PHOTO C/O Arnaud Jaegers
An overview of the current state of Canada’s political parties
By: Max Cornblum, Contributor
Results of the election formed another minority government under the Liberal party, leaving Canadians to wonder what the future of the government would look like in the face of a new, but almost identical, parliament.
After winning 159 seats and maintaining their minority government, many now-former members of parliament have lost their pensions. Pensions are awarded after six years of being seated in parliament and this election was called just over two months before some of those pensions would have vested.
Tassi believes that the party’s win proves Canadians agree with what the party has been doing and what they plan to do moving forward.
“The Canadians have accepted the mandate and that they agree with the way that we have navigated through COVID-19 and they say that they agree with our plan moving forward with regards to [future plans in things] such as environment, childcare and housing,” said Tassi.
Tassi added that she doesn’t see the snap election as a waste of money, but rather as a mandate from Canadians to have either voice heard.
“It is important that as we move forward, we are listening to Canadians, and this was the opportunity for Canadians to have their say with respect to what we have invested in,” explained Tassi.
Justin Trudeau currently remains the leader of the party. However, following public outrage regarding Trudeau’s decision to call the snap election, it remains to be seen as to whether the Liberal party is still committed to the Trudeau name.
As the Conservative Party’s leader, Erin O’Toole’s platform let the voters know that he was pro-2SLGBTQIA+ and pro-abortion. He also supported a federal carbon tax, which was unheard of for a conservative leader.
“While [the Conservative Party] didn’t get the results we had hoped for, I am proud of our team for holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election,” said O’Toole.
New Democratic Party
Although NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, has garnered a large amount of popularity through social media platforms such as TikTok, this did not translate to an increase in seats in the House of Commons.
The NDP will reevaluate their leadership and platform to see if they can improve their results with another leader or may decide to continue the course with Jagmeet Singh.
Jagmeet Singh remains the leader of the NDP and has stated that he’s confident he will keep that position.
Bloc Quebecois Party
Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the party, criticized Trudeau for calling the election.
“We almost feel like saying ‘All of that for this’,” said Blanchet.
Despite climate change being a top priority for voters, the party dedicated to the climate lost ground and credibility with voters.
In her own riding in Toronto Centre, the previous leader of the Green Party, Annamie Paul, was unable to win her seat as well. Even before the election, her standing within the party was already in tatters.
Paul has now resigned and the Green party will begin its search for a new leader.
With only two seats in the House of Commons after this election, the Green Party does not meet the requirement of at least 12 seats to be deemed a recognized party for parliamentary proceedings.
While the People’s Party of Canada was able to increase its share of the popular vote, it remained unable to make any ground and won zero seats.
PPC leader, Maxime Bernier, also lost in his own riding in Beauce.
While the rise of right-wing populism has given great success to parties around the world, it appears that the ideology shared by these parties is not welcomed by enough Canadians to make this party feasible.
After an election that didn’t change the political landscape, every party is left to reflect on what happened in their campaign. Every party must reevaluate its strategies and come prepared for the next election either in 2025 or earlier.
By Nicholas Marshall, Contributor
Grits. Reds. Libs. We need to talk. Let us consider Justin Trudeau’s domination in the 2015 federal elections. Here, Trudeau, the son of the heavenly father of our Constitution, descended from the lofty peaks of Canadian society to liberate our wretched souls from the clutches of Harper’s conservative austerity. I take it you were feeling pretty confident this time around. Trudeau was a media darling, beloved on the world stage and, in contrast with our neighbors to the south, a head of government that was hoping to unite our diverse population with Canada’s virtues of multiculturalism and equality.
But then, the scandals started rolling in. They began as relatively innocuous misdemeanours; his trip to India donning garb of another culture may have seemed like a substantial embarrassment, but it was only foreshadowing whats to come.
Things started to get more serious when the Liberal government approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Trans Mountain pipeline is poised to carve a path straight through the Liberal rhetoric on climate change, and undermine every word that spilled out of Trudeau’s mouth about protecting future generations.
Nothing could have prepared us for the big fish: the SNC-Lavalin scandal was a disaster for public confidence in our prime minister. A private corporation lobbying the government to change the law in their favour so that they could escape conviction was and is an international scandal. But to also pressure and demote your attorney general and then lead a coverup inside your own cabinet demonstrates a profound lack of respect for the political process and the rule of law. In fact, according to the ethics commissioner, the sitting prime minister had broken the law. At least things couldn’t get any worse, right?
We soon learned that the prime minister was “two-faced” in more ways than one.
