Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21

Photo illustration by The Globe and Mail (images: The Canadian Press)

The latest

  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer denied Wednesday that his campaign manager Hamish Marshall is in a conflict of interest, after The Globe and Mail reported that a company co-founded by Mr. Marshall is getting election-related ad contracts from both the Tories and an oil-industry lobby group. One Persuasion Inc. earned $15,404 from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, according to records filed with Elections Canada. The company also confirmed it’s working for the Conservatives, but didn’t provide a dollar value for those contracts.
  • Mr. Scheer and the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh were in Toronto on Tuesday, where they promised that, if elected, their parties would help the city pay for two new subway lines. The Conservatives gave no guarantees about how much money they’d contribute, and the NDP said they would “allocate the necessary funding” as long as Toronto identified the projects as transit priorities. The Liberals – whose leader, Justin Trudeau, also in Toronto on Tuesday – didn’t say whether the Liberals would back the subway plans.
  • The leaders will be back in the Ottawa area on Thursday for the last official debate of the campaign. It’ll be held in French and starts at 8 p.m. (ET). If you missed their last debate in Gatineau, Que., on Monday, here’s a recap.

To get in-depth coverage over the weeks ahead, sign up to our election newsletter, Well-Versed. There is also the Politics Briefing newsletter, exclusive to Globe and Mail subscribers, published every weekday.

The campaign in pictures

Gatineau, Que., Oct. 7: Justin Trudeau of the Liberals and Andrew Scheer of the Conservatives face off during the English-language leaders’ debate. Meanwhile, the NDPs’ Jagmeet Singh and the Greens’ Elizabeth May took aim at Mr. Trudeau over tax cuts. Watch the video to see highlights from the debate. The Globe and Mail (staff)

Iqaluit, Oct. 8: Mr. Trudeau speaks during an election campaign visit with his children Xavier and Ella-Grace.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Mississauga, Ont., Oct. 8: Mr. Scheer is seen during a campaign stop.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Toronto, Oct. 8: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh takes photos with university students.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Longueuil, Que., Oct. 8: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and candidate Pierre Nantel arrive for a campaign stop via the Metro.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Daily tracking poll

Nanos Research, in partnership with The Globe and Mail and CTV, has been tracking Canadians’ preferences for federal parties and leaders in a nightly survey. Learn more here about how the survey is being conducted and what voters are being asked.

The leaders

Justin Trudeau, Liberals

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Four years ago, Justin Trudeau presented himself as a youthful optimist with a message of progressive change, and ended nine years of Conservative government. It’s 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; the SNC-Lavalin affair (more on that later) has divided the Liberal ranks; and his image has been tarnished by revelations that he wore blackface several times before entering politics. But with an economy that’s 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.

Andrew Scheer, Conservatives

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

When the Conservatives, chastened by Stephen Harper’s 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, he’s 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 aide’s past ties to the far-right Rebel Media and his own links to oil-industry lobby groups. Mr. Scheer’s hope is that Canadians either agree with him or are more fed up with Mr. Trudeau than they are afraid of a Conservative restoration.

Jagmeet Singh, NDP

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

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 Mr. Mulcair 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, he’s had only a few months to face off against Mr. Trudeau in the House of Commons, where he didn’t have a seat until a by-election earlier this year. He’s argued that an NDP “New Deal for People” is a better plan than the Liberals’ for creating jobs and reducing economic inequality. He’s also said his NDP won’t “prop up” Mr. Scheer if the party gets the balance of power, which some surprised New Democrats interpreted as a concession that he doesn’t expect to win. “I’m running to become prime minister,” Mr. Singh later clarified.

Elizabeth May, Greens

Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

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. She’s also said she’s disillusioned in Mr. Trudeau’s leadership on the environment and that, in this election, she’s not afraid of pulling votes away from the Greens’ traditional Liberal allies.

Yves-François Blanchet, Bloc Québécois

Blair Gable/The Globe and Mail

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, hasn’t been able to count on strong support from his provincial counterparts, who were decimated in the election that brought Premier François Legault’s CAQ to power last year. One of Mr. Legault’s signature policies – a ban on teachers and many other civil servants wearing religious symbols, which a court challenge argues is discriminatory to Muslims and Sikhs – has also dogged Mr. Blanchet on the campaign trail, such as when he suggested that Quebeckers “opt for men and women who resemble you.” He denied that the remarks referred to the religious symbols law.

Maxime Bernier, People’s Party

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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 People’s Party. His anti-immigration message and climate-change denialism have invited comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump. Mr. Bernier’s party, however, generally polls below 3 per cent.

The issues

Climate and taxes

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 Canada’s commitments in the Paris accords. Mr. Scheer, backed by premiers who’ve 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 doesn’t 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.

Climate policy primer: Where the four main parties stand

What is carbon pricing anyway? Learn the basics with our video primer.

