Transcript: How Do Voters Decide? | Sep 09, 2021

Steve Paikin sits behind a glass desk in the TVO studio. A softly lit blue background and the red, lower-case ‘a’ Agenda logo are behind him.
Steve wears a dark grey suit and tie with a light purple dress shirt. He is clean shaven and has short brown hair.

Text reads, How Do Voters Decide?
@spaikin @theagenda

Steve says, EVERY ELECTION,
VOTERS HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO
MAKE A STATEMENT: TO AFFIRM A
PAST CHOICE, TO 'KICK THE BUMS
OUT,' TO RESPOND TO PARTY BRANDS
AND VALUES, TO TAKE A SIDE ON
WEDGE ISSUES.
AS THE CAMPAIGN HITS HIGH GEAR
FOR THESE FINAL DAYS OF THE 44th
GENERAL ELECTION, WHAT CAN WE
SEE SO FAR ABOUT WHAT'S
MOTIVATING VOTERS?
LET'S CANVASS SOME SEASONED
OBSERVERS BY WELCOMING:
IN DENHOLM, QUEBEC,
DAVID HERLE, PRINCIPAL PARTNER
AT THE GANDALF GROUP, HOST OF
THE HERLE BURLEY PODCAST, AND
NOW THE ELECTION CYCLE SPINOFF
PODCAST: "CURSE OF POLITICS: THE
HERLE BURLY POLITICAL PANEL".

David has wavy grey hair and wears a white open collared dress shirt.
He sits in front of a bookshelf full of books and CDs.

Steve continues, IN LONDON, ONTARIO,
LAURA STEPHENSON, ASSOCIATE
PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY.

Laura has shoulder length straight grey hair and wears a blue blazer and brown, thin-rimmed glasses.
She sits in front in front of a large bookshelf full of books.

Steve continues, AND IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL,
PETER LOEWEN, PROFESSOR OF
POLITICAL SCIENCE AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND THE
MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS &
PUBLIC POLICY.

Peter has short grey and white hair and a grey and white beard. He wears a grey blazer over a white open collared dress shirt.
He sits in front of a white shelf along a dark blue wall. Several books are stacked vertically on the end of the shelf.

AND WELCOME TO ROBYN URBACK, COLUMNIST FOR
THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Robyn has shoulder length wavy brown hair and wears a black floral-patterned blouse.
She sits in front of a black and white painting of a barren tree, and several books on a shelf.

Steve continues, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU FOUR
HERE, AND I WANT TO START,
DAVID, WITH YOU, BECAUSE I DO
MAKE IT A POINT TO LISTEN TO
YOUR "CURSE OF POLITICS" EVERY
DAY, IT'S JUST TERRIFIC.
AND I HEARD YOU OFFER ADVICE TO
THE LIBERAL LEADER IN ADVANCE OF
TONIGHT'S ALL-IMPORTANT ENGLISH
LANGUAGE DEBATE BY SAYING HE'S
GOT TO LOOK LIKE A LEADER AND
HE'S GOT TO DO IT WITH HUMILITY.
HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

Text reads, Crunch Time.
David Herle. Host, “The Herle Burly” Podcast

David says, WELL, I THINK
THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A REAL
SENSE OF EARNING THIS RATHER
THAN BEING ENTITLED TO IT, AND I
KNOW THAT MR. TRUDEAU DOESN'T
HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT, I DON'T
THINK, REALLY FOR THE
CONSERVATIVES AND FOR SOME OF
THE PEOPLE HE'S RUNNING AGAINST,
AND SO IT'S HARD FOR HIM NOT TO
SHOW THAT.
IT'S HARD FOR HIM NOT TO SHOW
THAT HE THINKS HE'S ENTITLED TO
THIS VICTORY.
AND I THINK THAT THERE'S ENOUGH
VOTES OUT THERE FOR HIM TO WIN.
BUT I ALSO THINK THAT THERE'S A
DESIRE, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE
ELECTION WAS SEEN TO BE LARGELY
MOTIVATED BY HIS OWN INTERESTS
RATHER THAN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
I THINK THERE'S A DESIRE TO TAKE
HIM DOWN A PEG AT THE SAME TIME.
AND SO THAT'S THE NARROW PATH HE
NEEDS TO NAVIGATE AND WALK, IS
GETTING PEOPLE'S VOTES BY
DEMONSTRATING WHY THEY WANT TO
VOTE FOR HIM BUT NOT LOOKING
LIKE HE'S EMERGED AS A BIG
WINNER AS A CONSEQUENCE.

Steve says, ROBYN, LET ME FOLLOW
UP WITH YOU ON THAT.
DO YOU THINK -- AND THAT CLEARLY
WAS A BIG NARRATIVE AT THE
BEGINNING OF THIS CAMPAIGN.
WHY ARE WE HAVING THIS EARLY,
UNNECESSARY, IN THE MIDDLE OF A
FOURTH WAVE ELECTION?
DO YOU THINK THE LIBERAL LEADER
HAS MANAGED TO SHAKE OFF THAT
SENSE, THAT MANY IN THE
ELECTORATE HAD?

Text reads, Robyn Urback. The Globe and Mail.

