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September 2, 2021

Election Update

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On the campaign trail – Day 19

By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates

The federal election campaign has now reached the halfway point. Many would say it’s been an interesting start and likely one that few predicted.

To date, the governing Liberals have failed to define the ballot question and they have finally released their election platform which came out yesterday.

The Conservatives have employed a unique process of doing virtual town halls across the country from a private media studio in Ottawa.

The NDP have been across the country a number of times with a focus on affordable housing – clearly the issue they feel can turn some votes their way.

And tonight, we have the first debate limited to the Party Leader’s with seats in Quebec. Hosted by French-language TVA, the debate with be Quebec-focused. In 2019, this debate hurt Conservative leader Andrew Scheer when he fumbled the abortion question, so it is not insignificant. This time around, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who is the weakest in French, will be challenged by the others as a social conservative and will strive to set out his and his Party’s position of pro-choice. It will be key to avoid any real slips as many Quebecers meet Erin O’Toole for the first time. Trudeau, Singh and Blanchet must also be error free, but do not have the same linguistic challenges facing O’Toole.

As mentioned, yesterday the Liberal party released their election platform – the last of the three major parties to do so. While it mostly offers initiatives and programs expected, it has little or no financial accountability. With $78 billion in spending and only $25 billion in revenues over 5 years, it will be relying on GDP growth to offset the shortfall.

In speaking to the platform, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau focused on $10 a day childcare, health care, home ownership, climate change, systemic racism, job creation and ending the pandemic.

But it would appear that the platform release has set the agenda for the next period of time - ending the pandemic and the economic recovery of the country. The Liberals and Conservatives appear to have very different strategies. One proposes additional spending for increased services and no accounting for the debt or deficit. The other proposes to balance the budget in 10 years while controlling spending. Both parties are relying on significant growth in GDP.

And finally, the polls continue to be very close. In watching the rolling overnight polling by Nanos, the Conservatives have pulled ahead of the Liberals by their biggest margin since the election was called. Numbers released today show the Conservatives with a 3.7% lead at 34.2% and the Liberals at 30.5%. They are followed by the NDP at 20.1%. While these numbers reflect a 3-day period ending yesterday, it is unlikely they reflect the impact of the Liberal platform release. It also does not reflect the seat break down and vote concentrations which favour the Liberals and make this a very tight race.

And heading into three debates in the next eight days, of more significance might be the popularity of the Leaders. For the first time, Erin O’Toole has pulled ahead of Justin Trudeau as the most preferred Prime Minister. With a 29.1 % to 28.5% lead, O’Toole has erased Trudeau’s commanding 20+ point lead in the first half of the campaign and is now in a statistical tie.

As we head past Labour Day, look for the attacks to ramp up as the electorate starts focusing on the leaders and the issues. Tonight, O’Toole will be debating for the first time while the others are all seasoned veterans. Often survival is the goal for the debates, but this time around, leadership may well be a very significant factor as the numbers continue to fluctuate.

By the Numbers (as of September 2, 2021)

Courtesy of the CBC Poll Tracker

Note: Bracket indicates change since previous CFA Election Update

The Latest Polling

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
33.7 (+0.2) 31.2 (-0.2) 20.6 (+0.1) 3.4 (-0.1) 6.2 (-0.2)

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

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
132 (+1) 138 (-1) 40 (+1) 1 27


Odds of Winning

Liberal Conservative
Majority Minority Minority Majority
8% (-2%) 45% (-1%) 42% (+3%) 4% (+1%)

What it means

The Conservatives have a narrow lead over the Liberals, as their support has increased over the first two weeks of the campaign. However, the Liberals remain slightly favoured to win the most seats due to how the two parties' support breaks down across the country. The New Democrats are making gains but are still well back in third, while the Bloc Québécois is stabilizing. The Greens have dropped, putting them in fifth place behind the People's Party.

The Liberals are a little more likely than the Conservatives to win the most seats, thanks to their leads in Ontario and Quebec. But the odds that the Conservatives win the most seats have increased to nearly one-in-two, while the chances of a minority government have increased to nearly 90 per cent. The NDP is poised to make the biggest jump in the seat count and has a good shot at holding the balance of power, while the Bloc and Greens could lose a few seats.

The Conservatives are leading throughout Western Canada while the Liberals are ahead in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The NDP has moved into second place throughout the west. The Bloc is holding second place in Quebec, while the Greens have fallen behind the People's Party everywhere but in B.C. and Quebec.

