On October 19, Canadians will elect a new federal government. Karim Jivraj (Conservative), Nick Wright (Green),Chrystia Freeland (Liberal), and Jennifer Hollett (NDP) are all running to become University-Rosedale’s next Member of Parliament. To shed some light on the issues at stake, The Varsity sat down with the four major candidates to talk about the policies that have the potential to affect students.
On student finances: Wants to focus on creating an environment that attracts businesses, which he thinks will increase the number of jobs for students. Mentions that student funding also depends on the economy.
Unpaid internships: Thinks creating a good job market for students means attracting businesses to Canada. Would not focus on unpaid internships, but instead on creating a job market.
Employment prospects: Wants to focus on creating a “pro-business” economy to attract jobs for students.
Syrian refugee crisis: Won’t enter what he calls the “bidding war” the other parties are involved in, since he thinks it is more important to focus on the 7.6 million refugees fleeing Syria from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “If you really want to help the people who are fleeing the country, give them their country back.”
Social justice: Is a founding member of LGBTory; marched in Toronto’s 2015 Pride Parade. Supports marriage equality (in spite of the Conservative party line). Wants to “create a pluralistic society that is inclusive, that is welcoming, and that is diverse.”
The environment: Believes Canada’s current policies and environmental regulations are fine, and constitute the right balance between environmental protection and economic growth.
Bill C-24: Supports Bill C-24. Asks the parties that want to repeal the bill if they will allow back into Canada the people whose citizenship was stripped after they were convicted of terrorism offences.
Bill C-51: Supports Bill C-51. Says, regarding the terrorist attacks happening worldwide, “it is extremely naïve, it’s wilful blindness even, to assume that Canada is somehow immune to this,” and that “we need a sensible approach to national security.” Doesn’t think there are civil liberties at stake, since abuses of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are prohibited, and supposed to be prohibited and rectified by judicial review.
The “Fair Elections Act:” Supports the Fair Elections Act, citing the need for regulations to prevent voting fraud.
Why should students vote? Notes that concerns about jobs, the economy, world affairs, and social justice, are all student issues, because students are going to inherit them, so of course we should have a say in them.
On student finances: Wants to eliminate tuition and forgive student debt over $10,000. Would increase corporate tax and reduce oil subsidies to pay for this.
Unpaid internships: Would allow unpaid internships only if they have “a very clear and structured learning program.” Would ban unpaid internships if they are solely to the benefit of the organization, and at the expense of the student.
Employment prospects: Proposes an even bigger shift to a “vibrant and prosperous green economy” with new green jobs. Would fund education and preparation for these new jobs.
Syrian refugee crisis: Would take 25,000 refugees “immediately,” depending only on how quickly they can be screened and processed. Wants to streamline the screening process, but notes that since ISIS has threatened to send militants to western countries, the process must still be thorough. Agrees with Jivraj that we should focus on the root cause of the refugee crisis — instability in Syria and Afghanistan — but thinks this is a direct result of western intervention, and the solution is not to interfere in these countries
Social justice: Opposes Bill C-36, the recent legislation against prostitution (which he thinks puts sex workers at risk), and the criminalization of marijuana and other psychoactive drugs. Believes these policies flout civil liberties and social justice.
The environment: Notes that the Green Party is the only party opposed to all pipelines. Focuses on the tar sands, which he says “will have potentially catastrophic repercussions, both for Canada and also the world, in terms of producing CO2 emissions and increasing the rate of climate change.”
Bill C-24: Says that Canada should be welcoming to immigrants, and promote a broad immigration policy with a focus on family re-unification.
Bill C-51: Would “repeal the legislation immediately,” saying the bill “is of grave concern”. Thinks Bill C-51 is intended to silence dissent and quash political protest. Believes the bill denies privacy rights, and generally flouts civil liberties.
The “Fair Elections Act:” Would repeal the Fair Elections Act, arguing that it prohibits too many people from voting.
Why should students vote? “It’s essential for a free and democratic country that everyone be involved in the democratic process.”
On student finances: Promises to spend $40 million creating co-op placements for students, fund 35,000 new summer jobs, and offer $80 million in incentives for businesses hiring full-time staff between the ages of 18-24. Would run a deficit for three years to pay for this, and other investments (the Liberals are the only party not committed to a balanced budget).
Unpaid internships: Would like to spend $10 million per year to fund paid pre-apprenticeship programs and create 5,000 jobs for youth in the environmental sector.
Employment prospects: Promises to commit $300 million to the Liberal Party’s “Youth Jobs and Opportunity Plan.”
Syrian refugee crisis: Would take 25,000 refugees and thinks that Canada should streamline the refugee process.
Social justice: Liberal platform promises a $20 billion investment in social infrastructure, including affordable housing, infrastructure in First Nations communities, and education.
The environment: Liberal platform promises $200 million to develop clean technology and increase air, water, and energy conservation standards.
Bill C-24: Is “unequivocally opposed to this bill” saying that it is “un-Canadian,” creates “two classes of citizenship,” and “discriminates against people who have connections with other countries.”
Bill C-51: Voted for the bill, though she and the Liberal Party called for amendments to sections they think are problematic.
The “Fair Elections Act:” The Liberal Party calls for changes to the bill, claiming that it turns away many legitimate voters.
Why should students vote? “[The government and laws] shape the world we live in, they shape our opportunity, they shape our lives, and the lives of those around us. We have a chance to shape that world ourselves, she says, and we should take advantage of it.”
On student finances: Would increase funding to create 40,000 student jobs, 10,000 affordable housing projects, national child-care, and other social projects. Would raise corporate tax to pay for this. Unpaid internships: Is against unpaid internships, and promises to crack down on them. Wants to create 40,000 paid jobs, internships, co-ops, and apprenticeships.
Employment prospects: Would invest in manufacturing and aerospace technology, and small businesses to create jobs. Wants to shift “away from an economy that is just dependent on commodity, oil, and gas, to make sure that we have a strong and diverse economy.”
Syrian refugee crisis: Would take 10,000 refugees this year, then 9,000 each year for the next four years. Also thinks we should streamline the refugee process and remove barriers to private sponsorship.
Social justice: Thinks the current government’s policies are flawed, especially regarding the treatment of women’s groups and Indigenous people. Wants to invest in education, child-care, and affordable housing
The environment: Thinks Canada’s record on the environment is “embarrassing,” citing our recent reprimands from the Climate Action Network. Would institute a “cap and trade” system to cap emissions and limit climate change.
Bill C-24: Opposes Bill C-24, on the grounds that it “goes against who we are as Canadians,” by “treating some Canadians as second-class citizens.”
Bill C-51: Would repeal Bill C-51. Says the bill is an example of “fear-driven politics,” and argues that we don’t need to give up liberty to have security.
The “Fair Elections Act:” The NDP is against the Fair Elections Act, arguing that “it will remove the right to vote from several categories of citizens.”
Why should students vote? “There are a lot of politicians that develop strategies that count on students not showing up to vote and we shouldn’t hand the election to them.”