2019 Election campaign

Written by  //  October 22, 2019  //  Canada, Politics  //  Comments Off on 2019 Election campaign

Canada: government & governance 2019
Opinion polling for the 43rd Canadian federal election
What Diplomats Need to Know about Canadian Elections
How (CTV) Russian troll farms could impact Canada’s federal election W5 video

How Justin Trudeau held on: The story of a gruelling, messy campaign
The path to a Liberal minority was paved with low points and sloppy moments. In this election, there were no undiluted victories.

20 October
The campaign is ending – and the fallout may just be starting
… in this election, a campaign that has highlighted regional differences in the name of political expediency could have really long lasting consequences.
Even inside the campaigns, they know it won’t be easy to put it all back together again. One operative told me, “we didn’t have a choice — we had to put party ahead of country,” before lamenting that reversing gears after the election will be “truly hard.”
CBC Poll Tracker
From CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier, the Poll Tracker aggregates all publicly available polling data.
The Liberals remain in a close national race in public support with the Conservatives but are favoured to win the most seats, though probably not another majority government. The New Democrats and Bloc Québécois, after making significant gains in the polls, appear to be hitting a ceiling — but could hold the balance of power in a minority parliament.
Nanos Election Call > Conservatives 32.5, Liberals 31.7, NDP 20.8, BQ 7.2, Greens 6.0, PPC 1.5 Nightly Tracking, FINAL ELECTION REPORT October 20th, 2019
Tight riding races put some top Liberal cabinet ministers at risk
Some of the most closely watched races on election night will be in ridings where high-profile cabinet ministers are on the ballot — and at risk of losing their seats.
This unpredictable campaign has put several Liberal ministers in tight races, fighting for their political careers.
One of those battles is being waged by long-time party stalwart and cabinet minister Ralph Goodale.
Foreign-owned news network Postmedia endorses Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives
In a surprise to no one, American-owned news outlet Postmedia endorsed the Conservatives in newspapers across the country.
Postmedia is owned by Manhattan-based hedge fund, Golden Tree Asset Management, which bought the chain in 2010 from Canwest.

18 October
No, the party with the most seats doesn’t always govern
Tory leader made a political argument about how Parliaments work – and implied it has the force of law
It’s entirely possible that next week’s federal election will produce a relatively straightforward result, one that requires little or no post-election negotiation.
It’s also possible that the Conservatives are invoking the spectre of a Liberal-NDP coalition to rally their own supporters, or even to bolster support for the NDP.
But if there is an unclear result on Oct. 21 — and if that result inspires a loud partisan campaign to question the legitimacy of certain outcomes — Canadians will need to understand what history has shown us about how the Canadian political system actually works.
This election presented would-be prime ministers with a moral test. They all failed: Robyn Urback
Not a single party leader spoke about Quebec’s Bill 21 unless asked. Political interests came first
The Liberals have been grappling with a resurgent Bloc Québécois in Quebec, which has pivoted away from its sovereigntist roots to focus more on Quebec autonomy and identity. Scheer has barely acknowledged Bill 21 exists. And NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who himself wears religious symbols, has been stuck trying to balance the progressive values of his party with the personal interests of the handful of NDP MPs in Quebec who don’t want to lose their jobs.
The only moment during the campaign when the leaders clashed on the law — if you can call it that — was during the English-language debate, when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau dressed down Singh for failing to commit to “leave the door open” to challenging the law in court. Trudeau noted that he had vowed to do something on the law, possibly, sometime in the future, maybe; so, why wouldn’t Singh make the same pledge?

17 October
• Polls show strong chance of Liberal or Conservative minority
• Bloc Québécois wreaks havoc on Liberal, Tory and NDP Quebec plans
• All major party leaders campaign in Quebec in final week
• Loads of ridings too close to call with three or even four-way splits
As the final week of the federal campaign draws to a close, polls show the lead that Justin Trudeau managed to hold onto during the early weeks has all but evaporated. This race is too close to call. Trudeau’s solid yet largely unmemorable performances during last week’s debates ensured he didn’t bleed support, but also allowed the Bloc and NDP leaders to win over new fans. We are seeing more and more Quebecers take refuge with the Bloc as a safe voting alternative to defend Quebec’s interests, frustrating both the Conservatives and the Liberals, who had big plans for the province on October 21.
The Bloc’s rise is the biggest story in Quebec this election.
Steve Pinkus: It is possible that neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives would win enough seats, even when combined with the NDP and the Greens, to gain a majority in Parliament. A coalition made up of those three parties would certainly be interesting to observe. However, the real possibility exists that whoever wins this election will have, at some point, to deal with the Bloc Quebecois in order to get most of its legislative agenda through. We have had minority governments before, but not really like that. It also remains to be seen how the rest of Canada will react to such a situation, being held hostage by a sovereigntist party from Quebec.Lastly, how might that affect any debate over national unity. Suddenly there is a lot more at stake in this election than anyone expected just over a month ago.

16 October
Election 2019: Obama weighs in, urging Canadians to vote for Trudeau
In a message Wednesday on Twitter, Obama said that while he was president he was proud to work with Trudeau. He called him a “hard-working, effective leader” who has taken on major issues like climate change.
“The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbours to the north support him for another term,” Obama wrote.
Obama’s endorsement landed with less than a week left in Canada’s federal election campaign, and with polls suggesting Trudeau is locked in a tight race with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

15 October
NDP sees support jump at expense of Liberals, Tories one week before election: poll
The latest Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News between Oct. 11 and 13, found that support for the Conservatives is down two percentage points (at 32 per cent) while the Liberals dropped five points (30 per cent).
The NDP is up five percentage points since last week. If the election were held tomorrow, the party would receive 20 per cent of the popular vote.
The Green Party and People’s Party of Canada keep steady at eight and two per cent, respectively. 

Roughly 4.7M ballots cast in advance polls, Elections Canada says
(CBC) That figure is significantly higher than the number of votes cast in the advance polls in 2015. The total of votes cast during this advance poll period was 29 per cent higher than in the last federal election, when 3,657,415 electors put an “X” next to the name of their favoured candidate at advance polls.
This year’s total does not include ballots cast at on-campus polling stations or those cast outside the advance poll period at local Elections Canada returning offices.
An estimated 111,300 electors voted at stations on college and university campuses last week versus the 70,000 who did so in 2015.

