also trying to persuade Canadians that the Liberal carbon-pricing framework is a more credible path to a sustainable future than the Conservatives plan.

Given the condensed length, more in line with general elections past, the 2019 race is expected to be a hard-fought campaign. While polls indicate the Conservatives and NDP are the Liberals direct competitors, a story central to the campaign will be how well Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, and Peoples Party Leader Maxime Bernier fare in growing their seat counts.

When the Conservatives, chastened by Stephen Harpers defeat, chose Mr. Scheer as leader, he was at first dismissed as Harper lite and a Nowhere Man whose political beliefs were hard to pin down. Since then, hes found some powerful wedge issues to hammer – such as carbon pricing and a law to boost federal oversight of natural-resource projects, both of which he wants to scrap. But eliciting clear answers on, for instance, Conservative policy on abortion or his personal views on LGBTQ issues has been more difficult. Mr. Scheer has also had to speak out against racist and anti-immigrant groups seen to be supporting the Conservative cause, and to deflect questions about his aides past ties to the far-right Rebel Media and his own links to oil-industry lobby groups. Mr. Scheers hope is that Canadians either agree with him or are more fed up with Mr. Trudeau than they are afraid of a Conservative restoration.

During the process of dissolving a Parliament there are typically three steps: dismissing the senators and members; calling the next Parliament and ordering the writs to be issued; and setting the date for when Parliament will next meet after the writs are returned with the results. Writs are written orders instructing the returning officer in each riding to hold an election to select a member of Parliament.

In the 2015 election, Mr. Trudeau managed a left flanking manoeuvre on the New Democrats, who had moved more to the centre under then-leader Tom Mulcair. The party replaced him with Jagmeet Singh, a young and dapper Sikh politician from the Ontario NDP, hoping he could bring federal New Democrats back to their progressive roots. Since then, hes had only a few months to face off against Mr. Trudeau in the House of Commons, where he didnt have a seat until a by-election earlier this year. Hes argued that an NDP New Deal for People is a better plan than the Liberals for creating jobs and reducing economic inequality. Hes also said his NDP wont prop up Mr. Scheer if the party gets the balance of power, which some surprised New Democrats interpreted as a concession that he doesnt expect to win. Im running to become prime minister, Mr. Singh later clarified.

When Elizabeth May took the leadership of the Greens in 2006, it was a party with no seats and little hope of breaking through into the House of Commons. But amid increasingly dire warnings from scientists about climate change, and small but significant victories by her provincial Green counterparts in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, Ms. May has seen historically high polling numbers ahead of the 2019 election. Now, she hopes to sell Canadians on an aggressive plan to phase out fossil-fuel use by the middle of this century and make more inroads into the legislature. Shes also said shes disillusioned in Mr. Trudeaus leadership on the environment and that, in this election, shes not afraid of pulling votes away from the Greens traditional Liberal allies.

Leading up to Canadas federal election in October, Andrew Scheer has contrasted his childhood with Justin Trudeaus. Scheer has talked about how his family struggled with money, while Justin Trudeau grew up the son of a former Prime Minister and inherited a million dollars from his father. Despite Andrew Scheers net worth being fairly high, he still alludes to his familys financial struggles. After a Liberal MP tweeted with the hashtag #ScheerWasSoPoorThat, Andrew Scheer took to Twitter himself and said he grew up “middle class.”

Trudeau to call election Wednesday with morning visit to Rideau Hall

Since the NDP and Liberals all but wiped it out in the past two elections, the federal separatist bloc has been a shadow of its past self, with too few seats even for official party status. The Bloc has cycled through eight acting or permanent leaders since 2011, the latest of which is Yves-François Blanchet, who got the job this past January when no other candidates contested him for it. Unlike most of his predecessors, Mr. Blanchet, a former Quebec cabinet minister with the Parti Québécois, wont be able to count on strong support from his provincial counterparts, who were decimated in the election that brought Premier François Legaults CAQ to power last year.

From disgraced former cabinet minister to Conservative leadership hopeful to fringe-party candidate, Maxime Bernier has had a tumultuous political life since the 2015 election. After he narrowly lost the Tories top job to Mr. Scheer in 2017, he denounced the new leader as too centrist and quit to create a hard-right libertarian faction, the Peoples Party. His anti-immigration message and climate-change denialism have invited comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump. Mr. Berniers party, however, generally polls at 1 or 2 per cent, too low for any seats or even to meet criteria for the leaders debates in October.

