Canada federal election 2015 – Part I

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 List of Canadian federal general elections
Canada: Government & governance 2014 -15
Canada (Politics) in 2015
Éric Grenier’s Interactive Poll Tracker
Interactive tools to help you make sense of the latest political polls
Let’s vote together to end 10 years of Harper rule
Harpoon: We may have chosen the wrong overlord
Let’s laugh it off… and get our vote on
Partisan Politics and Confirmation Bias
Long-term expats don’t have right to vote in federal elections, court rules
Long term expats find ‘loophole’ in voting ban; but casting ballot costly
Students’ how-to: registering and voting in the 2015 federal election

Canada 2015 elections word cloud

International group to monitor Canada’s federal election
Canadians won’t be the only ones watching October’s election. An international body that specializes in monitoring elections plans to send a team to watch the federal campaign for the first time since 2006.
The Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is drawing up the plan in direct response to concerns about recent changes to Canada’s election law under the Conservative government. Canada is a member of the OSCE.

Election Pollcast: The polling challenges of a long campaign
Harper’s early election to cost taxpayers an extra $125 million: Liberals
Here’s how the Prime Minister could erase our election-day choices
Could the Tories ‘out-election’ our other political choices into the poorhouse, perhaps forever?
On the implications of a pro-rated spending limit
What will NDP and Liberals do if Conservatives barely claw their way to a minority?
Bob Rae: What’s Happened to Politics?

10 October
Elections Canada reports higher voter turnout for advance polls this weekend
Elections Canada says it estimates some 850,000 people voted on Friday, the first day of advance polls.
The agency says that is a 26 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in the 2011 election and a 90 per cent increase over the first day of advance polls in 2008.
Advance polls produce long lines, complaints over wait times
8 October
We need to make Canada boring again, and abandon the politics of paranoia
Ira Wells
The federal election is dominated by a Manichean worldview, with the PM resorting to incendiary fantasies involving Muslims to stir up the electorate
Poll Tracker: Portrait of tight race clearing up as polls move into agreement
Liberals and Conservatives move into close race, previously wide-ranging polls agree. … the gap between the Liberals and Conservatives is tight enough that it is impossible to say right now which party has the better chance of winning on Oct. 19.
What has changed recently is that the close race used to be the result of averaging disparate polls.
The Liberals have been scoring between 38 and 39 per cent in most recent polls in [Ontario], with the Conservatives behind with 34 to 36 per cent and the NDP in third with between 17 and 24 per cent. The Liberals have been given the edge in polls conducted by Nanos, Forum, Abacus, EKOS and Ipsos, a level of consistency that has been rare in this campaign.
Michael Harris: The niqab issue is about to blow up in Stephen Harper’s face
There is a sense out there now the niqab issue isn’t the cynical slam-dunk that Harper thought it would be. Not even the Great Manipulator can know what kind of dark genie he has released from Lynton’s Lamp.
(iPolitics) Confusing, misleading polling is only part of the problem. The other problem with obsessing over the horse race is that it sucks the oxygen away from the real debate this country could and should be having — about the Harper record and the Opposition platforms. … Where are the feature newspaper articles or long-form television interviews on that subject? They simply aren’t there. What are we getting instead? Questionable passages on candidates’ Facebook pages. Exposés on MPs’ (possibly underage) drinking companions. An unkind remark Tom Mulcair made about Newfoundlanders 20 years ago. Grocery store check-out journalism. And, oh yes, applause for the play (the TPP) before the curtain is even raised. All that has allowed the Tories to lead the elephant — their record — out of the room.
So it’s a little more than ironic that the niqab, one of the pop-tart issues designed to distract the electorate from the government’s record, is in danger of blowing up in Harper’s face.
A Liberal tipping point in Canada?
(BBC) One possible wildcard is the recently concluded negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership – which includes Canada, the US, Japan and nine other Pacific nations. It may provide a boost for the Conservative Party that inked the deal or Mr Mulcair, who has roundly condemned the agreement.
Mr Trudeau has only said that the agreement deserves “a fulsome and responsible discussion” in Parliament and that his party is “resolutely and consistently pro-trade”.
7 October
It is the first published endorsement from a major newspaper of the 2015 election campaign, and the first federal endorsement by La Presse since 2006. And it’s for Justin
Pour un gouvernement Trudeau
(La Presse) On s’est beaucoup moqué de « Justin ». Ses adversaires se sont tellement plu à le ridiculiser qu’ils n’ont pas vu le député de Papineau faire ses devoirs, gagner en maturité et en assurance, devenir un authentique leader. Ce premier ministre en devenir, les Canadiens l’ont découvert au cours de la campagne marathon qui s’achève. Il est prêt.
Après dix ans d’un gouvernement destructeur carburant à la mesquinerie et à l’étroitesse d’esprit, le Canada a besoin d’un gouvernement fondé sur l’intelligence, le dialogue et l’optimisme. C’est pourquoi La Presse souhaite l’élection du Parti libéral de Justin Trudeau.
