This past Wednesday, October 14, the local candidates representing the four major parties in Ontario (Conservative, NDP, Liberal, Green) stood off in WCI’s auditorium for one of their last debates before the election. With the big day fast approaching, the candidates were taking every possible opportunity to try to gain voters and sway the undecided by promoting their campaigns and voicing their parties’ platforms.
The campaign season has been unusually long this year, since Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the election six weeks early. Information is being thrown at Canadians left, right, and centre through speeches, newscasts, debates, and attack ads. At times, it can be difficult to keep track of the parties’ representatives and platforms.
As WCI students approached the mock election polls on Friday, and some senior students approach the real ones tomorrow, here is a brief summary of the local candidates that you voted for (or will vote for) and points from their parties’ platforms that concern young Canadians, largely gathered from The Globe and Mail.
PETER BRAID – CONSERVATIVE PARTY
Peter Braid has been Waterloo’s representative in the House of Commons since 2008 and has served under both minority and majority Conservative governments. Graduating from the University of Toronto in 1989 with a degree in international relations, Braid has been an active Member of Parliament in government groups, such as the Industry, Science and Technology Committee, and the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, among others.
10 points from the Conservative Party platform:
- New pipeline construction from Alberta to the United States.
- A balanced budget for the next four years.
- “Tax-lock” legislation that would prevent increases in income, sales, and discretionary payroll taxes.
- A goal to create 1.3 million jobs by 2020.
- A program to help young Canadians gain job experience in the skilled trades.
- $65 million that would go to universities and colleges.
- A pledge to help 700,000 new homeowners by raising the limit on the Home Buyers’ Plan.
- The Conservative government has been involved with airstrikes against the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria and will strengthen sanctions placed on Russian supporters of President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine policy.
- A promise to admit 11,300 refugees by the end of 2018 and another 10,000 over four years.
- Any increases to healthcare transfers will depend on economic growth.
Diane Freeman has served on Waterloo’s city council since 2006 and has been the director of the Large Urban Caucus at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for eight years. After earning her degree at the University of Waterloo in civil engineering, Freeman was elected in 2010 as president of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and founded the not-for-profit childcare facility, the Butterfly Learning Centre.
10 points from the New Democratic Party platform:
- Opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline project and a promise to establish a national cap-and-trade program to help Canada cut back on emissions.
- $100 million towards renewable energy development in the remote north of Canada.
- Surpluses in the budget for the next four years.
- An increase in the corporate tax rate from 15% to 17%.
- A promise to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- A pledge over four years of up to $200 million to create jobs for young Canadians, in partnership with private firms and NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
- A plan to gradually end interest on federal student loans.
- An NDP government would continue involvement in the Ukraine against Russian forces, but would cease all airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State to focus on ending support of the group within Canada.
- A plan to give asylum to 10,000 refugees before the end of the year and 9,000 each year following.
- A plan to build or enlarge 200 health-care clinics across the country with a budget of $300 million.
Bardish Chagger is a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, where she helps new Canadians transition into the Waterloo community. With a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo, Chagger worked as the Executive Assistant to former Member of Parliament the Hon. Andrew Telegdi and has been a member of the board with the Workforce Planning Council of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.
10 points from the Liberal Party platform:
- $20 billion will go to “greener infrastructure” over 10 years and $2 billion to the Low Carbon Economy Trust, financing projects that reduce carbon emissions.
- Infrastructure spending would lead to a three-year deficit that would be balanced in 2019.
- An increase in the tax rate for incomes of $200,000 or more and a cut in the tax rate for incomes between $44,701 and $89,401.
- Construction on roads, bridges, transit, and other infrastructure projects.
- An investment of $300 million a year in a Youth Employment Strategy and a break on Employment Insurance premiums to encourage companies to hire young Canadians.
- $500 million a year will go to training programs, with another $50 million to fund education for the aboriginal community.
- A Canada Child Benefit that would give another $2,500 to families of four.
- A Liberal government would continue military involvement in the Ukraine, but end airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to train Iraqi fighters fighting the Islamic State instead.
- A promise to increase the number of Syrian refugees sponsored by the government to 25,000 and increase refugee processing and settlement with $100 million.
- Negotiations with the provinces to lower costs for prescription drugs and give Canadians paid leave if they must care for a critically ill family member.
Richard Walsh has been campaigning to gain a seat in the House of Commons since 2000. As a psychologist at the Grand River Health Centre until 1986 and a Professor Emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University, Walsh integrates sustainable living into his own life and uses dramatic arts and community programs to educate Waterloo about gender equality, mental health, and the environment.
10 points from the Green Party platform:
- A sustainable-generations fund that would invest in technological advancements and education to create jobs.
- A plan to phase out subsidies for industries using fossil-fuels.
- Increased protection for coastal waters from oil leaks from tankers and pipelines.
- A promise to cease the expansion of the Alberta oil sands.
- A conversation with aboriginal communities about furthering renewable energy developments.
- An increase in the corporate tax rate from 15% to 19%.
- A plan to eliminate tuition fees for postsecondary education institutions.
- A national Community and Environment Service Corps that will encourage cities to hire young Canadians with a budget of $1 billion a year.
- A repeal of anti-terror Bill C-51, a bill that gives more power to the police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to prevent terrorist plots and acts.
- A national pharmacare program that would help low-income youth receive free dental care.
Emma Hawley-Yan is the youngest candidate in the riding as a 21-year-old student at the University of Waterloo, striving for her degree in Environment and Resource Sustainability and Biology. Hawley-Yan has been surrounded by animals throughout her life and speaks passionately about their rights. Limited information is available from the party’s website.
4 points from the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party platform:
- A ban on testing cosmetic products on animals.
- Opposition to national parks and other conservation areas killing animals because of overabundance.
- Programs that would encourage non-violent solutions to human-wildlife confrontations and try to prevent these conflicts altogether.
- Programs for domestic animal care that would be progressive and humane.
For the complete party platforms, visit:
For more information, visit: