Star power, the elderly, and the economy

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A recap of week seven of the 2015 Canadian Federal Election

By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor

Canada’s leading three candidates continued their campaigns in week seven of the election, and tensions are rising as the final month of campaigning begins.

This past week of the election drew some interest from Canadian celebrities. Donald Sutherland, who was in attendance at the Toronto International Film Festival, was asked by CBC who he would vote for in the coming election if he were eligible to vote.

“Tom Mulcair. NDP,” Sutherland responded. “We should be making peace. We should be offering hope and help. We should be taking in refugees. Change the government.”

The earlier days of this week were mainly utilized by the party leaders to discuss plans and initiatives that would involve the elderly, a population that are traditionally more likely to vote. The elderly population has become increasingly important to influence since it now includes five million baby boomers.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised greater funding to the Canada Pension Plan. Meanwhile, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair spoke of devoting $400 million of funding to supplement the incomes of the over 600,000 impoverished seniors. Both parties wish to bring the minimum age of collecting the Old Age Security Benefit back down to 65 after the Conservative Party began planning to raise it to 67 back in 2012.

The Conservative strategy for the elderly population involves initiatives brought up with the pre-existing 2014–15 budget. One of said initiatives will allow Canadians to contribute twice as much as they formerly were allowed into their tax-free saving accounts, as well as a $2,000 tax credit that will be available in 2017 for single pensioners.

On September 17, the Globe and Mail hosted the second debate for the election campaign. The debate was focused on the economy and did not involve Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, although May provided commentary and responses on Twitter. Topics of concern in this debate involved housing inflation, greenhouse gases, and immigration policies.

Stephen Harper took a position that involved balanced budgets and low tax cuts, in addition to signing more free-trade agreements. Mulcair said that the NDP economic plan includes investing in manufacturing by reducing taxes for small- and medium-sized businesses. Trudeau explained that the Liberal party would invest in transportation and water infrastructure, as well as increasing employment, through the use of a three year deficit.

It is yet to be seen which party will emerge the most victorious out of the debate, due to conflicting choices over who won and little change to the polls from the previous week.