So, where do we go from here? Justin Trudeau has been involved in scandal after scandal, while Andrew Scheer, the Conservative party leader, is climbing in the polls. Scheer, the leader who pinky promises that his personal opinions about gay people won’t inform his policy decisions.
So what do we do?
The truth is, most people like how the Liberals brand themselves, but in practice they don’t like watching their feminist darling sell war machines to Saudi Arabia. So, perhaps it’s time to wake up to the fact that Liberals campaign themselves as New Democrats and govern themselves as Conservatives, especially when they know no one is looking.
This election, it’s time we build our image of the Liberal party based on actions and not on words. We should recognise that the policies the Liberals win on are the actual policies of the NDPs and the policies they sneak in behind our backs are Conservative.
And, we must keep in mind that when Canadians don’t have the appetite for a scandal-ridden Liberal, voting Conservative is a counterproductive exercise in masochism (see Doug Ford). When your sheep start to bite, you don’t start shearing wolves.
This election has only just begun, so now is the time to get to know your candidates and evaluate them based on what they offer you as a citizen. Take nothing at face value, and remember that these people may not be exactly what you expected. But if you give it time, I’m sure they will all reveal their true colours to you.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Canada’s governor general to dissolve parliament for a 40-day federal election campaign. The election will be held on Oct. 21.
“In every election, as Canadians, we get to make an important choice for the future of our country. We get to decide what kind of future we build together,” said the prime minister in a press conference last Sept. 11.
The 2019 campaign, leading up to election day on Oct. 21, is taking place only months after Trudeau violated Canada’s Conflict of Interest Act. He accepted full responsibility for attempting to influence the attorney general during the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec-based construction company that was bribery and fraud charges at the time. In the aftermath of these events, the upcoming federal election will determine whether the Liberal Party will retain a majority government.
Residents of the Hamilton West - Ancaster- Dundas riding will soon be electing their Member of Parliament.
The Silhouette spoke to Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green party candidates about how they believe their parties will benefit the students of McMaster.
Students interested in learning more about the candidates or their platforms should attend MacVotes’ Federal Candidates Debate in MUSC Atrium on Oct. 8, 2019.
Filomena Tassi, Liberal Party
The Honorable Filomena Tassi, the incumbent for the Hamilton West - Ancaster - Dundas (HWAD) riding, remains optimistic about the upcoming election.
“The Liberal Party has a plan, has values that we want to make sure Canadians embrace as we move forward,” she said.
For her, these values will lead to a diverse, open and inclusive government who believes in Canadians, who wants to give everyone a chance and who wants to level the playing field so that everyone has a just and fair chance at succeeding.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Tassi has been a high school chaplain for the past twenty years and believes that government policies greatly benefit from student engagement. Her re-election campaign is already underway and touches upon several issues she believes students are passionate about, including affordable housing and education, job creation and the environment.
“We have an advisory group that consists of representation from McMaster, Mohawk and Redeemer,” said Tassi.
According to Tassi, the advisory group meets on a regular basis and is continuously provided with input from leaders of these three post-secondary institutions. This is to ensure that the group is responding to the needs of youth and keeping their voices in mind when creating policy. Tassi stated that, if elected, she would continue consulting with student groups.
“I want to make sure moving forward that we continue on that same front, an open communication where the student leadership is able to share with me what the student body wants and is looking for from the Federal Government,” she said.
Much of the Liberal platform for the upcoming election is yet to be announced.
Bert Laranjo, Conservative Party
Bert Laranjo immigrated to Canada from Portugal at the age of nine and is a registered nurse by trade. Having managed Cambridge Memorial Hospital’s multi-million dollar emergency department, he believes he has the qualifications to serve as MP.
With regard to his role in the Conservative Party, Laranjo says that he wants to ensure, as Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said, that the healthcare system remains intact and that funding continue to be transferred towards the provinces.
“Most families are feeling … they are short at the end of the month and just getting by. We don’t want you to just be getting by. We want to help Canadians to get ahead. To have money set aside for education, have money to pay bills,” said Laranjo.
According to Laranjo, the Conservative government will serve students by prioritizing job creation.
“That’s something that the Conservative government has always been focused on — to make sure when you come out of school that the opportunities are there so there’s a return on your investment,” he stated.
In addition to job creation, the Conservative platform includes reducing taxation on income bracket, repealing Bill C-69, which provides a process for assessing the environmental, health and socioeconomic effects for energy and resource projects, eliminating the Trudeau’s government carbon tax and attempting to end illegal border crossings into Canada.
