Federal Election 2019: What You Need to Know

Cover Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

A look at campaign promises so far

The upcoming federal election is set to take place on Monday, October 21st, with advance voting taking place on campus from Saturday, October 5th to Wednesday, October 9th. Deciding who to vote for can be a daunting task – with Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal, Andrew Scheer’s ambiguous stance on same-sex marriage and abortion, and an entirely new political party determined to end multiculturalism, navigating the 2019 election is no easy task.

With this in mind, The Argus has compiled key campaign promises on issues affecting students to consider before heading to the polls. 

The Parties

Liberal: The current governing party of Canada, the Liberals are located to the left of centre on the political spectrum and currently hold 184 seats in the House of Commons. It is the oldest political party in Canada and has held power the most times. They describe themselves as balancing fiscal responsibility with social justice.  

Conservative: The Conservative Party of Canada (sometimes referred to as the Progressive Conservatives or the Tories) was formed in 2003 after uniting two right-wing parties in Canada. They sit to the centre-right or right on the political spectrum and hold 95 seats in the House of Commons. They are the only other party to have held power in Canada. They describe themselves as fighting to keep taxes low and finances in check, “[looking] out for everyday working people and their families.”

NDP: The New Democratic Party was formed in 1961 with the joining of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress. They hold 39 seats in the House of Commons and are located to the left on the political spectrum. The NDP has not yet held federal power. They describe themselves as working to make Canada more just, equal and sustainable. 

Green: The Green Party was founded in 1983, based on making the environment a political issue. They are also located to the left on the political spectrum, holding only 2 seats in the House of Commons. The Green Party often advocates for large political reform and is based on 6 fundamental principles: non-violence, sustainability, social justice, ecological wisdom, participatory democracy and respect for diversity. 

Bloc Quebecois: The Bloc Quebecois was formed in 1990 and holds 10 seats in the House of Commons. They only run candidates in Quebec, therefore they cannot hold federal power. Their main goal is for the province of Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada and form its own country. 

PPC: The People’s Party of Canada was formed in 2018 after MP Maxime Bernier left the Conservatives to form his own party. They are located further right than the Conservative Party on the political spectrum and have run their campaign mostly on issues related to fighting political correctness, restricting immigration and ending official multiculturalism.

Campaign Promises

** Note: The Conservative Party has not yet released their full platform, but are expected to October 11th.  



•    Implement United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as Canadian Law

•    Eliminate all long-term boil-water advisories on reserve by 2021

•    Introduce distinctions-based health care for Indigenous peoples focusing on mental health, healing and long-term care

•    Reduce the number of FNMI children in foster care 


•    No specific proposals yet


•    Implement UNDRIP

•    Co-develop a national action plan for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples

•    Lift all boil water advisories by 2021

•    Ensure that Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate home care and long-term care is available for Elders

•    Establish a comprehensive plan to address violence against Indigenous women and girls


•    Implement UNDRIP as Canadian Law

•    Implement all calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls  

•    Dismantle the Indian Act in full partnership with Indigenous peoples

•    Update infrastructure to end boil-water advisories


•    Replace the Indian Act

•    Reaffirm federal government’s power to approve natural resource and infrastructure in consultation with impacted communities

•    Explore avenues to establish individual property rights on reserve

•    Ensure communities take more ownership of services they receive from the federal government

Climate Change


•    Attain net zero emissions by 2050

•    Plant 2 billion trees (and create 3,500 seasonal jobs)

•    Ban single-use plastics by 2021

•    Invest profit from the sale of Trans Mountain Expansion Project into clean energy projects/climate solutions


•    Scrap carbon tax

•    Require major emitters of greenhouse gases to invest in green tech/research

•    End practice of dumping raw sewage in waterways

•    Tax credit on income generated from green technology and patented in Canada


•    Declare climate emergency

•    Ban single-use plastics by 2022

•    Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies immediately

•    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 450 megatonnes (down 37% from 2017)


•    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030

•    Halt all new fossil fuel development projects

•    Make 100% of Canada’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030

•    Ban single-use plastics and non-essential packaging by 2022

•    Commit $100 million annually over the next 4 years to create Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas


•    Withdraw from Paris Accord

•    Abandon greenhouse gas emission reduction targets

•    Abolish carbon tax

•    Abolish subsidies for green technology

LGBTQ2S+ Rights


•    Place a federal ban on conversion therapy

•    End blood ban 


•    No specific proposals yet


•    Ban conversion therapy on youth 

•    End blood ban

•    Add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the Employment Equity Act

•    Expunge records of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians given dishonourable discharges


•    Ban conversion therapy

•    End blood ban

•    Ensure transgender, non-binary and two-spirit individuals can alter their sex designation on federally issued official documents 

•    Fund program to support community-based organizations offering targeted LBTQ2S+ youth mental health and wellbeing services

•    Ban and condemn unnecessary surgeries on intersex children 


•    Repeal Bill C-16 an act to amend the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to protect gender identity and expression)



•    Mandatory training on sexual assault law, unconscious bias and cultural competency for all judges

•    Offer free legal aid to survivors of sexual assault

•    Require all social media platforms to remove illegal content including hate speech within 24 hours or face a financial penalty

•    Make drug treatment court the default option for first-time non-violent offenders charged with simple possession


•    Launch a judicial inquiry into SNC-Lavalin

•    Mandatory sentences in federal prison for directing gang crime

•    Federal prison sentences for anyone knowingly in possession of a smuggled gun

•    Mandatory lifetime firearms ban for all serious personal injury offences and gang crime


•    Reduce reliance on minimum sentences

•    Expunge convictions for minor cannabis possession from criminal records

•    Increase federal funding for legal aid

•    Ensure all supreme court judges are bilingual


•    Decriminalize all drug possession

•    Eliminate mandatory minimum sentences

•    End solitary confinement

•    Reform sex work laws to make the industry legal and public


•    Restrict the definition of hate speech in the Criminal Code

•    Ensure Canadians are not discriminated against because of their moral convictions

Post-Secondary Education


•    Increase Canada Student Grants up to $1,200 per year

•   Implement a 2-year grace period on loan repayment

•    Defer loan repayment for new parents and individuals with income under $35,000


•    No specific proposals yet


•    Make federal student loans interest free

•    Make post-secondary education part of the public school system in the long term

•     Increase access to Canada Student Grants


•    Make post-secondary education free for all Canadians 

•    Forgive existing student debt held by the federal government


•    No specific proposals yet

To see full campaign promises on these and other issues, check out Maclean’s comprehensive guide: https://www.macleans.ca/politics/2019-federal-election-platform-guide-where-the-parties-stand-on-everything/ or visit a party’s website for their full electoral platform. 

To see which party your beliefs most align with, take this quiz: https://votecompass.cbc.ca/canada/ 

Advance voting will take place on campus from October 5th – 9th in the Faculty Lounge. 


Four Questions with Arielle Lessard