BLUESKY BRIEF - September 2nd

We are now halfway through the #elxn44 campaign and with 18 days left before voting day, the Liberal Party of Canada released their full platform. A fiscal and costing plan was also included – something that was not contained in the Conservative or NDP platforms. The Liberal's costing was also analyzed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Highlights of the platform are:

  • Finish the fight against COVID-19 by supporting proof-of-vaccination credentials and mandatory vaccines for people travelling on planes and trains;

  • Keep Canadians healthy with transformative investments in the strength of our universal, public health care system, in primary care, long term care, and mental health;

  • Accelerate climate action by creating new green jobs, cutting pollution in the oil and gas sector, and making our communities cleaner with zero-emission vehicles;

  • Make everyone pay their fair share, including big banks and the wealthiest Canadians;

  • Create safer communities by toughening our laws on banned assault weapons and supporting provinces and territories that implement a ban on handguns;

  • Help Canadians find a home of their own by saving first-time homebuyers up to $30,000, helping 1.4 million families find a home, and protecting the rights of Canadians and taking action against speculators;

  • Deliver $10 a day child care and create more childcare spaces in Quebec;

  • Build a fairer Canada by fighting systemic racism and discrimination, and combatting hate in all its forms; and

  • Walk the shared path of reconciliation by addressing the legacy of colonialism and residential schools, continuing to work to eliminate all clean long-term drinking water advisories, and taking action to confront systemic racism against Indigenous peoples, including in health care.

In today’s Brief, our team of political observers have gone over the Liberal platform and givetheir thoughts on what has been presented to voters.

From the desk of the Honourable Joe Jordan, Senior Associate

With the Liberal campaign in need of a boost, the release of their platform could not have come at a more opportune time. The key will be whether they can leverage the attention into sustained momentum.

The launch provided the Prime Minister with an opportunity to recount the pandemic response measures the government has taken and to frame the platform as a forward-moving document.

The document begins by underscoring the fact that the pandemic response is not finished, and we will need to continue to be vigilant, including strong language around the need for vaccinations and compliance with health measures. There are also measures to support the safe return to normalcy. There is also a detailed reference to addressing the weaknesses in the health care system and the social safety nets that were exposed by the unprecedented demands of the pandemic response.

There is a section on homeownership, as recent moves in the housing market would seem to put homeownership out of reach for young Canadians and exasperated the issue of homelessness.

The chapter on economic growth and jobs seems to build on the support programs that were put in place during the worst of the pandemic and the narrative continues to recommit to the principles of equality and equality of opportunity.

Finally, they outline the plans for addressing climate change, continuing the reconciliation efforts with Indigenous Peoples, underscoring public safety measures and a commitment to a principled foreign policy and trade approach. The plan also includes a costing section, which differentiates it from some of the other parties.

Platforms represent a comprehensive presentation of the plan, a chance to connect the dots of the various policy suites. It remains to be seen if this document, and the accompanying communications, injects the campaign with the adrenalin it would seem to require.

From the desk of Neil Brodie, Vice President

The Liberal Party finally put out its platform today. It is a day away from the first French-language debate, so this allows all participants from the main parties to discuss their plans on a level playing field.

At only 86 pages the Liberal platform is half the size of the Conservative platform which finds it long on promises and short on detail. The large proposals in the platform are remarkably similar to the Conservative platform, fighting COVID-19, building new homes, more money for health care, a childcare plan, more renewable energy and a commitment to do more for Indigenous peoples.

Noticeably absent from their platform is the Liberals national pharmacare plan, announced less than a year ago in their Speech from the Throne and detailed earlier this year in their Budget. Most of what was contained in the Liberal’s platform was in their plans for the parliamentary session that was ended to have this election. Liberals are still unable to describe to Canadians why this election is necessary. They were passing their legislation with reasonable amendments from the opposition when required.

So, the stage is now set for the final 19 days of the election campaign. Canadians can compare each party’s plan and judge for themselves which represents them best.

From the desk of Cameron Holmstrom, Consultant

During an election campaign, one of the highlights is always the release of party platforms. The Liberals finally brought theirs forward, 18 days into a 36-day campaign and three weeks after both the NDP and Conservatives released theirs. That lack of a platform has fed into legitimate questions about if this campaign was necessary. When you call a snap election saying that Canadians should have the chance to choose a path going forward, it’s only natural to expect you to reveal that plan earlier than this.

But when you read this platform, you can see why they decided to wait. There aren’t any new, revolutionary ideas. It feels like the Liberals started with their 2021 budget as a baseline, then read the other parties’ platforms, picked on some key points and decided to promise to go further. One could argue it’s an attempt to do what they did in 2015, where they tried to make their opponents' platforms look more modest and less ambitious.

In short, as a platform document, it comes across as rather underwhelming and doesn’t meet the test of requiring an election to pass judgement upon. This platform strikes me as more of a response to a sliding campaign and sinking leadership approval numbers rather than a strong, unique plan to take Canadians in a better post-COVID direction. It’s a platform that requires a big element from the public that appears to be in shorter supply these days…trust in Justin Trudeau. His plan tells Canadians he’ll go further, faster, and just trust him and his party will do it this time. Given his track record of broken promises with progressive voters, that doesn’t feel like a plan that will work in reach their ultimate goal - winning this election.

Following the Liberals platform announcement, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced his party’s plan “to build key infrastructure to get the economy moving through Canada’s Recovery Plan.” To do this, O’Toole said a Conservative government would:

  • Build the world-class public transit, road, and 5G networks our country needs to compete

  • Provide more flexibility to municipalities and First Nations by removing onerous requirements to receive federal infrastructure funding.

  • Scrap the failed Canada Infrastructure Bank and commit the money sitting unused on its books to infrastructure projects that can strengthen our economy.

  • Reprioritize the Investing in Canada Plan toward infrastructure projects that would have the maximum benefit for economic recovery.

  • Build digital infrastructure to connect all of Canada to high-speed Internet by 2025.

In Montreal, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh continued to roll his platform plank that addresses the Canada’s housing crisis through the use of available federal lands to build affordable housing. To do that, an elected NDP government would:

  • Building 500,000 new homes families can afford.

  • Keeping wealthy speculators out of the housing market.

  • Cracking down on house flipping and other activities that drive up house prices.

  • Helping families buy their first home.

  • Protecting affordable rental properties and taking steps to make rent more affordable.