Federal election’s broadcast consortium debate cancelled
(Globe & Mail) It was only last week that the consortium’s networks – the CBC, CTV, Global, Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec – released the time slots they had held open for the English debate back to regular programming. That marked an end to months of talks which began with two private, all-party meetings
… the day of the May meeting, the public broadcaster announced that it had “reached agreement in principle” with the NDP, Liberal Party, Green Party and Bloc Québécois to hold two debates, one in each official language. Touting digital partnerships with Google, Facebook and Twitter, the CBC said it was “optimistic” the Conservatives would come around, even though party spokesman Kory Teneycke had said the consortium suffered from a “sense of entitlement” and that other suitors would bring “diversity and innovation.” …
The consortium repeatedly argued it had the advantage of reaching the widest possible audience, as 10.6 million Canadians had tuned in to part of the consortium’s 2011 English debate.
Without a national network on board, Maclean’s drew 3.8 million total viewers on TV, The Globe attracted 1.9 million and the Munk debate 1.6 million – plus nearly a million combined online views during and after the three broadcasts.
6 October
Jarvis: Trans-Pacific Partnership an election game-changer for Mulcair
(Windsor Star) The NDP has gone from front-runner to third place, with two weeks to go in the federal election campaign. It needs a game-changer, and it has found one: the new, massive free trade agreement announced Monday, which threatens parts of the auto industry and dairy farmers.
“We will not be bound by anything that Stephen Harper negotiates behind closed doors.”
Yet there’s a catch to Mulcair’s gambit. And it’s a big one. He may be able to force the Conservatives to answer tough questions. He may cost them seats in auto industry ridings. But can he really do more? How realistic is it to reopen negotiations with 11 other countries on a deal that has been years in the making? And if he can’t, does he walk away from a deal with our largest trading partner, the U.S., and 10 other countries that comprise 40 per cent of the world’s economy, including some of its fastest-growing economies?
Mercenary of Reaction: Lynton Crosby in Canada
(Scoop, Nz) Lynton Crosby has a full schedule. He is the modern electoral PR hitman for parties in dire straits. He is hired to stir the pot of resentment and undermine hopes for change. His very existence suggests that democracies are shadows of their actual function, operating on traditional platforms of populism when required.
Those familiar with the Crosby portfolio should be aware about various hobgoblin practices he has been engaging in over the years. When he has the brief of desperation from governments in trouble, racial and immigration tensions will be fanned. The security state imperative will be encouraged. Sore spots will be scratched. When he has the ear of the aspirant in question, he will suggest a formula of divide and conquer, laced with a lingering sense of fear.
5  October
5 Notable Promises From The Liberal Party Platform
(HuffPost) Justin Trudeau’s Liberals released their full platform on Monday. The 88-page booklet reiterated many of the party’s promises, such running three years of deficits, boosting child care benefits and cutting income taxes for middle-class Canadians, but a few other pledges also stuck out.
Trudeau releases final version of Liberal campaign platform
(CTV) The main points of the Liberal platform — three years of deficit spending on infrastructure, higher taxes on the wealthiest Canadians and lower rates for most others — were released long ago.
New details rolled out Monday include restrictions on marketing unhealthy food and drinks to children — restrictions similar to ones already in place in Quebec — and regulations to limiting the amount of trans fats and salt in processed foods.
Popular among the university crowd was a plan to increase Canada Student Grants by 50 per cent to $3,000 a year.
Trudeau said a Liberal government would allow students to wait until they’re earning at least $25,000 a year before requiring them to start repayment.
(Globe & Mail) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau released his platform Monday morning – “A new plan for a strong middle class” – choosing Waterloo’s Wilfrid Laurier University as the venue to announce that a Liberal government would give relief to students through grants and relaxed repayment of loans.
The platform outlined at the Ontario university is mainly a repackaging of announcements Mr. Trudeau has made throughout the lengthy election campaign,
4 October
For the record: Justin Trudeau’s rally speech in Brampton
The prepared notes from Justin Trudeau’s speech at a thousands-strong rally in one of Canada’s most diverse cities
3 October
Eric Grenier: Trudeau and Mulcair need to win big in their backyard of Montreal
Liberals need to win seats back in Montreal, and the NDP needs to keep them
The New Democrats won the Island of Montreal with 38 per cent of the vote in 2011, taking 14 seats. The Liberals finished second with 27 per cent and seven seats, while the Bloc Québécois took 18 per cent and just one seat. The Conservatives had just 13 per cent support on the Island.
Off the Island, the New Democrats dominated with 47 per cent, winning every seat up for grabs. The Bloc trailed at a distance with 26 per cent.
But Quebec is in flux politically, and that is also the case for the Greater Montreal region. Seats that the Liberals would have struggled to win back are suddenly much more winnable as the NDP’s support in the province slips. Long-shot hopes the Bloc might have had in a few ridings are no longer so unrealistic.
Projections for the region currently give the New Democrats a total of 20 seats out of 35. The Liberals are projected to win the other 15, all but three of them being on the Island of Montreal.
1 October
Lynton Crosby at work – seems he is earning his fees.
Tories promise RCMP tip line for people to report neighbours for ‘barbaric cultural practices’
Chris Alexander, the Conservative immigration minister who’s facing a tough Liberal challenge in his Toronto-area riding, held a news conference Friday to remind the electorate of last November’s “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act,” and to promise even more government resources if re-elected, including a proposed RCMP tip line where people could report “information about incidents of barbaric cultural practices in Canada.”