From the New York Times: A ‘Mad Max’ Candidate Offers a Far-Right Jolt to the Canadian Election
At a college in Hamilton, Ontario, protesters chanted “Nazi scum, off our streets!” and clashed with supporters of the populist Canadian leader, Maxime Bernier, a member of Parliament who embraces his nickname “Mad Max” and rails against immigration and climate change “hysteria.”
… The altercation late last month might seem familiar in the United States or Europe, where far-right movements have ridden a wave of populism in recent years. But in Canada, a country that prides itself on its political decorum and multiculturalism, it underscored the extent to which Mr. Bernier is jolting the political landscape as the national election approaches on Oct. 21.

14 October
Election 2019: Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories
“We’re going to fight a Conservative government, we’re going to fight it all the way. We’re ready to do whatever it takes.”
(Vancouver Sun) …the race is seemingly tighter than ever. Support for the NDP and Bloc Quebecois is continuing to tick upwards, keeping both the Liberals and Conservatives from pulling ahead into first place.
Singh is attempting to neutralize the Liberal fear factor by promising that even if Scheer’s Conservatives end up winning the most seats but not a majority, the NDP would “absolutely” work with the Liberals, Bloc and Green party on a coalition government.

10 October
Canada election: What federal leaders have pledged on health care

4 October
Andrew Scheer’s mid-campaign identity crisis
From citizenship to same-sex marriage to pre-politics resumés, Scheer is struggling to define his own image

3 October
The Woke Will Always Break Your Heart
By Stephen Marche
(The Atlantic) Canadian progressives, like progressives all over the world, must decide whether they care more about the pursuit of social and cultural change, through the eradication of racist and sexist imagery, or the pursuit of transformative policies. In 2015, Trudeau promised both. He was the shining ideal of maximum wokeness, imposing a gender-equal cabinet and offering as the explanation, “Because it’s 2015.” Well, it’s 2019 now.
Whatever Canadians may think about the photograph itself, it closes off a major line of attack for Trudeau. Live by the sword of political correctness, die by the sword of political correctness. You can’t argue that your opponents are a bunch of embarrassing antiquities living in the political past—by, say, replaying the Conservative leader’s 2005 speech opposing gay marriage, which the Liberals were doing right up until this story broke—when the internet is rife with your face in brown makeup.
…the left’s aesthetic vulnerability comes at a moment of real threat for progressives. Multiculturalism as a project is dying globally, and not because of a sudden outbreak of brownface performances. The “Howdy Modi” event in Houston revealed how the world is turning: populism, xenophobia, the bragging stupidity of ethnic pride. During the last election, Trudeau’s main opponent, the Conservatives, promised “barbaric cultural practices” hotlines and “Canadian values tests” alongside a two-tiered citizenship system under which dual citizens and immigrants could have their citizenship revoked while natural-born Canadians could not. If voters who believe in multiculturalism cannot forgive face paint, the multicultural project as policy may not survive.

2 October
Montreal climate panel: A message of hope amid doomsday prophecies
The Climate First Tour was launched last month by environmentalist David Suzuki and Canada’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Stephen Lewis. For the most part it was an evisceration of our political class. They compared legislators to “dinosaurs drunk on fossil fuels” and spoke of the “astonishing cowardice” of successive governments who haven’t taken action to reduce Canada’s carbon footprint.

30 September
Jamie Carroll: An open letter to Dr. David Suzuki, CC, OBC, FRSC
Put simply David, if the climate crisis is as imminent and disastrous as you insist – and I happen to believe it is – your insistence on attacking the one viable candidate who is committed to addressing climate change does nothing more than give aid and comfort to the enemy: the doddlers, deniers and dilettantes.
Politicians aren’t educators, like you are. Nor are they altruistic. And they certainly don’t win elections by telling a plurality of people they’re wrong. What they do is represent people and points of view. As a result they follow the public on key social issues, not lead them. Wishing it were otherwise won’t prevent a single ton of carbon emissions.
The bottom line is this: the perfect is always the enemy of the good and in this instance the choice is a flawed Prime Minister committed to addressing climate change and a Conservative leader committed to the oil industry.
While I understand that headlines are good for donations, elections are serious business – and so’s climate change. If you’re not prepared to treat one with the reverence you display for the other, it might be time to stop pontificating on both for all our sakes.

26 September
This would be pretty funny if it were not serious
John Ivison: Liberals’ camping scheme an exercise in stupidity that takes nannyism to new heights
(National Post) Justin Trudeau made land in a canoe in Sudbury, Ont., after paddling round a lake for the cameras, to announce a re-elected Liberal government will create $2,000 travel bursaries to send 75,000 families camping for up to four days in a national or provincial park.
The NDP was quick to leap on Trudeau bankrolling his pet project by pointing out that low income Canadians would probably much prefer the government help them pay their rent – the New Democrats have a subsidy program that would give up to $5,000 a year to 500,000 families.
If the first objection to this improvidence is that governments shouldn’t be paying for people to go on vacation, the second is that almost every alternative use for those dollars is more appropriate than the Experience Canada program.
This IS serious
Greens wouldn’t support a minority government that moves to build the Trans Mountain pipeline
Elizabeth May says she’s willing to step down as leader if the majority of Greens want her to go
(CBC) Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she wouldn’t prop up a minority government that moves forward with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“It is not about politics,” May added. “It’s about a very clear imperative that global average temperature increase going above 1.5 degrees Celsius is so dangerous that the survival of a healthy biosphere is in the balance.”
Asked whether there were any way her party would change its own position on the pipeline in a minority situation, May was emphatic: “The answer is no.”
May said she’s confident the Greens will pick up several seats in the Maritimes. Those same seats, she said, could determine which party forms government if there’s no clear majority after Oct. 21.
A minority Conservative or Liberal government are the two most likely outcomes at this point of the campaign, according to analysis by Eric Grenier for the CBC Poll Tracker. In that situation, support from the Greens or the NDP — whether through an informal arrangement, a coalition or on an issue-by-issue basis — could determine which party could form a government with the confidence of the House of Commons.