Robyn says, I DON'T THINK
SO, FRANKLY.
I MEAN, IT'S COME UP RIGHT FROM
THE GET-GO IN THE TWO FRENCH
LANGUAGE DEBATES THAT WE'VE SEEN
THUS FAR AND I THINK IT'S GOING
TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST QUESTIONS
OUT OF THE GATE EITHER FROM ONE
OF THE MODERATORS OR FROM THE OTHER
LEADERS VYING FOR THE TOP JOB IN
THE DEBATE TONIGHT.
I THINK THE PROBLEM THAT TRUDEAU
HAS HAD SHAKING THAT QUESTION IS
REALLY THREEFOLD.
ONE IS THAT HE HASN'T REALLY
OFFERED A SATISFACTORY ANSWER.
WE KNOW OBVIOUSLY IT WAS BECAUSE
THE LIBERALS WANTED A MAJORITY.
THE POLLING LOOKED INCREDIBLY,
YOU KNOW, FAVOURABLE FOR THEM AT
THE BEGINNING, BUT WE LIKE
PRETENSE IN THIS COUNTRY AND WE
HAVEN'T GOTTEN THAT PRETENSE
YET.
I THINK NUMBER TWO IS THE
POLLING JUST SHOWS THAT PEOPLE
DON'T SEE THAT THIS ELECTION
REALLY WAS NECESSARY.
I THINK IT WAS NANOS HAD A POLL
PROBABLY ABOUT A WEEK AGO THAT
SHOWED THREE OUT OF FOUR
RESPONDENTS DIDN'T THINK THE
ELECTION WAS NECESSARY.
AND THE THIRD THING -- IT'S A
LITTLE BIT MORE ANECDOTAL -- BUT
I HAVE BEEN HEARING FROM PEOPLE
IN THE THREE MAJOR PARTIES THAT
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THEY'RE
HEARING AT THE DOORS.
PEOPLE ARE KNOCKING ON DOORS FOR
THE NDP, FOR THE LIBERALS, AND FOR THE
CONSERVATIVES AND WHAT THEY'RE
HEARING IS PEOPLE ARE SAYING I
DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE HAVING AN
ELECTION.
AND TO HAVE THAT COME UP AT THE
DOOR NOW WHEN WE ARE MAYBE A
WEEK AWAY, A LITTLE OVER A WEEK
AWAY FROM ELECTION DAY, THAT'S A
REAL PROBLEM FOR THE LIBERALS
AND IF THEY CAN'T QUASH IT
TONIGHT, I DON'T THINK THEY'RE
GOING TO QUASH IT AT ALL.

Steve says, I THINK I’VE HEARD
JENNI BYRNE SAY THIS ON DAVID'S
PODCAST, THAT
CANADIANS NEVER WANT ELECTIONS.
WHICH IS AN ODD THING WHEN YOU
LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY.
THEY CERTAINLY DON'T WANT EARLY
ELECTIONS.
BUT, WHEN THEY HAVE THEM, THEY ARE
FORCED TO MAKE A CHOICE.
IN YOUR JUDGMENT HAVE WE YET
HEARD A GOOD REASON THAT WOULD
SATISFY THE PUBLIC AS TO WHY THE
PRIME MINISTER DECIDED TO GO
EARLY?

Text reads, Laura Stephenson. Western University.

Laura says, I DON'T
THINK HE'S GIVEN A REALLY GOOD
REASON FOR THAT JUST YET.
IN FACT, I'D SAY THAT'S THE
HARDEST PART ABOUT THINKING WHAT
IS THIS ELECTION ALL ABOUT
BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE THAT VOTERS ARE
CLEAR, WHAT ARE THEY ACTUALLY
DECIDING BETWEEN?
LIKE, WHAT ARE THESE BIG ISSUES
THEY'RE TRYING TO GET AT?
I THINK TRUDEAU DOES HAVE A JOB AHEAD
OF HIM TO TRY AND DEFINE THAT
EVEN MORE TONIGHT.
I THINK THEY'RE TRYING.
BUT LOTS OF OTHER STUFF IS
GETTING IN THE WAY, RIGHT?
CERTAINLY, THE KIND OF PROTESTS
AND THE VIOLENCE THAT WE HAVE
BEEN SEEING AT SOME STOPS, YOU
KNOW, TRYING TO DEAL WITH THE
FOURTH WAVE, IT'S HARD FOR HIM
TO GET DOWN TO THE ISSUES AND I
THINK HE WANTS TO DEFINE THE
LIBERALS SEPARATE FROM THE OTHER
PARTIES, BUT I'M NOT SURE HE'S
BEEN DOING A GOOD JOB SO FAR.

Steve says, PETER, HAVE YOU YET
HEARD AN EXPLANATION FOR WHAT
THIS ELECTION IS ALL ABOUT THAT
SATISFIES YOU?

Text reads, Peter Loewen. University of Toronto.

