Most national construction stakeholders are expected to remain neutral during the campaign but Canada’s Building Trades Unions executive director Sean Strickland signalled his approval of three NDP pledges in a LinkedIn post:
“Canada’s Building Trades Unions remains non-partisan but we are keeping a close eye on #elections2021 and what each party has committed to for Canada’s skilled trades #construction workers. The Jagmeet Singh and the #ndp2021 have made strong commitments in their platform to #Childcare, #CommunityBenefitsAgreements and support for #workers.”
As of Aug. 26, among major national parties, the NDP under Jagmeet Singh and the Conservatives under Erin O’Toole had issued full policy platforms while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals continued to outline policy on a day-to-day basis.
Election Day is Sept. 20.
This story is the second part in our analysis of federal party platforms to date. Click here for the first part.
The Conservatives, running under the slogan Secure the Future, have promised to create one-million jobs. Their Recovery Plan proposes building infrastructure to get the economy moving, with high-speed internet and transportation infrastructure the two main focuses.
Their Canada Job Surge Plan will pay up to 50 per cent of the salary of new hires for six months following the end of CEWS and the Canada Investment Accelerator will offer a five-per-cent investment tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023.
Two pledges mention Main Street: the Rebuild Main Street Tax Credit will give a 25-per-cent tax credit on qualified investments, and the Main Street Business Loan will give up to four months of pre-pandemic revenue up to a maximum of $200,000.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has proposed extending COVID-19 business supports and creating new ones targeted to the hardest-hit industries. The Canada Recovery Hiring Program will be among the programs extended.
The Liberals have referred to their 12-year, $180-billion Investing in Canada Plan, other COVID relief plans, small business tax relief and trade agreements with other G7 countries as growth policies.
The NDP promises to create one-million jobs during its first mandate. It says its proposed spending on energy efficiency retrofits, affordable housing, renewable energy, infrastructure, transit and childcare will boost economic recovery.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSIT
Both the Conservatives and the NDP say they will scrap the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).
The NDP pledges to partner with all governments and First Nations to deliver reliable public infrastructure funding. It will use community benefit agreements (CBA) to ensure local workers get jobs and training and local businesses are part of every infrastructure project.
The New Democrats will install a permanent funding mechanism for public transit and will expand public funding for disaster response and proactive weather-related infrastructure. They support creating high-frequency rail along the Quebec-Windsor corridor.
The Liberals continue to tout their Investing in Canada infrastructure program to fund infrastructure for the long term.
The Conservatives say they will reprioritize the Investing in Canada Plan towards infrastructure projects that would have the maximum benefit for economic recovery.
After jettisoning the CIB, they will support existing projects and return to working in partnership with provinces, municipalities and First Nations on P3s.
The Conservatives promise changes to the Canada Labour Code to remove barriers that prevent unions from organizing large employers with a history of anti-labour activity. They will also introduce a Construction Mobility Tax Credit to help with expenses construction workers incur when they temporarily relocate for work.
The Conservatives say they endorse CBA that support Canadian workers, equipment and materials.
The NDP say they will improve paid sick leave provisions, update the Canada Labour Code to enhance workplace safety, introduce anti-scab legislation and introduce a living federal minimum wage starting at $15 an hour and rising to $20 an hour.
The Liberals note they introduced the Canada Workers’ Benefit and expanded the benefit this year to support one-million more workers.
The Conservatives will improve the impact assessment process created by Bill C-69, support the energy sector as a “critical part” of Canada’s economy, get the Trans Mountain pipeline built, implement a federal LNG Export Strategy and pass a Critical Infrastructure Protection Act to prevent protestors from blocking key infrastructure projects.
They will also support Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil industry by allocating $1.5 billion to an offshore rebound fund.
The NDP says it will scrap all federal support for the oil and gas sector. One of their cornerstones will be the establishment of a new Canadian Climate Bank that will help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low carbon technology. They will set a target to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030 and move to 100-per-cent non-emitting electricity by 2040.
The Liberals say they remain committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and have set mandatory targets for new vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2035. In June they announced $1.5 billion in spending on a clean fuels fund.
The Conservatives have pledged to fight the opioid crisis by spending $325 million to create 1,000 residential drug-treatment beds and build 50 community centres.
The NDP supports the Liberals’ carbon tax to lower greenhouse gases while the Conservatives will introduce Personal Low Carbon Savings Accounts.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said his party would work towards establishing a green equalization program to reward provinces for their efforts to fight climate change.
Annamie Paul said the Greens’ policies on climate will be “virtually identical” to its previous iteration.
The Conservatives say they will end long-term drinking water advisories. They will also support such northern projects as the Grays Bay Port and Road Project, the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Line and completion of the Tuktoyaktuk road and port.
The NDP said it would work with Indigenous communities to implement a co-developed, fully funded Indigenous National Housing Strategy within its first 100 days in office.
Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.