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September 7, 2021

Election Update

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On the campaign trail – Day 24

By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates

Elections Matter.

As the federal election campaign enters the final two weeks, the only two national debates are on the horizon. And with an election where the outcome is currently a statistical tie, the debates will matter.

The French language debate will be on Wednesday September 8th while the English language debate will be on Thursday September 9th.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called the September 20 Federal Election with the goal of achieving a majority government. The governing party gambled that their liberal coattails were enough to propel them into a stronger position. But as we’ve seen right from the first day on August 15th, elections matter. Polls have shown a back-and-forth race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Today the Liberals have gone back in the lead by 2.1% (according to Nanos overnight polling), but still a statistical tie. Last week the Conservatives had a 5-point lead.

And while Trudeau has maintained his lead when voters are asked who would make the best Prime Minister, O’Toole has gained some recognition and closed the gap considerably.

So, debates matter too.

Last week’s French debate, largely focused on a single province’s issues and did not generate any real controversy. Trudeau was very comfortable in this arena while O’Toole showed a strong grasp for the French language, basically eliminating his linguistic skills as an issue.

This week there will be national audiences, especially on Thursday night in the English debate.

Leader performance in these debates can be pivotal.  You can expect to see O’Toole facing a determined and fully focused Liberal Leader who knows his government’s survival requires him to break through O’Toole’s calm demeanour and create doubt about his policies, intentions and ability to govern. Trudeau can be expected to be on the attack right from the start, looking determined by trying to put O’Toole back on his heels. Look for the gun control issue to be raised early and often.

Trudeau, who tends to do well in these formats, must also stop the bleeding to the NDP. He will make it clear that the only party for progressives in 2021 is the Liberal party and any vote for the NDP is a de facto vote for the Conservatives.

For his part, O’Toole has a single goal – to look and act like a future Prime Minister from the open to the close of both debates.  The other serious contenders have all been through these nerve-racking encounters in 2019 but O’Toole is new to this stage. He must reclaim the trust of those voters who jumped to the Liberals in 2015 and stayed there in 2019. Look for attacks on Trudeau calling an unwanted election to continue. If he appears rattled by the Liberal leader, the election dynamic will almost certainly change and there will be little time to correct things as the Advance polls open on September 10th prior to the election on September 20th.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will need to protect his relevance – If he holds or builds on the NDP’s current share of the national vote, he can increase his seat count while also hurting the Liberals. Singh is currently positioned to play a significant role in a post-election minority parliament and a debate win for him could propel him into the all important third place (ahead of the Bloc) which can strategically be very advantageous in the House.

Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc can have an impact on the vote split in Quebec but will be dismissed by most voters outside of that province as irrelevant because by definition, he is. The Bloc will almost certainly lose seats and Blanchet knows that the Bloc’s only power is with a minority government.

Annamie Paul of the Greens has her only opportunity of the entire campaign to show that her party is relevant. Internal fighting and a 100% focus on her riding of Toronto Centre has made her a non-player in this campaign.

People’s Party of Canada leader, Maxine Bernier did not qualify for the debates.

By the Numbers (as of September 7, 2021)

Courtesy of the CBC Poll Tracker

Note: Bracket indicates change since previous CFA Election Update

The Latest Polling

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
33.5 (-0.2) 31.2 (0.0) 20.3 (-0.3) 3.4 (0.0) 5.9 (-0.3)

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

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
133 (+1) 140 (+2) 37 (-3) 1 27


Odds of Winning

Liberal Conservative
Majority Minority Minority Majority
10% (+2%) 45%  40% (-2%) 4% 

What it means

After nearly three weeks of positive momentum for the Conservatives at the expense of the Liberals, the margin between the two parties is narrowing again as the Conservatives slip. The Liberals remain narrowly favoured to win the most seats. The New Democrats are in third and are poised to pick up seats. The Bloc Québécois is holding steady at sub-2019 levels of support. The PPC has seen its support rise, while the Greens have dropped.

The Liberals are marginally favoured to win the most seats, though a minority government headed by either the Liberals or the Conservatives remains far more likely than a majority government formed by either party. The NDP stands to improve its position the most and could alone hold the balance of power. The Bloc is likely to finish fourth in the House of Commons, while the Greens could also lose a few seats. The PPC is not projected to win a seat.

The Conservatives lead throughout Western Canada, but their support has taken a hit in British Columbia. The party is second in Ontario and Atlantic Canada and third in Quebec. The Liberals lead in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and their support has jumped in Alberta. The New Democrats are second throughout Western Canada and their numbers have improved on the Prairies. The Bloc is holding second place in Quebec, while the Greens are in fourth only in B.C., as the PPC has moved ahead of them in most other regions of the country.

How has support changed over time?

The Conservatives' momentum has halted and is now reversing itself, particularly in British Columbia. The Liberals have stopped their decline nationally, but continue to slide in the Prairies and, significantly, Quebec. The NDP has been holding its support at around 20 per cent, but the trends are moving positively in the Prairies and Quebec and negatively in Alberta. The PPC is on a slow rise nationally, while Green support is softening.

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Other News

Canadian consumer confidence slides for third straight week

Canada reported a third weekly decline in consumer confidence amid concerns about a softening economic outlook.