Climate change and the oil patch

Fossil fuels may be the biggest culprits in climate change, but they’re also Alberta’s biggest industry, and the Canadian energy sector is reluctant to give them up – in fact, it’s been pressing for more pipeline capacity to bring oil to global markets. To win Alberta’s 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.

Legend

National parks

Existing pipeline

Parks

Expansion pipeline

Terminal

Indigenous lands

Pump station

Edmonton

80

KM

ALBERTA

Calgary

Kamloops

Kelowna

Westridge

Van.

Sumas

Burnaby

Ferndale

WASH.

IDAHO

MONT.

Anacortes

MURAT YÜKSELIR AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE

AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA;

OPEN GOVERNMENT; GRAPHIC NEWS; KINDER MORGAN

Legend

80

KM

Existing pipeline

ALBERTA

Expansion pipeline

Edmonton

Indigenous lands

National parks

Parks

Terminal

Pump station

Calgary

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Kamloops

Kelowna

Westridge

Vancouver

Sumas

Burnaby

WASH.

IDAHO

MONT.

Ferndale

Anacortes

MURAT YÜKSELIR AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU;

NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA; OPEN GOVERNMENT; GRAPHIC

NEWS; KINDER MORGAN

Legend

Edmonton

Existing pipeline

Expansion pipeline

16

ALBERTA

Indigenous lands

National parks

Parks

2

Terminal

Pump station

97

Calgary

1

Kamloops

Kelowna

Westridge

Sumas

Vancouver

Burnaby

Ferndale

WASH.

IDAHO

MONT.

80

Anacortes

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA; OPEN GOVERNMENT; GRAPHIC NEWS; KINDER MORGAN

Jobs and the economy

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 Canada’s 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 party’s climate-change infrastructure plan.

Health care

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 council’s 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 would give less influence to insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmacare policy primer: What the main parties are promising

How would universal pharmacare help the millions of Canadians who are uninsured or underinsured for their drug costs? Globe health reporter Kelly Grant explains.

SNC-Lavalin

Some of the star cabinet ministers who came into office with Mr. Trudeau have been 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 company’s 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 didn’t 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, and even threatened a public inquiry if they are elected, Mr. Trudeau has defended his actions, saying he was protecting jobs.

Watch Mr. Trudeau’s Aug. 14 response after the release of the Ethics Commissioner’s report. The Canadian Press

The debates

Ms. May and Mr. Trudeau participate in the Oct. 7 English-language debate in Gatineau, Que.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

There’s only one official debate left in the campaign, in French, on Oct. 10 in Gatineau, Que. It and the Oct. 7 English-language debate were organized by an independent body, the Leaders’ Debate Commission. The Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green, Bloc and People’s Party leaders attended the first one, and all six will be back for the second.

Mr. Trudeau also attended a TVA-hosted debate with other leaders on Oct. 2, which turned out to be largely a federalist team-up against the Bloc Québécois leader. Mr. Trudeau skipped another non-commission debate held by Maclean’s magazine and Citytv on Sept. 12, and his decision to also miss the Munk Centre foreign-policy debate led to that event’s cancellation, the lead organizer says.

Recap: Maclean’s-Citytv debate, Sept. 12

Steve Patterson: Was Canada’s first election debate ‘real’, and does it even really matter?

John Doyle: We need to be better at TV election debates. A lot better

John Ibbitson: By skipping first debate, Trudeau gives rivals chance at warm-up round

Recap: TVA debate, Oct. 2

Campbell Clark: On Quebec debate stage, a very different campaign in the spotlight

Recap: English-language commission debate, Oct. 7

Flurry of attacks but no knockouts in chaotic federal leaders’ debate

‘Perhaps they could have used a lion tamer with a whip’: What Globe readers thought of the chaotic leaders’ debate

Editorial: What Canadians learned from the one (and only) English-language debate

Campbell Clark: Trudeau and Scheer finally worked together – to lower the tone of the campaign

Steve Patterson: The federal leaders’ debate was historically ridiculous

John Ibbitson: Scheer fought hard in the leaders’ debate, but the night belonged to Singh

Gary Mason: The federal leaders’ debate was a mess that ignored too many Canadians

Simon Houpt: Where’s a cattle prod when you need one? That and other questions from the leaders’ debate

The digital spin, and how to watch out for it

Amr Alfiky/The Associated Press

In the years since Canada’s 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, there’s a whole new team of Canadian bureaucrats whose job is to warn you about that.

But even with all the new safeguards, it’s 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 won’t collect identifiable information about you. If you have questions, e-mail politicalads@globeandmail.com to learn more.

How do I get ready to vote?

