Canada election 2021: Liberal majority 'seems unlikely' because they're overlooking one 'successful formula', expert says

·9 min read

As Canada's election campaign continues, people across the country are trying to determine which federal political party best aligns with their personal needs and priorities.

A major question in this election campaign for the Liberals is whether the party will be able to achieve a majority, but one expert identifies that, while it is still very early, that majority is not looking as promising as it maybe did at the outset.

"It certainly seems, certainly very unlikely compared to where we were even a week ago," Dr. Stewart Prest, political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University told Yahoo Canada. "Just before the election was called, they were flirting with the majority, they were right in that range in terms of popular vote and now it seems like they are quite a ways out of reach."

"I think they are much more likely to be fighting for a strong minority position."

In terms of the platform priorities and Justin Trudeau's focus during the campaign, the Liberals still have to answer fundamental questions around why Canadians are being sent to the polls right now.

It seems like we still didn't have a clear sense of why [Justin Trudeau] wanted to have this vote, other than to pursue that majority and so, he really needs to find that core message about what the Liberals are going to do for Canadians that no other party is going to do.Dr. Stewart Prest

The political expert identified that the Liberals will likely emphasize messaging around affordability issues, possibly actions around climate change as well.

What the Liberals are missing in their campaign

As COVID-19 is top of mind for Canadians, some may expect the Liberals to try to build momentum based on the current government's relatively positively received response to the pandemic, but Prest identified that, that particular debate has not been "materialized."

"There are some real successes they can point to, whether it's the high rate of vaccination for the country as a whole...and some of the financial supports that they provided to Canadians were very popular, and were much needed," Prest explained. "You would think there would be a possibility for the Liberals to remind Canadians of that and also make the case that they are going to continue to be able to play that kind of steady role of managing a reopening of an economy."

"They are, of all the parties, the one that can convey they have done this work previously and done so fairly successfully,...but we haven't really seen that debate materialized. That brings us back to that question of, why are we here?"

Prest explained that this also echoes back of the most recent provincial election in British Columbia, when John Horgan's NDP were looking to capture a majority in the midst of the pandemic, and that success was seemingly tied to the provincial government's response to COVID-19.

"That should be a part of a successful formula for the Liberals, but we haven't really seen that message come up much," Prest said.

"A lot of Canadians are focused on provincial politics with the renewed restrictions in places like B.C. and Ontario, and elsewhere. So it may be that once we clear Labour Day and people are back to school, in whatever form that takes, we'll see more attention paid to federal politics... I think it's going to be an interesting campaign. The campaign is going to matter, what parties do from here on out will decide the results."


Paid Sick Leave

A core promise from the Liberals is introducing 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers, with the ability to use those days in any desired increment of time.

The Liberals are also promising, if re-elected, to work with the provinces and territories to discuss legislating sick leave across Canada


As rent and housing prices continue to rise, particularly in Canada's largest cities, the Liberals are stressing that "all Canadians deserve a safe and affordable place to call home."

The party has put forward a three-point housing plan:

  1. Unlock home ownership, promising that a family buying their first home will be able to save up to $30,000

    1. Commit $1 billion in loans and grants for rent-to-own projects with private, not-for-profit, and co-op partners

    2. Introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account to allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home, withdraw it tax-free with no requirement to repay the amount

    3. Make the First Time Home Buyer Incentive more flexible with the option of a deferred mortgage loan

    4. Double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit to $10,000

    5. Reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25 per cent, estimated to save each person about $6,100

  2. Build more homes

    1. Build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million homes in the next four years

    2. Increase funding to the National Housing Co-investment fund for a total of $2.7 billion over 4 years

    3. Convert empty office space into housing with a $600 million financial commitment

    4. Co-develop housing with Indigenous partners an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy

    5. Implement locally-oriented homelessness prevention and reduction programs

  3. Protect your rights

    1. Introduce a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights to: ban blind bidding, establish a legal right to a home inspection, require real estate agents to disclose when they are involved in both sides of a potential sale, implement a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry, require banks and lenders offer mortgage deferrals for up to 6 months in the event of job loss or other event, mandate that mortgage lenders nee to inform buyers of all financing choices and programs available

    2. Implement an anti-flipping tax on residential properties that requires home to be held for at least 12 months

    3. Ban new foreign ownership of Canadian houses for the next two years

Health care

Liberals are promising to continue to work with provinces and territories to build a "stronger health care system."

