Politics Of Canada: Liberals and Conservatives
Canada is a democratic state where elections are held justly. Each vote carries equal weight. However, a vote is registered according to a riding. A party that obtains more votes overall does not necessarily mean it becomes the governing party of Canada. Also, Canada is a highly prolific decentralized federation. Each province has its legislation and provincial laws. Provinces are not subordinate to the Federal government, rather they are held as equals to that of the Federal government under a divided crown. Despite the effective decentralization, Federal elections are nonetheless important, and parties compete with one another in federal elections as they do in provincial elections. Federal elections matter due to the fact that the federal government prevails in areas involving any mode of taxation, criminal law, currency, Indian lands, military, defense, navigation, trade and commerce, matters involving two or more provinces, and international treaties (Alex Marland and Wesley, Inside Canadian politics, 86-87). Political parties such as the Liberals and Conservatives compete with one another to gain federal power. The platform of Liberals differs from Conservatives in areas such as taxation, climate change, building pipelines, deficit spending, immigration policy, student debt and gun control considering that predominantly the left leaning Liberals contrast the centre right Conservatives policies by advocating the role of a bigger government, government interventions, more taxation, more government programs, a commitment to international agreements, and open to changes that may seem strident and divisive.
Carbon taxation is an area where the party ideology of the Liberals and the Conservatives diverge. The Liberal party pays heed to carbon taxation and obviously takes the issue seriously. They plan to increase carbon taxation ten dollars every year, and ultimately fifty dollars per tonne by 2022. Businesses and individuals in provinces are mostly not exempt from the carbon taxation although provinces without an approved federal carbon price plan are granted carbon tax rebates. Some provinces have gone as far as declaring the carbon tax “unconstitutional.” The Conservatives descry the carbon tax as “ineffective.” They want to repeal the taxation. The Conservatives also mentioned that the federal conservatives would leave the issue to provinces and let them decide on the issue of carbon taxation. Regardless, conservatives also promise to reduce carbon emissions, too. However, they plan to attain a reduction of carbon emissions by investing in green technology rather than outright taxation.
Related to the issue of carbon taxation is the platform area of climate change. The Liberals plan to help Canada exceed the Paris agreement’s carbon emission reduction targets. The Liberal’s strategy is to cut out coal power and turn Canada into a net-zero emission by 2050. The Liberals also plan to end subsidies related to fossil fuel. The Liberals are invested in the idea that new vehicles sold by 2040 ought to be zero-emission. They have also mentioned a 3-billion-dollar funding for public transit per year starting from 2023. Conservatives are committed to the Paris agreement but through the investment into clean technology or research funded partly by heavy emitters. The Conservatives aim to sign agreements that give Canada carbon credits attained internationally through the reduction of emissions. The Conservatives are also invested in green-tech patent tax credit for businesses.
The Liberal party promises to protect a fourth of Canada’s natural land and ocean habitats by 2025 and plant roughly two billion trees over the next ten years. The Liberals also plan to create a group focused on water infrastructure and security known as Canada Water Agency. Conservatives want to protect the environment through a prohibition on dumping raw sewage into waterways and sending plastic waste abroad for recycling. Boosting the funding to protect forests from pests and improving technology for predicting and monitoring wildfires amongst other priorities for the conservatives.
An issue concerning western Canada revolves around building oil and gas pipelines. Many individuals believe that the Trans Mountain pipeline, if ever built, may be the last pipeline. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives want to build pipelines by constitutional authority such that building pipelines is in the best interest of Canada. Conservatives blame Trudeau’s Liberal party for thwarting the Northern Gateway pipeline. They also oppose Bill C-69 passed by the Liberals. Provincial Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta’s UCP already stated that the bill was violating provinces constitutional right over natural resources. Liberals say energy projects require environmental consideration and native approval. However, impeding the construction of pipelines only serves to severely damage Alberta’s economy that relies primarily on natural resources. No doubt, other provinces are dealt a blow, but Alberta’s economy deals with excruciatingly painful setbacks.
At the same time, it is hard to marginalize the Liberal’s proposal of protecting the environment, enacting climate change, and thinking about the impact pipelines may impose on indigenous communities. The Liberal’s initial plan to build a pipeline while being environmentally responsible never secured those eager ambitions. The goal of funding a transition to a cleaner future required some type of economic growth, quiet possibly realized through pipeline revenues. Yet, priority prevailed in improving marine protection such as the welfare of whales and salmon. Besides, indigenous communities’ proper consent and approval had been insufficient in the past.
The Liberal party already justified rejecting the Northern Gateway pipeline in 2016 due to the affected indigenous communities, the hazard pipelines may pose for the Great Bear Rainforest, and on the Douglas Channel. However, the company proposing the project, Enbridge records a history of unprecedented safety. Tanker incidents are rare. Enbridge had been more than willing to accommodate conditions on concerns brought by the province of Columbia and even some aboriginal members. However, the problem extends further than just the idea of only environmental protection. Again, Aboriginal consent is crucial and requires further consent. The history of treating Aboriginals in the past requires treating Aboriginals with respect today. The Liberal’s propound on respecting Aboriginal rights. Notwithstanding under any circumstances, the issue of rejecting the building of pipelines ensues discordance amongst Canadians and further alienates western Canada from the rest. Political intervention in building the pipelines means Canada loses its value and provinces lose their market profit. Thus, countries with records of corruption, violation of human rights, and complete disregard for environmental protection prevail in supplying oil demands that seem to be increasing rather than decreasing.
