Montreal

Where the parties stand on issues that matter most to Quebecers

Who deserves your vote in the federal election? Here's an overview of where the parties stand on some of the issues that have mattered most to Quebecers over the last four years.

Some key differences between the parties vying for your vote in the federal election

Federal election signs line a street in Montreal. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

It's election day.

Here's an overview of where the major parties stand on some of the issues that have mattered most to Quebecers over the last four years — identity, environment, immigration and the economy.

We've been updating this guide throughout the campaign as more information about the parties' platforms has been released.

Liberals:

  • Liberal Justin Trudeau is critical of Quebec's secularism law, saying in a recent interview with Netflix's Hasan Minhaj that "in a free society, you cannot legitimize discrimination." Trudeau believes, though, it would be "counter-productive" for the federal government to get involved, at the moment, in the legal challenges to the law, also known as Bill 21. He has not ruled out the possibility of intervening at a later time.

Conservatives:

  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer promised a federal Conservative government would not table legislation similar to Bill 21. The party does not support intervening in court cases against the law.

NDP:

  • NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has promised to be a "champion" for those in Quebec who oppose the secularism law. He does not support seeking intervenor status before a court challenge reaches the Supreme Court. At that stage, he said, a government would be forced to consider intervening. He prefers to challenge the law through public opinion.

Bloc Québécois:

  • Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet supports Bill 21 and has vowed to protect the province from attempts by the federal government to interfere with the legislation.

Greens:

  • Green Party Leader Elizabeth May believes the law violates the freedom of religion clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but said a Green government would not seek intervenor status in a court challenge against Bill 21.

People's Party:

  • PPC Leader Maxime Bernier has criticized the other federal leaders for speaking out against the Quebec secularism law, saying they should mind their own business. A PPC government would not intervene in court challenges against the law. 
  • He promised in March to bar people from wearing face coverings, such as a niqab, while swearing federal oaths.

Liberals:

  • The Liberals have been critical of the Quebec government's plan to reduce immigration levels by more than 20 per cent this year, noting the province is facing a labour shortage.
  • The Trudeau government announced in August it will give Quebec $250 million to cover all costs related to the influx of asylum seekers who crossed into the province from the United States during 2017 and 2018.
  • Over the summer, the government changed the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to bar people from making a refugee claim in Canada if they've already made one in a "safe" country, including the U.S. The change was designed to deter asylum seekers from making irregular crossings at places such as Roxham Road. 

Conservatives:

  • The party said it is "open" to Quebec's desire to reduce immigration levels, but is opposed to a provincial plan to force newcomers to undergo a values test in order to qualify for permanent residency.
  • Scheer says a Conservative government will end the "illegal border crossings" at Roxham Road, which is where most asylum seekers have crossed into Canada since 2017. That plan includes declaring the whole border a point of entry, which would prevent those making an irregular crossing from claiming asylum.

NDP:

  • Singh promised to give the province an additional $73 million annually to fund immigration integration programs, including French-language classes, to help deal with labour shortages in rural areas.
  • The party wants to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, which it says encourages asylum seekers to make irregular border crossings. It does not consider the U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers.
  • The NDP is opposed to the Quebec government's proposal to implement a values test for newcomers.

Bloc Québécois

  • Blanchet says he won't oppose Quebec's desire to reduce immigration levels. His party supports Quebec's proposal to force newcomers to undergo a values test. 
  • The Bloc campaign platform calls for the Safe Third Country Agreement to be suspended and for the whole U.S.-Canada border to be considered a point of entry.  

Greens:

  • The party is opposed to closing the loophole in the Safe Third Party Agreement that allows asylum seekers to make a claim at irregular crossings, such as Roxham Road. Like the NDP, it does not consider the U.S. to be a safe country for asylum seekers.

People's Party:

  • Bernier has proposed building a fence to prevent asylum seekers from crossing at Roxham Road.
  • To dissuade asylum seekers from irregular crossings, Bernier proposes to declare the entire Canada-U.S. border a point of entry, allowing border officials to turn away anyone who crosses between border stations.
  • His party supports Quebec's desire to have more control over immigration, including the ability to implement a values test. 

Liberals:

  • Trudeau has said there is no support in Quebec for the construction of a Canada-wide oil pipeline, such as the defunct Energy East project.

Conservatives:

  • Scheer wants to see the construction of a pipeline that would carry Western oil through Quebec and into New Brunswick. He hopes to convince Quebecers to support the project. Conservative MP Alain Rayes has said a Conservative government would find a safer route for the pipeline than the one proposed by Energy East.
  • The pipeline is part of a Conservative proposal to build an "energy corridor" that would also allow Quebec to export hydroelectricity to other provinces.  

