As federal leaders gear up ahead of the Sept. 20 election, Canadians are navigating each party platform to determine which best aligns with their needs and values.
The Conservative Party of Canada is the official opposition that often goes head-to-head with the Liberals.
As Canadians try to get a clearer picture of where each party is headed, Greg Albo, associate political science professor at York University shares his expertise on the Conservatives' standing.
Albo says the Conservatives have had a base support at about one third of eligible voters for a long time and there was worry that could change.
"But O'Toole has managed to bump up support and now is running in a statistical tie with the Liberals," he added.
Experts including Albo say the debates will make the platforms and standing much clearer.
However, Albo believes "it is likely to look a lot like the last [election] in ending in a minority parliament".
The CPC is a state of confusion, but so far O'Toole is able to keep these factions under control as an election is here, and the common — virtually irrational — hatred of Trudeau.Greg Albo, Associate Political Science professor at York University
In regards to messaging, Albo says that the purpose of the Conservatives' platform is to "sow confusion rather than appear as a party of socially conservative".
He adds that this is one of the most "Janus-faced" strategies, revealing sharp contrasts in thought and action.
Canadians want the government to deal with the pandemic, provide affordable housing, and create and protect jobs.
"Appeal to workers and even unions, while doing nothing to encourage unionization or raise wages; appear to be fully in support of a post-pandemic recovery backed by fiscal and monetary policy but hedge all the time in speaking about the need to address the deficit and limit central bank activism; appear to be in favour of addressing First Nations issues but continue to oppose any significant measures beyond symbols in their platform," said Albo.
"The CPC is a state of confusion, but so far O'Toole is able to keep these factions under control as an election is here, and the common — virtually irrational — hatred of Trudeau," said Albo.
A challenge Conservatives face is looking less diverse in terms of the number female, or people of colour for example.
Albo doesn't believe the platform is missing anything from a strategic perspective, but in regards to where the Canadian public is at, he says they are missing a lot.
What does the Conservative party stand for?
KEY PLATFORM HIGHLIGHTS
Paid Sick Leave
The Conservatives recently announced they will increase EI sickness benefits from 26 to 52 weeks for those suffering from a serious illness such as cancer.
It's clear housing has become an issue for Canadians considering both rental and purchase prices have increased since the pandemic. Conservatives are pledging to ensure that Canadians can afford current housing, keep out foreign speculators, corruption, laundered money, and make it easier for Canadians to mortgages.
The party has put forward a five-point housing plan:
1. Increase housing supply
a. Build 1 million homes in the next three years
b. Leverage federal infrastructure investments by building public transit where people are buying homes
c. Release 15% of federal government property for housing while improving Federal Lands Initiative
d. Incent developers to build housing and encourage Canadians to invest in rental housing
e. Partner with Indigenous communities and give them the autonomy to meet their own housing needs
f. Incent corporations and private landowners to donate property to Land Trusts for affordable housing
2. Root out corruption
a. Give FINTRAC, law enforcement, and prosecutors tools to identity and prosecute money-laundering
b. Establish a federal Beneficial Ownership Registry for residential property
c. Implement recommendations at the federal level of the Commission of Inquiry into Money
Laundering in British Columbia
3. Ensure housing in Canada is for Canadian citizens and residents first
a. Stop and reverse the inflationary impacts of foreign buyers and speculation
b. Ban foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes here for a two year period
c. Encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing
4. Address homelessness
a. Re-implement the Housing First approach
b. Revise substance abuse policy to make recovery the overarching goal
c. Invest $325 million over the next 3 years to create 1000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50
recovery community centres across the country
d. Support innovative approaches to address the crises of mental health challenges and addiction
5. Make mortgages affordable
a. Encourage a new market in seven- to ten-year mortgages
b. Remove stress test requirements when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender
c. Increase the limit on eligibility for mortgage insurance and index it to home price inflation,
allowing those with less than a 20% down-payment an opportunity at home-ownership
d. Fix the mortgage stress test to include small business owners, contractors, non-permanent
employees including casual workers
The Conservatives want to take "immediate action to restore health funding and to tackle the urgent crises of mental health and addiction".
Some of the steps they want to take:
Meet with the Premiers within the first 100 days of forming government to propose a new health agreement that will inject nearly $60 billion into our healthcare system over the next ten years
Introduce the Canada Mental Health Action Plan that will include partnering with provinces, adding employee mental health coverage, provide grants to non-profits and charities, and create a nation-wide 3-digit suicide prevention line
Reinstate and restore certain requirements for medical assistance in dying
Double direct federal investments in palliative care
The Conservatives plan to improve long-term care, help seniors stay in their own homes or with their children, and maintain financial security via pensions.
Increasing the limit of the Home Accessibility Tax Credit from $10,000 per dwelling to $10,000 per person
Allow seniors or their caregivers, including their children, to claim the Medical Expense Tax Credit
Introduce the Canada Seniors Care Benefit, that pays $200 per month per household to any Canadian who is living with and taking care of a parent over the age of 70
Devote $3 billion of infrastructure funding over the next three years to renovate long-term care homes
Providing priority in immigration programs and refugee settlement programs to those who can work in long-term care or homecare.
The Conservatives make it clear that climate change is a reality, and they plan to meet the Paris climate commitment and reduce emissions by 2030 without taxing Canadians. The Conservatives have listed several areas of focus within climate change ranging from more zero emission vehicles to a clean buildings plan.
Some of the steps they want to take to fight climate change are:
Introduce a personal low carbon savings account and scrap the carbon tax
Carbon price starting at $20/tonne and increasing to $50/tonne maximum
Invest in more zero emission vehicles and transmission infrastructure
Require 30% of light duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030
Investing a billion dollars in building out electric vehicle manufacturing
Introduce a Renewable Natural Gas Mandate requiring 15% of downstream consumption to be renewable by 2030
Investing $5 billion in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage
The Conservatives highlight that small businesses are the "engine of our economy". They have outlined a detailed plan on securing jobs, growing the economy, and supporting businesses.
The Conservatives pledge to:
Launch the Main Street Business Loan to provide loans of up to $200,000 for small businesses
Offer up to 4 months of pre-pandemic revenue up to a maximum of $200,000
Forgive up to 25% depending on a company’s revenue loss
Make the first $25,000 of Canada Investment Accelerator refundable for small business, providing a 5% investment tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023
Launch the Rebuild Main Street Tax Credit and provide a 25% tax credit on amounts of up to $100,000 that Canadians personally invest in a small business over the next two years
The Conservatives recognize that women have disproportionately been impacted during the pandemic and want to address this inequality with two principles will guide their actions— the need to direct help to those who need it most and the knowledge that every family is unique.
Actions the Conservatives plan to take:
Convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of the cost of child care
Allow those on maternity and parental leave to earn up to $1,000 per month
Expand the Canada Child Benefit by allowing benefits to begin at the 7th month of pregnancy
Provide up to eight weeks of paid leave from employment in the event of a child’s death or stillbirth
Create a National Adoption Strategy
Increase the maximum a parent can claim under the Adoption Expense Tax Credit from $15,000 to $20,000 and making the credit refundable