Alexander directly linked the message to a proposed Conservative ban on women wearing facial coverings at citizenship ceremonies, the so-called niqab debate that targets a tiny subset of Muslims and has roiled Internet comment boards with hate-filled, racist rants. Sarcastic Twitter users report ‘barbaric cultural practices’ to Conservatives
A voice of reason: Naheed Nenshi on the niqab debate (video)
1 October
Long campaign and a tight race make for nasty political ground war
(CBC) Campaign office windows smashed. Lawn signs set ablaze.
The longer the campaign and the tighter the race, the nastier the ground war gets.
While the party leaders battle it out on the national stage, a different fight is playing out at the local level, with many candidates across the country targeted by vandalism, pranks and, in at one least one case, arson.
30 September
How Harper’s Australian enforcer pulled his campaign out of the weeds
(ipolitics) If you still need proof that Australian miracle worker Lynton Crosby is firmly in charge of the Conservative campaign, look no further than what you haven’t seen in the past two weeks: any evidence of Jenni Byrne’s continued presence on the planet, or any further snafus from the hyperactive social media campaign kids. Everything is transpiring according to the playbook, and Crosby — who probably can’t believe his luck in landing so soon on one wedge issue in the niqab controversy — is actively looking for other flashpoints to divide the voters.
But he must think he has landed in a parallel universe. Even in an age of turgid talking points, staged photo-ops and painfully banal tweets, 2015 proves that a federal election can still generate an aura of suspense. But this campaign has turned Canadian politics upside-down. This isn’t just the longest campaign in modern Canadian politics — it’s also one of the most bizarre. We have the NDP campaigning on balanced budgets, hiring more police officers and retaining the much-maligned F-35 joint strike fighter for the RCAF. We have the Liberals talking up the advisability of deficits and supporting the Conservatives’ security bill. And then there are the Conservatives themselves, pitching for a renewed mandate for the Stephen Harper Corporation — even though that corporation has appeared at times to be one of the most incompetently run and unethical organizations ever to walk the political stage.
Calgary Mayor calls Harper’s position on niqabs and Syrian Refugees ‘dangerous’ ‘dog whistle politics’ and ‘disgusting’Niqab debate
“They are spending millions of millions of dollars of yours and my money on what is an unwinnable appeal in order to appeal to a certain political segment because they think the polls say that most people don’t want this,” Nenshi said.
Andrew Coyne: To uncover or not to uncover — why the niqab issue is ridiculous
Whatever else the election of 2015 will be remembered for, it will be remembered as the election in which thousands of votes — the fate of parties, perhaps — turned on the question of whether a handful of religiously observant women should be required to uncover their faces to take the oath of citizenship.
Or rather, since they have always been obliged to uncover their faces to take the oath — in a private room, just before the ceremony — and since no one objects to this requirement, the question before this great nation is whether it is sufficient to uncover their faces before the oath, or whether they should also be required to uncover while reciting it.
That, in a nutshell, is the niqab issue. It was a ridiculous issue when the numbers of women involved were thought to be in the dozens. It is a more ridiculous issue now that it has been confirmed the actual number of women to have been refused citizenship for failing to uncover since 2011 when the policy was introduced is … two.
Niqab ban prevented 2 women from proceeding with citizenship oath
Controversy over niqab swells into an election issue

The controversy centres around the case of Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani woman and devout Sunni Muslim who is seeking Canadian citizenship. Based on her religious beliefs, Ishaq wears a niqab, or veil, to cover most of her face when out in public.
28 September
GG would invite NDP, Libs to form government if Tories defeated on SFT: Ned Franks
(Hill Times) If the Conservatives win a minority government on Oct. 19 and the opposition parties decide to defeat the government on the Throne Speech, Governor General David Johnston would not agree to call another election immediately and would instead invite other parties to form government if they can, experts say.
Mr. Johnston “would not call an election because the Throne Speech is so early in the session that somebody else has the right to try to prove they enjoy the confidence of the House,” said Prof. Ned Franks, a professor emeritus of political science at Queen’s University, in an interview with The Hill Times.
Prof. Franks said that regardless of the election outcome, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Heritage, Alta.) would have the first right to form government. But if he fails to win the confidence of the House, Mr. Johnston would invite the other parties to seek the confidence of the House before agreeing to call another election.
Spare a Thought for the Cannon Fodder Candidates
Most slog in the trenches, with slim shots at winning, on behalf of parties. For what?
(The Tyee) Some like the attention. Others are zealots. Many would admit they are unlikely to find another job with a base salary of $167,400. But the majority I’ve spoken to hold a coherent set of values, believe in public service, and harbour a sincere desire to make this country better.
They’re smart, accomplished, capable. Many are charismatic, some downright inspiring. And they put their lives on hold to fight a war of attrition against people they mostly agree with, in which 80 per cent of the conscripts are guaranteed to lose.
CBC boss disputes Harper comment about broadcaster’s low ratings
Public broadcaster crippled by a ‘broken finance model,’ says Hubert Lacroix
“It’s not about a lack of audience,” he said after the CBC’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
CBC supporters rally outside broadcaster’s public meeting in Winnipeg
“It’s about a broken finance model that doesn’t work, that used to be built on advertising revenues supporting a drop in parliamentary appropriations. In this environment, it doesn’t work anymore.”
