Canadian Election: The Man Tipped To Snatch The Top Job From Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in the political battle of his career.
The upcoming election on October 21 was supposed to be a relatively easy win for the PM.
The unemployment rate in Canada is the lowest in a decade, with 1.2 million jobs created since he came to power in November 2015. Canada's economy is also growing nicely, and it's expanding faster than other Group Seven nations.
Trudeau's pro-immigration policies and commitment to combatting climate change have resulted in his strong backing from progressive voters -- but it's not the same story in the conservative camp.
Trudeau and Conservative Party Leader/ Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer are neck-and-neck at 30 percent approval ratings by voters.
Andrew Scheer, 40, has been the leader of the Conservative Party for two years and has used his campaign to present himself as a normal, Canadian man. He's a father of five, a devoted Catholic and he claims he watches 'The Simpsons' on TV.
While he lacks the charisma of Justin Trudeau, it's policy that really separates the two.
Scheer has spent ample time on the election trail being grilled on is position on abortion. During the French-language debate on Thursday, Scheer dodged questions about the issue, until one reporter asked him to name a single Conservative policy that protected women's rights.
"All our policies are centred around treating all Canadians equally and supporting the rights of women,” Scheer said, without naming a policy.
When he was running for conservative leadership in 2017, he revealed that he is a pro-life supporter.
“I’ve always voted in favour of pro-life legislation,” Scheer said at the time.
“I can assure you that I support the right of individual MPs to speak out and bring, introduce matters that are important to them.”
Scheer has also been regarded as anti-gay marriage -- the idea conflicts with his strong Catholic faith that was a big part of his upbringing. His father is a deacon at Ottawa's St. Patrick’s Basilica and his mother is a nurse who was heavily involved in Canada's pro-life movement.
In terms of economic policy, Scheer plans to cut taxes, where he claims Canadian families are paying roughly $800 dollars more in tax since Trudeau was elected. His promise involves cutting tax rates so a two-income couple could save $850 a year.
Scheer has also promised his government will build new oil pipelines faster than the existing government, by "fast-tracking" any legal objections from indigenous people or others who oppose the project directly to Canada's Supreme Court.
As a firm supporter of Israel, Scheer's international policies could see him aligned in some ways with U.S. President Donald Trump.
His plans include the possibility of moving the Candian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to list Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.
Scheer has faced criticism about his climate change plan, in particular, his promise to roll-back the Liberal carbon tax.
Despite the election not being held until Monday, nearly 2 million Canadians have cast their votes early. This is a 25 percent increase in the number of people who voted in the first two days of pre-polling in the 2015 election.
There are 338 seats in the Canadian House of Commons, with 170 needed for a majority.
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