24 September
Trudeau no-show leads to cancellation of Munk debate on foreign policy
(Globe & Mail) Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, said the debate has been cancelled because of Mr. Trudeau’s “refusal to debate.” …the Munk debate gave Mr. Trudeau until Tuesday to respond to an invitation, but “never had the courtesy of a formal response from the Liberal Party,” leading to the decision to cancel. He said debate organizers … decided Mr. Trudeau’s absence would “fundamentally undermine the value of the exercise.”

23 September
A pleasant, but not overly inspiring profile of Andrew Scheer at home with family
What is Andrew Scheer like? Sharing a meal with the Conservative Leader and his family

20 September
Trudeau sets sights on tighter gun controls (video)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, still reeling from the blackface scandal, tried to take the ball back Friday with a promise to ban assault rifles and crack down on handguns. Jagmeet Singh revealed Trudeau wants to talk to him directly about the controversy, which the NDP leader says has been hurtful to young, racialized Canadians. And Conservative rival Andrew Scheer wants to spend $1.5 billion on new high-tech medical equipment for Canadian facilities.

19 September
Trudeau faces friendly crowd at Saskatoon town hall after a day of damage control over blackface photos
Liberal campaign disrupted since photos and video emerged of Trudeau in blackface
(CBC) A day after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign was knocked off balance by several photos and a video that showed him in blackface, he faced questions from a relatively friendly Liberal crowd at a town hall event in Saskatoon, Sask. on Thursday evening.
The event, originally billed by the Liberal campaign as a rally, attracted around 500 people, and saw Trudeau questioned about his plans for combating climate change, advancing reconciliation and helping small businesses.
He also faced, for the first time directly from Canadians, questions on the blackface photos that have upended his campaign.

16 September
Green platform proposes help for energy workers displaced under aggressive climate plan
The Green Party plans to ban fracking, cancel Trans Mountain, eliminate fossil fuels and provide job transition programs for workers in the oil, gas and coal sectors.
Maxime Bernier invited to participate in official commission debates
(CBC) The official Leaders’ Debates Commission has decided to invite Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, to participate in the English and French debates that will be televised next month.
“You have satisfied me that you intend to field candidates in 90 per cent of ridings and, based on recent political context, public opinion polls and previous general election results, I consider that more than one candidate of your party has a legitimate chance to be elected,” David Johnston, the former governor general who leads the commission, wrote to Bernier on Monday. (Renata Ford, Maxime Bernier pin hopes on ‘Ford Nation’ to capture Liberal riding)

14 September
Andrew Coyne argues for proportional representation
Shouldn’t every riding be a ‘battleground’? The problems with how we do elections
Isn’t every vote equal? Well, no: not under our current electoral system
… under our current electoral system, known as “first past the post,” where each riding is represented by but a single member, who needs only a simple plurality of the vote to win. In such a system, it is true, whole regions of the country may be treated as “safe” in the pocket of one party or another, and as such barely worth campaigning in — a bizarre state of affairs in a democracy, but one that we have come to accept, unthinkingly, as “normal.”
But in a system where each riding elects not one member, but several — where not only are supporters of the first-place candidate represented in Parliament, but others are as well, in rough proportion to their share of the vote — it is not possible to write off whole regions in this way. There are seats to be won, and lost, in every part of the country, and therefore an incentive for every party to campaign with equal vigour everywhere.
Freed: ‘No-drama’ Canada has a lot to learn from U.S. and U.K.
How can we possibly compete? How can we catch the eye of Canadian voters, let alone the world? Here are some bold, dramatic ideas to add some buzz to our ballot:
1 — It’s too late to make headlines by buying Greenland, but there are other “lands” we can still purchase that would make big news. Why not make the U.S. an offer to buy Disneyland, or Frontierland, or Cleveland, or Portland, or Manhattan Island?
Alternatively, we could offer to buy Scotland once it leaves England after England leaves the EU….

13 September
Macpherson: Questions for Justin Trudeau on Quebec’s Bill 21
For reasons of strategy as well as principle, the Liberal leader should say clearly, and early, he intends to intervene in the matter.
“If you are the next prime minister of Canada, what will your government do to defend the rights of Canadians in Quebec?”
It’s a simple question, and anything but theoretical. It arises from the violation of minority rights in this province under its Coalition Avenir Québec government, which is having real effects on the lives of Canadians living here.
That’s not only the religious minorities who have been denied teaching jobs by Bill 21, which makes Quebec the only jurisdiction in North America that officially practises employment discrimination.
It’s also the anglophones whose schools have been seized in violation of not only the Constitution, apparently, but also the promises of all Quebec parties to respect the right of the English-speaking community to its institutions.
Both cases are subjects of court challenges, in which the federal government could intervene. Or it could refer the legislation concerned directly to the Supreme Court of Canada for its opinions on their constitutionality. That would reduce the costs, human as well as financial and political, of letting the cases slowly work their way up through the lower courts toward final decisions, which would take years, while the laws remained in effect.
But all evidence suggests Bill 21 is popular in French Quebec. So, the present opposition parties have indicated they’ll obey Premier François Legault’s order to mind their own business, as if the rights of Canadians in his province are none of theirs.
Apparently reciting memorized talking points, he said he’s been “considering the potential federal actions” about Bill 21. But, “at this time I feel it would be counter-productive” to intervene in the court challenge to the law.
What could he have meant by that, other than that he intends to intervene after the election, but saying so “at this time” would be “counter-productive” to his party’s chances of winning it?
Is it better for him to leave the Bill 21 question unanswered, at the risk of Trudeau’s character being the issue of the campaign in its decisive final weeks?
Or to separate the Liberals from the other parties to appeal to progressive voters by taking a clear stand, and the resulting blow in French Quebec, early, when there’s time to recover?

12 September
Mark Abley: Putting on the writs: How incorrect idioms enter into the English language, and what it says about us
(Globe & Mail) … about the phrase “drop the writ” – or, as parliamentary and linguistic purists would prefer, “draw up the writs.”
“Draw up” was indeed the original verb, referring to the 338 writs, or documents – one for every seat in Parliament – that have to be crafted and then issued to actually launch an election for each individual riding. But “drop the writ” is more than just “a debased form of the phrase,” as Wikipedia asserts in an unusually judgmental manner. It has been used in this country through at least the past four decades, and it even makes a certain amount of intuitive, Canadian-only sense: A hockey game gets under way when the puck is dropped, not when the starting lineups are drawn up.