Peter says, WELL, I THINK
THE PRIME MINISTER IN THE EARLY
DAYS SAID THAT THE ELECTION WAS
ABOUT TRYING TO GET A MANDATE TO
DEAL WITH COVID AND THE NEXT
STAGES OF IT.
AND I THINK WE WENT FURTHER WITH THAT.
WHAT HE WAS ARGUING WAS THAT WHAT HE NEEDED WAS A MANDATE
FOR VACCINE PASSPORTS.
THEY NEEDED THE PUBLIC'S SUPPORT
TO MAKE PEOPLE SHOW THAT THEY WERE VACCINATED
WHEN THEY GET ON A PLANE OR AN
AIRPLANE.
I THINK THE DIFFICULTY WITH THAT
EXPLANATION POLITICALLY IS THAT
THE PRIME MINISTER HAS HAD THE
RUN OF PARLIAMENT FOR THE LAST
TWO YEARS, LAST 18 MONTHS.
THERE'S NEVER BEEN A TIME WHEN
THERE'S BEEN THIS DEGREE OF
COOPERATION IN OUR PARLIAMENT
OUTSIDE OF WARTIME.
AND THE PRIME MINISTER HAS HAD
INCREDIBLE LATITUDE TO DO WHAT
HE WANTS IN PARLIAMENT.
SO, THE CHINK IN THE ARMOUR IS
THAT DURING THIS DEBATE WHEN THE
PRIME MINISTER COMES UP AND
SAYS, IF YOU REELECT US, HERE'S
THE THING WE CAN DO, HIRING MORE
DOCTORS, HAVING FEDERAL SICK
LEAVE, BRINGING IN A VACCINE
PASSPORT.
MR. SINGH AND MR. O'TOOLE COULD
SIMPLY SAY YOU COULD HAVE DONE
THAT, AND IT COULD HAVE BE IN
PLACE NOW IF YOU HADN'T
HAVE CALLED THIS ELECTION.
BUT YOU’VE PRIORITIZED THE ELECTION OVER
THOSE POLICIES.
SO, I THINK WE KNOW HOW LITTLE YOU
ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEM.
THAT'S REALLY THE DIFFICULTY
HERE.
IN PAST YEARS WHEN MINORITY
GOVERNMENTS HAVE ENDED EARLY
IT'S OFTEN BEEN BECAUSE THERE
HAS BEEN GENUINE GRIDLOCK WITHIN
PARLIAMENT.
THAT WAS NOT THE CASE HERE.
BUT IT'S REALLY ON MR. O'TOOLE
AND MR. SINGH AT THIS POINT TO
ARTICULATE THAT TO VOTERS AND TO
REALLY I THINK MAKE CONCRETE IN
THEIR HEAD WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN
DIFFERENT HAD THE PRIME
MINISTER NOT CALLED THIS
ELECTION.
SO, I THINK HE HASN'T GIVEN A
GOOD ANSWER.
BUT I ALSO DON'T THINK THEY'VE
PROSECUTED A GOOD CASE ABOUT
WHAT WE'RE MISSING BECAUSE OF
THE EARLY ELECTION.

Steve says, DAVID, I'VE GONE
BACK AND LOOKED AT THE MANY OF THE LAST
SO-CALLED ELECTION CALLS,
CALLS THAT WERE MADE REALLY
BEFORE THEY NEEDED TO BE MADE,
AND MUCH MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,
YOU GET AWAY WITH IT.
MUCH MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,
THE PRIME MINISTER OR THE
PREMIER THAT CALLS IT EARLY ENDS
UP RENEWING THEIR MANDATE.
SOMETIMES AS IN PREMIER HORGAN
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, YOU STARTED
WITH A MINORITY AND YOU GOT A
MAJORITY.
THE VOTERS WILL GIVE IT TO YOU
IF THEY THINK THEY'VE HEARD A
REASONABLE EXPLANATION FOR WHY
YOU'RE GOING.
HAVE THEY HEARD THAT REASONABLE
EXPLANATION YET, IN YOUR VIEW?

Text reads, David Herle. The Gandalf Group.

David says, NO, I DON'T
THINK SO, AND IT'S PROBABLY TOO
LATE TO PROVIDE IT BY STEPPING
UP TO THE MICROPHONE AND SAYING
THIS IS WHAT THE ELECTION IS
ABOUT.
I MEAN, I THINK IF YOU HAD HAD
YOUR DRUTHERS, YOU WOULD HAVE
HAD A MUCH CLEARER ARGUMENTATION
OUT OF THE GATE WHAT IT WAS FOR
AND THE THING THAT WAS CLEARLY
MISSING, TO GO TO PETER'S POINT,
THE THING THAT WAS CLEARLY
MISSING WAS, WHAT IS IT THAT THEY
WANTED TO DO THAT THE NDP
WOULDN'T LET THEM DO?
AND SO, WITHOUT THAT, IT'S PRETTY
DIFFICULT TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT
THAT YOU NEEDED AN ELECTION TO
PURSUE THAT PARTICULAR MANDATE.
HOWEVER, I DON'T THINK THAT AT
THE END OF THE DAY PEOPLE ARE
GOING TO VOTE ON THE BASIS OF AN
EARLY ELECTION.
WHAT THIS EARLY ELECTION CALL
DID -- I'VE BEEN DOING A WEEKLY
FOCUS GROUP WITH SWING VOTERS
FROM ONTARIO AND B.C.
AND WHEN I MET WITH THEM THE
SATURDAY BEFORE THE CALL, THEY
ALL KNEW THE ELECTION WAS GOING
TO BE CALLED AND THEY ALL KNEW
WHY.
BECAUSE MR. TRUDEAU WANTED A
MAJORITY.
SO THAT WAS, YOU KNOW, MONTHS OF
PRECONDITIONING ABOUT THE
ELECTION CALL HAD MADE THAT --
HAD PENETRATED THAT AND PEOPLE
REALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT.
AND THEREFORE, THERE WAS A VERY
HEAVY BURDEN ON MR. TRUDEAU TO
PERSUADE PEOPLE THAT THERE WAS A
PUBLIC INTEREST TO THE ELECTION
AS OPPOSED TO JUST A PARTISAN
INTEREST TO THE ELECTION, AND I
DON'T THINK HE'S SHAKEN THAT.
AND WHAT THAT DID IS IT MADE
PEOPLE REVISIT HIS CHARACTER.
AND IS HE MORE CYNICAL THAN HE
USED TO BE, OR IS HE MORE
MANIPULATIVE THAN THEY THOUGHT HE
WAS, AND IS HE A LITTLE LESS PUBLIC
SPIRITED THAN THE PANDEMIC MADE
HIM APPEAR TO BE?
ALL THOSE CHARACTER QUESTIONS
CAME INTO PLAY AND I THINK IN
THE EARLY STAGES OF THE CAMPAIGN
THEY WORKED PARTICULARLY WELL IN
CONTRAST WITH MR. SINGH.
BUT I THINK THAT FACTOR IS
FADING A BIT AS WELL.
I THINK ULTIMATELY ON ELECTION
DAY, THE EARLY ELECTION, PEOPLE
WILL NOT BE VOTING ON THE BASIS
OF THE CALL.
THEY MAY BE VOTING ON THE BASIS
OF WHAT THE CALL TOLD THEM ABOUT
MR. TRUDEAU.
THAT'S A DIFFERENT MATTER.

