ON the campaign trail: The week ahead (August 30-September 3)

Every Monday, TVO.org updates Ontarians on federal election news relevant to the province
By Daniel Kitts - Published on Aug 30, 2021
A protester yells at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as he makes his way to a motorcade in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday, Aug 25, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

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Every Monday, TVO.org will publish a primer breaking down what to watch for in the federal election campaign as the week unfolds.

And every Friday, we’ll review the highlights of the past week in the campaign, focusing on issues relevant to Ontario voters as they decide whom to support at the ballot box.


Here’s what to watch for this week.

Campaign keywords

Hate: Two campaign stops by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau this weekend were beset by protesters shouting violent threats and hateful slurs. An event in Bolton, Ont., was cancelled Friday after hundreds of angry protesters showed up, raising safety concerns. Then on Sunday in Cambridge, an appearance by Trudeau was met with demonstrators shouting “Lock him up, f*ck him up,” and someone carrying a sign with a photo depicting the Liberal Leader about to be hung from the neck. One protester shouted a racist remark at a person of colour in Trudeau’s security detail, and a female member of the security team was subjected to misogynist taunts. "This needs to make us ever more convinced of the importance of the choice in this election,” Trudeau said. “Do we fall into division and hatred and racism and violence, or do we say no." Both Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh condemned the protesters’ tactics, but Trudeau said O’Toole needs to do more to counter “conspiracy theories” among his supporters. Commenting on the cancelled Liberal rally in Bolton, Green Leader Annamie Paul, who in addition to being the only female party leader is Black and Jewish, shared that she has at times felt unsafe while campaigning.

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Climate change: The Liberals released new climate change policies yesterday, including requiring that all passenger vehicles sold in Canada are zero emission by 2035, and setting 5-year emission reduction targets for the old and gas industry starting in 2025. Meanwhile, Erin O’Toole did not distance himself from a video posted by Cheryl Gallant, an MP since 2000 and the Conservative candidate for the Ottawa Valley riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, saying Justin Trudeau would soon be calling for a “climate lockdown.” The video, which has now been taken down, also included a photo of Trudeau appearing to have some kind of noose around his neck. "In light of events unfolding today, it's understandable how this photo can be misconstrued without context," party spokesman Cory Hann said in an email. "That's why Ms. Gallant has removed her video."

Afghanistan: Foreign Minister Marc Garneau addressed on Sunday the continuing fallout over the rush to evacuate Afghans loyal to Canada following the country’s takeover by the Taliban. "In terms of the criticism of us starting too late -- fair enough, fair enough," Garneau told CTV’s Question Period. "Nobody anticipated the speed with which the Taliban would take over the country…but it happened." Garneau also told CBC News that Canada will use economic aid as leverage to help get more Afghans out. Later on Sunday, Canada and 97 other countries issued a statement saying: "We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country.”

Student loans: The NDP is making student debt forgiveness a signature element of their campaign. Over the weekend, Jagmeet Singh said his party would “immediately and permanently” eliminate interest on federal student loans and forgive student debt. “Students are struggling when they graduate, so we want to go beyond just eliminating entirely interest,” he said. “We want to also forgive student debt to make sure that they’re not being crushed under the weight of that debt.”

Deadline: Today marks the last day for candidate nominations and withdrawals. According to Kady O’Malley of ipolitics.ca, while parties often scramble to make sure all their candidates are properly registered, “there’s also a last-minute scramble to do exactly the same sort of background check of the other candidates on the ballot, in hopes of dredging up problematic past social-media posts and other potentially embarrassing details for strategic release after it’s too late for the party to replace them.”

Debate: The first televised leaders debate takes place in French this Thursday, Sept.2, on Quebec broadcaster TVA. Two more debates organized by the Leaders' Debates Commission will take place next week: One in French on Sept. 8, and another in English on Sept. 9. 

Ontario: If polling is any guide, Ontario is proving to become quite the battleground between the Liberals and the Conservatives. As political theorist David Moscrop writes for TVO.org, all major parties have an eye on this province. But they have different goals and expectations — and face very different consequences.

Election 2021's emerging issues

Affordable housing, climate change, COVID-19 pandemic recovery, health care. What are the issues on the minds of Canadians as they prepare to head to the polls on September 20? On Friday's edition of The Agenda, Nam Kiwanuka got a read on the leaders and their parties from Toronto Star's Tonda MacCharles and the Globe and Mail's Laura Stone.

Leader sightings

Over the weekend, Justin Trudeau was in Cambridge, Jagmeet Singh stopped in Sudbury, and Annamie Paul campaigned in Toronto. Erin O’Toole was campaigning in other parts of the country and made no Ontario stops.

Where things stand

At last check, the Mainstreet Research/iPolitics election simulator is predicting, if an election were held today, in Ontario the Liberals would win 60 seats, the Conservatives 49, the NDP 12, and the Green party zero. Nationally, the Conservatives would form a minority government with 147 seats, the Liberals would form the official opposition with 124, the Bloc Québécois would come in third with 35, the NDP would win 30, and the Green party would win 2. (A party needs 170 seats for a majority.)

Meanwhile, polling aggregator 338 Canada is projecting that in Ontario the Liberals would win 55.6 seats, the Conservatives 53.2 seats, the NDP 12.2, and the Green party zero. (While it is not possible to win partial seats, 338 Canada uses decimal points in its projections in part to reflect uncertainty around exactly how many seats each party will win.) Nationally, the Conservatives are projected to win a minority government of 142.2 seats, the Liberals 137.2, the NDP would come in third with 34, the Bloc Québécois would win 23, and the Green party would win 1.3.

Your election distraction

Already feeling a little exhausted by the partisan attacks, the conflicting campaign promises and the avalanche of polls? If so, let us take your mind off the federal election for at least a few minutes with an election of our own: Our roadside-attraction showdown. All summer, TVO.org has been telling the stories behind some of the province’s most interesting tourist landmarks – and soon, readers will be asked to vote for their favourite. Here is one of the most recent entries:  

Roadside-attraction showdown: Ottawa’s giant spider

You don’t want this spider crawling up your water spout. Thankfully, “Maman” is firmly planted outside the National Gallery.



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