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August 24, 2021


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On the campaign trail – Day 10 (26 days to go)

By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates

As we enter day 10 of the federal election campaign, some interesting trends are beginning.

Justin Trudeau called the election, gambling that Canadians would want to give him a clear mandate to take Canada out of the pandemic and rebuild the country with his vision. However, Canadians so far are not seeing things that way. Instead, Trudeau continues to be criticized for why he called the election and to date he has not clearly answered the question.

Conservative Erin O’Toole appears to have recovered from his vaccination slip on opening day and has provided a clear vision on issues important to him and his party. This includes the waving of the GST for the month of December – while maybe not great public policy, it will attract the attention of consumers with the intention of driving more people into the smaller retail stores during the Christmas shopping season.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continues to criss-cross the country with announcements supporting the little guy. His messages on housing etc. are clear and designed to attract a specific voter with offers of subsidies. How he would pay for them is another story.

The Liberals are being dogged with an altered tweet put out by Chrystia Freeland where remarks by Erin O’Toole were edited to change the meaning. Twitter publicly identified it as a “Manipulated Tweet” leading to it becoming a significant media story. While not totally uncommon in the political world, a very dangerous game to play in the modern communication age and has continued to cloud Liberal messaging for a couple of days now.

Afghanistan continues to be in the news. The situation is of course tragic and while it could have been a major issue for the governing Liberals, the government appears to be getting a handle on the issue.

So, in the first 10 days of the campaign there doesn’t appear to be any one issue that is dominating the conversation. Trudeau has seemed quite bland and uneasy when trying to put forth any meaningful agenda items. The Conservatives, on the other hand, released their platform a week ago allowing them to set the agenda on a daily basis. Even Trudeau seems to be speaking more about O’Toole’s plans than his own party’s positions. Look for the Liberal platform to be released next week before the first debate.

Finally, polls continue to tighten and after the first week, a general summation might be that this is turning into a race, not what the governing Liberals had expected when they called the election on August 15th. A Nanos poll released today shows the Liberals with 33.5% of decided voters compared to 33.2% for the Conservatives. Of greater note might be that while 32.6% of voters think Trudeau would make the best Prime Minister, 26.1% think Erin O’Toole would – an 8% increase for O’Toole in the last two weeks.

Hold on to your hats – this could be quite a run to the end. Although not often a key factor in the outcome, look for the debates to play a significant role for voters as they make their choices before election day on September 20th.

By the Numbers (as of August 24, 2021)

Courtesy of the CBC Poll Tracker

Note: Bracket indicates change since previous CFA Election Update

The Latest Polling

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
30.8)+1.5) 33.3 (-1.7) 20.1 (+1.2) 4.3 (-0.5) 6.4 (+0.1)

Seat Projections (170 seats are needed for a majority government)

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
112 (+6) 158(-8) 38(+1) 1 29(+1)


Odds of Winning

Liberal Conservative
Majority Minority Minority Majority
28% (-13%) 53%(+5%) 18%(+8%) 1%

What it means

Since the beginning of the campaign, there has been a four-point swing between the Liberals and Conservatives, closing the gap between the two parties and decreasing the odds that the Liberals can reach the 170-seat mark needed for a majority government. The NDP's support is up since the last election and the party might be the only one that makes significant seat gains. The Bloc Québécois vote is stabilizing, while the Greens are sliding again. The People's Party sits at 3.9 per cent.

The Liberals are leading in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, but have seen their support drop sharply in Ontario as the margin between them and the Conservatives shrinks. The Conservatives are ahead throughout Western Canada but have taken a hit in Alberta. They still hold a wide lead there, but the NDP is now tied with the Liberals in Alberta for second spot and have moved ahead of the Liberals in the Prairies. The party's best support is in B.C. The Bloc Québécois is holding second in Quebec, while the Greens are polling no better than seven per cent anywhere and are behind the People's Party in Alberta, the Prairies and Ontario.

Bloc Québécois unveils its electoral platform

The Bloc Québécois outlined its platform for the 2021 federal election in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. on Sunday. The Bloc says it will increase pension security, invest in green energy and research, replace Indian Act.

The platform is based on 30 measures, including plans to increase health funding, replace the Indian Act and create a "green equalization" program to reward the provinces that fight effectively against climate change.

Click here to read the Bloc’s platform

Leaders’ Debate Participants Announced

This past weekend the Leaders’ Debate Commission announced that five party leaders met the criteria and would take part in the Commission debates. The five participating leaders represent the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada and New Democratic Party.

Both the Maverick Party and People’s Party of Canada failed to meet the commissions’ criteria.

The French-language debate is scheduled for Sept. 8, from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET. The English debate is scheduled for Sept. 9 from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET. Both are taking place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC.

Where and how to vote (in person or by mail)

From Elections Canada

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Other News

Ontario Chamber of Commerce issues guidance for businesses on proof-of-vaccine protocols

Ontario's chamber of commerce released a framework on Tuesday for private sector businesses seeking to develop COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination protocols, a move it said aimed to provide support in the absence of government guidance.

"In the absence of government guidance on domestic applicability, we hope these principles can avoid a piecemeal approach in the province," Rocco Rossi, the organization's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We have already seen a number of businesses, organizations, associations, unions, and post-secondary institutions implement their own proof-of-vaccination policies," added Rossi. "With this framework, private sector businesses can implement similar programs with shared confidence."

