ON the campaign trail: The week ahead (September 20-24)

TVO.org updates Ontarians on federal election news relevant to the province
By Daniel Kitts - Published on Sep 20, 2021
Polling stations are open in Ontario from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)



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

Here’s a recap of the final days of the campaign, and what to watch for in the week ahead.

Campaign keywords

Blitz: With time running out to convince voters before today’s election, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh went into overdrive this weekend, blitzing the country with multiple campaign appearances. Trudeau’s itinerary yesterday involved virtual and in-person appearances in every province except Saskatchewan, while Singh hit three provinces on Saturday and on Sunday was scheduled to attend seven events in B.C., a province where polls show the NDP could do very well. While Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was also busy campaigning, he had a relatively quiet weekend in comparison to his rivals. He made five appearances on Saturday and Sunday, all in Ontario.

Final arguments: Justin Trudeau pitched the Liberals as the only ones that could prevent a Conservative government and said his party has the "best, most ambitious progressive plan" on climate change, child care and supporting families; Erin O’Toole urged people not to split the right-wing vote between the Conservatives and the People’s Party of Canada; and Jagmeet Singh said "The only way you can be absolutely sure that we invest in child care, the only way you can be absolutely sure we fight the climate crisis, the only way you can be absolutely sure we invest in healthcare, is by voting New Democrat."

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Vaccinations: Only 15 per cent of Conservative candidates would confirm to The Globe and Mail that they were fully vaccinated. In contrast, the NDP says all its candidates have been fully vaccinated and the Liberals say only one of their candidates hasn’t been vaccinated – due to a medical exemption. In addition, CTV News reports the Conservative party won’t confirm that it will require its MPs to be vaccinated, while the Liberals and NDP say their members will require vaccinations.  

Dropped candidate: Kevin Vuong has been dropped by the Liberal party as their candidate for the Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York after it was revealed that he was had been charged with sexual assault in 2019. In a statement to Global News, the party said that while it is too late to drop Vuong from the ballot, “should he be elected, he will not be a member of the Liberal caucus.” The charge against Vuong was ultimately dismissed and he denies the allegations.

Partially costed: The Green Party released a partial costing of its platform on Saturday, saying it would deliver $210 billion in new spending over the next five years. The platform does not have independently-verified numbers from the Parliamentary Budget Officer for the party’s plans regarding long-term care reform and pharmacare, and provides no costing at all around a promise to create a guaranteed livable income program.

Celebrity endorsements: The past week saw some notable people publicly declare support for the different parties vying for power. Former prime minister Jean Chrétien stumped for Justin Trudeau while former PM Brian Mulroney campaigned with Erin O’Toole; two American political heavyweights, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, tweeted their support for Justin Trudeau while another, Senator Bernie Sanders, tweeted an endorsement of Jagmeet Singh; former B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said he was voting Liberal in support of the party’s climate change plan; and former senior Canadian military commanders Rick Hillier and Mark Norman, somewhat controversially, threw their support behind O’Toole.

Suspense: Not only are the polls close going into voting day, but the actual result might not be known tonight. That’s because Elections Canada won’t start counting what could be more than a million mail-in ballots until Tuesday. Elections Canada spokesperson Diane Benson told CBC News that several ballot integrity verifications need to be done before mail-in ballots can be counted – including making sure those who voted by mail didn’t also vote in person on election day. "So it could be Wednesday, Thursday, Friday [before all ballots are counted] ... because it depends on the volume and it depends on how long it takes to do those verifications and then the count." The pandemic has led to a surge in requests for mail-in ballots. This year’s million-plus total dwarfs the approximately 50,000 mail-in ballots requested for the 2019 election.

Vote: Polls in Ontario open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 9:30 p.m. today. Also be ready to have to line up a bit longer than normal to cast your ballot: Because of COVID-19, there are fewer polling stations, fewer election workers, and additional public health protocols. Also, please remember to wear a mask. You will be provided with a single-use pencil to mark your ballot, but you can also bring your own pencil or pen if you’d like.

Leader sightings

With time running out and the outcome of the election very much in doubt, the two top contenders for prime minister made quite a few appearances in seat-rich Ontario over the weekend.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made stops in Aurora, Markham, Richmond Hill, Peterborough, Vaughan, and Niagara Falls.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole attended events in Dundas, Cambridge, Kitchener, Oakville, and Toronto.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was focused on campaigning elsewhere in the country, particularly British Columbia, and made no Ontario stops.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul campaigned in Toronto.

More election coverage on TVO

The Agenda: Examining top issues in election 2021

In this roundup of recent Election 2021 coverage, experts help The Agenda evaluate some of the most important issues to Canadians: child care, housing, Indigenous priorities, climate change, and the opioid crisis.

For a sense of what voters are thinking, watch this interview from Friday where Erin Kelly of Advanced Symbolics Inc., joins Nam Kiwanuka to discuss what her data says about the issues Canadians care most about during this election, and what will get them to the polls on Sept. 20.

This week on The Agenda, watch for analysis of the election results on Tuesday; an interview with former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and a discussion on how to make minority parliaments work better on Wednesday; and a look at why international issues got so little attention during the campaign on Thursday. Watch The Agenda on TVO at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. every weeknight, or visit the program’s web page for all its latest interviews and discussions.

On TVO.org, read Marsha McLeod’s look at the federal government’s track record on boil-water advisories, including what lifting a boil-water advisory solves – and doesn’t. You can also read an analysis of polling data that indicates whoever forms the next government will have to reckon with the far right. And expect more analysis of the election results and what they mean for the province on our website this week.

Where things stand

The country's pollsters and polling analysts have made their final predictions on how many seats each party will win.

The Mainstreet Research/iPolitics election simulator is predicting that, in Ontario, the Liberals will win 74 seats, the Conservatives 37, the NDP 9, and the Green party 1. Nationally, the Liberals would come in first with 159 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 117, the NDP would come in third with 30, the Bloc Québécois would win 29, and the Green party would win 3. (A party needs 170 seats to form a majority government.)

Meanwhile, polling aggregator 338 Canada expects that in Ontario the Liberals will win 72.3 seats, the Conservatives 40.7, the NDP 7.9, and the Green party 0.2. (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 are projected to come in first with 146.3 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 126.6, the Bloc Québécois would come in third with 32.3, the NDP would win 31.2 seats, and the Green party would win 1.6.

And here are the national predictions from other notable polling firms and analysts:

  • Advanced Symbolics: Liberals 168, Conservatives 98, NDP 38, Bloc Québécois 32, Green 2.
  • CBC Poll Tracker: Liberals 155, Conservatives 119, NDP 32, Bloc Québécois 31, Green 1.
  • Ekos Research: Liberals 164, Conservatives 113, Bloc Québécois 31, NDP 27, Green 3.
  • Too Close to Call: Liberals 152, Conservatives 122, Bloc Québécois 34, NDP 28, Green 2.  

May the best statistician win.

Correction: Incorrect figures for the seat projection by Ekos Research appeared in an earlier version of this article. TVO.org regrets the error. 

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