First and foremost, I’m not going to make this a campaign to vote for who I am voting for. This will be a very general blog post.
So, let’s start with the basics.
How do Federal elections and the government work?
There are 338 seats in the Canadian House of Commons, called the MP’s (Members of Parliament).
There needs to be a minimum of 170 seats won by one party to form a majority government. In a majority government, that party can essentially pass any bill they want, with over 50% of the votes.
For a minority government happens when a party has more seats than any other party, but less than 50% of the seats.
In this case, a minority government would require support from another party, to be able to pass laws or they will be out voted.
Anytime a major bill gets rejected, it is called a Vote of No Confidence. It legally requires the current government to fold and a re-election takes place OR a coalition must form between two parties to form a new government.
You cannot decline your ballot in a federal election, since the 2000 federal elections when the Edible Ballot Society ate their ballots in protest for unfair elections. Since then, they made it that you cannot decline your ballot in a federal election, whereas in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, you can decline your vote in a provincial election.
You may be also be hearing about something called “strategic voting” which is basically where people vote to overthrow the current Federal Government by voting for their strongest opposition instead. This is essentially what people have been doing for years, which is why the Conservatives and the Liberals remain in office – once the people are fed up with one, they bring in the other.
That is everything you need to know about how a federal election works.
So we hear a lot about two major parties. The Liberals and the Conservatives. These are the two parties that have played tug of war with the Prime Minister position for decades. Now, there are definitely other parties including The New Democratic Party (NDP), The Green Party, and the People’s Party.
Let’s dive right into each party and some history about them, as well as their 2019 platform.
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberals are the oldest and long-serving political party in Canada. They held power for almost 69 years in the 20th century (1901-2000) which is more than any other party.
Their current leader is Justin Trudeau. He has been serving since 2015, and is the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada. You may recognize his last name – his father was Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada.
The Liberal’s signature policies and legislative decisions include:
- universal health care
- the Canada Pension Plan
- legalizing same sex marriage, euthanasia, and cannabis
- Canada Student Loans
The following image is their 2019 Platform:
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservatives, also known as “The Tories”, was only founded in 2003, however they are made up of two very similar minded parties from which include: Canadian Alliance, Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Essentially, dubbed the “Red Tories” and the “Blue Tories”, they aligned to form the current Conservative Party of Canada.
The Tories leader is Andrew Scheer. His predecessor Stephen Harper was the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada for nearly a decade.
The Conservatives tend to favor lower taxes, small government, and a tougher stand on “law and order” issues. They also tend to support school prayer but oppose abortion and same sex marriages.
The Conservatives are essentially opposites to the Liberals.
Here is a look at their 2019 platform:
The New Democratic Party
NDP was formed in 1961 due to a merger of the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress.
The current leader of the NDP is Jagmeet Singh. He was born in Scarborough, ON and is a Sikh (the 5th largest religion; that believes in equality and service to others). His predecessor Tom Mulcair served as leader from 2012 to 2017. Jack Layton was Mulcair’s predecessor from 2004 until 2011, when he passed away from cancer, before the end of his term.
During Jack Layton’s leadership, the support for the NDP grew steadily. In 2011, under his leadership, they earned 108 seats in the House of Commons – becoming Canada’s Official Opposition.
The NDP’s advocate issues of the LGBTQ+ community, international peace, and the responsible use and protection of the natural environment.
Here is their 2019 platform:
The Green Party
The Green Party was founded in 1983 at a university during a conference. They have never been Official Opposition or had a leader become Prime Minister.
The current leader of the Green Party is Elizabeth May, and she has been leader since 2006. May is the longest serving leader (and also the longest serving female) in Canadian politics.
The Green Party supports green economics, non violence, social justice, and respect for diversity.
Here is their 2019 platform:
The People’s Party of Canada
The People’s Party was formed in September 2018 – making it the newest political party.
The current leader Maxime Bernier founded the party after he left the Conservative party. During his resignation speech, he stated “I’ve come to realize this party is too intellectually and morally corrupt to be reformed”.
Bernier’s principles are freedom, responsibility, fairness, and respect. He states the platform will be “based on facts”. He wants to speak for all Canadians and not just special interest groups. Their most infamous platform policy thus far is to end the Multiculturalism Act. He states “immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage. However, that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it, with government programs and taxpayers’ money.”
Here is their 2019 platform:
2019 Federal Election Information
The 2019 Federal Election takes place on Monday, October 21st.
Final Comments and Thoughts
I hope this answers any questions you might have about the federal election coming up. Please feel free to comment with any additional information or questions.
Also, please make sure you are voting for the party that aligns with your own beliefs and not just to over throw the current federal government. As the old saying goes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Thank you for voting!