Canada’s Next Federal Election (Must be held by Fall 2025)

There are an unprecedented number of elections in countries worldwide scheduled for 2024. In Canada, a federal election must be held before October 20, 2025, under the fixed-date statutory provisions of the Canada Elections Act. The Act requires a federal election be held on the third Monday in October in the fourth calendar year after the polling day of the previous election. Canada also has a constitutional requirement identified in the Constitution Act, 1867, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, stating federal elections be held no more than five years after the preceding election. Early elections may happen with minority governments if a House of Commons majority passes a motion of no confidence in the government in power. Canadians perceive election outcomes as reflecting their collective will without political interference.

A majority Liberal government was won in 2015, with Justin Trudeau as party leader and becoming Prime Minister. Additional elections in 2019 and 2021 resulted in the Liberals being re-elected, but as a minority government, that often only lasted a few years. However, the Liberals and the New Democratic Party (NDP) reached an agreement in 2022 to keep the Liberals in power until 2025, allowing for stability on budgets, programming, and NDP social policy priorities.

There are many different ways in which Canada’s climate policies will be implemented depending on the outcomes of the next Federal election.

If the Liberal party is re-elected, existing policies reducing emissions will remain at the forefront of government policy.  If the NDP wins the next election, Jagmeet Singh,  the party leader, will seek bold action on the climate crisis, including more renewables and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. If the Conservative party wins, under Pierre Poilievre, party leader, they will likely eliminate the carbon tax  (Axe the Tax) and clean fuel and electricity regulations. They also appear to support fossil fuel production, given that their political base is strong in western Canada. The Greens have a climate platform promoting a more substantial target of 60% emissions reduction by 2030 for Canada and the phasing out of fossil fuels.

Since 2015, Canada has committed to reducing emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to being net-zero by 2050. One key mechanism has been a carbon pricing system (2019), which places a price on pollution, a global economic tool for mitigating climate change. Another significant action was passing a net-zero emissions accountability act (2021) to plan, report, and course correct on the path to net-zero emissions.

Trudeau stated: “Canadians benefit from global cooperation, multilateral institutions, and international relations governed by rules and principles. Pollution isn’t bound by borders, so it’s crucial to work with our allies to protect our planet. Canada was a key driver of the Paris Agreement.” The Conservative party is the only party that has not confirmed the continuation of Canada’s emissions targets under the Paris Agreement but views technology as a critical emission reduction strategy, for example, carbon capture, nuclear reactors, and mining critical minerals for electrification. The Conservatives are currently experiencing a surge in polls, given that their priority is to lower the cost of living, suggesting that it’s time for change. Clean Energy Canada reminds everyone, “At its core, climate action is as conservative as it is Canadian, as economical as it is environmental.”

Canada’s federal election finance laws limit contributions to promote a level playing field (2015). For example, individuals – not corporations or trade unions – may donate on the following. Contributions are limited to up to $1,500 a year to each political party, identical to all registered electoral district associations, and contestants seeking a party’s nomination and candidates for each party. For third parties – Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and businesses or organizations operating in Canada are permitted to make donations.  Politicians must disclose the names of donors over $200. Financially, the last quarter of 2023 Elections Canada statistics on funds raised noted: The Liberals, $5.8 million from 38,288 donors; the NDP, $2.6 million from 19,289 donors; and the Conservatives, $ 11.9 million from 66,000 donors. The Conservatives are currently experiencing a surge in polls given their priority to lower the cost of living, suggesting the ‘it’s time for change’ possibility. Clean Energy Canada reminds everyone, “At its core, climate action is as conservative as it is Canadian, as economical as it is environmental.”

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Canada Country Manager Diane Szoller.


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