Legault Sends Wish List to Federal Leaders
Quebec Premier François Legault outlined two demands for the federal party leaders on Thursday morning. First, Legault asked all leaders to increase the federal health transfer from 22% to 35% of provincial costs. Legault stated the province was in the best position to allocate health spending, and insisted the increase come "without conditions." Second, Legault asked that federal leaders commit to giving Quebec greater control over immigration, specifically, the federal government's family reunification immigration category. Legault stated that nearly a quarter of Quebec's immigrants arrive through the family reunification category, which is solely controlled by the federal government, and has no French language requirement. Therefore, Legault stated that in order to protect the French language, Quebec should have greater control over the category.
While Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet supports the premier's demands, the Conservatives, according to their platform, also appear to support the changes by committing to increase health transfers without conditions, and giving Quebec more power over immigration to "ensure that a higher proportion of immigrants settling in Quebec speak French, including in the family reunification category."
Jagmeet Singh Highlights Affordable Housing Plan
Jagmeet Singh was in Winnipeg on Thursday highlighting the New Democratic Party's affordable housing plan, first announced last week. Singh stated that in addition to doubling the Home Buyers Tax Credit for first-time homebuyers, he would "transform the credit into a rebate," making the money available immediately. Affordable housing has become a central issue during the campaign. The New Democratic Party, Conservatives and Liberals have each announced bold new promises aimed at reducing the cost of homes, and making home ownership more affordable for first time buyers.
Paul Calls for Federal Leaders to Suspend Campaigns to Focus on Afghanistan
Green Party leader Annamie Paul called on all federal party leaders to suspend their campaigns for the next 24 hours in order to focus on the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan. "I am asking that we do the right thing, suspend our campaigns, so we can all concentrate our attention on figuring out how we rescue those that have been left behind," Paul stated. Canada's military mission in Afghanistan ended on Thursday prior to a deadly attack outside of the Kabul airport. According to the Canadian Press, the federal government is still trying to determine how many Canadians are still left in the country.
Blanchet Releases Road Map for Forestry Sector
Speaking from Chicoutimi, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet delivered a roadmap to revitalize Quebec's forestry sector on Thursday. Blanchet stated that Quebec's forestry receives a fraction of the federal support received by the oil sector, and deserves increased support. The roadmap includes four proposals:
- Implementing a public procurement policy that favours the use of wood products;
- Increasing investments into forestry R&D;
- Obtaining a full exemption from U.S. tariffs for Quebec forestry products; and
- Identifying ways to increase "productivity" related to the growth of forests.
Blanchet called on the federal party leaders to sign the roadmap, which is supported by 45 partners, including workers' unions in the forestry sector.
O'Toole Announces Plan to Protect Gig Economy Workers
Conservative leader Erin O'Toole was back at his Ottawa headquarters outlining his plan to protect Canada's 1.7 million gig economy workers. O'Toole stated that Canada's 1.7 million gig workers were left behind during the pandemic, because they don't qualify for Employment Insurance under the current rules. "The system has to change," O'Toole stated. "Canada's recovery plan will provide security for gig economy workers." A Conservative government, according to O'Toole, will require companies with gig economy workers to make contributions equivalent to CPP and EI premiums into a new, portable, employee savings account, "every time they pay their workers." According to the Conservative Party platform, funds in the employee's savings account will grow tax free, and can be withdrawn by the worker when they need it.
The Liberal government announced their plan to regulate the 'new economy,' in 2019 with their 'Digital Charter.' The government since introduced Bill C-10, which aimed to bring foreign streamers under the Broadcasting Act, and Bill C-11, which aimed to update Canada's privacy rules, but has yet to deliver a comprehensive overhaul related to gig economy workers. Neither bill received royal assent prior to the election being called.
Prime Minister Trudeau Outlines Seniors' Plan
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Quebec City on Thursday announcing increased support for seniors. The Liberal leader pledged to permanently increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by $500 per year for single seniors and $750 for couples starting at the age of 65. Trudeau also announced that a re-elected Liberal government would double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit, and introduce a new "Multigenerational Home Renovation" tax credit to help families add a secondary unit to their homes. Today's announcement comes after the Trudeau government announced last week that it would develop national long-term care standards.
Conservatives Nudge out the Liberals in Recent Poll
Recent polls continue to show the Conservatives and Liberals neck-and-neck. According to the Nanos daily ballot tracker, if an election were held on August 25, 2021, the Conservatives would win 34.4% of the vote, the Liberals 33.6%, the New Democratic Party 18.9%, the Bloc Québécois 5.3% and the Green Party 4.3%.
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