What do we as Calgarians care about in this Federal Election?

We are digging deeper into the priorities of the city — The economy, daycare, affordable housing: What matters to you?

By Krista Sylvester | September 15, 2021 |5:00 am

When it comes to the federal election, at least one political scientist says Calgarians care about voting in a government that will help the local economy.

Photo: Shutterstock

The federal election is just days away now and it’s almost time to put an X next to the candidate of the party that represents your vision for the city. 

There’s no shortage of issues to care about, but political scientist Lori Williams says Calgarians are focused on the local economy and are looking for a government to help lead the city down the right path. 

She says Calgarians want to know what the federal government will do to help the province, and our city, specifically. 

“What can they do about the downtown vacancy rate, what can they do about affordable housing? How can they help us with economic diversification? You know, some of the things that the federal government can do to directly connect with municipalities.”

Williams says the daycare issue is another that is important to Calgarians — and for working families across the country. 

“That falls under economic affordability. The reality is, people don’t need to be told it’s one thing to actually have money so you can find a space, it’s another to be refunded after the fact,” she says, adding she thinks the daycare issue is one that families will look at closely. 

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“We already know that the pandemic disproportionately affected women and women are looking at how they can get back into the workforce.”

Williams points to the fact that many employers are having trouble finding employees to hire. 

“Affordable daycare might actually be something that helps with that to a certain degree. There are not going to be any overnight solutions.” 

How to track where the parties stand on these important issues 

It’s hard to keep track of where all the parties stand on these important issues and more, but luckily 20-year-old web designer and aspiring journalist Laef Kucheran volunteered thousands of hours to create a website that tracks all of this information and more called Votemate.org. 

“People often don’t vote simply because they feel they don’t know enough about the options. Most of my friends don’t even know an election is happening, and hardly anyone I know, of any age, really knows what the parties stand for,” he says of why he created the website.

“Most people don’t have time or energy to visit four or five different campaign websites. And I can’t blame them.” 

He’s run the website since he was 15-years-old but he expanded it country-wide for the federal election and hopes to expand even further to cover provincial elections in the future. 

“It’s not just young people who use it; it’s for people of all ages,” he adds. 

VoteMate streamlines learning about the election, putting all the information a voter needs in one place. There’s a section with every party’s policy on each issue side-by-side, and a section with profiles on each of the candidates in every riding country-wide. And there’s a feature coming to help people with the where, when, and how of their vote.

A snippet of where the main parties stand on a few issues 

Votemate.org made it very simple to see where all of the parties stand on some important issues. Here are a few issues that are important to Calgarians and where the parties stand. 

CHILDCARE 

Conservatives: 

– Convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of childcare for lower-income families, and pay it out over the course of the year

Liberals: 

– Reduce fees for childcare by 50% next year

– Finalize agreements with more provinces & territories to provide $10-a-day childcare within 5 years or less

– Create 250K new childcare spaces

NDP: 

– Introduce legislation committing to high-quality, public childcare

– Provide relief funding to re-open spaces lost from COVID-19 at not-for-profit childcare centres at risk of closure

– Work with the provinces to build a universal, $10 a day childcare system

– Ensure childcare workers are paid a living wage

SMALL BUSINESS 

Conservatives: 

– Provide loans of up to $200,000 for small and medium businesses in hospitality, retail, and tourism, with up to 25% forgiven and similar terms to CEBA loans

– Make BDC loans accessible to small businesses

– Fix the mortgage stress test

Liberals: 

– Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to March 31 2022

Help small & medium businesses adopt new tech

Increase the Small Business Financing Program maximum loan to $500K, extend coverage to 15 years for equipment & leasehold improvements, & expand eligibility to non-profits

NDP:

– Continue wage and rent subsidies for small businesses until they’re able to fully reopen after the pandemic

– Put in place a hiring bonus to pay the employer portion of EI and CPP for new or rehired staff

– Cap credit card merchant fees at 1%

HOUSING PRICES 

Conservatives: 

– Place a tax on residential properties that are sold within 12 months of purchase

– Ban foreign purchasing of non-recreational, residential property for 2 years, excluding future employment or immigration

– Introduce a new rent-to-own programme, & commit $1B in loans & grants to scale up rent-to-own

Liberals: 

– Place a tax on residential properties that are sold within 12 months of purchase

– Ban foreign purchasing of non-recreational, residential property for 2 years, excluding future employment or immigration

– Introduce a new rent-to-own programme, & commit $1B in loans & grants to scale up rent-to-own

NDP:

– Place a 20% tax on the sale of homes to people who aren’t citizens or permanent residents

– Double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500

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An in-depth understanding of the stories that affect Calgary and beyond, every weekday.

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Krista Sylvester

Reporter at Calgary Citizen

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