Yousaf Malik, NDP
Yousaf Malik is a graduate from McMaster and holds an M.A. in economic policy. He has lived in the Hamilton West - Ancaster - Dundas riding for the last 10 years. In that time, he has been a public advocate for the voices of everyday Canadians, running for School Board Trustee in 2018.
“One of the main drivers for why I’m doing this is [that] we have four generations in the household, from my grandma who is 85 years young, to my son who is now almost nine months. And from what I see is, our government has consistently not followed through [on] their promises and commitments to all four generations,” said Malik.
He brings forward the issue of some students being unable to afford education. He refers to education as ‘the great equalizer’ and declares that education should not be limited to those who are able to afford a large loan or who have other resources to pay for school.
“I am so happy to be representing the New Democratic Party which is committed to increasing support for students and the increased federal bursary for students, working with provincial government and universities and colleges to reduce tuition with the ultimate goal of making university and college education post-secondary education tuition-free in Canada,” he stated.
He is also interested in Canadian healthcare system reform. He says the NDP is committed to creating head-to-toe coverage—including prescription medication, vision, dental and mental health.
“It’s not right that we have a system in Canada where you are able to see a doctor, but then at the end of the day, you’re not able to, in many cases, afford the medication you need to actually get better,” he said.
The NDP hope to lower Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio over the next decade; both the Conservatives and Liberals intend to balance the budget in the next five years.
Their platform emphasizes the creation of 500,000 affordable housing units and support first-time buyers, incentivized zero-emission automobiles and established a federal minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour.
Victoria Galea, Green Party
Victoria Galea is a McMaster alumnus, having graduated with an Honours B.A. degree and will soon complete an M.A. in International Relations.
She has served as the CEO for the Green Party Riding Association for the last two years and believes that the Green Party is the only legitimate option for voters interested in changes in climate action policy.
“This federal election is crucially important to make climate action policy happen. The Green Party is the only option if you care about [the] climate emergency,” said Galea.
On top of pushing towards free post-secondary education in Canada, Galea stresses the importance of mental healthcare on-campus. Having seen firsthand the lineup outside the McMaster health clinic, she mentions that the significance of mental healthcare providers is something the Green Party wants to put forward to effect — and one that people should support if they want ‘preventative’ and not simply ‘reactive’ mental healthcare services.
The Green Party platform this election may captivate the student audience with plans to forgive the portion of existing federal student debt, make college and university tuition free and provide 1 billion dollars annually to municipalities to hire youth.
“We can pay for all of Canadian students’ free post-secondary education by removing the current subsidies in place that the government provides to fossil fuel corporations,” she said.
“By no longer enabling the fossil fuel industry to develop, we are able to get better for every individual in Canada and not just the one per cent.”
The MP candidates stress the importance of youth participation in the upcoming election and emphasize the particular importance of this federal election for students and young adults.
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By: Celine Ferreira
After one of the longest election campaigns in Canada's history, the Liberal Party's victory is not the only surprising change to come out of this election.
Professor Karen Bird, whose research involves comparative politics, gender and politics, and indigenous and minority groups, spoke on a panel organized by the Department of Political Science on Oct. 21 concerning the 2015 Canadian Federal Election.
"The share of women among the newly elected Parliament is little better than before. Women now hold 26 percent of the seats, compared to 25 percent. The glass, for women, is still only half full," she said. “The evidence overall suggests we’ve been stuck at about 25 percent for a long time and it doesn’t seem to fix itself on its own.”
The addition of new ridings and the insurgence of new candidates suggested that more women would be elected. However, the one percent increase does not truly reflect this hypothesis. Prof. Bird said that is due to the lack of seats won by the New Democratic Party which had the largest proportion of women in their caucus.
The NDP has implemented various practices that have increased their number of female MPs, including reaching out to women and offering the support they need to run. A great effort is put into recruitment and a mandate has been established requiring justification for why a female candidate was not found if that’s the case. Bird later stated that such efforts should be adopted by all parties if there is going to be a translation to a more gender balanced parliament.
Due to the higher proportion of women with a post-secondary education, women are increasingly doing well economically, therefore resources such as those provided by the NDP are not of prime interest. Bird went on to say that something must be done at an institutional level to address the lack of women represented in parliament.
Female representation is also topical at McMaster. Last year’s “MSU Wants You” campaign urged more female candidates to seek high-ranking positions within the MSU, and while this initiative is a step towards better female representation at McMaster, it also signifies the work that remains to be done. The federal election can be examined to see how our student government can become more representative of the undergraduate student body at McMaster.
Out of the top nine research universities in Canada, McMaster has the second lowest representation of women in its council especially in executive positions. When asked about her opinion regarding this, Bird said that this is not due to the fact that the women are less qualified for the position or that voters are voting against women; it is a result of structural hindrances.