Munk leaders’ debate: Harper, Trudeau battle over bill to revoke citizenship
The two-hour debate, held in Toronto and hosted by Munk Debates, covered a number of foreign policy issues including Canada’s ISIS mission, the Syrian refugee crisis and anti-terrorism legislation.
Tale of the tape: Transcript of the Munk Debate — Every zinger. Every claim. Every bit of crosstalk. All recorded in our transcript of #MunkDebate (Maclean’s)
25 September
Bruce Anderson: Mid-campaign reality check: what’s working, what needs to be tweaked or tossed
All three campaigns have been pretty good, tactically. Yes, they’ve had candidate eruptions, but for the most part these have been dealt with pretty crisply. A bus broke down, but it didn’t turn into a meme.
But with a few weeks to go, all three major parties will want to take a moment and review strategy. What’s been working, what needs to be tweaked or tossed? Here’s what I see:
New Democrats
The NDP may have bet too heavily on being front-runners, and on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau flopping. They gambled that there was plenty of anger at Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to harvest, and that Mr. Trudeau would fade from view quickly. All that had to be done was make party Leader Thomas Mulcair seem less tense, more prime ministerial.
… Less angry, less Senate, more mail delivery, cheaper child care, and a better minimum wage … the question they may need to ask is: If it hasn’t captured enough of the collective imagination so far, will it by election day?
If you believe the latest Ekos poll, the “steady as she goes” strategy is working fine. But if you like a side of caution with your polling (and gaze at other polls, too) you’d ask this: Are we leaving the impression that nothing will get better if you re-elect us? Do we take it for granted that voters understand we would build lots of infrastructure, spur lots more jobs, increase export opportunities, cut more taxes? Had we better be more explicit? … The key choice for the Conservatives to wrestle with now: to focus on driving down interest in Mr. Trudeau or to polish and push their own growth agenda.
“Real change. Middle class. We’ll invest in you now.” This consistent positioning has had the result that people hear a leader they aren’t sure of saying things they like the sound of. … So far, Liberal advertising has largely been of the positive, “Here’s who I am, here’s what I’m for” variety. Mr. Trudeau’s personal reputation is about being positive and respectful, an asset not to be squandered. Still, Liberal success depends on enough people wanting change, and on their choice for change to be Liberal. Both parts of that equation may bear repetition, not just the second.
24 September
The federal Liberal candidate in the riding of Mount Royal is running away with the race and the Conservatives could be shut out again, a new poll suggests.
Mainstreet concludes Housefather is 15 percentage points ahead of Libman, the former leader of the Equality Party and former provincial MNA. Housefather, the mayor of Côte-St-Luc, has the support of 39 per cent of voters, compared to 24 per cent for Libman.
In Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Mourani, the former Bloc Québécois MP who got booted out of the party and now is trying for re-election as a New Democrat, is leading [with] 35 per cent of the vote compared to 30 per cent for the Liberal challenger, former Montreal mayoralty candidate Mélanie Joly. Joly entered the race late following a bitter nomination battle with her fellow Liberals.
22 September
‘No circumstances’ under which Trudeau would support Harper continuing as prime minister
(National Post) Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau served notice Tuesday that he would seek to defeat a Stephen Harper government on its first speech from the throne should the Conservatives emerge with a minority.
But when asked whether the Liberals could play a role in installing Canada’s first-ever NDP federal government, he left the door open to co-operation.
Trudeau has previously ruled out a formal coalition with the NDP, but on Tuesday he said there are ways the two parties could co-operate for the good of the country.
21 September
Elections Canada warns staff to watch out for ‘voter suppression’ tactics
(CTV) Elections Canada has quietly warned staff to be on the lookout for increasingly sophisticated tactics aimed at discouraging — or even stopping — voters from casting a ballot.
The advanced voter suppression techniques flourishing in the United States are likely to spill into other countries, employees were advised in a presentation aimed at raising awareness prior to the Oct. 19 federal election.
18 September
Notes on the Globe and Mail Leaders’ Debate 2015
(Canadian media review) In sum, Justin Trudeau outperformed. Mulcair did not win. Harper may have done as well as Mulcair. However, compared to Trudeau, he did not seem the old master his admirers see him as, so he lost the symbolic battle. Trudeau proposed something ambitious, which neither of the others did. Mulcair proposed something cautious, but different from Harper’s plan. Insofar as the prime minister claims his policies have worked well and require only “targeted” changes, he is basically proposing more of the same
‘Old stock Canadians,’ egg timer, creepy set top debate’s odd moments
Moderator David Walmsley’s Irish accent and a ringing bell get reaction on social media
Reality Check, debate edition: How ‘truthy’ were Trudeau, Harper, Mulcair?
(Global) Here’s a quick-and-dirty rundown of some of the claims the leaders made
Post-debate economy talk
Candidates Michelle Rempel, Jennifer Hollett and Peter Schiefke discuss the economy and their leaders’ performances in the second debate
15 September
Manifesto backed by prominent NDPers calls for overhaul of capitalist economy
(National Newswatch) Just as Tom Mulcair attempts to convince Canadians that the NDP is a safe, moderate choice in the Oct. 19 election, some of his party’s highest profile supporters are issuing a manifesto [see text] calling for a radical restructuring of the country’s economy.