11 September

They are off and running!
When Justin Trudeau called the election on Wednesday morning, the latest Nanos tracking was showing the Liberals with a marginal lead 34.6% over the Conservatives (30.7); the NDP at 16.5; the Greens at 11% and Max Bernier’s PCP trailing everyone at 2%. No doubt the polls will bounce up and down between now and 21 October, resulting in all kinds of shifts in platforms and ads.
For the moment: Election issues? Most likely are Climate change. Affordable housing. Mental health. Data privacy. But all politics is local and preoccupations will vary. (11 September)

Glavin: Canadians need a leaders’ debate on foreign policy – and Trudeau shouldn’t duck it
In fact, Canadians could use more than one such debate. You can’t hive off a government’s global actions from concerns about the environment, the economy, immigration and refugees, or national security.
Trudeau is refusing to subject himself to the rigour of the Munk Leaders Debate on Foreign Policy  on Oct. 1…. There will be an empty chair in the place where Trudeau should be. This will make him look bad enough, but almost certainly not as bad as Trudeau would make himself look in the attempt to defend his foreign policy record, let alone articulate his plans ahead. Foreign policy is a subject the Liberals would rather we not be thinking about at all.

10 September
Canadian federal election guide: What you need to know before Oct. 21
Trudeau’s Liberals, Scheer’s Conservatives and Singh’s NDP are jockeying for supremacy in the 2019 federal race. Here’s what you need to know about the issues, key dates to watch and how to register to vote
Latest Nanos poll: Liberals have marginal lead over Conservatives

8 September
Russian election-meddling in Canada linked to Arctic ambitions: report
‘Perceived as one of Russia’s chief adversaries in the Arctic region, Canada is a prime target in the information wars’
A new University of Calgary study is predicting Russian interference in the federal election campaign to serve what it describes as the Kremlin’s long-term interest of competing against Canada in the Arctic.
The study’s author, Sergey Sukhankin, said in an interview that Moscow’s ability to inflict serious damage is relatively low because Canadian society is not as divided as countries targeted in past elections, including the United States presidential ballot and Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016, as well as various attacks on Ukraine and the Baltic states.
“The Kremlin has a growing interest in dominating the Arctic, where it sees Russia as in competition with Canada. This means Canada can anticipate escalations in information warfare, particularly from hacktivists fomenting cyber-attacks,” writes Sukhankin, a senior fellow with the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think-tank, who is teaching at the University of Calgary.

7 September
Threats, abuse move from online to real world, [Catherine] McKenna now requires security
Much has been written about the online abuse and threatening behaviour politicians — especially female politicians — and others in the public eye face every day. But McKenna says as the heat around climate change continues to grow, that abuse is going from anonymous online vitriol to terrifying in-person verbal assaults.

5 September
Butts to work at Liberal headquarters for election while Telford joins Trudeau on tour
In the last election, Ms. Telford oversaw party operations out of the Liberal war room, while Mr. Butts travelled for the duration of the campaign on the Liberal plane as the party’s top strategist.
The Liberal Party’s senior campaign team has now been finalized, according to a copy of the organizational chart obtained by The Globe and Mail. While the appointment of campaign director Jeremy Broadhurst was made last May, other senior Liberal officials had been waiting until recent days to find out exactly what role they would play on the campaign.
The election must be called by Sept. 15, but the writ could be dropped as early as this Sunday or around the middle of next week, after the Manitoba election of Tuesday. Voting day is set to be Oct. 21.

1 September
Cities urge federal leaders to wade into wastewater debate
Billions of litres of untreated wastewater pouring into Canadian waterways: Environment Canada
(CBC) While climate change is dominating the environmental conversations leading into the federal election campaign, politicians who show plans to stop the dumping of toxic, feces-laden sludge into Canada’s waterways will be very welcome, particularly by the municipal governments for whom the problem is a daily fight.

26 August
Canadians frustrated by state of democracy, study says
70% of survey’s participants feel government doesn’t care what ordinary Canadians think
A majority of Canadians feel alienated by the country’s political system, with a rising number turning to populism and anti-immigrant ideology, according to a new study from Simon Fraser University.
The 61-page study, titled State of Democracy + Appeal of Populism, found nearly 60 per cent of Canadians are only “moderately convinced” Canada should be governed by a representative democracy, a figure that has grown 15 per cent since 2017.
Close to half of the survey’s 3,500 participants told SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue they don’t believe Canada is governed democratically.
Shauna Sylvester, the centre’s executive director, said this latest polling continues a troubling recent trend in Canada, albeit one that is not unique to this country.

18 August
Saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan activity during election campaign, Elections Canada warns
(Globe & Mail) A pre-election chill has descended over some environment charities after Elections Canada warned them that discussing the dangers of climate change during the coming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.
An Elections Canada official warned groups in a training session earlier this summer that because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as real or an emergency could be considered partisan, said Tim Gray, executive director of the advocacy group Environmental Defence.
Any partisan activity – including advertising, surveys, or any kind of campaign costing at least $500 – would require a charity to register as a third party for the election, an onerous requirement that could jeopardize a group’s charitable tax status, Mr. Gray said.
Five of the six political parties expected to have any chance of winning a seat in the coming campaign agree that climate change is real and caused by humans. Mr. Bernier, however, is the one outlier: he believes that if climate change is real, it is a natural cycle of the Earth and not an emergency
“There is no climate change urgency in this country.” he said in a speech in June speech. He also disagrees that carbon dioxide, which experts say is responsible for three-quarters of greenhouse emissions globally, is bad.
“CO2 is not ‘pollution,’” he tweeted. “It’s what comes out of your mouth when you breathe and what nourishes plants.”

7 August
Most Canadians expecting a negative election campaign: Nanos poll
When Canadians were surveyed as to whether they thought the looming campaign would be more or less negative than its predecessors, 85 per cent of Canadians said it would be either more negative or somewhat more negative.
The perception isn’t coming out of nowhere. Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have exchanged barbs over the potential nastiness of the fall election.
During a fundraiser in October of last year, Trudeau told donors he expects this campaign to be the nastiest one yet – but added that he won’t indulge any mudslinging.