Like millions of Canadians, I grew up middle class. When Trudeaus Liberal MPs mock me for that, they mock you too. pic.twitter.com/D5aCiA9tOm

28 Justin Trudeau Instagram Photos That Are Just Him Shaking Hands

Climate change caused by human-made greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent threat to Canadians security, economy and society, not just in the near future, but now. Wildfire seasons are getting longer and more devastating; rising sea levels threaten to overwhelm the infrastructure of coastal cities; and scientists warn of a global refugee crisis caused by ecological, agricultural and social collapse. All the major parties agree climate change is a problem, but disagree about how to combat it. The Liberals introduced a nationwide carbon-pricing regime, but have struggled to get provinces to co-operate and will likely fall short of Canadas commitments in the Paris accords. Mr. Scheer, backed by premiers whove had the federal tax imposed on them, wants to eliminate the carbon tax and instead use tax incentives to target large emitters, but his plan doesnt promise to reach the Paris goals at all. The NDP plan would keep the Liberal tax but have industrial emitters pay more, while the Greens plan is to apply a consistent price for all emitters, pay Canadians annual carbon dividends and keep raising the price until a full transition to renewable energy is complete.

Fossil fuels may be the biggest culprits in climate change, but theyre also Albertas biggest industry, and the Canadian energy sector is reluctant to give them up – in fact, its been pressing for more pipeline capacity to bring oil to global markets. To win Albertas support for the carbon-pricing plan in 2016, the Trudeau government promised to go ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta to B.C., going so far as to buy the system outright from Kinder Morgan when First Nations and the B.C. government opposed it. After years of legal battles over its environmental approval, the project currently has the green light again from the Trudeau Liberals, but its uncertain future and environmental costs have made it polarizing issue. The Conservatives want to push ahead with the pipeline expansion, while the NDP and Greens want to stop it.

Liberal campaign workers told The Globe and Mail that they have been told that Mr. Trudeau will visit Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday morning to seek a dissolution of Parliament. Mr. Trudeau is expected to hold a rally shortly after the campaign launch and then take off on the Liberal plane.

Expect to hear candidates talking a lot about the middle class in this election, especially the Liberals, whose 2015 victory hinged on promises of lower taxes and economic opportunity for middle-income families. Alberta saw some lean years under the Liberals watch, but heading into the election the economy has been doing well: Unemployment hit historic lows over the summer, and although it rose again in August, there are nearly a million more employed Canadians now than in 2015. Asked by The Globe this summer to grade the Liberals performance on the economy, more than two dozen of Canadas top CEOs gave an A- on labour and skills and a B- on innovation, but a D+ on tax policy, which they argued was too Byzantine and hindered competitiveness. The opposition hopes to convince Canadians that things could be better if they were elected, with Mr. Scheer pledging public-spending cuts and Mr. Singh promising 300,000 new jobs as part of his partys climate-change infrastructure plan.

The writ is dropping one day before the first leaders debate in Toronto, where every major party leader will be except Mr. Trudeau. Macleans/CityTV are holding a televised debate Thursday night with Mr. Scheer, Mr. Singh and Ms. May.

Canadians spend more per capita on prescription drugs than almost any country in the world, but an advisory council created by the Trudeau government has a proposed solution for that: universal, single-payer pharmacare. Mr. Trudeau has supported the councils plan, which would cost governments $15.3-billion when it is fully implemented in 2027, but getting the provinces on board will be a challenge. Mr. Scheer has questioned whether pharmacare would cost too much and whether the Liberals could be trusted to implement such a plan, while the NDP is trying to persuade Canadians that its own universal pharmacare plan would be better-run, would begin sooner (in 2020) and give less influence to insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

Some of the star cabinet ministers who came into office with Mr. Trudeau will be conspicuously absent from the Liberal hustings this time around. The reason? The SNC-Lavalin affair, which pitted former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould against her boss, his staff and top public servants over whether to intervene in a Quebec construction companys fraud and bribery case. In August, a report from the Ethics Commissioner concluded that Mr. Trudeau breached the Conflict of Interest Act in his efforts to put pressure on Ms. Wilson-Raybould in favour of a deferred prosecution, but she refused to overrule the prosecutors who didnt want a deal. Ms. Wilson-Raybould and a minister who quit cabinet in solidarity with her, Jane Philpott, are running for re-election as Independents. As opposition leaders have challenged his moral authority to lead, Mr. Trudeau has defended his actions, saying he was protecting jobs.

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There are two official leaders debates, one in English on Oct. 7 and one in French on Oct. 10. Both are organized by an independent body, the Leaders Debate Commission, and will be held in the Ottawa area. The Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green and Bloc leaders have confirmed theyll be there.

Mr. Trudeau has also agreed to attend a TVA-hosted debate with the other leaders at a to-be-determined date. He says he wont be attending two other non-commission debates, one held by Macleans magazine and Citytv on Sept. 12 and one held by the Munk Centre on Oct. 1.

BREAKING: Trudeau to call election tomorrow

In the years since Canadas most recent federal election, Western countries have been waking up to the dangers of digital disinformation. Russian cyber-meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of organized fake-news factories have put Elections Canada on guard. New federal transparency laws passed last year have compelled big tech companies to clean up their acts, and Google has banned political ads outright. If hackers do compromise the election, theres a whole new team of Canadian bureaucrats whose job is to warn you about that.

