Voters in North Island-Powell River riding, along with Canadians across the country, will be heading to the polls on October 21.
Locally we will be watching to see if the weakness of the NDP nationally will have an impact on incumbent Rachel Blaney. Will Peter Schwarzhoff’s experience as a climate scientist gagged by Stephen Harper benefit his Liberal campaign? Will Shelley Downey be able to turn back comparisons to Doug Ford’s actions as premier of Ontario with cuts and benefits to his friends as well as references to Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government? Will Mark de Bruijn be able to take advantage of his party’s successes in electing Green Party leader Elizabeth May and, most recently, Paul Manly, to parliament?
Will the upstart People’s Party of Canada garner enough votes to affect the outcome nationally, or locally through candidate Brian Rundle?
According to the polls, health care, affordability, taxes, social inequality and environment are the top issues for voters.
Environment has become the main issue for many Canadians, especially here in BC.
Liberals will tout their efforts of the last four years to help the middle class by cutting taxes and providing thousands of dollars annually to families with the Canada Child Benefit, a national housing strategy, more than a million new jobs since 2015, the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, a new NAFTA, a protection plan for oceans, fighting climate change with a price on pollution and legalization of cannabis.
Conservatives will focus on the lack of the Liberal government’s transparency, the reputation of prime minister Justin Trudeau, especially with respect to the SNC-Lavalin matter; increased federal debt, and a broken promise that 2015 would be the last first-past-the-post election.
The NDP will talk about standing up for ordinary people as the two main parties continue to be lobbied by big business in shaping government policy, and a national pharmacy proposal.
And the Greens, who appear to be challenging the NDP for third place, will emphasize that if there is not a healthy planet, then the other issues will not matter. They say that Canada must move away from its dependence on fossil fuels and move to other sources of energy, a strategy they claim will create thousands of jobs for workers displaced by that move.
Answers to questions about individual candidates in our riding and the issues that voters connect with will not be forthcoming until election day October 21, however, there may be clues revealed along the campaign over the next five weeks.