Election 2019

Four things to know about the 2019 federal election

There are 10 days to go until the federal election on October 21st, 2019 and party leaders and their Members of Parliament (MPs) are out pounding the pavement across the country. One of the challenges for Canadians during this period is trying to make sense of the myriad spending promises made by candidates. Nearly every day there is an announcement regarding new plans that can range from tax deductions to grants to new sources of funding. So, with all these announcements flying around, here are four points to keep in mind:

#1 What is announced on the campaign trail doesn’t always happen

When the bold promises of the campaign trail smash up against the day-to-day realities of governing, not everything will get done. Certain commitments that sound great to would-be voters, may not make as much sense once in power or time frames for implementation can be far longer than expected.

#2 Pre-election announcements tend to be for programs that are popular, not necessarily the most effective 

Once a political party forms government after an election, either as a minority or a majority, the real work begins. Leading up to an election, politicians tend to focus on announcing programs that are either widely popular, or play well with a particular constituency they are trying to court. The home renovation tax measures that were recently announced by both the Liberals and Conservatives are a good example of a program that is popular but not the most effective for combating climate change.

#3 Not all spending is new

As is the case with budgets, not all the spending figures announced in media clips constitute new funds. References can be made to money that has already been committed or partially spent, making the sum seem larger than it is. Another important detail is the timeline for how money will be spent. Ten million dollars over 10 years, with 90 percent of it to be spent in the last year won’t do much to help voters now.

#4 When government changes, so do priority areas

There are certain government programs that are largely immune to the government of the day. The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program is a good example of a funding program that remains consistent over time. However, this is not always the case. If there is a change in political leadership after the October 21st 2019 election, we can expect priority areas to shift which can impact government spending including grants. Party platforms give voters some insight into priority areas for a given party, however the devil is in the details and usually details aren’t covered in party platforms. 

One thing is consistent, grants and non-dilutive funding programs are available regardless of which party is successful. What is important is that you leverage these opportunities when programs are available because funding limitations often mean first-apply, first- review.