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

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

  • Am I registered? Canadian citizens who are 18 or older are eligible to vote. If this is your first time voting federally, then congratulations! Check here to register with Elections Canada in advance, or sign up in person at your polling place or returning office. If you’ve voted before or paid federal taxes, chances are Elections Canada already has you on their list. But riding boundaries are subject to change, so you should double-check which one you’re registered in, especially if you’ve moved recently.
  • When and where do I vote? If you’re registered, you’ll get a card in the mail with the address of your polling place and the dates of advance polls. When you go to vote, be sure to bring identification to prove who you are. Here are the kinds of ID that Elections Canada accepts.
  • When do we know who wins? This fall, 338 federal seats are up for grabs, and to form a majority government, a party needs 170 or more of them. At dissolution, the Liberals have 177, the Conservatives 95, the NDP 39, the Bloc Québécois 10 and the Greens 2. The first polls in Atlantic Canada will close at around 7 p.m. (ET), then proceed east to west throughout the evening. But depending on how close the results are, there may not be a final decision until late at night or the following morning. Check back at globeandmail.com and follow The Globe’s journalists on Twitter to see the results come in.

More reading

Explainers

Climate policy: Where the four main parties stand

Taxes and deficits: Where the four main parties stand

Pharmacare: Where the four main parties stand

Immigration and asylum seekers: Where the four main parties stand

Housing reform: Where the parties stand, and the risks of their pledges

Who are the key campaign staff behind the scenes?

Personal profiles

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh responds with unsinkable optimism in a campaign weighed down by the politics of race

Andrew Scheer, a work in progress: Where the Conservative Leader comes from and how he really thinks

For Chrystia Freeland, the political is personal

Regional roundups

Twenty-one ridings to watch from coast to coast

In small-town Atlantic Canada, Tories hope to turn back 2015’s red tide

Who are New Brunswick Proud?

From Trois-Rivières to the Laurentians, Quebec’s battle lines are drawn

In Ontario’s 905 region, parties try to swing suburbia to their side

Leaders fly over Alberta, leaving the province largely ignored

‘The Alberta economy needs to be a ballot question for you’: Conservative MP Michelle Rempel’s message to Canada

Comment from Campbell Clark

The money and politics behind Scheer’s foreign policy announcement

Deficit plans take backseat as federal parties seek to spend more

Trudeau hasn’t got much to say on pharmacare apart from the name of Doug Ford

Liberals unveil their crisis protocol, promise to put more money in everyone’s pocket

Trudeau glosses over shortcomings at his own peril

Comment from John Ibbitson

If current polling numbers hold, we will have a minority government in for a rough time

Carbon wars with the provinces demonstrate why Ottawa should avoid nation-building

In this election campaign, furor is plentiful but trust is still key

Singh may be the biggest beneficiary of Trudeau’s blunders

The offence was not just Trudeau’s makeup, but also the silence

Comment from Gary Mason

No, Mr. Scheer, a national energy corridor will never happen

Meaningful climate action in Canada is doomed

Justin Trudeau just helped Jody Wilson-Raybould get re-elected

The Greens’ election chances are being torpedoed – by the Greens

Comment from Denise Balkissoon

Jagmeet Singh and the costs of being Canadian

Trudeau is rich, Scheer isn’t poor – and the truly broke don’t have a say in politics

In his attempt to reach young voters, Trudeau looks stodgy in front of Hasan Minhaj

Comment from Adam Radwanski

Climate change is the defining issue for Canada, if not yet this federal election

Climate activists must get their hands dirty to drive push for political change

Does Trudeau get that Montreal’s climate march was far bigger than a mere campaign stop?

Why voters don’t need to flock to Trudeau’s rivals for his blackface controversy to cost him power

Comment from Konrad Yakabuski

Winter is coming: Why Canada isn’t prepared for the next recession

A reborn Bloc Québécois shakes up the battle for Quebec

Blackface is a permanent stain on Trudeau’s image, but will Canadians forgive him?

No, Maxime Bernier doesn’t deserve a place on the debate stage

More comment

Donna Dasko: After the election, will we see more women in Parliament?

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond: Liberals prove they don’t value Indigenous kids as much as other children

Colin Robertson: Canada cannot cut foreign aid. We’re already not doing enough

Rob Carrick: Politicians should keep their hands off stress tests for first-time home buyers

Sean Speer: I underestimated what Trump’s ‘forgotten’ workers can do politically. Canadian politicians shouldn’t make the same mistake

Adam Pankratz: To the Green Party of Canada: Get serious

Globe and Mail editorials

Honey, it’s Ottawa calling, and they’re offering the best cellphone deal ever

The pros and cons of Andrew Scheer’s foreign aid plan

On climate change, the Liberal plan (mostly) adds up. The Conservative platform doesn’t

The Liberal platform: Some good, some bad, all familiar

The Liberal and Conservative home-ownership plans will only heat up Canada’s hot housing markets

Lower taxes or more benefits? Liberals and Conservatives have different answers

The NDP, the Greens and some promises that just don’t stack up


Compiled by Globe staff

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

Read More

Benjamin Tucker

Benjamin Tucker

I am Benjamin Tucker and I’m passionate about business and finance news with over 4 years in the industry starting as a writer working my way up into senior positions. I am the driving force behind Block Chains Job with a vision to broaden the company’s readership throughout 2016. I am an editor and reporter of “Services” category.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *