By Kirk Winter

One of the realities of the Canadian Parliamentary system is the importance it places on the leaders of the individual political parties. In a recent Ipsos-Reid poll, most Canadians could identify the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties but struggled to name their local Member of Parliament.

The election of 2019 promises to be a little bit more challenging for voters in Canada as there will be five different mainstream political parties to vote for in nine of the 10 provinces and three territories. Quebecers will have the choice of six different political options when they cast their ballots.

Liberal Party of Canada

Leader – Justin Pierre James Trudeau

Age – 47

Educational Background – Trained as a teacher, taught and then went back to school to study engineering and environmental geography. He completed neither of those programs.

Political Background – Became an MP in 2008, party leader in 2013 and Prime Minister in 2015

Interesting Fact – Trudeau engineered the largest political comeback in federal election history in 2015, growing the Liberals from only 36 seats to 184 seats and winning a majority government.

Conservative Party of Canada

Leader – Andrew James Scheer

Age – 40

Educational Background – Bachelor of Arts and practiced for a short time as an insurance broker. Worked in the constituency office of Canadian Alliance MP Larry Spencer

Political Background –Elected MP at 25, became the youngest speaker in the history of the House of Commons, became party leader in 2017 winning 50.95 percent of delegate support at the Conservative convention

Interesting Fact – Scheer defeated NDP legend Lorne Nystrom for his seat. At the time, Nystrom was the longest serving MP in Ottawa with any party.

New Democratic Party

Leader – Jagmeet Singh Jimmy Dhaliwad

Age – 40

Educational Background – Trained as a lawyer and still maintains a practice with his younger brother in Brampton.

Political Background – NDP MPP from 2010 to 2017, switched to the federal stage and became the federal leader in 2017. Became a federal MP in 2019 winning a by-election in Burnaby South

Interesting Fact – Singh is the first visible minority to be a federal party leader and the first federal leader to wear a turban.

Green Party of Canada

Leader – Elizabeth Evans May

Age – 65

Educational Background – Trained as a lawyer, practiced law and became the Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada from 1989 to 2006

Political Background – First elected to parliament in 2011, first Green party MP to ever be elected federally in Canada

Interesting Fact – May is the first mainstream Canadian federal party leader born in the United States. She is originally from Connecticut.

Bloc Quebecois

Leader – Yves-Francois Blanchet

Age – 54

Educational Background – Trained as a teacher, taught and also began a concert and talent promotion agency.

Political Background – Was a Parti Quebecois MLA beginning in 2008, re-elected in 2012, defeated in 2016. He served in a number of provincial cabinet positions. He made the jump into federal politics after being acclaimed leader of the Bloc in 2019.

Interesting fact – Ten of the artists promoted by Blanchet have won the Quebec equivalent of a Juno for excellence in francophone music

People's Party of Canada

Leader – Maxime Bernier

Age – 56

Educational Background – Commerce and law degree, high profile lawyer and banker in Quebec. He was hand-recruited by Stephen Harper to run, nicknamed the “Bloc-buster” by fellow Conservatives.

Political Background – Bernier has been an MP since 2006. He held multiple cabinet positions under Harper and in the shadow cabinets of acting leader Rona Ambrose and Andrew Scheer. In 2017, he ran for the party leadership against Scheer, losing by less than 1 percent. In August of 2018, he left the party over disagreements with Scheer’s “style of leadership”.

Interesting fact – Bernier is the only one of the party leaders to deny that climate change is real and caused by humans.

Expect to see a lot of these individuals over the next month as they attempt to convince you that they are worthy of your support on Election Day. Happy choosing.

PoliticsDeb Crossen