In January 2015, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-51 which would give police and spy agencies more power to detain terror suspects. Provisions to the bill include expanding police powers that would allow them to preventively detain or restrict terror suspects, ban the “promotion of terrorism”, allow the public safety minister to add people to Canada’s “no-fly list”, and enhance the powers of Canada’s spy agency CSIS. Proponents argue that law enforcement and intelligence agencies need more power to combat terrorism in the wake of the attacks on two Canadian soldiers in October and the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Opponents argue the bill’s powers to limit “threats to the security of Canada” are too broad and may allow the government to shut down legitimate dissenters and protest groups who do not go through official channels. See public opinion
In January 2015 Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canadian soldiers would continue their “robust” mission in Iraq against the Islamic State. When the troops were first dispatched into Iraq in September 2014 their original mission was to “direct airstrikes.” 4 months later military briefings revealed that Canadian soldiers recently came under attack by Islamic State extremists and returned fire. Opponents argue that the conflict in Iraq is a civil war and Canadian lives should not be put at risk. Proponents argue that ISIS is at risk of gaining power in Iraq and Canadian military involvement is necessary to promote regional stability. See public opinion
In 2010 the Conservative government introduced a crime bill which would kill the so-called faint hope clause that allows some people serving life sentences to apply for parole after 15 years (instead of the usual 25 common for first-degree murder and other life sentence convictions). Opponents of the crime bill argue that extended prison sentences are cruel and will cost the government tens of millions of dollars per year.Proponents argue that 15 years is too short of a prison term for people serving life sentences. See public opinion
The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is public program that requires all employed Canadians to contribute a percentage of their earnings, with their employer matching the amount, to a nationally administered pension plan. Currently, the employee contribution rate is set at 4.95% up to a maximum of $2,356. See public opinion
In 2015, Canadian pension funds stood at 89% of estimated liability for providing pension benefits to plan members, a six percentage point drop from 95% in 2014. Economists blame long-term interest rates for the decline although strong gains by U.S. and global equities in 2014 helped to offset some of the impact. Proponents of the tax argue that pension-funding liabilities are currently stronger than the 2012 low-water mark of 66%. Opponents argue that taxing pensions is unfair to the elderly and will drain pensions of funds needed to support future generations of retired workers. See public opinion
Income splitting allows a high earning spouse to transfer up to $50k of income to the lower earning spouse, so it’s taxed at a lower bracket. See public opinion
Currently, Canada's electoral system is based on a "first past the post" system. The candidate with the most votes in a riding wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that riding as its Member of Parliament. The Governor General asks the Members of Parliament to form a government, which is normally the party whose candidates have won the most seats; that party's leader generally becomes Prime Minister. An absolute majority of the electorate is not needed, and is rarely achieved. As a result, power has been held by either of two parties for most of Canada's history. The party whose candidates win the second largest number of seats becomes the Official Opposition. See public opinion
In the first 4 months of 2015 Transport Canada issued 1,600 permits for commercial drones. In contrast, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration issued only 69. Over 110 companies in Canada now provide commercial drone services, which are regularly used by the movie and television industry, oil and gas companies, forestry companies and farmers. See public opinion
In 2011 the Conservative government announced that due to privacy concerns the long form census would no longer be mandatory. It would be replaced by a short form census that would only collect basic demographic data.Opponents of the census include civil liberty advocates who argue that the long form census is too invasive and violates people’s privacy. Proponents of reinstating the census voluntary survey argue that without the mandatory long form census it’s harder to track trends in income inequality, immigrant outcomes in the jobs market, labour shortages and demographic shifts. See public opinion
The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project is a $6.5 billion proposal to construct twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia. Learn more or See public opinion
According to UNICEF, Canada recently achieved an 84% immunization rate which is below their suggested 95% rate. Proponents of a mandate argue that vaccines are necessary in order to insure herd immunity against preventable diseases. Herd immunity protects people who are unable to get vaccines due to their age or health condition. Opponents of a mandate believe the government should not be able to decide which vaccines their children should receive. Some opponents also believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism and vaccinating their children will have destructive consequences on their early childhood development. See public opinion
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The above questions were selected because they give a broad sample of the most divisive issues being discussed this year in politics. We continue to add new issues on a weekly basis.
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