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August 26, 2021


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On the campaign trail – Day 12 (25 days to go)

By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates

Day 12 of the federal election campaign and things continue to become more interesting. Two new polls out today confirm the trend that the race is tightening between the governing Liberals and the opposition Conservatives. In fact, the CBC poll shows a slight lead for the Liberals while the rolling Nanos poll for CTV has the Conservatives ahead by less than a percentage point.

And the campaigns are remarkably different.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is criss-crossing the country from east to west and back to the east. Yesterday he was in BC for a day and today he is in Quebec again. Some might even compare this tactic to the 1980 campaign when his father spent the campaign crossing the country in a similar fashion. While it makes you look busy, the reality is you’re avoiding the media for much of the time, trying to focus your message to a single announcement a day. Today he announced a modest increase to the guaranteed income supplement for seniors while the media were focused on other issues, especially responsibility for Canadians in Afghanistan.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has travelled the least of the major political leaders – instead preferring to conduct virtual town halls and outreach from a Conservative media studio in Ottawa. Very different from the traditional way of campaigning, but in a pandemic it might work.

The Liberals continue to stumble with senior members of the government delivering controversial statements nullifying the Party’s main message of the day. Following Chrystia Freeland’s “Manipulated Tweet” on Tuesday, two-time Liberal MP Maryam Monsef yesterday used the term “our brothers” to refer to the terrorist Taliban in Afghanistan. This led to a flurry of comments on social media, lead stories by the national media outlets and once again a confused Liberal message.

Today, Canada announced an additional $50 million for humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan and surrounding countries. Also, Canada has wrapped up evacuation operations in Afghanistan, leaving many with ties to Canada stranded. The US, British and French Embassies have asked citizens not to travel to Kabul Airport leading to further confusion. The Americans, defenders of the international airport, are pulling out their forces on August 31st resulting in Canada and other countries departing ahead of that end point. Optics resulting from early neglect for the governing party are not good and finger-pointing and blame for putting Canadian lives in jeopardy are likely to continue.

The government today is being forced to justify it’s actions to help stranded Canadians in Afghanistan while members of the media are trying to determine actual responsibility for the government’s actions. Justin Trudeau chose his words carefully on this sensitive issue.

Look for Afghanistan to remain a significant issue in the current election campaign as the opposition parties attack the governing Liberals for their lack of action. Media pictures and reports are very powerful especially following today’s suicide bombings. Although the US withdrawl deadline is next week, the controversy is likely to continue well into September and beyond.

By the Numbers (as of August 26, 2021)

Courtesy of the CBC Poll Tracker

Note: Bracket indicates change since previous CFA Election Update

The Latest Polling

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
31.6(+0.8) 32.2(-1.1) 20.1 (-0.1) 4.1 (-0.2) 6.1 (-0.3)

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

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
120(+8) 151(-7) 39(+1) 1 27(-2)


Odds of Winning

Liberal Conservative
Majority Minority Minority Majority
24% (-4%) 51%(-2%) 23%(+5%) 1%

What it means

Since the beginning of the campaign, there has been a five-point swing between the Liberals and Conservatives, closing the gap between the two parties and increasing the odds that another minority government — more likely Liberal but possibly Conservative — will be elected. 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 remains below 2019 levels, while the Greens continue to slide.

The Liberals are still heavily favoured to win the most seats but their chances of winning a majority government have fallen sharply since the beginning of the campaign and they are now poised to win fewer seats than in 2019. The Conservatives' chances of winning the most seats have improved to one-in-four. The NDP could nearly double the size of its caucus compared to 2019, while the Bloc looks likely to retain most of its seats.

The Liberals are leading in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada but the margin in Ontario is shrinking as the Conservatives make gains. The Conservatives are ahead throughout Western Canada. The NDP's strongest support is in B.C. and the party is second in the Prairies. 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.

Twitter adds 'manipulated' warning label to tweet from Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland

A video tweeted by incumbent Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland, who served as deputy prime minister in Justin Trudeau's government, was given a warning label Sunday from Twitter, which marked it as "manipulated media."

Freeland's tweets, posted in both English and French, contain several edits and show Conservative leader Erin O'Toole answering a question about privatized health care during an online question-and-answer session in July 2020 during the Conservative leadership race. The tweet shows O'Toole being asked if he would bring private, "for-profit" health care to Canada. He quickly responds: "yes." 

In the original recording of O'Toole's remarks on heath care — which can be seen here at about the 12:30 mark — the Conservative leader also noted that universal access remains paramount. 

The shortened clip used in Freeland's tweet did not include O'Toole's statement on ensuring universal access.

On Sunday, Twitter Canada said it issued the warning labels on both English and French versions of Freeland's tweet. "The tweets in question have both been labelled in line with our global synthetic and manipulated policy," Twitter Canada said in a statement. It noted that labelled tweets have limited visibility in search functions, replies and on timelines and are not recommended algorithmically by Twitter.

Twitter launched the warning labels in early 2020, ahead of the U.S. presidential election as social media platforms braced for an onslaught of misinformation.

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

From Elections Canada

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Other News

Canadian small business owners torn on vaccine enforcement: Survey

A new survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) indicates this country’s entrepreneurs generally support the use of a COVID-19 vaccine passport in certain settings, but these business owners are less than keen on having to enforce vaccine requirements for their staff and even more so, their customers.

Seventy-four per cent of small business owners polled by the CFIB said they support vaccine passports for international travel, while 65 per cent said they support a government-issued passport for events like concerts, festivals and sporting events.

Support drops off when it impacts their operations, as only 48 per cent would support a vaccine passport for their staff and only 37 per cent for their customers.

That said, support climbs back up to 55 per cent when the issue is framed as an alternative to another lockdown.

For this poll the CFIB surveyed nearly 2,800 small business owners the week of Aug. 5. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 per cent 19 times out of 20.

The chief practical concern cited by respondents when it comes to the execution of a vaccine policy was the legal risk of checking vaccine credentials.

Mandatory vaccines in workplaces? Here's where the TSX 60 fall

Read the article on BNN Bloomberg

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