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A chaotic week on the campaign trail
In this edition: vaccine passports coming to Ontario, new guidance for Toronto schools, Brosseau returns to politics
Happy Monday. Welcome to POLICORNER — your insider guide to Canadian politics, policy, and power. If you’re counting: there are 21 days until e-day.
In this 8 minute read, what local health officials are saying about vaccine passports, Toronto Public Health releases additional guidance for schools, Canada's evacuation mission in Afghanistan comes to an end. Plus, our weekly look at how the party leaders spent week two of the election campaign.
Ontario is expected to unveil a COVID-19 vaccine passport, joining several provincial governments in implementing a province-wide certification system.
As Global News first reported, Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet is expected to meet this week to finalize the details of the certificate, which would provide access to non-essential settings and events province-wide.
NEW: The announcement, which was set to happen tomorrow is now “on hold,” according to CityNews’ Adrian Ghobrial. It is unclear when the announcement will take place.
Numerous local health officials, including Peel Region’s Dr. Lawrence Loh raised the possibility of implementing regional vaccine certificates as an alternative in the absence of a province-wide certificate.
“Peel Public Health is also actively exploring with other public health units what could be done locally on a vaccine certificate program absent a provincial solution. One thing that is consistent throughout our investigation is individuals who have not received two doses of the vaccine are at the greatest risk of infection and severity, notably hospitalization.”
What local health officials and opposition leaders are saying
newsBeyond reached out to a number of local health units and opposition parties for a comment on the province’s plans to enact a province-wide vaccine passport.
Dr. Mustafa Hijri, Niagara Region’s Medical Officer of Health told newsBeyond in a statement that if reports are true, “we are pleased that the government is backing off from its previous opposition to a provincial vaccine credential.”
Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health urged the government to consider a standardized provincial approach, saying a regional approach to vaccination certificates “will not be a viable option.” Kurji, who is retiring at the end of September told newsBeyond that “discussions for additional measures are ongoing.”
Peel Public Health said that it “stands ready to support any solution implemented by our provincial partners,” while Toronto Public Health said that it continues to have “active discussions” with regional public health units and the province, but continues to support a province-wide system.
Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca, who invited leaders and stakeholders to a virtual summit today to discuss “the need for a province-wide vaccine certificate,” said he is “delighted to read media reports suggesting Doug Ford is seriously considering a vaccine certificate for Ontario.” “I will continue to urge Doug Ford to make it happen as soon as possible,” he added. Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said that “this is an announcement that should have come weeks ago,” while NDP leader Andrea Horwath tweeted saying “Ontario has access to experts and to British Columbia & Quebec as examples. We can keep people safe & support economic recovery, without leaving anyone behind.”
The Minister of Health’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Week three of the federal election campaign has begun — Canadians will vote in 21 days. Here is what you need to know about the past week:
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau started his week in Halifax, promising an additional $3 billion investment in health care to help hire an additional 7,500 family doctors and nurses. Trudeau later released the party’s housing plan in Hamilton, which promises to build, preserve, or repair an additional 1.4 million homes in four years. Trudeau then took his campaign to Mississauga, where he pledged to invest $1 billion to help provinces create their own vaccine passports.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s second week of campaigning began in Ottawa, where he announced that he would require federally regulated workplaces to have worker representation on their boards of directors if the company has more than 1,000 workers or $100-million in annual revenue. O’Toole then went to Brantford, where he unveiled a multibillion-dollar plan to address mental health issues. The plan would increase the Canada Health Transfer by 6% each year for the next 10 years and would add $60 billion into provincial medicare. O’Toole finished off the week participating in a rally in Charlottetown.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh started week two of the campaign in Mississauga, where he promised to end for-profit long-term, pledging to work with provinces and territories to “make sure there is no more profit-driven delivery of care.” Singh later headed to Windsor, where he promised to work with Canada’s telecommunications regulatory body to force service providers to reduce prices and cap fees below global averages. Singh finished his week in Sudbury, where he pledged to forgive up to $20,000 of student loan debt and permanently double the Canada Student Grant.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul spent the week canvassing in the riding which she hopes to flip green, Toronto Centre. Following the explosion in Kabul, Paul suspended her campaign for 24 hours “to be briefed on the evolving situation by people on the ground, and to consider what tangible proposals the Green Party of Canada can offer,” while calling on other party leaders to suspend their campaigns to “jointly consider Canada’s rescue plan for those who remain trapped.”