Steve says, WELL, LET'S DO A
LITTLE COMPARING AND CONTRASTING
BETWEEN THE THREE MAIN PARTY
LEADERS AND EVEN THE FOURTH IF
YOU WANT TO ADD THE GREENS'
ANNAMIE PAUL INTO THIS.
LAURA, I'LL GO TO YOU FIRST ON
THIS.
I WAS INTERESTED TO READ JOHN
IBBITSON THE OTHER DAY SAYING THAT THE CONSERVATIVE LEADER CURRENTLY
IS THE MOST LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE
LEADER THAT HE'S SEEN IN MANY
DECADES.
AND MANY ARE MAKING THE ARGUMENT
THE LIBERALS AND THE NEW
DEMOCRATS AREN'T THAT DIFFERENT
AND NEITHER FRANKLY ARE THE GREENS.
YOU COULD MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT IDEALOGICALLY
THESE FOUR MAJOR PARTIES ARE ALL
CLOSER TOGETHER, NOT THE SAME,
BUT CLOSER TOGETHER THAN AT MANY
OTHER TIMES IN OUR HISTORY.
IF THAT'S THE CASE, LAURA, WHAT
DO YOU THINK THAT SAYS ABOUT THE
NATURE OF OUR POLITICAL CULTURE
TODAY?

Laura says, SO I
WOULD AGREE WITH THAT
CHARACTERIZATION OF WHAT'S GOING
ON AND I THINK WE'VE SEEN IT
MOST CLEARLY WITH THE
CONSERVATIVES THIS TIME AROUND
BECAUSE IN THE PAST I THINK THE
DISTINCTIONS WERE A LOT CLEARER
AND WE'VE SEEN A COUPLE OF
STATEMENTS COME OUT FROM
MR. O'TOOLE THAT IN PARTICULAR
MAKE ME THINK THAT HE'S TRYING
TO DO THIS A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENTLY.
SO, HIS POSITION ON GUNS, FOR
EXAMPLE, AS WELL AS VERY CLEARLY
ON HIS OWN STANCE ON ABORTION, I
THINK THAT THOSE ARE SETTING HIM
ASIDE -- SORRY, APART FROM
PREVIOUS LEADERS.
AND THEN WHEN THAT HAPPENS, IT
DOES APPEAR THAT WE'RE SQUISHING
IN THE MIDDLE, FOR THE CENTRE, I
GUESS, OF THE POLITICAL
SPECTRUM.
SO, IN THAT CASE, WHAT ARE WE
THINKING OF?
WE'VE GOT TO THINK ABOUT WHO ARE
THE PAIR OF HANDS THAT PEOPLE
ARE GOING TO BE WANTING TO TRUST
TO MOVE FORWARD?
AND THAT'S WHY I'M FINDING IT
HARDER TO THINK ABOUT WHAT'S
ACTUALLY GOING THROUGH PEOPLE'S
MINDS RIGHT NOW.
WHAT ARE THEY ACTUALLY
MEASURING?

Steve says, PETER, DO YOU FIND
THAT AS WELL, THAT THE PARTIES
SEEM TO BE MORE BUNCHED WHEREVER
THE MIDDLE IS, THEY'RE MORE
THERE AND CLOSER TO IT THAN IN
PREVIOUS ELECTIONS?

Peter says, I THINK SO.
I MEAN, I WANT TO NOTE THAT OUR
CONSERVATIVE PARTY IS A PRETTY
LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY IN
THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, AND
IT WAS UNDER MR. HARPER AS WELL.
BUT WHAT YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW IS
UNUSUALLY YOU HAVE A SINGLE
ISSUE THAT IS SEIZING THE
COUNTRY STILL, THE PANDEMIC.
SO OFTEN ELECTIONS ARE ABOUT
WHAT ISSUE ONE PARTY WANTS TO
FIGHT ON VERSUS WHAT ANOTHER
PARTY WANTS TO FIGHT ON.
FOR THE MOST PART THIS ELECTION
IS ABOUT THE PANDEMIC AND THE
RECOVERY FROM IT.
PARTIES HAVE DIFFERENT ANSWERS
ABOUT THAT CHALLENGE.
BUT FOR THE MOST PART THEY AGREE
ON WHAT THE CHALLENGE IS.
I THINK WHAT THAT DOES THEN IS
THAT IT REALLY PRIMES LEADERSHIP
BECAUSE VOTERS LOOK AT THAT AND
SAY, WELL, ALL THESE GUYS WANT
TO RECOVER FROM THE PANDEMIC.
WHICH LEADER DO I THINK IS GOING
TO BE BEST TO DO THAT?
I'LL JUST UNDERSCORE THAT I
REALLY AGREE WITH DAVID'S
ASSESSMENT HERE THAT WHAT THIS
IS ABOUT IS HOW THINGS LIKE AN
EARLY ELECTION CALL, HOW THINGS
LIKE THE DEBATES AND HOW THINGS
LIKE PEOPLE'S VIEWS ON HANDLING
OF THE RECOVERY, HOW THOSE
THINGS TRANSLATE INTO
EVALUATIONS OF THE LEADERS.
AND AT THE END OF THE DAY WHAT
MATTERS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
IS PEOPLE'S VIEWS OF WHICH
LEADER IS GOING TO BE STRONGEST,
BE BEST, MOST CAN APPRECIATE THEIR
OWN CONCERNS WHEN THEY GO INTO
THE BALLOT BOX.
LOOKING THROUGH THAT LENS AS
DAVID HAS IS VERY FRUITFUL FOR
UNDERSTANDING WHY MR. O'TOOLE
FOR EXAMPLE IS REALLY TRYING TO
SOFTEN HIMSELF VIS-A-VIS
PREVIOUS CONSERVATIVE LEADERS.

