The federal Liberals and New Democratic Party are looking for voters concerned about the environment, but Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are mostly quiet about it.
Some environmentally conscious Winnipeggers want change come the October 19 federal election. Federal elections in Canada are typically held every four years on the third Monday in October. Harper called the election on August 2.
Tesia Rhind, 28, is a barista and used to study environmental sciences. She says she’s isn’t sure if she’ll vote for Robert-Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal candidate in her riding of Winnipeg Centre, or Pat Martin, the incumbent NDP candidate.
Rhind previously voted for the Green Party, known for its extreme policy goals to minimize the effects of climate change.
“If I do [vote Green] now, the way the voting system works my vote’s not going to be counted towards anything at all,” Rhind says. “I’d just be throwing my vote away.”
Brett Wolfe, 24, is a student living in Winnipeg South Centre and has a campaign sign supporting Liberal candidate Jim Carr on his lawn. He says his roommate put the sign there, but he may vote Liberal, too.
“It’s anything but Harper at this point,” Wolfe says. “A big thing is voting intelligently. My riding is a close race between the Conservatives and Liberals so I’m going to vote Liberal just because they have the best chance of winning.”
Wolfe says he cares about the environment and he isn’t a fan of the Harper government’s approval of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project.
“We can’t just cut out oil but we need to be weaning off of it and not investing in pipelines,” Wolfe says.
If Justin Trudeau and the Liberals gain control, they promise to “invest $200 million annually to […] support innovation and clean technologies in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors.” according to their website.
Elections Canada requires at least 37 days of campaigning before votes are cast. At a meeting in Parliament last spring, chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand estimated a 37-day election would cost $375 million. The 2015 election is the second longest in history at 78 days. It’s unclear how much this will cost Canadians.
Both the Liberal Party and NDP want Harper out, and can consider a coalition if he is prime minister once government is formed. The two parties would have to compromise and combine their platforms for the partnership.
If this year’s election is similar to the 2011 vote, the Conservatives would still hold power.
Currently, the Conservatives have 159 seats, the NDP have 95, the Liberals have 36 and the Green Party has two.
This is one in a series of federal election campaign stories completed by Journalism Major students in Red River College’s Creative Communications program. Click here to read more of their articles.