Where the parties stand in the polls
Here’s a look at the polls — where Conservatives have taken the lead for the first time since the election was called, according to CBC’s Poll Tracker.
CONSERVATIVE: 33.4% (+0.4)
LIBERAL: 31.5% (-0.3)
NDP: 19.8% (-0.2)
BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS: 6.0% (—)
GREEN PARTY: 4.1% (—)
A toxic, chaotic, and ugly week.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign rally in Bolton was cancelled over “security concerns.” The event was delayed for hours before being cancelled after protesters outnumbered Liberal supporters and began chanting obscenities at the Liberal leader. Speaking to reporters in Brampton later in the evening, Trudeau explained the decision to cancel the event, saying they “could not guarantee the safety of the people in attendance.”
Green Party leader Annamie Paul said in a statement on Thursday that “there was an entire Facebook thread, on a public group, proposing that someone come and assault me at one of my events.”
“The hate that has been directed at me and other candidates is alarming. There needs to be more accountability. We need to do better in developing community education strategies and outreach programs to help address bigotry and misogyny.”
Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative candidate for Calgary Nose Hill said she and her husband were “accosted by a large man who aggressively approached us and cornered us at our table to do the same thing.” In a statement released on Saturday, Rempel said she also received a “death threat from someone who called my office in escalating states of verbal abuse over the course of days.”
“It’s unfortunately an all too frequent occurrence for me and many of my colleagues, particularly women, of all political stripe. And this increase in violent language, threats, and abuse certainly isn't confined to politics.”
Cinq chefs, une élection
The federal party leader’s participated in back-to-back one-on-one interviews on Radio-Canada’s “cinq chefs, une élection.” Here are the highlights:
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said that he has no regrets calling the election, adding that there are big decisions to make and Canadians should have a choice. When asked if this would be his last federal election campaign, Trudeau responded “not necessarily.”
Trudeau was grilled on his decision to appoint Mary Simon, who does not speak French, as Canada’s Governor General. Trudeau said that Simon “should be the exception, not a precedent,” while adding that she has pledged to learn the language.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was asked about Conservative candidate Cheryl Gallant, who previously warned constituents of a Liberal “climate lockdown.” O'Toole said that his climate plan is backed by all Conservative candidates.
When asked which party would best serve Quebec's interests, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet said that he’s willing to work with any party in a minority government.
On the topic of vaccine passports, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called for a federal vaccine passport to ensure consistency, but said that Quebec would be allowed to keep the certification system it has implemented.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul was asked about her plan to fight climate change — saying that her proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% is realistic, pointing to other countries who are setting ambitious targets.
NOTE: TVA will host the first French Leaders’ Debate on Thursday, with Trudeau, O’Toole, Singh and Blanchet. The debate will start 8 PM ET.
Dates to remember
Tuesday, September 2 at 8 PM ET: TVA Leaders’ Debate
Wednesday, September 8 at 8 PM ET: French Leaders’ Debate
Thursday, September 9 at 9 PM ET: English Leaders’ Debate
Friday, September 10 until Monday, September 13: Advance polling days
Tuesday, September 14 at 6 PM ET: Mail-in voting applications due
Monday, September 20: Election day
We stayed in Afghanistan as long as we could: Canada ends evacuation mission in Kabul
“We wish we could have stayed longer and rescued everyone,” said Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre as Canada’s mission in Kabul came to an end.