The Conservatives have been trending positively throughout the campaign and those trend lines are continuing to move up in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. However, the party is slipping the Prairies and Ontario. The Liberals are dropping nationally and have been trending down in B.C. in recent days. The NDP is on the rise while the Greens are sliding in most places, most significantly in Atlantic Canada.

Liberal Party releases multibillion-dollar election platform for post-pandemic recovery

The Liberal Party released its election platform today — an ambitious document that offers billions in new spending to address both long-standing policy problems and new ones that have emerged during the past 19 months of the pandemic crisis.

The sprawling, 53-page platform proposes $78 billion in new spending. It differs substantially from the Conservative plan released earlier in this campaign in that it proposes to invest more in Liberal priorities — such as efforts to fight climate change, Indigenous reconciliation and the arts and cultural sector — while promising tighter restrictions on firearms and new money for provinces that ban handguns.

The party is also promising to restore employment to pre-pandemic levels and go "beyond" its previous pledge to create one million jobs by extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program — which subsidizes businesses that hire new workers — until March 2022. It also accuses the Conservatives of being "opposed to support for workers and businesses."

To read the full platform click here

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Other News

Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine passport plan unveiled

Ontario residents will soon have to show proof they've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to dine indoors at restaurants and go to gyms and theatres — but not necessarily to enter retail locations — the province announced Wednesday.

The "enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate" system, as the Ontario government is calling it, will come into effect on Sept. 22.

At first, fully vaccinated Ontarians will need their current vaccination receipt with a valid photo identification to enter premises covered under the new system. 

The government says that on Oct. 22, it will shift to certificates that include QR codes containing much of the same information included on the vaccination receipts that are already available. That shift will be accompanied by the release of a "verification app" that can be used to validate the QR codes and provide the vaccination status of an individual.

Where will proof be needed?

The vaccine certificate system will cover "higher-risk" indoor spaces where masks can't be worn at all times, officials said. It applies to the following settings:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, delivery and takeout).
  • Nightclubs, including outdoor areas.
  • Meeting and event spaces like banquet halls and convention centres.
  • Sports and fitness facilities and gyms, with the exception of youth recreational sports.
  • Sporting events.
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments.
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas.
  • Strip clubs, bath houses and sex clubs.
  • Racing venues.

System doesn't apply to employees 

The vaccine certificate system does not apply to employees in these settings. Essential retail, like grocery stores, are exempt, as are places of worship and hair salons, alongside other personal care businesses. Health Minister Christine Elliott stressed Wednesday that "at no time" will people be denied medical care or food from grocery stores, regardless of vaccine status.

The system also exempts children who are ineligible for vaccines (those born in 2010 and later in Ontario) and provides for personal medical exemptions that will be reflected in the impending QR codes, officials said.

The verification app will be made available to all businesses, allowing non-essential retailers not covered in the listed settings to implement their own vaccination policies for patrons, officials said.

Enforcement measures for the certificate system will fall under the Reopening Ontario Act, officials said. Businesses, facilities and individuals who refuse to comply can face fines.

To read the full plan click here

Ontario extending 3-day pandemic sick leave program to end of 2021

Ontario will extend a temporary sick leave program for workers until the end of this year. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced Tuesday that the pandemic program, which is set to expire on Sept. 25, would be extended to Dec. 31. He said the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant prompted the move, to give more time for people to get vaccinated and support infected workers.

The province introduced three paid days of sick leave in April to accommodate self-isolation requirements during the pandemic, reimbursing employers up to $200 per day for what they pay out.

Opposition parties noted at the time that three days falls short of the 10 to 14 days health officials recommend for self-isolation when infected with COVID-19.

Alberta NDP calls for mandatory COVID vaccine rules for non-essential business

Alberta's Opposition New Democrats are urging Premier Jason Kenney to bring in new rules to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for anyone attending non-essential businesses and mass gatherings.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says the province should also return to mandatory masking for anyone entering essential places, including grocery stores.

Notley says it's critical Kenney act to arrest rapidly rising infection rates and to protect hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Kenney's United Conservative government has said it will not mandate proof of vaccination.

Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec are phasing in or already have requirements for people to show a vaccine card, online image or smartphone verifications for many activities.

Manitoba capacity restrictions, vaccination requirements for weddings take effect

New restrictions on outdoor gatherings sizes will come into effect early next week and vaccine requirements are being put in place for more venues, Manitoba's public health chief announced Thursday.

Capacity restrictions on outdoor gathering sizes will be lowered to 500, from the current 1,500 maximum, starting Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, food courts, museums and galleries will also need to start checking visitors for proof that they are fully vaccinated.

