ON the campaign trail: The week ahead (September 13-17)

TVO.org updates Ontarians on federal election news relevant to the province
By Daniel Kitts - Published on Sep 13, 2021
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau makes a campaign stop in Hamilton, Ont., on Friday, Sept. 10, 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

SNC-Lavalin: A new book by former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she felt Justin Trudeau wanted her to lie about being pressured to defer the prosecution of large Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin in 2019. She also said that as recently as January 2021 the RCMP was considering investigating the Trudeau government over the issue, although she did not provide evidence of that. "I did not want her to lie. I would never ask her that. That is simply not true," Trudeau told reporters Saturday. He later said he has not been personally contacted by the RCMP about SNC-Lavalin. The RCMP told CBC News it did not have any updates on the matter.

Single dose: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was asked on Saturday whether he thought it was acceptable that his party’s candidate for the Ontario riding of Peterborough-Kawartha campaigned at a seniors’ home even though she’s only had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. O’Toole said it’s okay for partially-vaccinated candidates to visit retirement homes as long as all other public health rules are followed. "We will be following all measures, including vaccines, daily rapid testing, masking and social distancing to keep people safe," he said.

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Climate change: In Friday’s election update, I talked about the importance of climate change as an election issue and pointed to a few expert examinations of the parties’ climate policies. If you’d still like to read more about how the various climate plans compare, here’s another analysis. Plus the series TVO.org is running on trust in government continues with a look at how a new government should deal with the far right on climate change

Grieving parents: Erin O’Toole said on Sunday the Conservatives would provide parents with up to eight weeks of paid leave after a stillbirth and three days following a miscarriage. The Tories would also extend employment insurance benefits to mothers and fathers for up to eight weeks following the death of a child.

Gravel: A man has been charged by police after gravel was thrown at Justin Trudeau last week at a campaign stop in London. Shane Marshall of St. Thomas has been charged with one count of assault with a weapon. It is believed that he is the same Shane Marshall who is the former president of the People’s Party of Canada’s Elgin Middlesex London riding association. He was removed from his post by the party after the gravel-throwing incident.

Islamophobia: The Conservatives have asked their candidate in the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York to step down after Islamophobic tweets she is believed to have made in 2017 came to light. In one tweet, Lisa Robinson is alleged to have said “Muslims go home if our Canadian heritage offends you so much!” It’s too late to take Robinson’s name off the ballot, but the party said if she wins her seat she will be denied membership in the Conservative caucus. “Racism and Islamophobia has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada,” said party spokesperson Chelsea Tucker in an email to the Toronto Star. Robinson has denied writing the tweets and says the Conservatives are “completely throwing me under the bus.”

People’s Party: The anti-vaccination passport, anti-lockdown People’s Party seems to be rising in the polls. While that probably won’t translate into any election-night victories for the party, it’s led to some speculation that it could take enough support away from the Conservatives to cost them seats. Erin O’Toole says he’s not concerned. Still, the Conservative-aligned advertiser Canada Proud is reaching out to followers on social media, asking them not to split the right-wing vote.

Advance voting: More than 1.3 million Canadians voted in advance polls on Friday. That puts the country on pace to slightly exceed the record 4.7 million advance votes in 2019. If you’d like to vote at an advanced poll, you have until today at 9 p.m. local time to do so. Check your voter information card for more details or visit Elections Canada. If you can’t make it today, your last chance to vote in person before Sept. 20 is at your local Elections Canada office by 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Vote by mail: If you were planning to vote by mail, you have until 6 p.m. tomorrow to apply for a ballot. You can do so either online or at an Elections Canada office in the riding where you vote.

Leader sightings

Here’s where the major party leaders campaigned in Ontario over the weekend: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau appeared in Mississauga; Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made a stop in Whitby; NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Sioux Lookout; and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul was in Toronto.

More election coverage on TVO

Green Leadership in Election 2021

Annamie Paul talks to Steve Paikin about her platform and policy plans in her bid to win Green Party seats in the September 20th federal election.

What is a wedge issue?

This short video explains the use and nature of issues raised during election campaigns to try to divide voter sentiment.

And on TVO.org this week, you can expect an examination of the Liberals’ housing platform; a look at what the federal parties’ plans are to get new public transit built as the country emerges from a pandemic; a report on the federal government’s role in community fire evacuations, now that forest fires are likely to become more frequent due to a changing climate; and a look at the increase in hate crimes -- and why some are calling on the federal parties to take action on the issue -- from diversity and inclusion reporter Ashley Okwuosa (who previewed her article in a conversation with Jeyan Jeganathan on Friday’s episode of The Agenda.)

This week on The Agenda features plenty of election coverage. The program will ask whether this is the angriest federal election ever; examine the parties’ ideas on how to deal with the opioid epidemic; discuss the parties’ promises when it comes to both child care and housing; talk about Indigenous issues in the context of the campaign; and look at how the federal parties’ stack up when it comes to tackling climate change.

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 75 seats, the Conservatives 37, the NDP 8, and the Green party one. (According to Mainstreet Research, the Greens are currently leading in Kitchener Centre). Nationally, the Liberals would come in first with 169 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 109, the Bloc Québécois would come in third with 32, the NDP would win 30, and the Green party would win 3. (A party needs 170 seats to form a majority government.)

Meanwhile, polling aggregator 338 Canada is projecting that in Ontario the Liberals would win 65.5 seats, the Conservatives 45.2 seats, the NDP 9.8, and the Green party 0.5. (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 Liberals would come in first with 145.4 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 128.5, the NDP would come in third with 31.8, the Bloc Québécois would win 30.1, and the Green party would win 1.9.

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