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One week left, Canada
In this edition: the must-watch races of the campaign, Elections Canada speaks on polling stations, the grand showdown
It’s Monday. Welcome to POLICORNER — your insider’s guide to Canadian politics, policy, and power. The countdown has begun: 7 days left until e-day.
In this 8 minute read, a look at five races that will tell the tale of the campaign, how the leaders performed in the debate, our (final) weekly look at how the party leaders spent the week on the campaign trail. Plus, the agency responsible for administering federal elections speaks on polling stations and schools.
Various races across the country are shaping to be critical in determining who forms the next government on Monday night. In today’s edition, we’re taking a look at 5 must-watch races that will tell the tale of the federal election campaign.
Davenport — a Liberal-to-NDP flip
Davenport has been a stronghold of the Liberal Party, but polls suggest the west-end Toronto riding will be one of the most competitive battlegrounds in this election. In 2019, incumbent Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz beat the former NDP MP Andrew Cash by 1,472 votes. Dzerowicz will face off against NDP candidate and community organizer Alejandra Bravo.
Where things stand in the polls: According to 338 Canada, the Liberals have a 2% lead over the NDP, with the Conservatives at 9.8% and the PPC at 5.3%.
Kitchener Centre — a three-way race
With two-term Liberal MP Raj Saini no longer running for re-election in Kitchener Centre, parties are in a competitive race to victory. Green candidate Mike Morrice, who lost to Saini by 5,926 votes in the last election is hoping to make a breakthrough in the downtown riding. Morrice will face off against Conservative candidate Mary Henein Thorn and NDP candidate Beisan Zubi in what is shaping to be a very close 3-way race.
Where things stand in the polls: The Green Party currently holds a narrow lead with 26%, followed by the Conservatives at 25%, and the NDP at 24%.
Toronto Centre — the Paul vs Ien rematch
The rematch between television personality-turned-MP Marci Ien and Green Party leader Annamie Paul is poised to be a must-watch race on Monday night. In 2015, Paul ran in the riding and placed fourth, before becoming party leader and placing a close second in a 2019 by-election.
Where things stand in the polls: The Liberals have an 18% lead over the NDP, with the Green Party at 15% and the Conservatives at 13%.
Berthier—Maskinongé — the Brosseau-Perron rematch
As the NDP looks to increase its seat count in Québec, Ruth Ellen Brosseau is hoping to regain the seat she represented until 2019. The former NDP house leader, who was first elected as the MP for the Trois-Rivières-area riding in 2011 lost to incumbent Bloc Québécois candidate Yves Perron by 2.6% in the last election. The outcome in this riding could indicate how well the NDP or Bloc Québécois perform in the province on election night.
Where things stand in the polls: The NDP currently trails the Bloc Québécois by 12% in this riding, with the Conservatives and Liberals tied in third place.
Beauce — the PPC factor
Maxime Bernier is looking to win back the seat he held from 2006 to 2019. Bernier, who will represent the purple banner in the riding of Beauce formed the People's Party after losing the Conservative Party leadership to Andrew Scheer in 2018. Bernier ran in the York Centre by-election, placing fourth with 642 votes. The leader of the People’s Party will face off against incumbent Conservative Richard Lehoux in the central Quebéc riding.
Where things stand in the polls: The People’s Party currently trails the Conservatives by 4% with the Bloc Québécois at a distant third place.
It’s officially official — we are in the final week of the campaign. Canadians will vote a week from today. Here is what you need to know about the past week:
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau started his week in London, where a campaign event turned violent when a protester threw gravel at the Liberal leader and journalists covering the campaign as they were boarding the campaign bus (London Police have since charged ex-PPC riding association president Shane Marshall with one count of assault with a weapon). Trudeau, who stayed in Ottawa for most of the week, participated in a “virtual volunteer town hall” and attended both French and English-language leaders’ debates. He finished off the week by participating in a drive-in movie event/rally in Oakville.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole started his week at the party’s headquarters in Ottawa where he held two announcements and participated in a virtual town hall with Ontario residents. Off to Gatineau, where O’Toole participated in the two federal leaders’ debates. On Friday, O’Toole was back on the trail with stops in Liberal-held Mississauga and Whitby, before heading to battleground Vancouver at the end of the week.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh spent his Labour Day in Hamilton, where he outlined the party's plan to help workers. Off to Toronto, where Singh visited Spadina-Fort York, a riding the party hopes to paint orange in the next election. Singh later headed to Gatineau, where he participated in the two federal leaders’ debates. Singh finished off his week in Vancouver, where he released the party’s platform costing. The party proposes $214 billion in spending and $166 billion in revenue over five years, and intends to reduce the deficit to $34 billion by 2025-2026.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul started her week by travelling to Ottawa ahead of the federal leaders’ debate. The party released its platform — a 103-page document that “reflects a belief that big things are still ahead for Canada,” according to Paul. The platform includes three main pillars, “Green Future,” “Life with Dignity,” and “Just Society.” After participating in the debates, Paul returned to Toronto, where she participated in local events and canvassed with the leader of the Green Party of Ontario Mike Schreiner.
Where the parties stand in the polls
With one week left before Canadians vote, here’s a look at where the parties stand in the polls, according to CBC’s Poll Tracker.
LIBERAL: 31.9% (+0.8)
CONSERVATIVE: 31.3% (-2.7)
NDP: 19.3% (-0.7)
PEOPLE’S PARTY: 6.7% (+1.8)
BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS: 6.4% (+0.5)
GREEN PARTY: 3.6% (+1)
The change since POLICORNER’s previous edition is represented in the bracket.