28 July
Is Elizabeth May ready for the Green Party’s big moment ahead of the fall election?
By Adam Radwanski
The leader of the Green Party of Canada has never been seen as an orthodox political leader. In the past, she has led them to no more than a single seat nationally, however the Greens are now experiencing a ‘groundswell’ of double-digit national poll numbers
When Elizabeth May takes the stage in the leaders’ debates of the coming election campaign, she will be viewed as more of a serious contender than at any other point in her dozen-plus years at the helm of the Green Party of Canada.
Now, the Greens are experiencing what Ms. May can credibly describe as a “groundswell” amid double-digit national poll numbers, a recent federal by-election win in British Columbia, for a total of two seats in the House of Commons, and seat pickups in provincial elections in B.C., Ontario, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that they will supplant Jagmeet Singh’s struggling NDP as the primary left-of centre alternative to a Liberal government with which many progressives are already disillusioned, in an election in which environmental issues – specifically climate change – will be top of mind.
… her insistence on winging it is a very big gamble, especially because of a couple of challenges with which she is grappling heading into this election.
The more obvious of those is taking attention-grabbing stances that break through to progressive voters weary of more traditional options, without veering far enough from the mainstream to scare some of them off or be tuned out.
Climate change, the issue around which her party naturally now revolves, presents a particularly tricky balancing act. Ms. May is trying to convey that extraordinarily high stakes are not being taken sufficiently seriously by other parties – in the interview she described the situation as “an existential threat” and said it requires a “Churchill at Dunkirk” moment – without veering into an off-putting degree of doom and gloom.
She paints herself as being among those disillusioned with the Prime Minister, particularly because of his abandoned promise of electoral reform (which might have made it easier for parties such as hers to compete,) and repeatedly invokes his government’s “cognitive dissonance” in simultaneously declaring a climate emergency and buying an oil pipeline. … The bar now, she says, is not just doing more than the Tories would, but doing Canada’s part to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 C over pre-industrial levels, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last year is necessary to avert catastrophe. Since the Liberals are failing to achieve that, her argument goes, voters need to elect enough Green MPs to force the issue in a minority parliament, whichever other party winds up with the most seats.

26 July
SNC-Lavalin cloud lifts for Liberals as they face close fight with Tories: poll
Leger vice-president Christian Bourque said the Liberals are just about back to levels of support that they had prior to the controversy
A new poll conducted for The Canadian Press seems to show the cloud of the SNC-Lavalin controversy is lifting for the federal Liberals, who now face a closer fight with the Conservatives less than three months to go until the election.
In a survey conducted earlier this month, the polling firm Leger found 36-per-cent support among decided voters for the Conservatives, versus 33 per cent for the Liberals.
The firm says support for the Tories has dipped by two percentage points since the last time it conducted a survey in June, while support for the Liberals has gone up by four percentage points

20 July
Will federal leaders back the legal challenge to Quebec’s religious symbols ban with an election looming?
Jewish group wants Ottawa to intervene after emergency injunction denied
The Canadian wing of an international Jewish organization wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to send government lawyers to join the legal fight against Quebec’s secularism law.
B’nai Brith Canada published an open letter Thursday after a Quebec Superior Court justice denied a request to freeze the most controversial parts of the law, formerly known as Bill 21.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are challenging the law on constitutional grounds — a task made more challenging by the Quebec government’s invocation of the Charter’s notwithstanding clause.
“We felt it was necessary to send out a letter to the prime minister immediately, because this is an issue that affects not just Quebec, but all Canadians from coast to coast,” said Harvey Levine, director of the Quebec arm of B’nai Brith Canada.
The prime minister, along with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, all say they do not support the law. But no party has come forward to back a legal challenge.

Butts returns – and Trudeau’s putting the band back together for October
His participation suggests the Liberals aren’t all that worried about rehashing the SNC-Lavalin affair
(CBC) Trudeau is more closely associated with Butts than he is with any other single adviser. But since he launched his quest for the federal Liberal leadership in 2012, Trudeau has gradually accumulated a slate of long-serving aides who will accompany him into the 2019 campaign.
In the beginning there was Butts, a friend to Trudeau since university, and Katie Telford, a friend of Butts’s from their time together as senior figures in Dalton McGuinty’s government. Telford got to know Trudeau when she was running Gerard Kennedy’s campaign for the Liberal leadership in 2006, which Trudeau had endorsed. Telford became Trudeau’s chief of staff after the 2015 election and formed an inseparable duo with Butts.
After Trudeau won the Liberal leadership, he convinced Kate Purchase, director of media relations for interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, to stay on to oversee communications. Jeremy Broadhurst, Rae’s chief of staff, became national director of the Liberal Party, then a deputy to Butts and Telford, then chief of staff to Chrystia Freeland when the Trudeau government was reorienting itself to deal with Donald Trump. In May, Broadhurst was appointed Liberal campaign director, a title held by Telford in 2015.
Suzanne Cowan, who oversaw advertising in 2015, is now the party president. Brian Clow, who led the rapid response team in 2015 and later helmed a special unit in the PMO dedicated to Canada-U.S. relations, likely will take on a similar task again this fall. Cyrus Reporter, Trudeau’s chief of staff during the two years in opposition and then a senior adviser in the PMO for two years, will return to play a role. John Zerucelli, who managed Trudeau’s travel operations in 2015 and then for another two years in the PMO, is returning to oversee Trudeau’s tour.

14 July
Canada’s Trudeau is down in the polls. Can Conservatives take advantage?
(WaPo) Months of controversy have helped to reshape Canada’s political conversation, amplifying critics on the right, particularly those who challenge the prime minister’s positions on issues such as climate change and refugees. … The question is whether the Conservatives can capitalize on this turn of events and build momentum, particularly as polls show that the slide in Liberal support has bottomed out and the race is tightening.
… Analysts say that the Liberals could overplay their hand by hammering Scheer as intolerant but that Conservatives remain vulnerable, given how important the immigrant vote will be to their prospects in October. “The fine line they need to tread is to make sure they continue their mantra of protecting the border, while at the same time not looking xenophobic or opposed to immigration,” said Nik Nanos, an ­Ottawa-based pollster.