The dramatic transformation envisioned in the manifesto is in stark contrast to the pragmatic platform Mulcair is offering: balanced budgets, an openness to free trade deals, sustainable development of Alberta’s oil sands, no tax hikes except for a “slight and graduated” increase in the corporate tax rate
The “leap manifesto,” … aims to pressure the next federal government to wean Canada entirely off fossil fuels in as little as 35 years and, in the process, upend the capitalist system on which the economy is based.
The drivers of the manifesto are best-selling author Naomi Klein and her husband Avi Lewis. It echoes the theme of Klein’s latest book: “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” which was turned into a documentary of the same name, directed by Lewis.
11 September
Adam Radwanski: Cracks appear in famed Conservative discipline
Whatever their motivation, there should be no minimizing of the number of Tories stirring the pot. Mr. Harper’s officials have a tendency to attribute it to a small number of malcontents. They’re wrong: It’s a lot broader than that, and comes in significant part from people who are still involved.
There has long seemed a good chance that all sorts of tensions kept hidden would bubble over after Mr. Harper’s time in office ended. It turns out a period of weakness was all it took for that to start. The Conservatives may yet hold onto government, but those walls will never go all the way up again.
Conservatives’ hopes sinking fast in Quebec: Hébert
Only a few months ago he had big hopes for Quebec. Since the election call the Conservatives have been far behind. The last string of polls placed the party at 13 per cent.
7- 10 September
Conservatives move to revive faltering campaign after controversies
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are retooling their election campaign after a series of missteps that has driven the Tories to third place in the polls. The changes come as his government scrambles to unveil a plan within days that speeds up Canada’s intake of Syrian refugees. … The turmoil in the Tory campaign has shone a spotlight on campaign director Jenni Byrne, a diehard Harper loyalist who has found herself shuttling between campaign headquarters and the Conservative Leader’s side, and raised questions about her adeptness in this race.
It emerged on Thursday that the Conservatives have sought the help of Lynton Crosby – a controversial Australian strategist, known as the Wizard of Oz, who masterminded British Prime Minister David Cameron’s successful campaign earlier this year. Lynton Crosby, Australian strategist, hired by Tories to boost political fortunes See also The Guardian of 20 July 2013 Lynton Crosby: David Cameron’s Lizard of Oz
Jenni Byrne sent back to Ottawa in Conservative campaign shakeup (CBC) Decision to send Harper loyalist back to Ottawa aimed at refocusing campaign amid message troubles Blame game playing out inside lumbering Conservative campaign (iPolitics) The blame game has begun in earnest inside the angst-ridden Conservative ranks, as interpersonal rivalries bubble away below the surface and longtime stalwarts worry about the leader’s lumbering campaign. Campaign woes, poll numbers rattle Conservative camp (CTV News) With polls suggesting that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are now in third place, the Tories may be looking to refresh their campaign.
A senior Conservative strategist tells CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that the campaign needs a reset and there’s discontent with campaign manager Jenni Byrne. … One top cabinet minister has also told CTV News that disgruntled Tories are also upset about Harper’s unwillingness to open Canada’s borders to more Syrian refugees, in addition to other issues like the Mike Duffy scandal.
Three ways the refugee crisis could unfold and what it means for Harper
The first possibility is also the saddest: that the issue goes away. … as aid agencies can sadly attest, our attention span is limited. The horror fades, new events displace old, people move on. The once-forgotten become forgotten again.
The scenario playing out now: The refugee crisis is escalating, and won’t be disappearing from the headlines any time soon. … Pressure rises on Canada to do more. Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau accuse Stephen Harper of foot-dragging and demand a large, immediate increase to the number of refugees that Canada is prepared to accept. Mayors and premiers and aid groups declare they can and want to do more. Support for the Tories wanes, as even core Conservatives question Mr. Harper’s compassion and good sense.
There is a third scenario, which Conservative strategists are hoping will play out. … Over the next six weeks, the true complexity of the refugee crisis starts to sink in. The need of Arab refugees for sanctuary is practically infinite; the resources all too finite. Canada’s contribution, as measured against many other nations, is far from meagre. …
Michael Valpy: Parties may be facing a new political landscape
(Toronto Star) Regardless of what their party leadership is doing, most Liberal supporters no longer sit at some midpoint between the Conservatives and NDP, says Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates, one of Canada’s leading polling firms. … “The sweet spot for the non-Conservative vote has drifted to the left and I think that’s a dialectical response to being governed by the hard-right for the first time ever for the past nine years.”
The Conservatives have not had a good week
Conservative director kicked out for racist comments against First Nations, Mrs. Universe
Her page also contains links and comments criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and Canadians urging for the federal government to help Syrian refugees.
Tim Dutaud 2nd Conservative candidate dropped over embarrassing videos
Jerry Bance steps down as Conservative candidate
But then, Candidates from all camps turfed over social media slurs
6 September
Unions set to launch major anti-Harper offensive
Canada’s largest unions say if enough of their members vote strategically in key ridings across the country, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives will not get a fourth term in office.