Text reads, Peter Loewen @PeejLoewen

Steve says, WELL, THAT LEADS ME
TO, I THINK IT WAS ON SESAME
STREET WHERE THEY ONCE HAD THE
LINE, ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT
LIKE THE OTHERS.
AND THAT WOULD BE THE PEOPLE'S
PARTY.
THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT IN THE
MAINSTREAM AND HAPPILY SO AND,
ROBYN, LET ME GET YOU IN ON
THAT.
WE HAVE SEEN SOME POLLING IN THE
LAST FEW DAYS WHICH SUGGEST THAT
THE PEOPLE'S PARTY, MAXIME
BERNIER'S PARTY, HAS REALLY SHOT
UP IN ONTARIO.
THEY'RE AT 11% IN ONTARIO.
AND SIMILARLY WITH FAVOURABLE
NUMBERS IN THE PROVINCE OF
QUEBEC.
HOW DO YOU READ THAT?

Text reads, Polarizing Winds Blowing.

Robyn says, I THINK IT'S
SOMETHING THAT WE IGNORE AT OUR
PERIL AND I SPEAK TO THE
ELECTORATE AND POLITICAL LEADERS
AND THE WHOLE ESTABLISHMENT.
I THINK THERE'S AN INCLINATION TO LOOK
AT, FOR EXAMPLE, SOME OF THE
RALLIES THAT HAVE BEEN TRAILING
THE LIBERAL LEADER ACROSS THE
COUNTRY AND JUST SORT OF CAST
THEM OFF AS A BUNCH OF WHACKJOBS
WHO JUST HATE MASKS AND THEY DON'T WANT
THEIR VACCINES.
BUT THESE NUMBERS ARE REALLY TOUGH TO IGNORE,
AND I THINK WHAT'S PARTICULARLY INTERESTING IS IF
YOU LOOK AT THE POLLING AND
YOU LOOK AT WHERE SOME OF THE
SUPPORT IS COMING FROM, SURE,
THERE'S PROBABLY A LITTLE BIT
THAT'S COMING FROM THE RIGHT END
OF THE CONSERVATIVE BASE,
PERHAPS PEOPLE WHO ARE FEELING A
BIT ALIENATED, AS ERIN O'TOOLE
MOVES CLOSER TO THE CENTRE.
BUT WHAT SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING
MORE PROFOUNDLY IS THE PEOPLE'S
PARTY AND MAXIME BERNIER IS
ENERGIZING A BASE THAT WASN'T
PREVIOUSLY INCLINED TO ENGAGE IN
THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM.
AND THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING TO
SEE AND I THINK WE NEED TO ASK
OURSELVES, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS
PARTY THAT'S APPEALING TO THESE
PEOPLE, IN THE SAME WAY,
FRANKLY, THAT DONALD TRUMP
ENGAGED A SECTION OF THE
ELECTORATE THAT WASN'T REALLY
ENGAGED PREVIOUSLY.

Text reads, Robyn Urback @RobynUrback

Robyn continues, ANOTHER ASPECT THAT'S
INTERESTING TOO IS IF YOU LOOK
AT THE TRAJECTORY OF THE RISE OF
PPC SUPPORT, IT SEEMS TO HAVE
REALLY TAKEN OFF PROBABLY
MID-AUGUST OR SO.
AND WHAT WAS HAPPENING THEN WAS,
WE WERE HAVING ALL THESE TALKS
ABOUT VACCINE MANDATES.
SO, MANITOBA WAS COMING OUT WITH
A PLAN, QUEBEC WAS COMING OUT
WITH A PLAN, IT WAS STILL THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT THAT
POINT, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
WAS SAYING, IF YOU WORK IN THE
FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE OR YOU
WANT TO TAKE A DOMESTIC FLIGHT
OR GO ON A TRAIN WITHIN CANADA,
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE
VACCINATED, AND WHAT WE SAW IS
THAT SUPPORT FOR THE PPC ROSE A
LOT DURING THAT TIME.
SO, I THINK WE'LL HAVE TO SEE
WHETHER THE SUPPORT THAT THE
PARTY IS ENJOYING NOW IS
TRANSIENT OR WHETHER IT'S
SOMETHING THAT COULD STICK
AROUND BEYOND THIS PANDEMIC.
I MEAN, THERE'S ASPECTS OF THE
PPC PLATFORM, AS MUCH AS WE
MIGHT WANT TO CAST IT OFF, THAT
REALLY COULD APPEAL TO
ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT TYPES, PEOPLE
WHO, FOR EXAMPLE, DON'T SUPPORT
SUPPLY MANAGEMENT IN THIS
COUNTRY, WHICH IS A REASONABLE
POSITION TO TAKE; PEOPLE WHO
DON'T SUPPORT INTERPROVINCIAL
TRADE BARRIERS, WHICH IS ANOTHER
REASONABLE POSITION TO TAKE.
MAXIME BERNIER HAS PROMISED TO
BALANCE THE BUDGET, SHOULD HE
BECOME PRIME MINISTER IN HIS
FIRST MANDATE WHICH, I MEAN,
WE'RE TALKING HYPOTHETICAL HERE.
BUT THESE ARE THE SORTS OF
THINGS THAT COULD APPEAL TO
VOTERS BEYOND JUST PEOPLE WHO
VEHEMENTLY REJECT VACCINE
MANDATES AND DON'T LIKE WHAT'S
HAPPENING WITH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT AT THIS POINT.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT COULD
HAVE SOME LONGEVITY SO IT'S
SOMETHING CERTAINLY I THINK WE
NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO
THROUGHOUT THIS ELECTION AND
DEFINITELY BEYOND.

