|Canadians will go to the polls on Oct. 21.- The federal election campaign is officially a go.|
The 2019 Canadian federal election (formally the 43rd Canadian general election) is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019. Parliament was dissolved by Governor General Julie Payette on September 11, 2019 on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The 40-day campaign will see the incumbent Liberals attempt to secure a second majority mandate, that it won in the previous election.
Two of the three major parties will contest this election under new leaders: the opposition Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, and the third party social democratic New Democrats under Jagmeet Singh.
The 2015 federal election resulted in a Liberal majority government headed by Justin Trudeau. The Conservatives became the Official Opposition (with Stephen Harper announcing his resignation as party leader) and the New Democrats (NDP) became the third party. While members of the Bloc Québécois and the Greens were elected to the House, both failed to achieve the required number of MPs for official party status (12). Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe announced his resignation shortly after the election, and was succeeded by Parti Québécois MNA Martine Ouellet. After losing a leadership review, Ouellet announced she would step down as Bloc leader on June 11, 2018, and was succeeded by Yves-François Blanchet on January 17, 2019.
Due to Tom Mulcair gaining only 48% of the vote at the NDP's April 2016 leadership review, the party held a leadership election on October 1, 2017, electing Ontario MPP and the former Deputy Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party Jagmeet Singh as his successor.
Bill C-44 was passed in 2017 and assigned responsibility to the Parliamentary Budget Office to review party platforms for future elections, with the 2019 election the first subjected to this review. The Parliamentary Budget Office has a $500,000 budget for costing party platforms for this election, but will only review a party platform at the request of the party that authored it. It will also conduct confidential assessments of independent and party platform proposals preceding the election campaign. The service will also be available to members of parliament representing a party that does not have official party status in the House of Commons, such as Elizabeth May.
Main article: Canadian House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform
In June 2015, Justin Trudeau pledged to reform the electoral system if elected, saying, "We are committed to ensuring that 2015 is the last election held under first-past-the-post." As the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc, and Greens were all in favour of reform, it was seen as possible that a different voting system could be in place by the next federal election.
A Special Committee on Electoral Reform was formed with representatives from all five parties in the House. The committee's report, Strengthening Democracy in Canada: Principles, Process and Public Engagement for Electoral Reform, was presented in December 2016 and recommended a proportional electoral system be introduced following a national referendum. The majority of the all-party committee recommended "that the government should, as it develops a new electoral system ... [seek to] minimize the level of distortion between the popular will of the electorate and the resultant seat allocations in Parliament."
Despite the mandate of the committee being to "identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems" rather than to recommend a specific alternative system, the Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef was critical of the committee's recommendation saying "I have to admit I'm a little disappointed, because what we had hoped the committee would provide us with would be a specific alternative system to first past the post." Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said Monsef's comments were "a disgrace" and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said "[t]he minister chose to insult the committee and chose to mislead Canadians."
In February 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau dropped support for electoral reform, issuing a mandate to newly appointed Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould, saying that, "A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged. ... Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate." In response to questions from the public in Iqaluit, Trudeau said "I turned my back on that promise" and that "this was my choice to make, and I chose to make it with full consequence of the cost that is possibly going to come [from] it"
The first debate between multiple party leaders is scheduled for September 12 and hosted by Maclean's magazine and City TV. Scheer, Singh and May have committed to attending. Trudeau declined his invitation.
Two official debates will be organized and held by the newly created Leaders' Debates Commission.[ The English language debate is scheduled to take place on October 7 and the French on October 10.
Both debates are to take place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.
On August 12, 2019, the Commissioner extended invitations for Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May and Yves-François Blanchet to attend. He also sent a letter to Maxime Bernier indicating that he did not qualify for the debates at this time, and asking for additional information from the People's Party so that a final decision could be reached by September 16. Bernier criticized the decision saying that it would not be a "real debate" without him.
The government established rules in 2018 to determine which party leaders are invited to the official debates. To be invited a party must satisfy two of the following:
Have at least one member elected under the party's banner;
Nominate candidates to run in at least 90% of all ridings; and
Have captured at least 4% of the votes in the previous election or be considered by the commissioner to have a legitimate chance to win seats in the current election, based on public opinion polls.
In November 2018, Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould said that Maxime Bernier would qualify for the debates as leader of the People's Party of Canada if the party nominated candidates in 90% of ridings
Stan Popa 9/12/2019