The Vax-Pass Tenets provide businesses with five principles to consider:

  1. Safety: Businesses must take all steps reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of their workforce and place of business.
  2. Science: Vax-pass programs should be consistent with current science and public health recommendations on COVID-19.
  3. Accommodation: Businesses must provide human rights-related accommodation to the point of undue hardship.
  4. Privacy: Businesses should use the least intrusive mechanism to verify vaccination status.
  5. Transparency: Businesses should engage in clear and ongoing dialogue with employees and customers to manage understanding and expectations and educate stakeholders about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

Click here to read more

Ivanhoé Cambridge and JLL enter strategic alliance for Canadian retail operations

JLL will assume operations of Ivanhoé Cambridge retail properties across Canada, bolstering its presence in Quebec and committing to help achieve innovation and sustainability goals

On October 1, 2021, Ivanhoé Cambridge will transition the operations of its Canadian shopping centers over to JLL (NYSE: JLL), the largest third-party retail property management company in North America.  

The vast majority of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s property team of retail employees are expected to join JLL Canada, whose management team and key decision-making roles will be headquartered in Montreal. JLL also plans to open an office in Québec City in the coming months.

Click here to read the news release

Mask mandates are returning

British Columbia is reimposing a mask mandate for indoor public spaces and will require students in Grade 4 and up to wear masks at school this fall. The new mask mandate comes into effect Wednesday and applies to people 12 and older. British Columbians will be required to wear masks at grocery stories, restaurants, bars, on public transit, in taxis and in office buildings where services are offered to the public. Dr. Bonnie Henry announced during a press conference Tuesday that the mandate, which was lifted in July, would be reimposed. 

Quebec said it would require students in nine regions to wear masks at all times when they're indoors at school this year. In the rest of the province, students will be expected to wear masks on buses and in common areas. 

Manitoba has announced that vaccine and mask mandates coming for many provincial workers, indoor spaces in Manitoba. Most provincial health-care employees, teachers and child-care workers will have to be fully vaccinated, and masks will be required in indoor public settings, including schools, in Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin announced Tuesday. The province will also expand the list of activities and services that can only be accessed if an individual is fully immunized.

The new rules are coming in response to the threat posed by the more contagious delta variant, Pallister said. While COVID-19 cases in Manitoba remain relatively low, other provinces are seeing a sharp increase in case numbers driven largely by the delta variant. Pandemic modelling predicts B.C. could see up to 10,000 cases per day within weeks, while Ontario anticipates as many as 7,000 cases per day by mid-October, Pallister said.

Ontario Extending Temporary Wage Increase for Personal Support Workers

The Ontario government is extending the temporary wage increase for personal support workers and direct support workers for the third time since its introduction last year. This increase will apply to the 158,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services or direct support services in hospitals, long-term care, home and community care and social services until October 31, 2021. This includes:

  • $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
  • $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
  • $2 per hour for approximately 10,000 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
  • $3 per hour for approximately 60,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.

Quebec extends reach of vaccine passport

The Quebec government is pushing ahead with a vaccine passport Sept. 1 barring people who aren't fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from visiting restaurants, taverns and playing organized team sports.

The passport will be required for a host of other activities announced Tuesday, ranging from paint ball and movie theatres to aquatic parks and zoos. A full list is available here, in French.

The passport — an electronic record of vaccination in the form of a quick response (QR) code — has already been tested at a handful of establishments across the province and Dubé said it proved to be functional and effective.

The mobile app will be available for download starting Aug. 25. 

B.C. announces new COVID-19 vaccine card required for wide range of public activities

The B.C. government has announced a plan to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for anyone who wants to attend a concert, sporting event, movie, restaurant, nightclub, casino or fitness class.

The new "B.C. vaccine cards" will be implemented on Sept. 13, Premier John Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters on Monday.

Initially, eligible British Columbians will require proof of one dose of vaccine. By Oct. 24, two doses will be required. The cards will be required for a wide range of non-essential recreational and social activities.

Henry said that unvaccinated people currently account for about 90 per cent of COVID-19 cases in B.C., and 93 per cent of hospitalizations. The risk of infection is about 10 times higher for people who aren't vaccinated, she said.

Click here to read the news release and the backgrounders

U.S. extends border restrictions with Canada until Sept. 21

Canada's land border with the United States will remain closed until at least Sept. 21.

In an order pre-published Friday, the U.S Department of Homeland Security cites the delta variant and case counts as the reason for keeping its land border closed.

"The delta variant is driving an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States," the department wrote. "Canada and Mexico are also seeing increased case counts and deaths."

"Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing specific threat to human life or national interests."

Manitoba PCs to choose new leader — and next premier — on Oct. 30

Manitoba's Progressive Conservative Party will choose a new leader — and the next premier of this province — on Oct. 30, the party's executive council decided Monday evening.

PC members who want to succeed Brian Pallister as premier have to pony up $25,000 to enter the race, sign up by Sept. 15 and sign up at least 1,000 members by Sept. 30, the party said in a statement.

The new leader and premier will be chosen through a one-member, one-vote election. There will not be any delegates to determine the result. Voting will be conducted by mail and the ballots will be counted in Winnipeg on Oct. 30.

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