“I think that if there was some information about what the office involves – what the work is on a day-to-day level, what kinds of tasks are involved – a lot of women would say, ‘I have exactly those skills,’” she said.
Bird further stated that explicitly publicizing what the job involves would attract more women as they would recognize that student government is something they would like to be involved in and that they do have many skills and accomplishments that would make them strong candidates for that position.
Bird hopes that in future elections, whether on the federal scale or at the university level, women will recognize that they possess the skills, experiences and ideas needed to hold key positions that shape public policy.
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By: Sophie Geffros
On Oct. 19, I’m voting for Alex Johnstone and the NDP because for the first time, Canada has a chance to elect a genuinely progressive government.
Liberals and Conservatives are two sides of the same coin. I grew up in southern Ontario, and I watched the federal Liberals and provincial Conservatives shatter our social safety net with their austerity measures. Though they have now traded places, the damage continues. Jean Chretien cut more from social programs than Stephen Harper has ever managed to. Kathleen Wynne plans to sell more public assets than Mike Harris ever could. It is Liberal philosophy to campaign left and govern right.
The Liberals cowardly support Bill C-51, a regressive piece of Islamophobic legislation that crushes civil liberties in the name of national security. Ever since Canadians made their disdain for the bill clear, Justin Trudeau has switched gears and claimed that if elected he will “amend” the legislation. Why sweeten a poisoned pill? Tom Mulcair and the NDP are committed to repealing Harper’s reprehensible legislation. Bill C-51 has been condemned by Amnesty International, the ACLU, the United Nations, Canada’s own national security watchdog, and every legal group in the country.
We can see the similarities between the Liberals and Conservatives at the local level, where both candidates are social conservatives. Filomena Tassi, the Liberal candidate for Hamilton West self-identifies as “pro-life” and has worked with Birthright, an anti-choice organisation that shames and abuses vulnerable pregnant teenage girls. She has described herself as possessing “traditional family values,” a phrasing which is most commonly associated with the worst kind of homophobic politics. She has refused to publicly state how she would vote on an abortion bill in the House of Commons. A candidate who is not willing to stand up for a woman’s right to choose and who supports an organisation which harms the vulnerable has no place in modern society.
The Conservative candidate, Roy Samuels, released a fear-mongering piece of election literature that suggested that an NDP or Liberal government would lead to ISIS murdering Canadians in their beds. He has suggested that the shameful inaction of the Conservative government on Syrian refugees is the result of so-called “security concerns” – the implication being that refugees fleeing danger only wish to come to Canada in order to destroy it from within. A candidate who openly engages in xenophobia and fear mongering likewise has no place on our ballots.
Liberals would have you believe that they will be allies to students, but this has never been the case. University costs in Ontario have increased disproportionally over the last 12 years. Since 1993, the average cost of post-secondary education in Ontario has increased by six thousand dollars. The Liberal Party has only worsened this by federally cutting provincial education transfers, and provincially by cutting funding for universities. The party is not an ally to students, or to young people, or to anyone who relies on the government for some form of support.
Conversely, the NDP is the reason why Canadians have universal healthcare. We have committed 2.6 billion dollars to implement universal pharmacare. We have committed to ceasing military action in Syria and Iraq and immediately admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees, with an additional 9,000 admitted each year for the next four years. We will implement a federal minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour, and restore federal transfers for social programs, including 40 million dollars to build shelters for victims of abuse, so that nobody will be forced to choose between their personal safety and a roof over their head. We will also permanently remove interest on federal student loans.
On Oct. 19, I will be working to strike a blow against the forces of austerity, racism and opportunism that permeate the Liberal and Conservative campaigns. I am committed to being part of the solution by voting for the first NDP government in Canadian history. Frankly, I can’t afford not to.
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By: Isaac Kinley
Alex Johnstone, the Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas candidate for the New Democratic Party, discussed her party’s plans to make living more affordable for the riding’s residents. She said that her party plans to raise the corporate tax rate by two percent, generating enough revenue to both balance the budget and facilitate increased spending.
Some of Johnstone’s major platform points include the NDP’s proposed $15 per day universal childcare, an investment in Medicare to reduce the cost of medications by 40 percent and investment in retirement, considering the large volume of baby boomers reaching retirement age. She said that she was personally most excited about the NDP’s proposals both to introduce a cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to repeal Bill C-51. “Our party and the Green Party were the only ones to vote against Bill C-51,” she said. “We are committed to repealing [it].”