Wedding receptions on licensed premises will be subject to the same requirements as restaurants but will only be required to start checking for vaccine proof on Tuesday. Restaurants must begin checking on Saturday for both indoor and outdoor dining.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, made the announcement on Thursday in a video news conference, along with Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. The new restrictions are being implemented to try to blunt the effects of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic Roussin said.

Vaccination requirements starting Friday 

The province announced last week that, starting Sept. 3, new vaccination requirements would come into effect for a wide variety of business and services, such as gyms, movie theatres and nightclubs.

Previously, bars had to keep dance floors closed and music volumes below 80 decibels, but those restrictions will be lifted on Friday.

The health order states that exceptions to the vaccination requirement can be made for people who can show proof from the Government of Manitoba that there is a medical reason why they can't receive the vaccine.

Kelvin Goertzen to take over as premier and interim leader of Manitoba PCs

Manitoba MLA and deputy premier Kelvin Goertzen will take over as interim leader of the province's Progressive Conservatives and as premier, following Brian Pallister's resignation on Wednesday. The PC caucus voted Goertzen to serve in the role on Tuesday. 

"It was unanimously decided that Kelvin Goertzen is the best person to lead us through this interim period," Caucus chair Greg Nesbitt said in a statement.

Goertzen was sworn is as Manitoba's 23rd premier on Wednesday for a two-month term while the Manitoba PC’s pick their new leader.

Ontario reinstates renewal requirements for driver's licences, health cards, licence plates

Ontario will once again require residents to renew driver's licences, ID cards and licence plate stickers that were due to expire during the pandemic. The province lifted renewal requirements when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last March, but is now reinstating them.

Residents have until Feb. 28, 2022 to renew the documents, which also include health cards and accessible parking permits.

The province will also temporarily allow people to renew their driver's licences online, instead of requiring they do so in person.

Heavy commercial vehicle owners will need to renew their documentation by Dec. 31 this year and novice drivers with class G1, G2, M1 or M2 on their licence will have until Dec. 31, 2022 to requalify or upgrade their identification.

The province says those who don't renew their documents by the deadline will be required to pay the renewal fee for 2020 and 2021.

COVID-19 vaccine passports officially in effect in Quebec

Quebecers will now have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to gain access to certain non-essential services, including bars, restaurants and some sports.

Starting Wednesday, merchants will be required to ask anyone coming into their establishment to not only show proof of vaccination, but also a matching piece of photo ID.

Statistics Canada says country posted $778M trade surplus in July

Canada's merchandise trade surplus fell to $778 million in July as imports rose more than exports for the month, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

The result compared with a revised trade surplus of $2.6 billion for June compared with the initial reading of a $3.2 billion surplus.

The July trade surplus came as total imports rose 4.2 per cent to reach a record high of $53.0 billion.

Statistics Canada said motor vehicles and parts climbed 21.1 per cent and accounted for more than two-thirds of the overall increase in a month that is normally marked by temporary closures at North American automotive assembly plants for summer holidays.

Imports of electronic and electrical equipment and parts also rose 8.5 per cent in July helped by imports of communication, and audio and video equipment.

Meanwhile, total exports rose 0.6 per cent in July to $53.7 billion, another record high, as gains in a number of different sectors were partially offset by a sharp drop in lumber exports.

Exports of motor vehicles and parts rose 6.4 per cent, while energy products climbed 1.9 per cent.

Excluding exports of lumber and other sawmill products, total exports rose 2.0 per cent.

In volume terms, total imports rose 1.9 per cent in July, while exports fell 0.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the country's international trade in services deficit increased to $301 million in July compared with a deficit of $60 million in June as imports of services rose 3.7 per cent and exports of services gained 1.2 per cent.

Canada's trade surplus with the world for goods and services combined fell to $477 million in July compared with $2.5 billion in June.

SkipTheDishes launches new offering for convenience store and grocery goods

SkipTheDishes is testing a new business model to help it sell household goods and groceries directly to customers.

The delivery service's new offering called Skip Express Lane has two locations that operate like a ghost kitchen, where sales are made solely through an app.

However, the Skip Express Lane locations in Winnipeg and London, Ont. are run completely by SkipTheDishes and focus on household items, snacks, groceries and local delicacies instead of hot meals.

SkipTheDishes says it is pursuing the model because it saw demand for convenience and grocery orders increase by 900 per cent over the last year as people stayed home to quell the spread of COVID-19.

Skip Express Lane locations sell more than 1,500 items like frozen food, soft drinks, meat, cereals, and pet items alongside baking ingredients, office and party supplies and personal care items.

The service promises to deliver all orders within 25 minutes and operates daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. with delivery fees starting at $1.99 or free for those making purchases over $25.

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