11 July
Premiers end summit saying Canadian unity is strong – with some exceptions
Between 50 and 60 per cent of Albertans support potential secession from the federation: Kenney
Canada’s premiers say national unity is strong across the country and that regional leaders are working together on a number of fronts to ensure that harmony becomes even stronger.
The provincial and territorial premiers made the comments at the closing press conference of the two-day Council of the Federation meeting hosted by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in Saskatoon.
The two outliers among the provincial leaders were the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who maintained that frustration over political factors hampering oil development and export have increased alienation in their provinces.
On Wednesday, the premiers asked the federal government to work with them to standardize professional certifications across the country, streamline immigration rules to ensure Canada gets the skilled workers it needs and press the United States for an exemption from “Buy American” legislation that they said disproportionately hurts Canadian workers.
In a somewhat unusual move, the premiers released copies of letters they sent to the federal party leaders asking them to outline their policies on job and skills training, immigration, healthcare, climate change, Arctic sovereignty, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and their commitment to federalism.
Moe said that the responses to the premiers’ letters will be released publicly to help inform voters in advance of the coming federal election.

10 July
Trudeau asks former chief of staff, new adviser to join him on Liberal campaign bus
Liberal sources said that Mr. Trudeau has asked his former chief of staff, Cyrus Reporter, as well as his current senior adviser, Ben Chin, to join him on the plane and bus that will transport him across the country during the next election. … The Liberals’ large pre-election meeting in Ottawa this week will be attended by high-ranking party volunteers and staffers, campaign co-chairs, regional chairs and organizers.
A number of members of the Prime Minister’s Office will take a day off to participate, including chief of staff Katie Telford, director of communications Cameron Ahmad, senior adviser Mathieu Bouchard and executive director of communication and planning Kate Purchase.
According to the most recent poll by Nanos Research, the Liberal Party of Canada is back in the lead after a tough start to the year that was dominated by the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair. The Liberals are now at 34.6 per cent in the poll, followed by the Conservatives at 30.4 per cent, the NDP at 17.9 per cent and the Greens at 8.8 per cent.

20 June
Ontario cabinet shuffle: Fedeli, Thompson, MacLeod and Mulroney moved from embattled posts as Ford hits reset
The changes expand the cabinet table to 28 seats from 21, and make room for several newcomers. They follow complaints in PC circles that the government has had trouble communicating its message, as some recent polls suggest that under Mr. Ford, the party has suffered as much as a 10-per-cent decline in support from the 40.5 per cent it won in last June’s election. … Ontario…will be a key battleground for this fall’s federal election. Senior Liberals see Mr. Ford’s performance as a potential liability for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, and routinely link them in public statements. Senior Conservative MPs say they have heard concerns about the Premier from voters.
The man they call ‘Green Jesus’ joins Trudeau’s Liberals
Steven Guilbeault, a star Quebec environmentalist, is scheduled on Friday to announce his plans to seek the Liberal nomination in a Montreal riding, Laurier-Ste-Marie, that was once held by former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe.
The move could boost Trudeau’s credentials in Quebec at a time when many environmentalists are disappointed in the government’s decision to spend billions of dollars of public money to assume responsibility for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the subsequent reapproval of the project, which would increase capacity by three times.

16 June
Canadians view ethics in government as paramount issue in fall election, poll shows
Ethics in government is shaping up as the biggest issue for voters in the approaching federal vote, outdistancing the economy, the environment and trade with the United States, according to a new poll conducted for The Globe and Mail.
A solid majority of 73 per cent of Canadians polled by Nanos Research say that ethics in government will influence their vote in the fall election, slated to take place on Oct. 21.
This comes after extensive coverage of the SNC-Lavalin controversy, in which the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put pressure on then-attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould to stop the criminal prosecution of the Montreal-based engineering company.
There were also months of attention on charges against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman for allegedly leaking information on a naval supply vessel program. During the trial, which was ultimately aborted, the Liberals faced accusations in the House of Commons that the Prime Minister “interfered in the judicial process” by withholding documents from the defence and by denying Vice-Adm. Norman access to his own documents.
“What this speaks to is Canadians want to hear from politicians about ethics, transparency and how our government should run as a top issue,“ pollster Nik Nanos said in an interview.
NDP eyes sweeping healthcare coverage and universal pharmacare for 2019 federal election
Money from taxes on the wealthy and closing tax loopholes will pay for commitments to health care, housing and climate change
(National Post) Signalling its determination not to be outflanked on the left this time around, the federal NDP has unveiled its platform months ahead of the fall election, including commitments to dramatically expand health care and to impose a wealth tax on the super-rich and a plan to run deficits for the foreseeable future.
The party released a 109-page platform during an Ontario NDP policy convention in Hamilton on Sunday, titled “A New Deal for People” (note the acronym), bucking the standard practice of federal parties releasing their platforms only once the writ has dropped.

31 May
Trudeau singles out Ford, warning Canada is ‘election away’ from return to Tory austerity
(iPolitics) The Liberal leader told the annual conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities the country is “an election away from more cuts to municipalities, more cuts to the services people need, more cuts to the programs that are making our communities better places to call home.”
“We’ve seen Conservative politicians do this before, so we can’t act surprised when they do it again.”
Trudeau did not mention by name his chief adversary, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, but he did single out Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who backed off this week on planned funding cuts this year to Ontario municipalities for paramedics, public health and child care. … Offering the mayors a sample of his own election stump speech, Trudeau said: “We can’t forget how far Conservative politicians will go to fill their smaller government ideology, how quickly they will make cuts to public health, cuts to public education, cuts to child care and other essential services, just to add a line to their stump speech.”
And if the Conservative premiers do not want to work with the federal government on joint projects, Trudeau is prepared to work around the provinces, dealing directly with municipalities “to get shovels in the ground and to do things Canadians ask us all to do.”
While the audience reaction to Trudeau’s speech was mixed, the reception was much more enthusiastic later when Scheer addressed the conference later in the afternoon.

27 May
Wilson-Raybould, Philpott to seek re-election as Independent MPs
Green Party Elizabeth May disappointed they won’t be running under her party’s banner
Former cabinet ministers Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott will seek re-election as Independent candidates in the fall election campaign, having rejected an offer to join the Green Party after weeks of talks with leader Elizabeth May.
The MPs made their announcements at separate, back-to-back news conferences in their ridings, nearly two months after being expelled from the Liberal caucus.
In her Vancouver-Granville riding this morning, Wilson-Raybould said a non-partisan approach is the best way to change the way politics is done in Canada.