But even with all the new safeguards, its up to voters to be skeptical of the political messages they see on social media. Fortunately, The Globe and Mail has tools to help you with that. This summer, the newspaper took over stewardship of the Facebook Political Ad Collector, a crowdsourcing program started by U.S.-based non-profit ProPublica. If you want to help, just install this browser extension for Chrome or Firefox and it will collect ads in a database. The Globe will use this information for editorial purposes only, and it wont collect identifiable information about you. If you have questions, e-mail [email protected] to learn more.

Veterans were originally promised that they would not have to fight the government for benefits anymore. With this came the promise that the government would invest $80-million every year to create a new veterans education benefit, so that veterans could become educated and more easily adapt to a prosperous civilian life. However, every year apparently did not include 2016-2017 and such a fund was not included in the federal budget.

Canadas PM to kick off formal campaign for October 21 election on Wednesday – sources

A man casts his vote at a polling station in Montreal on Oct. 19, 2015, in the last federal election.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio was 31.1 per cent, a slight increase from the previous year. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio grew an additional 0.2 per cent, standing at 31.2 per cent. For the 2017-2018 fiscal year, it was promised that the federal debt-to-GDP ratio would be lowered to 29%, but it only decreased by 0.7 per cent, and stood at 31.3 per cent.

John Ibbitson: Trudeau or Scheer? Who can best protect Canada from the chaos awaiting the world in 2020

With reports from Michelle Zilio, Marieke Walsh, Bill Curry, Robert Fife, Kristy Kirkup, Shawn McCarthy, Evan Annett and The Canadian Press

Its on: Trudeau to formally kick off federal election Wednesday, begins 41-day campaign

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Elections are just around the corner, and we have been creeping Justin Trudeaus Instagram for a visual look at his time as Prime Minister. Turns out, there is a lot of handshaking that comes with the job. We decided to round up a photo series from the official Justin Trudeau Instagram account to commemorate all of the hand clasping hes done as Prime Minister. Although he is the leader of our country, in a lot of these photos, Justin Trudeau is looking like just a regular guy with a lot of people to meet. His Instagram is full of socialite activities that come with the job. Hes been roasted and adored in the past four years, and the upcoming election will be the true test to see how Canadians feel about Trudeau. In the mean time, enjoy scrolling through the plethora of handshake photos Mr. Trudeau has posted of himself online. The federal election will be taking place on Oct. 21, 2019.

Video: PM Trudeau is expected to call the federal election on Wednesday

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Mainstreet Research polled 1,876 Canadians over the weekend and found that Justin Trudeaus Liberal party has the support of 37.5 per cent of decided and leaning voters compared to 34 per cent for Andrew Scheers Conservative party. The Green party were in third with the support of 10.8 per cent of decided or leaning voters while the NDP were in fourth (8.4 per cent) and the Peoples Party were in fifth (4.6 per cent). The Bloc Quebecois, meanwhile, had the support of 15.5 per cent of voters in Quebec.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will officially kick off the federal election campaign with a visit to Rideau Hall at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Liberal sources have told CBC News.

This is bad news for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives as the Liberals have crossed the 40 per cent mark in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Ontario, Mainstreet Research President and CEO Quito Maggi said in a press release. If the election were held today, the Liberals would comfortably win a majority. The solace for the other parties is that the election is not going to be held today and that they will have the entire writ period to chip into the Liberal lead.

Trudeau will formally ask Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, setting the stage for Canada's 43rd general election on Oct. 21.

While the Liberals appear to be off to an early lead ahead of the official start of the federal campaign, the Mainstreet Research poll found that there was some room for improvement for Andrew Scheers Conservative party.

The various party leaders have been holding campaign-style events for several weeks, but the official start means strict rules around spending and advertising kick in.

The Liberals also performed well in Atlantic Canada (49.1 per cent) and Quebec (40.3 per cent). The Conservatives, meanwhile, were the top choice in Alberta (63 per cent) and the Prairies (50.8 per cent).

The Liberals are seeking a second four-year mandate, citing the party's accomplishments on child poverty, job creation and Indigenous relations while beating back criticism over the SNC-Lavalin ethics breach.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will be fighting his first campaign as party leader and will continue to tear into Trudeau over his ethics record and performance on the world stage.

The NDP's Jagmeet Singh is also fighting his first campaign as leader. He's struggling to retain his party's third-place status as Green Party Elizabeth May works to make a breakthrough and build on the party's two seats in the House of Commons.

The fledgling People's Party of Canada (PPC) under leader Maxime Bernier is also hoping to make a breakthrough by holding on to his own seat while bringing new MPs to Parliament under his party's banner.

The CBC's latest Poll Tracker, which aggregates all publicly available polling data, shows the Liberals and Conservatives neck-and-neck at just under 34 per cent support.

The Poll Tracker finds the Liberals are favoured to win the most seats, but it's not yet clear whether any party can secure a majority.

The NDP has just under 13 per cent support and appears to be on track to lose many seats. The Greens are just shy of 11 per cent and their support is levelling off after hitting new highs across the country.

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