The final flight carrying Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Afghan allies departed from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul around 9 PM PT on Wednesday, just hours before two explosions rocked the city and left hundreds dead near the airport.
Eyre, who serves as the acting Chief of the Defence Staff told reporters that while a small contingent has stayed behind to support allies in their evacuation efforts, Canada has airlifted around 3,700 Canadian and Afghan citizens. “No further evacuation flights are being planned,” according to a notice sent to those in Afghanistan by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Explaining why the military could not stay longer, Eyre said that the situation “rapidly deteriorated,” calling it an “extraordinary humanitarian crisis.”
“We were amongst the last to cease evacuation operations. We stayed in Afghanistan as long as we could. We wish we could have stayed longer and rescued everyone, who was so desperate to leave. That we could not is truly heartbreaking, but the circumstances on the ground rapidly deteriorated.”
The number of people stranded in Afghanistan is unclear, but assistant deputy immigration minister Daniel Mills says they’ve received 2,500 applications for a special immigration program. Two-thirds of those applications have been reviewed, according to the government.
NEW DEVELOPMENT: The United States military has completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, Commander General Kenneth McKenzie announced. The last C-17 left the Hamid Karzai International Airport at 3:29 PM, according to the Pentagon.
Toronto Public Health has provided new guidance to local school boards in support of “a safe return to school for all children.” The additional measures include “recommending junior and senior kindergarten students wear masks indoors, and masking and practicing physical distancing in music classes, where the virus could spread more easily.” More from TPH.
Dr. Nathan Stall, a doctor “specializing in internal medicine and geriatric” who previously served on Ontario's COVID-19 Science Table has been nominated as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate in Toronto—St. Paul's for the next provincial election.
British Columbians will be required to provide proof of vaccination to access “a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province,” starting September 13. The province unveiled the “B.C. vaccine card” on Monday, which will serve as “an essential interim action” until the province transitions to a “federally compliant proof of vaccine.”
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam will provide an update on the country’s latest COVID-19 modelling in a media briefing next week, the first since the federal election was called. In a statement, Tam says the Public Health Agency of Canada will continue to “monitor COVID-19 epidemiological indicators to quickly detect, understand and communicate emerging issues of concern.”
Health Canada authorized the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in youth aged 12 to 17 — becoming the second shot approved for kids over the age of 12 in Canada. The agency said that the decision came after “a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence.”
Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the former NDP MP for Berthier-Maskinongé is returning to politics. Brosseau, the former NDP house leader who lost her seat in the last election by 1,500 votes to the Bloc Quebecois’ Yves Perron made the announcement on Friday saying that “there isn’t a day I haven’t thoughts of federal politics and the people of Berthier—Maskinongé.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said “he’s excited and happy to see her running again.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
CBC NEWS: “Conservative candidate for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour denies sex assault allegation, steps down” by Taryn Grant
“Conservatives say their 'virtual' campaign strategy is paying off already” by Hannah Thibedeau
TORONTO STAR: “With September approaching, how safe is your child’s elementary school?” by May Warren, Kenyon Wallace, Andrew Bailey, Cameron Tulk and Tai Huynh
TORONTO SUN: “Those Canada left behind begin dangerous exodus to Pakistan” by Bryan Passifiume
THE CANADIAN PRESS: “Ontario government removes runny nose, headache from symptom list on daily school COVID-19 screener” by Holly McKenzie-Sutter
GLOBAL NEWS: “Anger over pandemic election rises as some Canadians feel unsafe voting in person: poll” by Sean Boynton
Kudos to Wendy Goodes, who was the first to name the six MPPs (not seven, good catch Wendy) who were elected as PC MPPs in the 2018 general election, but are no longer members of the government caucus. They are: Jim Wilson, Amanda Simard, Randy Hillier, Roman Baber, Belinda Karahalios and Rick Nicholls.
ANSWER THIS: How many seats did the Conservatives have at dissolution? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer.
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