As far as the budget deficit is concerned, the Liberals promise to maintain a deficit under 10 billion. However, the Liberals want to spend 9.3 billion dollars on new spending by 2020-2021. Therefore, the budget spending deficit increments under the Liberal party platform now. Conservatives oppose budget deficit accumulation and spending under Andrew Scheer. The Conservatives keenly dislike budget deficit spending and therefore promise to balance future budgets. The Conservatives aim to cut down foreign aid by twenty-five percent, cancel corporate handouts and cut costs on consultants and federal real estate.
The Liberal party mentions that every student deserves the chance to get a post-secondary education. University tuition is costly, and books are no exception to the rising costs. Rent is perhaps just as expensive if not more expensive than the tuition of University. The Liberal party already shows concern on provincial conservative governments cutting student aid. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal platform proposed student loans interest-free for two years after graduation, paying those loans only after the students earn 35,000 Canadian dollars annually, allowing parents to pause loan payments with zero interest granted the condition their youngest child is under five, and boosting Canada Student Grants for full-time students to a maximum of roughly 4,200. Meanwhile, Andrew Scheer promises encompass creating post-school jobs for international students and a boost in Registered Educational Savings Plan. Thus, one way or the other, both the Conservatives and the Liberals are attempting to make the university more affordable. However, the Liberals appeal more to the younger adults, especially in the range of 18 to 24. The Conservatives appeal to those parents who use the program RESP for their children’s future education saving.
The issue of guns is yet another divergent case. The liberals advocate for gun control whereas the conservatives advocate a somewhat relaxed policy pertaining to gun ownership. The gun ownership ought to merely protect property and used for hunting. The Liberals, however, aim to ban semi-automatic rifles and buy back those legally purchased. They have already passed Bill C-71, which requires extensive firearm background checks. On the contrary, the conservatives oppose Bill C-71 and therefore pledge to repeal the bill. Regardless, the conservatives mention reducing gun crime and prompting lifetime bans on those who are convicted of violent crimes or gang activity. There ought to be no parole or bail for these members. Furthermore, Conservatives promise more financial resources for the police to combat crimes.
Reaction to immigration, in general, is mixed. For some, immigration is out of control. For others, immigration is under control. Regardless, Canada is amongst one of the few countries whose normative status defines as an immigration society. Canada’s migration model encompasses not just acceptance of immigrants, but their very presence seen as a contribution to Canada (Boyd and Alboim 2012). Global integration, connection, and mixture are already challenging dominant norms, practices, national identities, social cohesiveness and culture (Golden, Cameron and Balarajan 2011, 2). In spite of the dangers or costs that migration poses, humans are always on the move. Improving their lives from economic stagnation, social divisiveness, environmental and climate disaster(s) or political turbulences are amongst the few reasons humans migrate.
Most people are pushed out of their homelands because they are constantly persecuted based on their racial, ethnic and political differences, or simply because their homeland faces economic stagnation. Persecution based on religious, racial, ethnic and even political differences is a norm rather than an exception in some states. Some of these states include those that claim to be democratic but are far from being democratic. Minority rights are often ignored in many parts of the globe. A country such as Canada (alongside Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) can offer migrants stability, security, economic progress and prosperity, freedom, education, multiple opportunities, and ultimately a chance to obtain a Canadian passport through naturalization (Augie Fleras, Immigration Canada, 4-7).
Even with the Conservative party in government under then prime minister Stephen Harper in 2010, Canada admitted about 281,000 newcomers. This was the highest number of immigrants Canada admitted in 57 years. Canada saw its immigration numbers increase whereas many other countries saw a decrease in their admission of applicants. Clearly, Canadians regard immigration as principle, mostly with an open mind and empathy no matter what party they adhere to or support. However, immigrants and refugees are also required to assimilate to some extent and become useful citizens to drive Canada’s industrial economy forward. That said, settling down and fitting into a new society is no easy task either.
Ultimately, conservatives argue more in favor of economic and bright immigrants since these immigrants are more beneficial to the progress of the Canadian economy and because they require relatively less assistance from the government. Economic immigrants are selected for their skills and ability that proves beneficiary towards the contribution of Canadian economy. These may include but are not limited to skilled workers such as business immigrants. The Conservatives emphasize economic immigration and stress on granting asylum to those refugees that face real persecution. They also mention that illegal border crossings (through the United States) need to end and vow for a proposal that increases refugee screening for precautionary measures.
Come as it may, immigration increased under the Liberal government, especially in 2018 with roughly 321,000 immigrants. By 2021, the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau want to further increase the number to a rough estimate of 350,000 immigrants per year. The Liberal party also mentions an increase in refugee intake. However, they are also aware of false asylum seekers and vow to curtail such acts through proper regulation.