Andrew Scheer has an Ontario problem – and it could be Doug Ford

21 May
Andrew Scheer’s economic vision for Canada is right out of 1993
Kevin Carmichael: The words ‘competitiveness,’ ‘innovation,’ ‘productivity,’ and ‘intellectual property’ didn’t appear in Scheer’s recent economic policy speech
(Financial Post) The Conservative leader’s vision of the Canadian economy is stale and nakedly partisan. His prepared remarks consisted of almost 5,000 words: “Trudeau” is mentioned 23 times, “deficit” 10 times, and “oil” nine times; “competitiveness,” “innovation,” “productivity,” and “intellectual property” don’t appear at all.
Scheer mentions in passing the need for “smarter investments in areas like basic research and infrastructure.” And he says that the Canada must become a country of “yes” to investments in technology and infrastructure projects that shorten commutes. (He didn’t elaborate on what that means.) Scheer’s only significant policy ideas related to oil: he said he would create a pan-Canadian “corridor” that would make it easier to build pipelines and string power lines, and he said he would stop oil imports by 2030

16 May
Liberals to hold minority government in N.L., PCs not conceding defeat
‘They will have to struggle for the next months and years to hang on to power,’ top Tory says
Dwight Ball and his Liberal Party will form a minority government in Newfoundland and Labrador, but the Progressive Conservative leader is already mounting an attack against him.
Ches Crosbie said he will be calling on three elected members of the NDP and two Independents to form a coalition to counter the Liberals.
The Liberals have won a projected 20 out of the 40 seats in the House of Assembly.
“I am not conceding victory to the Liberals,” Crosbie told a room full of supporters and media after all votes were tallied.
With a projected win of 20 of the 40 seats in the House of Assembly, any chance at a majority government now relies on two former Liberal members — Eddie Joyce and Paul Lane — who were elected as Independents on Thursday night.
If either return to the Liberals, the party could form a majority
Éric Grenier: Voters are opting for change at a rapid clip — and that’s bad news for Justin Trudeau
Not since the Great Depression disrupted sitting governments across the country has any prime minister presided over a period of such sweeping political turnover as Justin Trudeau has ahead of October’s federal election.
Another government could be added to the tally if Dwight Ball’s Liberals fail to secure re-election in today’s vote in Newfoundland and Labrador — a defeat that would make Trudeau’s term in office the bloodiest for an incumbent government in Canadian history.
Only the Saskatchewan Party in 2016 and Stephen McNeil’s Nova Scotia Liberals in 2017 have managed to win re-election over the last four years

7 May
Green Party win in Nanaimo by-election suggests trouble for Liberals, NDP, pollster Nik Nanos says
Voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith may have wondered if a by-election so near to this fall’s federal vote was worth the trip to the ballot box. But their decision to send a Green MP to Parliament – the second seat for the party – is being taken seriously by political parties, commentators and citizens as an indication of the Greens’ rise to mainstream politics.
On Monday, Paul Manly won 37.3 per cent of the vote, ahead of second-place John Hirst of the Conservative Party with 24.8 per cent. Despite holding the riding since 2011, the NDP fell to third place, with 21.1 per cent. The Liberals’ Michelle Corfield trailed with 11 per cent of the vote.
But if the Greens want to carry their recent success forward to the general election, they will have to be ready for a higher level of scrutiny on their platform and their vision for Canada, Mr. Nanos said.
They will also need to use their momentum to attract solid local candidates, he added, which is especially important in campaigns when people are disappointed by the mainstream parties.

6 May
Andrew Scheer has a problem
The Conservative leader has left himself open to charges of intolerance in his party. It could be the biggest, ugliest issue in the coming election.
(Maclean’s) It should be possible to critique immigration policy without being accused of racism. But there’s no denying—in the age of Donald Trump and of anti-migrant populism across Europe—that racism is a powerful undercurrent whenever immigration is debated. And in Canada, polling data shows it’s far more pronounced on the right of the political spectrum.
Arguably this year’s most widely discussed Canadian public-opinion finding came out early this spring from veteran pollster Frank Graves, the head of Ekos Research. Graves found that the segment of Canadians who think there are too many non-white newcomers is holding steady at around 40 per cent in recent years. What’s changed, however, is the partisan dimension in that data. In 2013, about 47 per cent of Conservative supporters and 34 per cent of Liberals told Ekos that too many immigrants were visible minorities. By this year, that gap had widened dramatically, to 69 per cent of Conservatives and just 15 per cent of Liberals.

28 April
A Green-NDP merger? It could be a big hit.
Philippe J. Fournier: A new 338Canada analysis shows the ‘Green Democrats’ would hold the balance of power in a minority government after the next election
What if the NDP and Green Party decided that they have more in common than they have differences? With the recent success of the PC and Wildrose merger in Alberta, would it be so unreasonable to imagine what a Green Party-NDP merger could look like?
Let’s call them the Green Democrats.
I entered the numbers in the 338 electoral model and made the following hypotheses:
– Most of the current NDP and Green support would remain with the Green Democrats
– The Green Democrats would have a higher appeal among younger, urban and educated demographics (which is, statistically at least, already the case for the GPC and NDP)
– Neither Elizabeth May nor Jagmeet Singh would lead the new party.
According to current data and with the hypotheses formulated above, the hypothetical Green Democrats would get an average support just under 27 per cent (roughly the combined support of the GPC and NDP). The confidence intervals range from roughly 23 per cent to 31 per cent of support.
The Green Democrats would still likely fall in third place behind the Conservatives and Liberals, but the race at the top would become far more competitive.

10 April
Chantal Hébert: No easy solution for Justin Trudeau’s pipeline woes
Justin Trudeau’s government already has a pre-election war on its hands with Ontario and a number of other provinces over its recently imposed carbon tax. Next week’s Alberta election could raise the climate change policy stakes to a new high just in time for the upcoming federal campaign.
The result of that provincial vote could force the prime minister to choose between salvaging a minimum of credibility for his climate change policy or living up to his oft-repeated assessment that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is in the national interest.

