It is generally expected that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to visit newly installed Governor General Mary Simon on Sunday morning to seek a dissolution of the 43rd Parliament and request the call of a federal election. In triggering the election, the Prime Minister will seek to regain the majority government status that the Liberals lost in 2019.
In anticipation of this, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh was in St. John’s, Newfoundland, this week flanked by a team of candidates as well as retiring St. John’s East MP Jack Harris to officially unveil “Ready for Better”, the Party’s 115-page election platform.
In it, the NDP makes large-scale pledges on affordable housing, national pharmacare and dental care, student loan forgiveness, full paid sick leave for workers in federally regulated sectors, and a continuation of pandemic relief programs including a small business recovery package. Singh and the NDP are hoping that their work pushing the Liberals on the pandemic relief programs and increasing popularity among young and Indigenous voters, two blocks crucial to the Prime Minister’s majority in 2015, will allow them to improve upon their fortunes in 2019 when the party fell from 39 seats to 24 and finished behind the Bloc Quebecois in fourth-party status.
While ambitious in scope, a number of the positions are revamped from the Party’s platform from two years ago, a tactic that will be interesting to see if other parties replicate in the coming weeks.
For your awareness, please find below the key highlights from “Ready for Better.”
Costing and Taxation Measures
Though the plan does not have a full costing attached to it, the document pledges that much of the platform will be paid for through revenue brought in by a series of taxation measures including:
Workforce and Infrastructure
In what is sure to become a hot-button issue yet again on the campaign trail, the New Democrats are seeking to differentiate themselves from the governing Liberals by promising:
Energy and Environment
The signature pieces of the NDP’s 2019 platform was the promise of National Pharmacare and National Dental Care for Canadians. The 2021 platform makes these commitments and also includes a number of new programs created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including:
Seeking to distinguish themselves from the governing Liberals on the perceived lack of progress on Indigenous reconciliation, including the lifting of boil-water advisories across the country and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle, the NDP has pledged to:
Other policies and commitments of note
On democratic rights, the Party once again renews its pledge to work with the provinces in an attempt to abolish the Canadian Senate, a move that would require the buy-in of 7 provinces and population equal to at least 50% of the Canadian population. The NDP also committed to:
While many policies have been refurbished from 2019, the document signals that Singh intends to spend the campaign contrasting himself with the Prime Minister on their shared commitment to the implementation of National Pharmacare, the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, and Canada’s 2030 climate goals as the “true” progressive party committed to getting the big promises done. While Singh is no doubt hoping to replicate the performance of Jack Layton in 2011 that saw the party leap to serious contention to form government after decades as the third party, even slightly lifting the NDP above 22-25% in the polls could see them contend with the Liberals in enough seats in BC, Manitoba, and Ontario to deny a majority government to the Prime Minister.
The Sussex Federal Government Relations Team will be analyzing and monitoring the rollout of all campaign platforms for all major parties and will provide updates on key campaign developments as they arise. For more information, including questions on the NDP platform or the pending federal election, please reach out to your Sussex point of contact or a member of the Federal Practice listed below.
Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner
Devin McCarthy, Senior Vice President & Federal Practice Lead
Liam Daly, Senior Associate
Roberto Chavez, Associate
Brett James, Senior Counsel