The anti-Harper strategy requires a highly organized communications attack that will give the union-selected candidate in a targeted riding the ability to use scarce election resources more freely. Workers say their assault will begin shortly after Labour Day and will be the culmination of months of preparation. Union heads have been training workers across the country on election campaign basics while collecting data through polling and focus groups on which ridings to target and what messages resonate most with voters.
5 September
Martin Patriquin: A gun registry? No. Yes. No. Martin Patriquin on Mulcair’s flip-flops
How the NDP Leader’s past statements often conflict with his current policy
4 September
Adam Daifallah of Hatley Strategies reminds us “Had the 2015 federal election run its usual five week course, Canadians would have gone to the voting booths this week. Instead, over six weeks remain before the tight three-way race involving the Conservatives, Liberals, and the NDP gets settled. And it’s going get much more intense now that the summer break is over for the majority of Canadians. Expect the parties to ramp up their electioneering starting next Tuesday.”
Bruce Anderson: This campaign is being taken over by events out of Harper’s control
The Prime Minister was in control, he was setting the agenda, the elaborate machinery of government was at his disposal to make everything hum. He was anticipating a smooth transition to a campaign that would be run with tight control by operatives he has worked with for years and [who] share his love of discipline and planning.
But, as life goes for most of us, events can disrupt the best-laid plans. A series of unexpected events have turned the election into a roller-coaster ride for the Conservatives, and it must often feel that no one is at the controls.
2 September
Refugee crisis: Canada must do more, Harper’s policies have failed, rivals say
Mulcair, Trudeau take aim at Tories as tens of thousands struggle to find refuge in Europe
(CBC) As Europe grapples with its largest influx of refugees since the Second World War, questions over whether Canada is doing all it can to help landed on the election campaign trail Wednesday.
Both the NDP and Liberals said scenes of desperation playing out overseas make it clear the federal government must do something to aid the thousands of people flocking to the Continent, although they offered no new policy proposals.

gravestones of policies killed by HarperJohn Doyle: We got the election campaign we deserve – bland
28-30 August
Harperman case: Can public servants be political activists?
The rules about public expression are not always clear for government employees
Canada government suspends scientist for folk song about prime minister
The song was written by Tony Turner, who worked at government agency Environment Canada and is ‘a mainstay on the Ottawa folk music scene’
27 August
Will an act of Grace derail Mélanie Joly’s Liberal candidacy?
Grace Batchoun says she doesn’t have a problem with losing. But she does seem to have a problem with pretty near everything else that happened during last Sunday’s vote to choose a Liberal candidate for the federal riding of Ahuntsic-Cartierville. And that could prove to be a problem for Mélanie Joly and, ultimately, Justin Trudeau.
That sense of foreboding began to coalesce last Friday, when Radio-Canada reported on allegations the party had delayed the nomination process to allow Joly to catch up with her opponents and that two candidates dropped out to give Joly an easier shot.  Then there was the fact it took what seemed an eternity (in fact about six hours) to tabulate three rounds of votes on Sunday, which did little to smooth frayed nerves or still the muttering from some of the riding membership over the fact Joly had been parachuted into the riding by the party brass. And finally there was the decision by at least one defeated candidate not to participate in the traditional, ostensibly enthusiastic endorsement of the winner once the result had been announced.
26 August
Justin Trudeau says Liberals plan 3 years of deficits to push infrastructure
(CBC) Justin Trudeau says a Liberal government won’t balance the books for three straight years but will double spending on infrastructure to jump-start economic growth.
The Liberal fiscal plan would see “a modest short-term deficit” of less than $10 billion for each of the first three years  and then a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The Liberals also announced they would commit billions to nearly double Canada’s spending on infrastructure, part of the party’s pitch to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
26 August
Henry Mintzberg: How a few ‘spoiler’ seats could topple the Conservatives
(Globe & Mail) We consider Canada to be a nation of decency and balance, but for years we have been getting nastiness and bullying, alongside disrespect for basic democratic institutions.
This can end if the decent leaders of the two opposition parties act decently in this election, for the sake of country beyond party. This will require no coalition (one of those words bullied into submission). The Liberals and the NDP need only limit their efforts in those ridings where they are bound to lose, but by running vigorously, could again spoil victory of the other party. … I want my country back, and so too, I suspect, do a large majority of Canadians. Politics being politics, I am not holding my breath about such an arrangement, however tacit. But maybe, just this once, there can be consideration for country over party. Otherwise we voters will have to do this for ourselves, bearing in mind that a vote for an opposition candidate who is bound to lose can amount to a vote for another Conservative government.
It’s actually rather simple: have a look at to see if yours could be one of those spoiler ridings, and vote accordingly.
Francine Pelletier: Anne et le NDP
(Le Devoir) Alors que cette semaine tous les regards se tournaient vers Mélanie Joly — nommée candidate libérale dans Ahuntsic-Cartierville après des mois de tractations —, il y avait nouvelle plus intéressante encore, celle de la candidature d’Anne Lagacé Dowson dans Papineau. … Anne Lagacé Dowson est le fruit par excellence de ce NPD renippé, québécisé, mais aussi plus politisé, bien plus capable de mener un débat d’idées qu’en 2011. Souhaitons-lui bonne chance. Le courage, elle l’a déjà.
