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

Every Friday, TVO.org rounds up the federal-election news that matters to Ontarians
By Daniel Kitts - Published on Sep 17, 2021
Conservative leader Erin O'Toole speaks during a campaign stop on September 14, 2021 in Russell, Ontario. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

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Every Friday, TVO.org will 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.

And on Monday, we’ll publish a primer breaking down what to watch for as the week unfolds.


These were the most important topics on the campaign trail:

Campaign keywords

Alberta: Apart from being a human tragedy, news that Alberta is re-imposing health restrictions as its hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients poses a potential political problem for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. He has applauded Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, which involved loosening public health measures much more quickly than other provinces.  “Premier Kenney has navigated this COVID-19 pandemic far better than the federal government has,” he said in a video last fall. When asked about the situation by reporters this week, O’Toole refused to take back his earlier praise of Alberta, and instead argued a Delta wave wouldn’t have happened in Canada if he had been prime minister. He also criticized Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for calling an election in the middle of the pandemic. "Just a few days ago, Mr. O'Toole was still applauding Kenney for his management of the pandemic. That's at the heart of the choice Canadians need to make in this election," Trudeau said at a campaign stop in Montreal.

A man filming in The Agenda studio

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Indigenous: This week TVO has put a special focus on Indigenous issues in the context of the federal election, both on air and online. The Agenda featured a discussion on how the various campaigns are addressing the Indigenous issues so prevalent in headlines earlier this year, and a conversation with three Indigenous people running as candidates in the 2021 federal election. On TVO.org, Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada gave her take on the federal leaders’ debate and Assembly of First Nations national chief RoseAnne Archibald discussed what she thinks the next government’s priorities should be.

Housing: Also this week, The Agenda examined the parties’ competing promises on housing. As well, TVO.org scrutinized the Liberals’ vow to spend $1 billion on rent-to-own initiatives, and spoke with former U.N. special rapporteur on adequate housing Leilani Farha about the nationwide housing crisis — and why she fears none of the parties is ready to take it on.

More details of TVO’s federal election coverage this week can be found further down this article.

People’s Party: Speculation continues that the anti-vaccine-mandate, climate-change-skeptic People’s Party of Canada could cost the Conservatives seats in this election. It’s unlikely the party will win any seats of its own, but it’s high enough in the polls to potentially split the right-wing vote in key ridings. Meanwhile, the Toronto Star reports that at least 20 per cent of PPC candidates in Ontario have taken part in often aggressive anti-vaccine demonstrations targeting hospitals and politicians. “When Torstar reached out to PPC leader Maxime Bernier regarding his candidates’ presence at the protests, a senior party spokesperson replied: ‘Get lost, f---ing idiot,’” the newspaper reported.

Troubled candidates: The Liberals have asked their candidate in the Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York, Kevin Vuong, to “pause” his campaign after the Toronto Star reported he had been charged with sexual assault in 2019. Prosecutors later dropped the charge, and Vuong has denied the allegations. The news about Vuong is just one of several incidents during the campaign where candidates have faced pressure to quit over various controversies: Earlier this week, two NDP candidates resigned for making online comments viewed as antisemitic. Last week, the Conservatives dropped their candidate in the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York for allegedly making Islamophobic remarks on Twitter. And a few weeks ago, Liberal candidate Raj Saini ended his campaign over allegations of sexual harassment and Conservative candidate Troy Myers quit over an allegation of sexual assault.

Trust: TVO.org’s collaboration with the Institute on Governance, iPolitics, and the polling firm Advanced Symbolics Inc. looking at the theme of trust in government continued this week with an article on how a new government should deal with the far right on climate change, a look at one issue that both the right and left agree on, and what Canada’s new government will face on immigration and systemic racism.

Platforms: Voting day is Monday. If you’re still trying to make up your mind, maybe a gander at the parties’ platforms will help. Read the Liberal platform here, the Conservative platform here, the NDP platform here, and the Green Party platform here. If you’d like a more concise summary of the parties’ various promises, you can read this platform comparison by CBC News or this interactive tool by the Toronto Star.

Leader sightings

Here’s where the major party leaders were spotted in Ontario this week:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau attended events in Brampton and Windsor.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made stops in Carp, Ottawa (twice), Russell, London, and is scheduled to attend an event in St. Catharines later today.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s made appearances in Sioux Lookout, Neskantaga First Nation, Toronto (twice), Windsor, Kitchener, Essex, London, Welland, Hamilton, Brampton, Oshawa, and Kingston.

Green Party leader Annamie Paul campaigned in Kitchener and Toronto.  

More election coverage on TVO

The Agenda: The NDP and Election 2021

Jagmeet Singh, leader of federal New Democratic Party talked to Steve Paikin about what he has on offer to Canadians during this election campaign and what sets his party apart from the other major players.

This week The Agenda also discussed whether this is the angriest election in Canadian history, the federal response to the opioid crisis, whose child care plan is best, and who has the best climate plan.

#onpoli podcast: Election day on the horizon

With less than one week to go until the federal election and Ontario's legislature prorogued, all eyes are on the party leaders as they make their final push. In this week's podcast, Steve Paikin and John Michael McGrath look at where the parties sit going into election day. Plus, why the People's Party of Canada is gaining in the polls.

Why this 905 riding is one to watch in 2021

The contest in Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill has everything: a grudge rematch, family history, and floor-crossing, Steve Paikin writes.

In Canada, only certain people are allowed to be angry

Millions of people from marginalized communities have grievances, too — but their voices are being drowned out by the loudest and angriest among us, Nam Kiwanuka writes.

How can transit play a part in Canada’s pandemic recovery?

If we’re going to emerge from COVID-19 with a more equitable and environmentally sustainable society, experts say, we should make a transit a priority. Here’s what the federal parties are promising.

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 72 seats, the Conservatives 37, the NDP 11, and the Green party 1. Nationally, the Liberals would come in first with 146 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 126, the NDP would come in third with 33, the Bloc Québécois 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 67.5 seats, the Conservatives 41.6 seats, the NDP 11.4, 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 seats, the Conservatives would come in second with 125.9, the NDP would come in third with 33.8, the Bloc Québécois would win 31.2, and the Green party would win 2.

Also, tonight in an interview on The Agenda, pollster Erin Kelly of Advanced Symbolics says her data is predicting a Liberal government. To find out more, tune in to TVO at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.


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