A recap of week nine of the 2015 Canadian Federal Election
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
A poor performance by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in last week’s French debate was the start of what resulted in a week-long decline in the polls for the NDP, while the Conservative Party and Liberal Party both fought to claim the top spot.
Week nine of the election was kicked off with a debate regarding foreign policy, hosted by Munk, on September 28. The debate, which included the three leading Prime Minister candidates, touched on many of the topics that have been hot throughout the entire elections.
One of those issues was Bill C-51, the controversial bill turned to law that increased the security capabilities of CSIS. Mulcair compared Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau’s support of C-51 to the October Crisis in 1970, where Justin’s father, Pierre Trudeau, evoked the War Measures Act to temporarily give police power to arrest without the possession of a warrant.
“Throughout this campaign in direct references and indirect references, both of these gentlemen have at various points attacked my father. Let me say very clearly: I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s son and am incredibly lucky to have been raised with those values,” said Trudeau.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued to uphold his position regarding how to handle terrorist in Canada, particularly in regard to C-51 and C-24. C-24 being the bill passed into law during the spring that allows for the government to revoke citizenship from those convicted of terrorism.
“Why would we not revoke the citizenship of people convicted of terrorist offences against this country?” Harper asked. Later in the evening, he referred to C-51 and said: “The threat we face today is not CSIS, it is ISIS.”
In addition to controversial bills, the Munk debate touched upon the Syrian refugee crisis.
“One area where Canada is completely failing … is in dealing with the refugee crisis,” Mulcair stated. “My own family, the Irish side at least, came over during the potato famines of the 1840s and, you know what? In Quebec City, people went down to the docks and … took in the most miserable in the world. That’s Canada.” Trudeau took a similar stance.
Harper countered the arguments of Mulcair and Trudeau by saying once again that Canada cannot allow refugees to flood into Canada and claiming that many countries in Europe are regretting their decisions to take as many refugees as they did.
Between the Munk debate on Monday and the second French language debate on Friday, policy announcements remained rather quiet from the leading three parties.
The Conservative Party announced a goal of 700,000 new homeowners in Toronto in the next five years. The NDP pledged a $32 million budget to aid Nunavut residents with access to healthier foods, in addition to announcing a $100 million plan to convert smaller communities to cleaner energy sources. The Liberal Party vowed to invest up to $300 million to Winnipeg research facilities. As well, the Liberals further discussed support for health aids, including a discussion on how they would legalize marijuana.
The second French-Language took place on October 2, and once again brought up the niqab issue. Both Trudeau and Mulcair grew tired of the issue and called it distracting, while Harper and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe continued to discuss the issue as an attack on the rights of women. Mulcair used a pacifist approach as an attempt to win over Quebec for the NDP with tactics such as once again bringing the October Crisis into the debate.