To address student debt, the NDP plans to create interest-free federal student loans and invest $250 million in the creation of 74,000 new federal grants for students in need of financial assistance, according to Johnstone. They also intend to “crack down” on unpaid internships that aren’t related to the intern’s education and invest $200 million in the creation of paid co-ops and internships. Additionally, they plan to reintroduce the recently defeated Intern Protection Act, which would extend labour rights to interns, such as the right to refuse unsafe work.
The NDP’s $15 per day child care proposal has received criticism from Justin Trudeau, who said it isn’t necessary to provide services at that price to Canadians of all levels of income. Johnstone responded, arguing that the Liberal childcare plan does not involve the creation of any new childcare spaces and would therefore not contribute to the equitable administration of childcare services.
The existing childcare centres in Hamilton are concentrated in Ancaster, she said, and mostly absent in the poorest areas farther east. She likened the $15 per day plan to universal healthcare and education, saying, “[universal childcare] is another program that, just like [those two], is going to be a societal game-changer.”
Johnstone also criticized the Liberals’ planned tax breaks, arguing that $6 billion of Canada’s annual deficit is the result of tax breaks for families with children, including families with wealthy parents on the Sunshine List.
“It’s important to note that Trudeau’s system only targets the top one percent [of earners],” she said. “That still leaves the vast majority of people who are on the Sunshine List. They’re still benefiting [from tax breaks].”
Dear Students of McMaster University,
Thank you for this opportunity to share the NDP plan to make post-secondary education more accessible.
New Democrats know that improving access to post-secondary education is an integral part of building a fairer, more equitable society where nobody is left behind. When we invest in education and skills training and create jobs for youth we can all reap the benefits.
I’ve met with too many students who are graduating with more debt, fewer job opportunities and a more endangered environment. They’re tired of wondering how they’ll be able to buy their first home when they’re drowning in student debt.
New Democrats believe that cost should never be a barrier when accessing post-secondary education; and all Canadian students deserve the opportunity to attend accessible and high-quality public post-secondary institutions. Young people have a vital role to play in shaping this country’s future — your future. I know this firsthand; I’m proud to be working with a strong youth caucus who are bringing new energy to Parliament
Hill. Members of the NDP youth caucus have introduced:
Our youth caucus is working on issues that matter to young Canadians and proving what’s possible when our elected officials actually reflect our society.
The NDP is offering a positive vision for all Canadians. We believe that together we can build the Canada of our dreams— a Canada where everyone belongs, and no one is left behind. This fall Canadians once again have the opportunity to choose hope and optimism over fear and cynicism.
Please accept my best wishes for a successful school year at McMaster!
Photo Credit: iPolitics
Event draws limited student participation
On Oct. 23, representatives from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) - Ontario, and McMaster faculty member, Peter Graefe, all spoke out against the purposed changes to the sector. Also on the panel was NDP politician, Theresa Armstrong who is the NDP critic for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University (MTCU).
The panel was organized by the NDP Riding Associations of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and Hamilton Centre. The event was attended by approximately 40 people.
Janice Folk-Dawson, Chair of the Ontario University Workers Coordination Committee of CUPE- Ontario criticized the Ministry’s plans and called “for the establishment of a true consultation process with wide ranging discussions including chronic underfunding to post-secondary institutions and a discussion of tuition and auxiliary fees.”
Peter Graefe, a Political Science professor, criticized the three semester a year plan stating, “As much as people think I’m at home sunbathing myself during those [summer] months, I’m here most days involved in work related to research.”
He also addressed the Ministry’s suggestion about three-year degrees, and said, “Three year degrees, is there a demand for that? We have been seeing three year degrees shut down across the province for a lack of demand for a variety of reasons.”
“When we talk about scarce public resources we have to realise that it is a myth, the income tax for people making over 500,000 dollars was introduced and next thing you know we got an extra 500 million in revenue” said Mike Yam, CFS-Ontario researcher.
“I know a lot of labour unions and progressive economists talk about reversing corporate tax cuts; for sure if they were back to 2009 levels we’d have an extra two billion plus dollars in government coffers that could provide for all undergraduates in Ontario to go to school for free.”
Theresa Armstrong, the NDP Critic for MTCU, gave a uniformly scripted speech, which provided little insight into the Ontario New Democrat’s plans outside of re-stating their election promises.
Dan Fahey, a third-year Integrated Science student, felt upset with the lack of a comprehensive vision presented by the NDP stating that he, “felt underwhelmed by Theresa Armstrong’s performance, when the stakes are so high with the attack to education that we are facing.”
“I thought Mike Yam said the right things. That we need to build solidarity between students and staff on campus and it’s going to take a lot of work.”