23 August
NDP takes aim at Trudeau’s riding as party rides momentum in Quebec
The NDP is putting up a fight to oust Justin Trudeau in his riding of Papineau, buoyed by recent polls showing the party on a strong footing to keep a majority of its seats in Quebec and even make gains elsewhere in the province.
… The Liberals replied that they also have a strong candidate running against NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair in Outremont, pointing out that lawyer Rachel Bendayan has been at work for more than a year. (Mr. Mulcair won his seat in 2011 by more than 12,000 votes.)
Anne Lagacé Dowson takes on Justin Trudeau for NDP in Papineau
‘People want something different,’ says candidate taking on Trudeau in Montreal riding
20 August
Surprise NDP winners from 2011 are running again
After the 2011 elections, media pundits had a blast mocking Quebec’s “accidental MPs”: a half dozen 20-somethings who found themselves swept into office in the wake of then-NDP leader Jack Layton’s “orange wave.” … But four years later, all of these “accidental MPs” are running again, and the consensus seems to be that they have all done a pretty good job in representing their constituents on Parliament Hill.
Michael Den Tandt: Stephen Harper’s media strategy only hurting his campaign
The prime minister’s penchant for strictly limiting and controlling his interactions with the media is itself contributing to and magnifying the emerging portrait of a campaign going off the rails. Rather than hang the messenger, unhappy Tories might consider asking why this is so.
16 August
James Hughes takes NDP nomination for N.D.G.—Westmount riding Hughes has an impressive background in public services. He is well known to Montrealers as the former head of the Old Brewery Mission, Quebec’s largest organization serving homeless women and men. He is also a past Deputy Minister of Social Development for the Province of New-Brunswick.James Hughes running for NDP nomination
He just resigned as the president of the Graham Boeckh Foundation, a Montreal-based family foundation devoted to transforming Canada’s mental health systems.
14 August
David McLaughlin: The long campaign is the strategy
13 August
Election promises call for some magical thinking given economy
Liberals call for economic growth ‘from the heart’ as recession and deficit will make pledges tough This didn’t go over so well Trudeau pledge to grow economy ‘from the heart outwards’ greeted with mockery
11 August
Much ado about a perfectly reasonable statement
Will all of the oilsands be developed?
Toronto Centre NDP candidate not the only one to suggest some oilsands ‘may have to be left in the ground’
(CBC) Linda McQuaig, a well-known author and journalist, told a panel discussion on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics Friday that for Canada to meet its climate change targets much of the oilsands may have to be left in the ground. McQuaig didn’t mention any specific climate change targets that Canada has pledged to achieve, but instead spoke about reaching Canada’s future environmental goals.
10 August
A thoughtful piece from Gerald Caplan
Is Trudeau really ‘just not ready’? Maybe
I’ve spoken privately to Liberal insiders about the private Trudeau, and I can report that they are deeply split. Like me, many buy the Conservative line.
…  Mr. Trudeau has been criticized for a series of foolish gaffes that seems to have brought his popularity crashing back down to Earth. For me, two other matters have been far more disillusioning. One was the egregiously crass opportunism of welcoming into the Liberal fold hardline Tory defector Eve Adams and her notorious hardball-playing fiancé. The second was his acceptance while an MP of many handsomely paid speaking engagements proffered by groups in the wider public sector. …
As of this moment, according to the polls, it’s a reasonable bet the Conservatives will win most seats, but not a majority. So the NDP, which should come a strong second, together with the Liberals, should easily be able to form a majority unity government (though probably not a coalition). As of this moment, that will make Mr. Mulcair the Prime Minister and Mr. Trudeau his lieutenant. That sounds like a good result for Canada. I presume the two are quietly preparing for this eventuality.
Tories announced $14-billion in spending in six weeks before election call, 670 announcements
(Hill Times) Cabinet ministers, backbenchers, and Senators announced $14.09-billion in federal government spending between June 23 when the House rose and Aug. 2 when the federal election was called, according to the 670 announcements. The single biggest day for funding announcements was July 31, two days before the writ dropped when the Conservatives made 109 federal government spending announcements across the country. [emphasis added] …
In Quebec, a total of 71 funding announcements were made between June 23 and Aug. 2, totalling $2-million. A total of 14 Conservative MPs made announcements in the province, of those, 12 were ministers or ministers of state. The only Quebec Conservative not to make an announcement during this period was Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism Maxime Bernier, who’s running in Beauce, Que. Is Mad Max out of favo(u)r?
8 August
Elizabeth Thompson: Participants at Conservative events must agree to gag order
(iPolitics) Members of the public who attend Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s campaign events are being required to agree to a gag order before they can walk through the door, iPolitics has learned.