The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, a measure of sentiment based on household polling, fell 1 point to 61.6 last week, bringing it to the lowest level since March.  The index is down 3.5 points over the past three weeks, and almost five points since hitting a record high in July.

Waning optimism over the strength of the economy is driving the sentiment decline, fueled by growing worries about the highly transmissible delta variant and a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Weakening confidence is also coinciding with a string of poor economic numbers that suggest the nation is repairing damage from the crisis more slowly than analysts had been anticipating.

Every week, Nanos Research surveys 250 Canadians for their views on personal finances, job security and their outlook for the economy. The confidence index represents a rolling four-week average of about 1,000 responses.

The share of Canadians who see the economy strengthening over the next six months fell to 35 per cent last week, down from 54 per cent at the beginning of July. Questions around personal finances and real estate have also shown a declining trend in recent weeks.

The good news is that household sentiment is still at high levels. The confidence index is about 10% above its historical average.

RPRA Webinar: Ontario Blue Box Producer Registration

Ontario’s Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority is hosting another webinar to assist businesses understand the requirements and how to complete their Blue Box producer registration and reporting.

For more on information on Blue Box producer registration:

Date:     September 13, 2021

Time:     3:00 PM (Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Canada eases travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals

The federal government has added fully vaccinated foreign nationals to the ranks of travellers who are once again welcome on Canadian soil. 

As of midnight Monday night, quarantine requirements were eased for non-essential international travellers who have had a full course of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

To be eligible, travellers must have allowed at least 14 days to pass since their last vaccine shot and show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that's no more than 72 hours old.

They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.

Quebec gives health-care workers deadline to get fully vaccinated

Quebec health-care workers in both the public and private systems who are not adequately vaccinated by Oct. 15 will be suspended without pay, the province's health minister, Christian Dubé, announced Tuesday. 

Dubé and Quebec Premier François Legault both said in recent weeks they intended to make vaccination mandatory for health-care workers, but until Tuesday, they had not specified a deadline or consequences for workers who didn't follow the mandate. 

Dubé made the announcement in Montreal during a provincial update on the pandemic situation in the province. 

More details of B.C.'s new vaccine passport system released

Details of B.C.'s "vaccine passport" system have been revealed by health officials, and residents of the province are asked to sign up online.

The website, which launched early Tuesday morning, asks for a resident's personal health number, date of birth and date of COVID-19 vaccine. Those who already use the B.C. Services Card app can alternately log in that way.

Once the information is entered, the user can access a downloadable "B.C. Vaccine Card," which contains a QR code that will serve as proof they've been vaccinated when the passport system rolls out starting next week.

This code is a square-shaped graphic which is similar to a bar code, and can be scanned on digital devices including smartphones. It can be printed off for those without smartphones to carry, or saved on the card-holder's phone. Those without access to a computer can call the provincial vaccine line (1-833-838-2323) and request that a printed card be mailed to them.

The card will show whether a person is vaccinated with both doses or just one, or whether there is no record of a vaccine in the provincial registry.

The vaccine card system is set to begin Sept. 13, at which time visitors to non-essential businesses such as restaurants and movie theatres will need at least one dose to enter. By Oct. 24, they'll need to have both doses, and won't be considered fully vaccinated for seven days after the second shot.

This requirement is currently in place until Jan. 31, but could be extended.

Mandatory isolation, testing to continue indefinitely as Alberta COVID-19 cases rise

The Alberta government has cancelled plans to end the mandatory 10-day isolation requirement for people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 later this month. The measures, which were scheduled to ramp down on September 27 — including contact tracing and testing — will continue.

On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney joined officials including Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, to announce measures including reinstated provincewide mandatory indoor masking, a 10 p.m. liquor curfew for licensed establishments, and $100 gift cards to people who receive their first or second doses of vaccine by October 14. 

Health measures to remain in place on P.E.I. as COVID-19 recovery plan delayed

Many public health measures will remain in place on P.E.I. as the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues to spread, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced in a public health briefing Tuesday.

The fifth and final phase of P.E.I.'s Moving Forward plan, which would see many restrictions lifted, was scheduled to begin Sept. 12. 

Gathering limits will continue to be limited to 100 indoors and 200 outdoors, Morrison said. Weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people.

The move to Phase 5 will be determined over the next few weeks, she said. Checkpoints at the border will remain in place until at least mid-October.

Premier Dennis King, who also spoke at the briefing, said P.E.I. would likely follow the lead of other provinces and implement a vaccine passport, built on the P.E.I. Pass. More details would be forthcoming in the days ahead, he said. 

Vaccine passports coming to Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador will be moving forward with a vaccination passport, according to Premier Andrew Furey, as the province announced five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Furey said Newfoundland and Labrador will take a similar approach to the vaccination passport as Quebec, which recently launched its passport program through a mobile app.

The Quebec model was chosen due to its initial success, according to Furey, who said the province didn't want to "recreate the wheel" when it came to operating a passport.

Furey said his government will introduce the passport within a month. He said it will use a QR code to show vaccination status, meaning it can be printed and won't require an Internet connection to use.

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