Conservatives Announce Infrastructure Plan
Erin O’Toole was in Ottawa on Wednesday announcing the Conservatives’ plan to expedite the construction of new infrastructure. The Conservative leader pledged to build key projects, including Vancouver’s SkyTrain extension, Quebec City’s Third Link, and the Calgary Green Line. The Conservative infrastructure plan also committed to:
- Remove “onerous requirements” for provinces and municipalities to receive federal infrastructure funding;
- Eliminate the Canada Infrastructure Bank and reallocate unused money for key infrastructure projects across the country; and
- Connect all of Canada to high-speed Internet by 2025.
Annamie Paul Calls for the Decriminalization of Illegal Drugs
Green Party leader Annamie Paul continued her campaign from Toronto on Wednesday, calling on the federal government to decriminalize the use of illegal drugs. The Green Party leader stated that as long as drug use remains a criminal issue, it will prevent people from seeking help. Paul called on the federal government to:
- Decriminalize the ‘simple possession’ of all illicit drugs;
- Create a national safe supply of ‘drugs of choice;’ and
- Invest in “wrap around supports,” including safe injection sites, access to mental health services, community supportive housing and drug treatment.
Singh Continues to Push Affordable Housing Message
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh was in Montreal on Wednesday continuing to push his party’s affordable housing plan. The New Democrat leader highlighted his intent to use federal lands --like the Peel Basin in Montreal-- to build affordable housing. “We believe that federal lands should be used towards investing in opportunities to fight the housing crisis,” Singh stated, “to build affordable homes so that people can find something that’s in their budget.” According to the NDP’s media release, Singh would also work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to “purchase affordable rental housing to keep rent low and discourage big investors from buying up rental buildings to drive up rent.”
Blanchet Pledges to Support Quebec’s Bill 96
Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet was in Montreal on Wednesday pledging to ensure the Charter of the French language applies to businesses and institutions under federal jurisdiction, as modified, if passed, by Quebec’s Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. The Bloc Québécois leader also criticized the federal government’s proposed changes to the Official Languages Act (Canada) in Ottawa’s Bill C-32, for undermining Quebec’s efforts on Bill 96, and making adherence to the Charter of the French language “purely voluntary.” In a media release, Blanchet stated: “I want to assure Franco-Canadians and Acadians that the Bloc Québécois will be their best ally and their voice in the Canadian Parliament to reform the Official Languages Act in order to guarantee them the French language services they deserve and to protect their right to live, study and work in French.”
Liberals Launch Platform With $78 Billion in New Spending
Midway through week three of Canada’s 44th federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled the Liberal Party’s election platform. The 82-page document offers a range of new commitments under six themes: Finishing the Fight Against COVID-19; A Home. For Everyone; Better Healthcare. For Everyone; A More Resilient Economy; A Cleaner, Greener Future; and Reconciliation. The platform also pledges to make several regulatory changes and introduce new pieces of legislation, including:
- Establishing regulations under the Canada Health Act governing accessibility for sexual and reproductive health services and penalizing provinces that fail to meet the new accessibility standards.
- Tabling legislation to ensure that every business and organization that decides to require proof of vaccination from employees and customers can do so without fear of legal challenge.
- Extending job protections under the Canada Labour Code to workers employed by digital platforms.
- Strengthening provisions of the Canada Labour Code to better support women who need to be temporarily reassigned to other duties during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
- Implementing a new ‘right to disconnect’ for federally regulated workers.
- Introducing legislation to prohibit the use of replacement workers when a union employer in a federally regulated industry has locked out employees.
- Requiring financial institutions to offer flexible repayment options by default for individuals facing a life event that causes financial stress, including a mandatory 6-month deferral of mortgage payments in qualifying circumstances.
- Moving forward with a made-in-Canada model of open banking, beginning in 2023.
- Banning thermal coal exports from and through Canada no later than 2030.
- Developing a national net-zero emissions building code for 2025 adoption.
- Developing an investment tax credit of up to 30% for a range of clean technologies including low carbon and net-zero technologies.
- Re-introducing An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (COVID-19 response and other measures) to make criminal procedure reforms that adopt virtual means such as the use of virtual remote proceedings and expanded use of the telewarrant process.
- Re-introducing Bill C-22 --which reforms mandatory minimum sentences-- within the first 100 days.
- Introducing legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains.
- Creating a “minimum tax rule” so that everyone who earns enough to qualify for the top bracket pays at least 15 % each year -- removing their ability to artificially pay no tax through excessive use of deductions and credits.
- Modernizing the general anti-avoidance rule regime in order to restrict the ability of federally regulated entities, including financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to use tiered structures as a form of corporate tax planning that flows Canadian-derived profit through entities in low-tax jurisdictions.
Ipsos Has Conservatives Narrowly Edging Out Liberals in a Close Race
A new poll conducted by Ipsos between August 27 and 30 has the Conservatives edging out the Liberals in what remains a statistical tie. The poll found that if an election were held today, the Conservatives would receive 32% of the decided national vote; the Liberals 31%; the NDP 23%; and the Green Party 4%. The Liberals are also in a dead heat with the Bloc Québécois in Quebec, polling at 31% and 30%, respectively. The Conservatives continue to trail in Quebec with 20% of the vote.