Advance voting in Canada’s 43rd general election is set to begin Friday and the federal platforms have been revealed for the most part.
These campaign promises are supposed to affect all Canadians, but some will have more noticeable results locally.
Ralph Goodale is the lone Liberal incumbent in Saskatchewan. Seeking yet another term in Regina-Wascana, the longtime MP is focusing on key industries, agriculture and a major upgrade for a Regina landmark.
Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) national headquarters is located in Regina, and Goodale said a re-elected Liberal government will add $5 billion to the agency’s capital base. Goodale said this would allow FCC to create more jobs and expand the scope of their organization.
On the doorstep, Goodale is also cautioning voters about potential implications of what the Conservatives are calling their $1.5 billion corporate welfare cut.
Goodale said this could include the Protein Industries Canada federally funded “supercluster.” The goal of the Regina-based organization is to make Canada a plant protein world leader.
He also cast doubt on the continuation of $40 million going to Evraz. This already committed federal funding is designed to help upgrade facilities at the Regina and Red Deer, Alta., steel mills.
“That company puts 1,100 jobs in Regina. The investment of $40 million is intended to preserve and protect those jobs. You take away the $40 million and those jobs go in jeopardy,” Goodale said.
Additionally, the Liberals plan to make Regina’s RCMP Heritage Centre a national museum if re-elected. This would give the centre access to federal funding to upgrade facilities and displays.
“The resources available to them are simply insufficient to do all of the things they need to do to become a national museum,” Goodale said.
Exact costing is unknown for this, and Goodale said developing a budget would be done in consultation with the local board that oversees the museum.
Saskatchewan’s electoral map is expected to be mostly blue by the end of Oct. 21. Regina-Wascana candidate Michael Kram is hoping to flip Goodale’s riding for the Tories.
On the doorstep, Kram said energy has been the number one issue he hears about.
“The most pressing issue that I’ve been hearing on the doorstep is the need to get pipelines built. In any given year between 10 and 15 per cent of the provincial government’s budget comes from natural resource royalties,” he said.
When asked about Goodale’s assertion that the Conservatives would cut money promised to Evraz, Kram said the workers will be helped by the Conservatives getting construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion moving.
The Liberals have also pledged to build that pipeline project.
The Conservatives also plan to upgrade the RCMP Heritage Centre to national museum status, as part of their plan to make admission free at all national museums.
“We have a long history with RCMP here in Regina, so we would have to sit down and talk with them about what parts of that history are not yet being told and could be at that museum,” Kram said.
The Conservative candidate said people on the doorsteps are also concerned about getting the federal budget back to balance. Kram characterized Saskatchewan as a fiscally conservative province, and people are worried about “never-ending deficits” should Trudeau be re-elected.
The Conservatives plan to get back to a balanced budget in five years.
The NDP is calling their platform “A New Deal for Canada,” and is releasing localized versions. This includes Regina.
The documents don’t include hyper-local concerns, but contextualizes the federal platform in terms of how campaign planks fit into the Prairie province.
For example, the national pharmacare strategy section says it will “finish what Tommy Douglas started” so you can get medication with a “health card, not a credit card.”
One item in the plan would bring back a former Saskatchewan Crown corporation in spirit, an interprovincial rural bus line.
The NDP’s candidate for Regina-Wascana, Hailey Clark, said it’s important to have this kind of service to help the elderly, vision impaired and others who cannot drive get around the vast province.
“I think it’s a part of making sure we have a healthy society that we re-implement something like along those lines,” she said.
“Obviously not just interprovincial, but within the province as well. This is going to make a huge impact for people in Regina getting to city-to-city and our smaller communities as well.”
Federally, the NDP opposes new pipeline development. Clark said this can be an issue when knocking on doors, but she steers the conversation toward proposed alternatives.
“What’s really important is that we’re not leaving anyone behind with unemployment,” Clark said.
“We’re not just scrapping pipelines and leaving them in the past. We do have something in effect that will make sure everybody moves forward together.”
This includes training to be certified for green trades in the wind and solar industry.
Election day is Monday, Oct. 21.