Steve says, DAVID, DO YOUR
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PEOPLE
THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR FOCUS
GROUPS GIVE YOU ANY ADDED
INSIGHT AS TO WHY THE PEOPLE'S
PARTY IN THE LAST FEW DAYS IN
PARTICULAR HAVE STARTED TO
REALLY GO UP IN POPULARITY?

Text reads, David Herle @TheHerleBurly

David says, NO.
NO, THEY HAVEN'T.
I'LL DISCUSS THAT WITH THEM MORE
THIS WEEKEND.
IT REALLY HASN'T COME UP MUCH SO
FAR.
BUT I -- I'M VERY MUCH WHERE I
THINK ROBYN IS, THAT, YOU KNOW,
THERE MAY BE A SMALL PART OF
THIS GROWTH THAT IS A RESULT
OF -- WE CAN'T FORGET THAT ERIN
O'TOOLE HAS DONE A HARD MOVE TO
THE CENTRE FROM HIS LEADERSHIP
CAMPAIGN AND THERE ARE
UNDOUBTEDLY SOME LESLYN LEWIS
AND DEREK SLOAN SUPPORTERS WHO
DON'T SEE THEMSELVES REFLECTED
IN THIS CONSERVATIVE PARTY THAT
HE'S PUTTING FORWARD AND
THEREFORE HAVE MAYBE NAVIGATED
TO THE PEOPLE'S PARTY.
BUT WHEN THE PEOPLE'S PARTY WAS
TALKING ABOUT SUPPLY MANAGEMENT,
IT WAS AT 1.7% OF THE
VOTE.
AND NOW THAT IT'S TALKING ABOUT
THE TYRANNY OF VACCINE MANDATES
AND THE NEED FOR REVOLUTION,
IT'S AT 11% IN THE POLLS IN
ONTARIO.
SO THAT'S REALLY WHAT IS
GALVANIZING IT.
IT'S REALLY AN OUTSIDER,
ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT AND ALL OF
THAT CULMINATES IN VACCINE
MANDATES, LOCKDOWNS, AND
RESTRICTIONS ON PERSONAL FREEDOM
THAT, YOU KNOW, ARE I THINK TIED
UP CULTURALLY -- THESE PEOPLE I
THINK WOULD SIMILARLY BE
REACTING VERY BADLY TO
MR. TRUDEAU AND THE GENERAL
POLITICAL SYSTEM'S POLITICAL
CORRECTNESS AND THE KINDS OF
SOCIAL CHANGES ABOUT WHAT YOU
CAN SAY, YOU CAN'T SAY, YOU CAN
BELIEVE AND CAN'T BELIEVE
ANYMORE.
AND I THINK THAT'S A SIMILAR
TYPE OF PHENOMENON WITH THE
VACCINE, MASK, AND LOCKDOWN
MANDATES.
AND SO, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT
ARE ALIENATED BY THE DIRECTION
THAT CANADIAN SOCIETY IS GOING,
WOULD BE MY TAKE.

Steve says, PETER, CAN WE SAY
THAT THEY ARE SORT OF THE 21ST
CENTURY INCARNATION OF THE OLD
REFORM PARTY?

Peter says, OH, I THINK
THERE'S A LOT OF INSIGHT THERE.
I'LL JUST SAY TWO THINGS ABOUT
IT.
IF YOU MAP PPC SUPPORT ON TO
WHERE THE REFORM PARTY IN
ONTARIO OR THE OLD CONFEDERATION OF
REGIONS PARTY DID WELL IN NEW BRUNSWICK,
FOR EXAMPLE, YOU START TO SEE THAT SOME OF IT
IS THERE.
I SHARE DAVID'S INTUITIONS THAT
THIS IS ABOUT LARGER CULTURAL
FORCES.
AND WHAT I THINK PEOPLE NEED TO
UNDERSTAND IS THAT COVID HAS
NOT BEEN EXPERIENCED EQUALLY
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
BUT LOCKDOWNS HAVE BEEN.
AND VACCINE MANDATES WILL BE.
AND MASK MANDATES HAVE BEEN.
SO, IF YOU GREW UP -- I'M SORRY,
IF YOU GREW UP -- IF YOU LIVE IN
NORTH BAY, IF YOU LIVE IN
SUDBURY FOR THE MOST PART OF THE
PANDEMIC, YOU DID NOT EXPERIENCE
ANY COVID CASES FOR A LOT OF
THAT TIME.
AND YET PEOPLE WERE ASKED TO
MAKE SOME PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL
SACRIFICES DURING PROVINCIAL
LOCKDOWNS.
COVID WAS ISOLATED IN CITIES,
PRINCIPALLY, THERE WOULD BE
FLARE-UPS RIGHT,
BUT WE HAVE TO REALIZE THAT PEOPLE'S RISK/REWARD KIND OF RATIO
AROUND COVID HAS BEEN REALLY
DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE AND
I THINK THAT THERE'S A LARGE
PERCENTAGE OF VOTERS THAT ARE
JUST KIND OF TIRED OF BEING TOLD
THAT THEY HAVE TO MAKE MORE
SACRIFICE IN THEIR LIFE.
YEAH, YOU MAP IT ONTO THIS STUFF
LIKE YOU CAN'T SAY STUFF AND THEY CAN’T
BELIEVE STUFF AND THAT MATTERS
AS WELL,
BUT I THINK THAT THERE IS JUST
SOME REAL FATIGUE WITH COVID
AROUND THIS.
AND FOR THE PRIME MINISTER TO
SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE WHO DON'T
WANT TO KIND OF -- DON'T WANT TO
BE VACCINATED OR DON'T WANT TO
SUPPORT MASK MANDATES OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT ARE SOMEHOW
LESSER THAN OTHER CANADIANS, YOU
MIGHT THINK THAT, OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT THINK THAT,
BUT NO ONE
LIKES TO HEAR THAT IF THEY'RE ON
THAT SIDE OF THAT.
SO, THERE IS SOME BASIS FOR THIS
ANGER, WHETHER IT'S RIGHT OR
NOT.

