It’s happened. Justin Trudeau has called an election merely two years after the last one in 2019. While the timing may not be ideal, particularly with this little thing called a pandemic currently ongoing, this could serve as a litmus test for the federal parties on where they stand in such a time of crisis, and the issues they choose to focus on may serve to make or break them come Sept. 20.
One issue that will come up frequently is the matter of affordability. It’s no secret that the pandemic left many people feeling financial pressure, with students and various marginalized groups feeling most of the squeeze.
During the early days of the pandemic, programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit proved to be a huge help for those struggling.
Once the program finishes, many Canadians will now be looking at the federal parties to see how they’ll further address affordability in their platforms. Whether it be through the creation of a universal basic income program or the creation of new policies to address inequities in the hiring market could affect their support.
Considering the recent news cycle, the environment should also be an issue of importance for the federal parties this election. This will be an especially hot button issue in B.C., where much of the Interior is devastated by wildfires.
With Lytton being completely destroyed by a wildfire and Merritt and West Kelowna still evacuating from their own fires, all eyes will be on the federal parties to see how they plan to address the climate crisis. And in this cycle, one misstep on this issue could be costly.
This election could see the federal parties be forced to deal with reconciliation in a meaningful way.
This year, Canada is faced with discovering 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C. The number of found unmarked graves is in the thousands, with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee estimating at least 6,000.
Questions about how the federal parties plan to address reconciliation will be unavoidable in upcoming debates. This could prove tricky for Trudeau and the Liberals in particular, have received heat for their involvement in a recently-settled lawsuit involving residential day school survivors.
This controversy could either win Trudeau a majority or cost him the election altogether.
Obviously, this is not the full breadth of issues that will be discussed during this election. With a fourth wave currently in progress, the parties will undoubtedly discuss vaccine mandates and passports.
Healthcare will also undoubtedly come up, with Jagmeet Singh and the NDP drafting a platform to include universal healthcare. Erin O’Toole and the Conservative party will undoubtedly be pressed on their many slip-ups during their tenure in parliament, including troubling links to alt-right politics and the 62 MPs in their party that voted against banning conversion therapy in the country.
How these parties choose to address all these issues will determine their success come voting time.