Some of these core actions include:

  • Invest $6 billion to support the elimination of health system waitlists

  • Hire 7,500 family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners with a $3.2 billion investment over 4 years beginning in 2022

  • Provide $400 million over 4 years to expand virtual health care services

  • Increase student loan forgiveness to health professionals opting to work in rural communities and offer them a one-time tax incentive to that allowed them to deduct up to $15,000 in income cumulatively during their first 3 years of practice


The Liberals plan to invest $9 billion over five years to supports seniors, with a focus on those living in long-term care. This funding will include:

  • Raise wages for personal support workers, including a guaranteed minimum wage of at least $25 per hour

  • Train up to 50,000 new personal support workers

  • Double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit from $10,000 to $20,000 to provide up to $1,500 in additional support to help seniors stay in their homes longer

  • Commit $3 billion in funding for the provinces and territories to address the quality and capacity of long-term care homes

  • Develop a Safe Long Term Care Act to "guaranteed the care they deserve, no matter where they live"

Environment, climate change

The Liberal Party's messaging very much stresses that there is a "climate crisis" and that "we can't wait" to take action to combat these concerns.

The Liberal promises related to action to fight against climate change include:

  • Invest $50 million to help train at least 1,000 firefighters, including the expansion Indigenous-led fire crews

  • Dedicate $450 million ahead of the next fire season to allow provinces and territories to invest in the equipment needed to fight wildfires

  • Expand the eligibility requirements of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) deep home retrofit program and Canada Greener Home Grants to include more "climate resilience measures"

  • Work with the insurance industry to find more cost-effective ways to protect communities from climate impacts, including floods and wildfires

  • Create a Climate Adaptation Home Rating Program to work in tandem with the EnerGuide home energy audits

  • Provide a $1.4 billion top up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support wildfire mitigation activities, rehabilitation of storm water systems, and restoration of wetlands and shorelines 

  • Invest $1.9 billion over five years to support provincial and territorial disaster response and recovery efforts

  • Commit $100.6 million over five years to help the Parks Canada Agency enhance wildfire preparedness in national parks

  • Increase total AgriRecovery funding to up to $500 million

  • Complete flood maps with provinces and territories for higher-risk areas, including mapping areas in Northern Canada at risk of wildfires

Supporting businesses

The Liberals continue to applaud the government's work on introducing support programs for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.

If re-election, the Liberals promise to:

  • Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to Mar. 31, 2022 for businesses to increase wages, create new jobs

  • Provide Canada’s tourism industry with temporary wage and rent support of up to 75 per cent of their expenses until May 31, 2022

  • Launch the Arts and Culture Recovery Program to match ticket sales for performing arts, live theatres, and other cultural venues to compensate for reduced capacity until May 2022

  • Extend COVID-related insurance coverage for media production stoppages from Mar. 31, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2022

  • Provide $50 million to the Canada Council of the Arts to implement a "transitional support program" to help bridge workers from the creative industry who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Child care

Liberals are stressing that the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on how without child care options parents, particularly women, cannot participate in the workforce.

Stemming from that, the party is plans to implement an average $10 a day early learning and child care for families within the next five years, outside of Quebec. The Liberals also intend to work with that province on building an affordable child care system in Quebec.

Other promises related to child care include:

  • Achieve a 50 per cent reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care by the end of next year

  • Invest $29.2 million in the Enabling Accessibility Fund to help child care centres improve their physical accessibility

  • Dedicate $2.5 billion over the next five years in Indigenous early learning and child care