Steve says, LAURA, IF AND OR
WHEN PEOPLE TUNE IN TO THE
LEADERS' DEBATE LATER ON THIS
EVENING THEY WILL NOT FIND
MAXIME BERNIER ON THE DEBATE STAGE.
HE DIDN’T MEET THE CRITERIA SET
OUT BY THE DEBATE COMMISION EARLIER IN THE CAMPAIGN
BY THE DEADLINE.
HE CERTAINLY HAS MET SOME OF THE
CRITERIA NOW.
HIS POLLING NUMBERS ARE MUCH
HIGHER NOW THAN THEY WERE THEN.
MY QUESTION FOR YOU IS: WOULD YOU HAVE
PREFERRED TO SEE HIM ON THE
DEBATE STAGE SO THAT CANADIANS
COULD SEE HIM GOOD, BAD, OR
INDIFFERENT?

Laura says, THAT'S A
REALLY GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE AT
THE BEGINNING OF THE CAMPAIGN,
WE DIDN'T -- I DIDN'T THINK WE'D
BE HERE.
RIGHT?
I DIDN'T THINK WE'D BE AT THIS
POINT.
AND I CERTAINLY AGREE WITH ALL
THE OTHER PANELISTS ABOUT KIND OF WHAT'S
DRIVING THE SUPPORT FOR
THE PPC RIGHT NOW.
YOU KNOW, AT THIS POINT I WOULD
SAY, YES, IT WOULD BE GREAT TO
HAVE, YOU KNOW, A MORE FULSOME
DISCUSSION WITH BERNIER ON THE
STAGE SO THAT PEOPLE COULD SEE,
WHAT IS HE STANDING FOR EXACTLY
AND WHAT IS COMING OUT?

Text reads, Laura Stephenson @WesternUPoliSci

Laura continues, BECAUSE I GUESS I'M A LITTLE
HESITANT TO THINK THAT THE
SUPPORT WE'RE SEEING IN THE
POLLS FOR THE PPC NECESSARILY
WILL TRANSLATE INTO VOTES.
I'M NOT SURE HOW STABLE IT IS OR
HOW MUCH MORE OF JUST AN ANGRY
STATEMENT IT IS.
BUT I THINK THE POINT HAS ALREADY BEEN
MADE THAT THE PPC DOES HAVE A
PLATFORM, RIGHT?
THEY DO HAVE IDEAS.
AND SO, IT WOULD BE USEFUL, I
THINK, TO BE ABLE TO COMPARE
WHAT BERNIER SAYS TO WHAT OTHERS
SAY.
BUT, YOU KNOW, THE SHIP HAS
SAILED, SO TO SPEAK.
JUST BECAUSE I DON'T THINK A LOT
OF US PREDICTED WE'D BE HERE
TODAY.

Steve says, ALL RIGHT.
WELL, HERE IS WHAT THEY ARE
GOING TO TALK ABOUT AT THE
LEADERS DEBATE LATER TONIGHT.
THE FIVE ISSUES THEY'VE TOLD THE
LEADERS TO PREP UP ON ARE ISSUES
AROUND AFFORDABILITY, CLIMATE
CHANGE, COVID RECOVERY,
LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY,
AND RECONCILIATION.
OKAY, ROBYN, LET ME START WITH YOU ON
THIS BECAUSE I GUESS DURING THE
COURSE OF YOUR COLUMNIZING FOR
THE GLOBE AND MAIL YOU GET A LOT OF
FEEDBACK FROM YOUR READERS AND YOU HAVE A
SENSE ABOUT WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT AND ARE INTERESTED
IN.
DO THESE FIVE GENERAL BUCKETS
COVER WHAT YOU THINK CANADIANS
ARE INTERESTED IN TONIGHT?

Text reads, Leaders, Parties, Ideas and Stuff.

