The Canadian federal election: what has happened and what is at stake By Reuters
© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Canada’s Liberal Prime minister Justin Trudeau addresses the crowd during an election campaign in Peterborough Ontario Canada, September 18, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadians go to the polls on Monday in an election that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called two years early, seeking to turn public approval for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic into a fresh, four-year mandate.
WHY NOT NOW?
Why now? Trudeau says the pandemic in Canada has changed Canada as World War Two. Canadians must now decide who will make key decisions for many decades.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
Trudeau has struggled https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/early-canada-election-call-backfires-trudeau-who-now-trails-polls-2021-09-03 to explain why an early election during a worsening fourth wave of COVID-19 was a good idea. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-election-o-toole-newsmaker/slow-and-steady-may-win-the-race-canada-opposition-leader-seeks-to-dethrone-trudeau-idUSKBN2G40ZT?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews consistently accuses the Liberal leader of putting Canadians in harm’s way for personal ambition. Trudeau is also being criticized by many for his six-year tenure as a leader.
Trudeau called off the election and Trudeau’s large lead in opinion polls vanished. Recent polls indicate that Trudeau is likely to retain the power in a close race with another minority. Polls:
Steady Conservative gains during the first three weeks stopped as Trudeau attacked O’Toole for his opposition to vaccine mandates and his promise – now reversed https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-opposition-leader-under-pressure-scraps-vow-end-assault-weapon-ban-2021-09-05 – to legalize some assault weapons the Liberals had banned.
Trudeau stated that only his Liberals could stop the COVID-19 epidemic and accused O’Toole’s of using the wrong approach.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY ISSUES
Liberals piled up C$1 Trillion ($785.7 Billion) of record-breaking national debt to combat the pandemic. They also increased deficits to levels never seen since World War Two. They promised C$78 billion more in spending for five years during their campaign.
O’Toole says he will balance the books https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-conservatives-pledge-big-spending-deficit-reduction-election-platform-2021-09-08 within a decade without making cuts.
While financial markets are not worried about fiscal impacts of any promise, experts say that Trudeau’s promises of a new tax on the profits of their bank and insurance companies could cause stock losses.
The Liberal government has introduced COVID-19 vaccine mandates. During the campaign, Trudeau has been abused https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-trudeau-trailing-polls-goes-attack-two-weeks-before-vote-2021-09-06 and heckled by people opposing the move and says his Conservative rival is taking his cues from the crowds. O’Toole opposes https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-pandemic-election-unvaccinated-candidates-are-knocking-doors-2021-08-23 vaccine mandates, including for his own candidates, and says he prefers frequent testing.
Employment of women has plummeted thanks to COVID-19. The Liberals are promising to spend up to C$30 billion over five years to set up a long-promised C$10 a day national childcare https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/fate-national-daycare-hands-canadian-voters-2021-09-02 program. To help with daycare costs, the Conservatives will instead cancel these deals and offer tax credits up to C$6,000 per year.
Housing prices have soared about 70% since Trudeau took office. He is promising https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/trudeau-pledges-foreign-home-buyer-ban-rent-to-own-scheme-bid-canada-voters-2021-08-24 to build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million homes over the next four years, among other measures. The Conservatives would boost supply https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-conservatives-promise-job-boom-challenge-trudeau-2021-08-16 by building a million homes over three years and loosening some mortgage requirements.
Forest fires in western Canada and a drought in crop-growing areas are focusing https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/canadas-infernal-summer-puts-climate-change-forefront-election-2021-09-01 attention on climate change. ($1 = 1.2665 Canadian dollars) The Liberals are more committed to cutting emissions than the Conservatives who have been major supporters of the oil-and gas industry.
($1 = 1.2665 Canadian dollars)
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