While attendance is by invitation only, and attendees are vetted by the Conservative Party before receiving a ticket, those who want to attend a campaign event in person are also being asked to agree to a number of conditions including not to transmit any description of the event or any images from it. Bad idea, didn’t last long – or at least not publicly Conservatives drop restrictions on photos, tweets at Harper rallies (10 August)
7 August
John Robson: I can’t vote for the Harper Conservatives. I just can’t
These people are not honourable. Indeed, they laugh at honour. They cherish the low blow, the devious tactic, the unprincipled bribe, in a relentless, sneering, partisan tone. People I know and like retweet Pierre Poilievre with vicious glee. I weep for them and my country.
(National Post) I cannot vote for them. I just can’t. They should be my natural choice but their coarse, vindictive, proudly unprincipled cynicism must not be rewarded with electoral success, regardless of the consequences.
So am I contemplating voting Liberal or NDP? Ugh. Neither of the main opposition parties has recently shown themselves to be dishonourable. They may just be confused. But Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will never be ready for prime time and neither will the NDP’s program.
I believe either would be an instructive disaster in power. But I cannot vote for disaster for my country, regardless of its educational merits. So I don’t know what to do. But I know what not to do.
John Robson, columnist and commentator with Sun Media, is also an Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and a commentator-at-large with News Talk
Adam Radwanski: Trudeau’s aggressive debate performance gives Liberals a glimpse of hope
He mostly lived up to his bravado, following through on the message that he still has a lot of fight in him, and in particular delivering that message to one group that really needed to hear it. …  If, on Oct. 19, their party suffers yet another electoral disappointment, that clip of Mr. Trudeau cockily sparring may be resurrected to haunt them in postmortems. For now, it stands as part of a day that offered some reminder of why they were excited by him in the first place, and could help reinvigorate them for the long slog ahead.
Michael Harris: So you thought Harper would be campaigning in public? That’s hilarious.
(iPolitics) As I predicted last week, election 2015 is providing wonderful new material for politics as Trivial Pursuit. … Not a peep about F-35 lies, treacherous cuts to veterans, oil spills, muzzling the public service, slipping cyanide burgers to unions and giving seniors a lump of coal instead of their former Old Age Supplement. The Cons seem to have entered their decadent phase, content to play from a very old script. As if it were still 2006.
5 August
Editorial: The Guardian view on Canada’s elections: is the Stephen Harper era over?
The October elections offer Canada a chance to return to the country’s best traditions
Under Mr Harper, Canada has not only moved to the right in almost every area of policy but has entered an era of highly calibrated, money-driven negative campaigning at odds with the courtesy that is one of the most attractive of Canadian qualities. So the result matters, obviously for Canada itself, but also for a world that has long been missing the special role it used to play on the international scene. … we may be permitted to hope there is now a chance that something of the old Canada, committed to moderation and multiculturalism at home and to multilateralism and cooperation abroad, will re-emerge from the fray. See also Tom Mulcair and Canada’s New Democrat party lead push for change (August 7)
Three major parties still short about 140 candidates with election campaign already underway
The NDP and Liberals say they will hasten nominations so candidates can hit the hustings as soon as possible. Plugging all those holes could take weeks, but some analysts suggest the election campaign’s unprecedented length offers some flexibility for those playing catch-up.
3 August
Hatley Strategies, thank you, Adam Daifallah, offers this succinct statement, before giving a short analysis of key Quebec ridings to watch.
— Three-way races in Quebec will play critical role in who forms the government
— Quebec now has 78 seats up for grabs, up from 75 in 2011
— Current standings: NDP holds 54, Liberals 7 and Conservative 5
— Liberals must break NDP grip on Quebec to have any chance at power
— Tories need gains in Quebec to counter losses in Maritimes
— The place of the Bloc Québécois still very uncertain
Federal Election 2015 Seat Projections: It’s NDP Versus Tories As Campaign Begins
(HuffPost) Below you have the voting intentions for each party, seat projections with confidence intervals, as well as each team’s chances of winning the most seats as of Aug. 3. So much can – and will – change in this exceptionally long campaign. We will revisit the polls often.
These projections use past election results as well as the current polls in order to predict the winner in the 338 ridings. They include regional and incumbency effects. The confidence intervals and the chances of winning are obtained through the use of 5,000 simulations that account for the uncertainty of the polls as well as for the distribution of the vote and the electoral system. In other words, these simulations try to include every possible scenario given the information we currently have.
The NDP currently have the edge … once again, remember that only one poll has the NDP comfortably ahead. Overall, if the election was tomorrow, it would be quite difficult to predict who would become prime minister.
2 August
Harper launches federal election campaign
A new poll shows the NDP tied with the Conservatives, meaning Thomas Mulcair could become Canada’s first New Democratic Prime Minister. And the poll show Justin Trudeau’s Liberals also essentially tied, as he seeks to vault his party from third place to first, which again would be unprecedented. …
Canadian Prime Minister Calls Federal Election (NYT)
Harper’s campaign events to be by invitation only
Canadians who want to show up to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the election campaign trail will have to apply for an invitation and be vetted by the Conservative Party, says the party’s chief campaign spokesman.
Good regional breakdown at the outset of the campaign by John Ibbitson – no predictions
Canada’s electoral geography: Where parties are likely to gain seats
Canada does not have one national election. Practically, Canada has five regional elections on the same day, producing a parliament and government. Although there are local variations – rural versus urban, northern versus southern – common elements define the electoral landscape in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia, distinguishing each region from the others.

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