Transit Matters in Election 2019: Federal Party Platforms

As the Canadian Federal Election looms, voters are juggling their list of personal priorities and weighing party platforms to decide how to vote. In a recent poll from Abacus Data, Canadians rated public transit as one of the least important issues for them in the upcoming election, with only 6% of respondents stating that public transit it important. 

Abacus Data Poll

However, public transit and personal mobility have a significant impact on the top three issues that Canadians valued the most, including the cost of living, health care, and climate change (Transport Futures). Public transit is inextricably linked to the affordability of communities and wellbeing of residents. It is a powerful tool to be used in the fight against climate change by dramatically reducing the green house gas emission of the transportation sector.

While most Canadians are not thinking about public transit when they are marking their ballots on election day, ATU Canada is closely monitoring the commitments to public transit offered by each Federal Party. Here are some of the top commitments by each major Federal Party on public transit as outlined in their official party platforms and as reported by national media.

Woman on Bus Transit Matters

  • New Democratic Party: Changing How We Get Around
    • Modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada and ensure that federal transit funding flows with an emphasis on low-carbon transit projects (NDP)
    • Create a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism to modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada (NDP)
    • Provide low-cost financing to local governments in support of the electrification of transit and other municipal fleets by 2030 (NDP)
    • Work with provinces and municipalities toward “fare-free transit” and re-establish rural bus routes formerly covered by Greyhound and expand bus service in rural regions (Vancouver Sun)
  • Liberals: Public Transit
    • Make permanent the federal commitment to fund public transit, and put in an additional $3 billion a year in stable funding on top of gas tax transfers
    • Require that new federal investments in public transit are used to support zero-emission buses and rail starting in 2023
    • Support the transition to zero-emission fleets for school and transit buses, and encourage businesses to convert their fleets by 2040 (Vancouver Sun)
  • Conservatives: Green Public Transit Tax Credit
    • Reintroduce a 15-per-cent tax credit for public transit that would apply at tax time to any transit pass allowing for unlimited travel within Canada on local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains, and ferries, as well as electronic fare cards when used for an extended period. (CityTV Promises Tracker)
    • Scrap the $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank, which funds transit infrastructure projects, but will not renege on federal funds already committed to transit projects (CBC)
  • Greens: Transportation
    • Rebrand the Gas Tax Fund as the Municipal Fund and ensure a doubling of current funding for transit and other urban infrastructure (CityTV Promises Tracker)
    • Develop a national transportation strategy with the goal of reaching zero-carbon public transportation — rail, light rail and electric buses — across Canada by 2040, and revamp the Canada Infrastructure Bank (Vancouver Sun)

Overall, the NDP, Liberal, Conservative, and Green parties all mention commitments to public transit funding and infrastructure projects in their platforms, although some platform promises are more robust than others. The People’s Party of Canada does not have a transit platform.

If public transit, or any of the issues that intersect with public transit, matter to you, voting in the upcoming Federal Election is essential. Vote! 

TTCRiders' Election Platform breakdown is available here:

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