Federal election 2019: What issue is most important to you?

Getty Images

With just over three months until Canada’s federal election, the process of assessing the current government, and contemplating the future of the country with a new party in power, is starting to ramp up for Canadians.

Throughout the next few months, federal party leaders will try to reach people across the country to showcase their future plans for Canada, with the polls showing how close the race is at this point.

According to a recent poll from Nanos Research, which surveyed 1,000 Canadians over a four week period ending July 5, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party is slightly ahead of the competition with 35 per cent support. Trudeau is followed closely behind by Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party at 30 per cent, Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats at 18 per cent and Elizabeth May’s Green Party with 9 per cent support.

Another poll by Abacus Data, which surveyed over 3,000 Canadians from June 28 to July 2, found that if an election was held tomorrow 33 per cent of respondents would vote Conservative, while 32 per cent would vote Liberal. The NDP have 16 per cent support and 11 per cent for the Green Party.

Although we’re still quite early in the pre-campaign period, some hot-button issues have already been raised.

Climate change

Climate change concerns have been particularly divisive issues, likely to cause significant debate throughout the election campaign.

Scheer has been a vocal critic of Trudeau’s carbon tax, which is facing push back from provincial governments with Ontario and Saskatchewan launching legal challenges of the carbon backstop.

“Justin Trudeau pretends he has a plan for climate change but it’s clear that his Carbon Tax will not even come close to achieving Canada’s emissions reductions targets,” Scheer said in a statement last month. “The Liberal Carbon Tax isn’t a plan to lower emissions, it’s just another cash grab which is hurting already over taxed Canadians.”

Just this week, the Conservative leader promised Canadians that if elected, the Liberals new clean energy standards will be scrapped. In a letter to the prime minister, Scheer indicates that the national price on carbon adds about four cents per litre, which will rise to more than 11 cents per litre by 2022.

The NDP platform outlines a $15 billion plan to fight climate change and create at least 300,000 new jobs, this includes ending fossil fuel subsidies and delivering a “fairer tax system that ensures that the wealthiest pay their fair share.”

Back in May, Singh urged the Liberals to declare a “climate emergency” and criticized the government's approach to fighting climate change.

“The Liberals' policies – from continuing fossil fuel subsidies to buying and pushing for expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, to practically eliminating the carbon tax for some of Canada’s biggest emitters – are sending Canada in the wrong direction,” Singh in a statement.

Troubles with China

Canada’s tumultuous relationship with China continues to heat up, sparked by the arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou last year and Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig being imprisoned in the country. China has also blocked several Canadian agriculture imports.

In response to the two detained Canadians, Trudeau said U.S. president Donald Trump raised the issue to China at the G20 leaders’ summit in Japan and refuted the country’s comment that Canada is “naive” for thinking Trump would help to aid relations.

“We’ll continue to work with our allies to demonstrate to our Chinese partners that we will remain firm, steadfast and will continue to defend the rule of law and Canadians’ safety,” Trudeau said.

With Wanzhou’s extradition hearing scheduled for 2020, Canada’s strained relationship with China is likely to come up during this year’s election campaign.

In a letter to Trudeau, Scheer says that Canada is “being bullied” by the Chinese government and the prime minister has “done nothing to stand up for Canada in response.”

“You have continued with the same, failed, business as usual approach - hosting garden parties in Beijing and shipping your ministers off to China for photo opportunities eating ice cream,” Scheer stated in the letter.

“Liberals must stand up to protect our agricultural producers during this ongoing diplomatic dispute,” NDP leader Singh said in a statement last month. “Despite Beijing's threats, Justin Trudeau’s government has not been able to solve the problem and does not seem to have a concrete plan.”

What issue is most important to you leading up to the federal election? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.