NDP:

  • The party is opposed to the efforts to revive the Canada-wide pipeline project. Singh has also pledged to provide money to help with the electrification of transit.

Bloc Québécois:

  • Blanchet opposes any attempt to revive the Energy East oil pipeline project. He has not said whether he supports a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline between Ontario and the Saguenay area, opting to wait for the results of an environmental impact assessment.

Greens:

  • The party opposed the Energy East project and remains opposed to attempts to revive the plan.
  • It is opposed to the natural gas project that includes a pipeline between Ontario and the Saguenay.

People's Party:

  • Bernier has said he would overrule provincial opposition to the Energy East project, if a private company backs its construction.

Liberals:

  • Trudeau has said that he opposes a single-income tax return managed by the province, telling reporters that handing over federal responsibility is not a decision the government can take lightly.

Conservatives:

  • Scheer wants to create a single income-tax return administered by the province. When he proposed the idea, the National Assembly backed it unanimously. He would also create a cabinet minister position that would specifically deal with Quebec economic development.

NDP:

  • The NDP is opposed to creating a single income-tax return because of the job losses that would entail for Canada Revenue Agency workers in the province.
  • Singh has promised to hold a meeting within the first six months of his term with all of the premiers, discussing an expansion of the Quebec and Canada pension plans.
  • An NDP government would consult Quebec before signing international trade deals and would also consult the province before reaching tax agreements with web giants such as Netflix.

Bloc Québécois:

  • The Bloc opposes the creation of a Canada-wide securities regulator.
  • The party wants to exempt farm owners from the capital-gains tax to make it easier for property to be transferred within families.
  • A Bloc delegation would push the federal government to tax web companies that conduct more than three per cent of their business in Canada, such as Facebook and Amazon.

Greens:

  • Nothing specific announced.

People's Party:

  • Maxime Bernier has not made any promises specifically about Quebec, but he has said he would freeze the equalization program and then propose a new formula. In the 2018-2019 year, Quebec received nearly $12 billion in equalization payments.

Liberals:

  • By the end of 2019-2020, the Trudeau government will have increased the CBC/Radio-Canada budget by $525 million. 

Conservatives:

  • The party supports applying Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses, such as banks and telecommunications companies. Among other things, this would mean internal office communication would have to be conducted in French. 

NDP:

  • Like the Conservatives, the NDP supports applying Bill 101 to federally regulated industries.
  • An NDP government would make bilingualism — reading and speaking knowledge of French and English — a requirement for Supreme Court justices. 

Bloc Québécois:

  • Blanchet wants to see Bill 101 apply to federally regulated institutions.
  • The party is proposing to eliminate the federal sales tax (GST) for book purchases. 

Greens:

  • The party has promised to appoint more Quebecers to federal cultural organizations, such as the Canada Council for the Arts and the National Film Board.
  • The Greens have also promised to give Quebec a veto on all cultural agreements involving the province.
  • May says she too wants to see Bill 101 apply to federally regulated institutions.

People's Party:

  • The party is opposed to the application of Bill 101 to federally regulated businesses.
Tansit & Transportation
 

Liberals:

  • Promised to finance construction of the Pink Line, an extension to the Montreal Metro system proposed by Mayor Valérie Plante.
  • Invest $71 million, through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to draw up plans for a high-frequency VIA rail service between Toronto and Quebec City. The rail link would go through Trois-Rivières.
  • Trudeau hasn't said whether a Liberal government will finance the so-called third-link, a proposed bridge-tunnel complex between Quebec City and Lévis.

Conservatives:

  • Have promised to help finance the third-link in Quebec City.
  • Are favourable to the high-frequency rail link between Toronto and Quebec City.

NDP:

  • Announced in September it would fund the Pink Line as part of a $6.5 billion-plan to increase public transit funding in Canada. 
  • The party opposes the third-link in Quebec City for environmental reasons.

Bloc Québécois:

  • Hasn't taken a clear position for or against the project, saying it will wait for an environmental impact assessment.

Greens:

  • Supports a number of expansions to the Montreal public transit network, including the Pink Line and extending the Yellow Line to Saint-Hubert.
  • Like the NDP, the party opposes the third-link in Quebec City for environmental reasons.

People's Party:

  • Nothing specific announced.

Is there an issue that you want to see included on this list? Send us an email: webquebec@cbc.ca or reach us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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