9 April
Trudeau’s personal brand continues to tarnish, new poll suggests
(Reuters) The ruling Liberals have lost 6 percentage points since the start of the year, ceding the lead to the rival Conservatives, according to a Nanos Research poll published on Tuesday.
If an election were held now, the Conservatives would win 34.9 percent of the vote, the Liberals 32.8 percent and the left-leaning New Democratic Party 16.6 percent. The poll suggests the result would be deadlock or a fragile minority government.
“The Liberals have taken a hit, but they’re still competitive,” said pollster Nik Nanos. “The most significant effect has been the negative impact on the prime minister’s personal brand.”
Nanos: Qualities of a Good Political Leader–Few[er] than half of Canadians (43.3%) believe Trudeau has the qualities of a good political leader while 39.7 per cent believe Scheer has the qualities of a good political leader. Three in ten (29.8%) say Jagmeet Singh has the qualities of a good political leader, while 35.4 per cent believe the same about May. One in six (17.6%) believe Bernier has the qualities of a good political leader 27.1 percent said Blanchet has the qualities of a good political leader (QC only).

26 March
Trudeau losing ground in B.C. ahead of federal election, poll suggests
(TorStar) Though British Columbia should be fertile ground for the Liberals to grow support ahead of October’s general election, the party’s biggest asset in 2015 is now its biggest liability: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
That’s according to Martyn Brown, a former BC Liberal — a provincial party that has no ties to the federal one and is often aligned with small “c” conservative values — who was chief of staff for the province’s premier during the 2000s.

5 March
Conservatives take slight lead over Liberals in latest Nanos tracking poll
(CTV) The weekly tracking data, which ended March 1 and was released on Tuesday, shows the Conservatives at 34.7 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 34.2 per cent.
The NDP is at 15.5 per cent and the Green Party at 9.1 per cent. The Bloc Quebecois got 3.6 per cent of the vote, while the People’s Party of Canada got 0.7 per cent.
The latest Nanos survey data also show that 52.2 of respondents think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the qualities of a good leader, while 39.1 per cent think the same of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Just over 27 per cent think NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has the qualities of a good leader.

26 February
Liberal Rachel Bendayan wins Outremont in byelection
Liberal Rachel Bendayan has won the federal riding of Outremont in Quebec after taking 40 per cent of the vote with 95 per cent of polls reporting.
“I will honour your vote by working very hard,” she said Monday night at Liberal party headquarters in Montreal’s Outremont.
She stressed that the Liberals would continue to fight climate change and promote a national housing strategy.
Mélanie Joly, the minister of official languages and La Francophonie, said that despite losing to the NDP in 2015, Bendayan was always a strong candidate who continued working in the riding in the years since.

Win, lose or draw? Byelection results suggest struggles ahead for major parties
there’s something in these byelection results for just about everyone to be happy about. There’s plenty of things there for them to worry about, too — and less than eight months left to worry about them
By Éric Grenier
… the Liberals will struggle to hold or win suburban seats in the rest of Canada if they repeat the kind of losses they suffered in Burnaby South (a drop of 7.9 points from the previous vote) and York–Simcoe (a drop of 8.8 points).
Mixed results for Bernier, new high for Greens
People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier might be pleased with Laura-Lynn Thompson’s 10.6 per cent result in Burnaby South, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is likely relieved that the PPC captured just two per cent of the vote in Outremont and York–Simcoe.
The Greens managing 12.5 per cent of the vote in Outremont — the party’s best result in any federal election in any riding in Quebec — is notable, as the environment has emerged as a more pressing issue for voters in Quebec than in other parts of the country.
It makes for a crowded field in the province — the Bloc Québécois’ new leader, Yves-François Blanchet, is a former environment minister and Singh has used the Liberal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline as a wedge issue in Quebec. There might not be room for three parties in Quebec going hard on the environmental file.

24 February
How Monday’s byelections preview the key themes of this fall’s federal election
By Éric Grenier
(CBC) There’s always something to learn from byelections. For starters, Jagmeet Singh will find out whether he has a future as the leader of the NDP tomorrow.
But the results of all three of tomorrow’s byelection contests also will shine a spotlight on some of the key dynamics that could decide the 2019 federal election.
We know, for example, that how a party performs in byelections offers clues to how they might fare in subsequent general elections, that prime ministers with better byelection records have a higher chance of staying in office and that these seemingly minor affairs can have enormous historical significance.
Singh is staking his leadership on the voters of Burnaby South, a riding in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. If he doesn’t get it, his days as leader of the NDP are likely to be numbered.
The results in York–Simcoe will be a good gauge of just how much of a complication [Maxime Bernier’s]  People’s Party will prove to be for Scheer in October.

23 February
The Orange Wave’s last stand? Outremont byelection a critical test for NDP in Quebec
By Jonathan Montpetit
Strong second place ‘would already be a win for the party,’ says ex-adviser
(CBC) In 2007, Tom Mulcair — then in self-imposed exile from Quebec politics — pulled off an unlikely win in a federal byelection, taking the Liberal stronghold of Outremont for the NDP.
It was only the second time the NDP had won a seat in Quebec. But from this narrow beachhead, Mulcair and then leader Jack Layton dramatically grew their support in the province.
Their effort, of course, culminated in the Orange Wave, when the party won 59 of Quebec’s 75 seats in the 2011 general election and stormed into Opposition.
Julia Sanchez, a former international development executive who lived in Ottawa for many years before recently moving back to Outremont, is now carrying the NDP banner. Montreal MPs Hélène Laverdière and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet — two Orange Wavers who won’t run in the next election — have been stumping for her. So too has Charles Taylor, the 87-year-old philosopher who has run for the party several times.
The Liberal candidate, Rachel Bendayan, ran against Mulcair in the last election, finishing second by more than 10 points. This time, she said, she benefits not only from a bit of name recognition, but also the record of the Trudeau government, pointing to investments in public transit, social housing and the Canada Child Benefit.
The Liberals, though, are heading into Monday’s three byelections weighed down by the controversy surrounding the government’s alleged interference in the prosecution of Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, which is accused of bribing Libyan officials. Several recent polls suggest Liberal support has suffered in the wake of the scandal, and they are now in a dead heat nationally with the Conservatives.
Bendayan, though, doesn’t believe the scandal is registering with voters in Outremont. “I haven’t heard much about it at the doors,” she said.

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