A look back at 3 early campaign promises you may have forgotten
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2015 9:04AM EDT
After one of the longest campaigns in Canadian history, the 42nd federal election is now less than a week away.
By the time Canadians head to the polls on Monday, they will have had 78 days of rallies, attack ads, and political promises to help them make up their minds about who they'd like to run the country.
As the candidates make their final pitches to voters, here's a look back at three early promises that may have been forgotten during the constant campaigning:
Promise No. 1: Conservatives pledge to ban travel to areas "under the governance of terrorism"
On Aug. 9, a week after dropping the writ, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper vowed to crack down on what he called "terror tourism."
In a speech in Ottawa, Harper proposed new measures inspired by Australian legislation which prevents travel to regions under the control of terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State.
Only in "certain, rare" circumstances, Harper said, journalists, humanitarians, or diplomats would be able to travel to the banned areas.
According to University of Waterloo Political Science professor Anna Esselment, his early promise was directly aimed at core Conservative voters.
"One of the first rules of campaigning is that you need to solidify your base, right from the outset," Esselement said on CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. "(The promise) was smart in the sense that you want to talk to your base first and let them know that you're on their side."
Esselment said the Conservative promise was also strategic, because it redirected attention away from the Mike Duffy trial that was dominating headlines at the time.
"We were also still in the throes of the Duffy trial, and, if anything, Mr. Harper did not want to talk about Mike Duffy," she said. "So this is the type of promise that gets people talking about security, and that was helpful for the Conservatives."
Promise No. 2: Liberals promise to allow some Canadians to dip into their RRSPs more than once to buy a home
As part of their affordable housing plan, the Liberals pledged to allow Canadians to tap into their retirement savings plans if they need to buy a home because they've been forced to move for work.
The measure would also allow Canadians to dig into their RRSPs if they are moving for family reasons such as the death of a spouse, a divorce, or because they are taking in an elderly relative.
Looking back, Esselment said the move fit into the Liberals' focus on affordability for the middle class, and that the promise would be attractive to young professionals relocating for work, or for middle aged Canadians looking to downsize or move closer to children and grandchildren.
"Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, those are very expensive housing markets," she said. "If you're someone who may have already had a home, but your job is moved to one of those cities, you're expensed right out of the market."
Promise No. 3: NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair promises to meet with the premiers, within his first six months as prime minister, to discuss pension plan expansions
On Sept. 3, Mulcair vowed to meet with the premiers within his first six months as prime minister, in order to discuss expanding pension plans.
According to Esselment, the NDP promise was Mulcair's way of establishing himself as a leader—and of distancing himself from Harper's leadership style.
"The one thing that Mulcair was trying to do in this case was show leadership and leadership in the federation," she said. "The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, does not like to bring all the premiers together."
However, Esselment said, Mulcair's plan to discuss pensions may not have excited Canadians the way other promises do.
"The challenge with this particular promise is that it's a process commitment," she said. "It's not quite as sexy as other commitments."