Canadian expats in the UAE have been glued to their TV screens, social media feeds and news sources ahead of the country’s September 20 elections.
Many of them believe that Canada’s current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party are likely to secure a majority in the House of Commons with the policy accomplishments they had ticked off their list. Running against the Liberals are the Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole.
For Madhukar Tanna, a UAE resident of 20 years who has been a Canadian citizen since 1999, “the Trudeau government has done well”.
“The economy is doing well and commodity prices are going up, which is a predominant sector there. When it comes to Covid-19, 70 to 80 per cent Canadians have been vaccinated and it’s once again open for travel. So, that’s also a good sign,” Tanna said.
“The government is boosting immigration and has good government-funded immigration programmes. It also continues to invest in healthcare and people enjoy the benefits of affordable education there. Therefore, I feel the Liberals are likely to win again.”
The only downside, he said, would be “the high taxes from which the common man continues to seek relief”.
The high approval ratings and the government’s pandemic response have particularly impressed many.
Arshad Jamal, a banker and risk management consultant in Dubai, said: “I am more for Trudeau than a pro-Liberal. He is a great and a humble leader. He is so interactive. He reaches out to members of all communities. He is always there.
“The way he handled the pandemic is amazing. Shops and businesses were closed during this period. But people were paid some money to survive. The healthcare system has been good; the patients were well taken care of; the emergency situation was handled well and he was there with the media almost every day, answering all the questions of the public. I have always supported him, but this time no questions asked, he is the one to lead the country. I am not in Canada at this time but my wife and children will definitely vote.”
However, Jamal pointed out that reform is needed in areas like immigration. “The processes are still very slow and also seemingly bureaucratic,” added the Canadian citizen of 25 years.
Another Canadian expat, Maaz Abdur Rahman, feels Trudeau and his party have done “a great job” over the years — from immigration to housing and the handling of the pandemic.
“It’s a good opportunity for people to come out and vote. My relatives and I have been holding discussions about this over the phone and we all feel the Liberals did a great job...It’s been quite impressive. I also feel Trudeau is also very confident and is sure about winning it. That’s why he called for the elections early,” said Rahman, who works in Dubai as commercial director for Cleantech Gulf.
He added that the Conservative Party’s plans “do not seem people-friendly”.
“I feel Trudeau and his party are better at seeing the bigger picture, which works both in people and the government’s favour. The candidate from the National Democratic Party (NDP) is also not bad.
“In my mind, a few areas that need work or greater reform is perhaps control on the housing market or real estate sector, which is a bit volatile currently. The employment rate has to increase and there needs to be a greater push for creating opportunities for white-collar jobs as lots of people from developing countries migrate to Canada.”
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