Federal election in full swing

Ballot box. pixabay5

Federal candidates hit the campaign trail

The 2019 Canadian Election is set to take place on Monday, Oct. 21, meaning that candidates are campaigning, and citizens are getting ready to cast their vote.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party are hoping to maintain their position as holders of a majority government which they won in the fall of 2015 while Andrew Scheer, in his first election as leader of the Conservative Party and Official Opposition, will attempt to end the country’s four-year reign of red. Jagmeet Singh of the New Democratic Party is also in his first election as a major party leader, and the Green Party’s Elizabeth May will participate in her fourth election at the party’s helm.

Currently, the 338 seats in the House of Commons – 170 of which are needed in order to declare a majority government – are divided as follows: 177: Liberal, 95: Conservatives, 40: NDP, 10 Bloc Québécois (BQ), 2: Green, with the remaining seats split by independents and smaller parties. 4 seats presently sit empty.

This election falls at a critical moment for the Liberals, coming on the heels of a spring and summer that were that were devoted to attacking the federally-imposed carbon tax, while earlier this year, Canadians were bombarded with endless media coverage of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Critiques from the right are plentiful, with conservative provincial governments going as far as to take the feds to court, claiming that the imposition of a federal carbon tax is “unconstitutional.” The left, however, argues that the tax is not enough to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and that emissions need to be capped.

In the spring, the SNC-Lavalin scandal sank the Liberal’s approval rating. Then Minister of Justice and Attorney Generel, Jody Wilson-Raybould, interfered in an open criminal case involving the Montreal-based SNC Lavalin: a multi-billion dollar construction company. The scandal of the matter is that the Prime Minister was found by the Parliament of Canada’s Ethics Commissioner to have pressured his Minister into taking this course of action. Coverage of the occurrence spiraled and resulted in the expulsion of Wilson-Raybould as well as fellow cabinet member Jane Philpott (who resigned from cabinet on account of the government’s poor dealings with the matter) from the Liberal caucus.

While this controversy caused waves in the Canadian circle of news, a six-month-long investigation concluded quite anti-climatically, finding that, while Trudeau’s persuasive actions had in fact infringed on Section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act, the act does not cover this specific breach. With the clock ticking faster and faster until the election, opposing parties capitalized on the scandal, demanding inquiries and investigations to be had across the board, though no further conclusions have come about, and the buzz has all but fizzled out, especially in the minds of voters.

As of Monday, September 9, 2019, CBC’s Canada Poll Tracker had poll averages for the four major parties of 33.8 per cent for the Conservatives, 33.5 per cent for the Liberals, 13.4 per cent going toward the NDP and 10.6 per cent favouring the Greens. Seat projections, however, have the Liberals sitting at 160, the Tories with 143, the NDP at 16, the BQ with 15 and the Greens with 4. With these numbers, whether a majority government will be elected is rather uncertain.

Winter and spring of this year saw the Conservatives leading in the polls, though their popularity has leveled to that of the Liberals during the summer months. The NDP is sitting quite low, projected to keep a mere 16 of their 40 seats. Conversely, the Greens’ popularity is at a federal high as conversations and concerns around climate change continue to be at the political forefront for many.

One of the first major events of the campaign is set to take place tonight (Thursday, September 12): the Maclean’s Leaders’ debate. In attendance will be Andrew Scheer of the Conservatives, Elizabeth May of the Greens, and Jagmeet Singh of the NDP. The Prime Minister has declined his invitation. Paul Wells of McLean’s will be hosting and moderating.

Additionally, on October 7 and 10, leaders will participate in debates in English and French, respectively, produced by the Canadian Debate Production Partnership which is made up of a variety of news outlets such as HuffPost Canada, Toronto Star and Radio-Canada. Federal leaders of the major parties will be in attendance, including Justin Trudeau and Yves-François Blanchet of the BQ.  Moderators for the English event are Susan Delacourt (Toronto Star), Dawna Friesen (Global), Althia Raj (HuffPost Canada), Lisa LaFlamme (CTV) and Rosemary Barton (CBC). The French debate will be moderated by Patrice Roy (Radio-Canada).

While it is vitally important to consider the election on a national scale, residents of Regina should also closely examine the local implications of what their vote could mean.

Regina is divided into three federal ridings: Regina-Lewvan, which includes neighbourhoods in the west of the city such as Harbour Landing, Albert Park, Lakeview, Cathedral (south of Victoria Avenue), Rosemont – Mount Royal, Normanview, and Lakeridege; Regina-Qu’Appelle, encompassing Uplands, Northeast and Eastview; and Regina-Wascana, which houses Glencairn, Gardiner Park, the Greens, University Park, Douglas Place, Al Ritchie, Downtown (East of Albert and South of the tracks), Hillsdale, and Whitmore Park among many others. Verify your constituency by consulting the boundary map made available online by Elections Canada.

The candidates for Regina-Lewvan are as follows: Winter Fedyk: Liberal, Warren H. Steinly: Conservative, Jigar Patel: NDP, Naomi Hunter: Green, Trevor Wowk: PPC (People’s Party Canada), Ian Bridges: NCA (National Citizens Alliance).

For Regina-Qu’Appelle, candidates are: Leader of the Conservative Party and current MP for Regina-Qu’Appelle, Andrew Scheer, Jordan Ames-Sinclair: Liberal, Dale Dewar: Green, Taylor Sparrowhawk: PPC, James Plummer: Libertarian Party.

And finally, in Regina-Wascana, the candidates are: Current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale: Liberal, Michael Kram: Conservative, Tamela Friesen: Green, Mario Milanovski: PPC.

The NDP has yet name a candidate for both Regina-Wascana and Regina Qu’Appelle as of Sept. 5, 2019.

As we can continue to approach further to the election, the Carillon will be giving you a closer look at your Regina candidates, as well as updates on the broader national scale.

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