COVID-19 recovery, reconciliation and climate change — the leaders’ face off in Gatineau
The five main party leaders faced off for the first time in English, sparing over post-pandemic recovery, foreign affairs, climate change, and the federal election call. The two-hour debate, moderated by Angus Reid’s Shahci Kurl was held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau on Thursday. The debate covered affordability, climate, COVID-19 recovery, leadership, and reconciliation. Here are the highlights from CBC News’ Raffy Boudjikanian.
THE CRITICISM: The debate format was criticized for giving leaders barely enough time to to explain their policies and debate. The Debate Broadcast Group, responsible for producing the debate told CBC News’ Travis Dhanraj that it will be “evaluating and reviewing all aspects of the debates and how they can be improved.”
Moderator Shachi Kurl was also subject to criticism for the frequency with which she interjected during the debate, and for asking “biased” questions. Here’s what Jenni Byrne, Jen Gerson, David Coletto and Mike Moffatt had to say.
QUOTES OF THE NIGHT:
“You do not simply lob tomatoes across the Pacific,” Trudeau said as he defended the government’s handling of the imprisonment of Michael Spavour and Michael Covrig in China.
“He has great ambition. That’s part of the reason we’re in an election in a pandemic, is his ambition. He doesn’t have achievement,” O’Toole said as he criticized Trudeau's climate change record.
“Let me tell you: You are not stuck with these two. Better is possible,” Singh said about Trudeau and O’Toole.
“I would be happy to educate him,” Paul said about Blanchet as they discussed systemic racism in Canada.
“I am not very much interested in leading Canada,” Blanchet said about his role as the leader of the Bloc Québécois.
WINNERS (AND LOSERS): newsBeyond asked Wyatt Sharpe, the host of the Wyatt Sharpe Show for his thoughts on how the leaders’ performed during the debate. Here’s what Wyatt told us:
“Annamie Paul won the debate; she was able to balance attacking Justin Trudeau's record and talking about her own policies. The Liberal leader did fairly well, considering he is the one running on a record. Erin O’Toole performed as expected and mainly talked about his plan for the country. In regards to Jagmeet Singh, I think he was overshadowed by Annamie Paul. If anything, I think Jagmeet may have lost some votes due to last night's debate.”
We also put the question to Twitter — who won the debate? 40% said Trudeau, 38% said O'Toole, 13% said Paul and 11% said Singh.
MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Sault Ste. Marie’s Marek McLeod set abuzz on social media when he asked the party leaders about “rebuilding trust between First Nations and the federal government.”
“In Ojibwe culture, trust and respect is key to any relationship,” he explained, before pausing with an “oh shoot.” “How can I trust and respect the federal government after 150 years of lies and abuse to my people? As Prime Minister, what will you do to rebuild the trust between First Nations and the federal government,” he continued. Here’s that moment.
The difficulty to find polling sites large enough to accommodate physical distancing in the Greater Toronto Area has led to fewer polling stations in the region, according to Elections Canada. The agency responsible for administering federal elections confirmed to newsBeyond that “fewer schools have been selected as polling sites,” but returning officers have been working with school boards to ensure that safety plans are adhered to.
“Fewer schools have been selected as polling sites but when schools are used as polling places, the voting room can be accessed from a direct outside entrance, or away from main entrances and classrooms. Extra effort is made to ensure that voters are limited to the hallway or voting room they need to be in, and that they do not have any contact with students and school staff.”
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s former Justice Minister says Liberal leader Justin Trudeau pushed her to lie about how staff in the Prime Minister’s Office handled the SNC-Lavalin situation. In an excerpt from “Indian in the Cabinet, Speaking Truth to Power,” released in the Globe and Mail, Wilson said “[Trudeau] wanted me to lie — to attest that what had occurred had not occurred.”
In an interview with The West Block, former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says she plans to vote for the local Conservative candidate in Whitby, Maleeha Shahid. In an op-ed for CTV News, Caesar-Chavannes explained her decision to support Shahid, saying “I know that she has had to experience the same sorts of challenges I have, and I know that she will represent my voice in Ottawa as best she can.”
Protesters gathered outside hospitals across the country to voice their opposition to vaccine certificates. The protests were organized by a group called the “Canadian Frontline Nurses” to take a stance against what they call “tyrannical measures and government overreach.” Premier Doug Ford responded to the planned protests in a tweet on Sunday, calling them “selfish, cowardly and reckless.” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said if re-elected, his party would make obstructing access to buildings providing health services “a criminal offence.”
The Conservatives have disavowed their candidate in Beaches–East York after Islamophobic tweets surfaced. In a statement, party spokesperson Cory Hann said that the party terminated Lisa Robinson as a candidate and expects “all of our candidates conduct themselves in a respectful, tolerant manner.” Robinson says she will run as an independent, saying “affiliation will matter less in the future as Independent MPs signal this trend.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
CBC NEWS: “Cronyism, corruption and indifference: Insiders describe Afghanistan's fall” by Murray Brewster
CTV NEWS: “Canadian citizen imprisoned in South Korea alleges torture in secret letter sent from prison” by Christy Somos
GLOBAL NEWS: “Students call for action in the wake of sexual violence allegations at Western University” by Sawyer Bogdan
“Remembering 9/11: Halifax airport marks 20th anniversary” by Aya Al-Hakim
POLITICO: “Tensions mount between CDC and Biden health team over boosters” by Erin Banco, Sarah Owermohle and Adam Cancryn
TORONTO STAR: “Justin Trudeau bets he can win big in Ontario without beating on Doug Ford” by Martin Regg Cohn
Last week, we asked what was the date of the 2019 federal election? The correct answer — October 21, 2019.
ANSWER THIS: Which six party leaders participated in the English-language debate during the previous election? Send us your answer at email@example.com.
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