Robyn says, I THINK SO.
I MEAN, THEY'RE BROAD ENOUGH.
LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY,
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? THAT COULD BE ANYTHING.
WE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT
ETHICAL SCANDALS.
WE COULD BE TALKING ABOUT
LEADERSHIP ON FOREIGN POLICY,
LEADERSHIP ON HEALTH CARE WHICH
SORT OF FOLDS INTO OTHER THINGS.
I THINK FOR THE MOST PART WHAT I
HEAR FROM READERS AND I THINK
WHAT THESE PARTIES ARE HEARING
FROM PEOPLE THAT THEY'RE TALKING
TO AT THE DOOR IS IT'S THE SAME
ISSUES THAT PEOPLE CARE ABOUT IN
EVERY ELECTION, REALLY, WHICH
IS, HOW AM I GOING TO TAKE CARE
OF MY KIDS?
HOW CAN MOMS GO BACK TO WORK AND
STILL AFFORD CHILD CARE?
WITH AN ADDED TWIST, OF COURSE,
THIS TIME ABOUT THE PANDEMIC.
WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR HEALTH
CARE?
THERE'S A NEWFOUND APPRECIATION,
DESERVEDLY SO, FOR ALLOCATING
NECESSARY RESOURCES TO SECTORS
LIKE LONG-TERM CARE AND BEEFING
UP OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO THE
EXTENT THAT THAT'S WITHIN
FEDERAL JURISDICTION.
THE INTERESTING TWIST THIS
ELECTION TOO IS HOW FOREIGN
POLICY FACTORS INTO ALL OF IT.
FOREIGN POLICY GENERALLY ISN'T
ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT MOVES
VOTES ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, BUT
I DON'T THINK ANY OF US COULD
IGNORE THAT THE DAY THAT THE
PRIME MINISTER WENT TO THE
GOVERNOR GENERAL TO ASK TO
DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT WAS THE SAME
DAY THAT KABUL FELL TO THE
TALIBAN.
SO, WHAT WE HAD WAS THIS REALLY
BIZARRE SITUATION WHERE WE HAD
HORRIFIC IMAGES OF PEOPLE
GRASPING PLANES AT THE KABUL
AIRPORT AND THEN THE LIBERAL
LEADER IN OTTAWA IN A SUIT
TALKING ABOUT HOW THIS IS THE
MOST CONSEQUENTIAL ELECTION
SINCE 1945.
I DON'T KNOW THAT AFGHANISTAN
AND THE ISSUE AROUND GETTING OUR
INTERPRETERS AND OUR ALLIES OUT
OF THERE HAS STUCK AROUND TO THE
EXTENT THAT PROBABLY THE
CONSERVATIVES WOULD HAVE WANTED
TO.
I DON'T THINK IT'S TOP OF MIND
THE WAY IT WAS A COUPLE OF WEEKS
AGO.
BUT I THINK IT'S STILL A
RELEVANT CONSIDERATION.
SAME WITH THE TWO MICHAELS THAT
HAVE BEEN DETAINED IN CHINA FOR
OVER A THOUSAND DAYS NOW.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S
PERMEATED THE PUBLIC
CONSCIOUSNESS I THINK MORE THAN
FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES TEND TO.
SO, I THINK -- I MEAN, FOR US
POLITICAL NERDS, WE PROBABLY
WOULD HAVE LOVED TO SEE
THAT INCLUDED IN THE DEBATE AS
WELL.
MAYBE IT WILL COME UP A LITTLE
BIT.
BUT I THINK FOR THE MOST PART
THE TOPICS THAT WILL BE
DISCUSSED TONIGHT ARE PRETTY
MUCH WHAT ARE TOP OF MIND FOR
CANADIANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Steve says, WELL, LET ME FOLLOW
UP ON THE CHINA ANGLE WITH DAVID
HERLE, AND THAT IS -- FUNNY, I
GOT AN EMAIL FROM SOMEBODY
EARLIER TODAY SAYING ERIN
O'TOOLE RARELY BUT OCCASIONALLY
BRINGS UP THE ISSUE OF QUOTE,
UNQUOTE, COMMUNIST CHINA.
AND HE'S CLEARLY TRYING TO PUT A
BIT OF A WEDGE BETWEEN WHERE HE
FEELS WE OUGHT TO BE ON CHINA
VERSUS WHERE THE CURRENT PRIME
MINISTER IS ON CHINA.
AND OUR RELATIONS WITH CHINA
HAVE PERHAPS NEVER BEEN WORSE
THAN THEY ARE RIGHT NOW FOR A
WHOLE BUNCH OF REASONS THAT WE
ALL KNOW, ROBYN JUST ENUMERATED
SOME OF THEM.
WHY HAS CHINA NOT BEEN A BIGGER
FACTOR IN THIS ELECTION
CAMPAIGN, AND IN PARTICULAR,
URGED ON BY THE CONSERVATIVES
WHO YOU WOULD THINK COULD MAKE
SOME HAY WITH IT?

David says, I DON'T THINK
ANYBODY'S INTERESTED IN IT.
AND, YOU KNOW, I WOULD JUST TAKE
ISSUE WITH ROBYN.
I HAD A FOCUS GROUP A COUPLE
WEEKS AGO, WE TALKED ABOUT
AFGHANISTAN.
PEOPLE WERE AWARE OF WHAT WAS
HAPPENING.
THEY WEREN'T NEARLY AS CONCERNED
ABOUT THE PEOPLE LEFT BEHIND AS
THE MEDIA COVERAGE WOULD HAVE
SUGGESTED, AND THEY DIDN'T SEE
ANY PARTISAN ANGLE TO IT
WHATSOEVER.
AND THEY THOUGHT THAT THAT WAS
SOMETHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF
CANADA DID, NOT SOMETHING THAT A
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT DID OR A
CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT DID.
SO, IT WAS JUST NOT RELEVANT TO
THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN.
AND I DON'T THINK THE ISSUE WITH
CHINA HAS REALLY PENETRATED THE
PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS EITHER,
ALTHOUGH I THINK IT WILL BE A
BIG DEAL IN THE CHINESE
COMMUNITY IN CANADA, AMONG
CHINESE VOTERS.
THIS ELECTION, PETER'S GOT IT
RIGHT, IT'S ABOUT COVID.
BUT IF IT ISN'T ABOUT COVID,
IT'S ABOUT THE ECONOMY.
AND THE FIRST SECTION ON
AFFORDABILITY AND THE ECONOMY,
THAT'S THE SECTION.
IF SOMEBODY COMES OUT OF THIS
DEBATE, EITHER O'TOOLE OR
TRUDEAU, HAVING CONVINCED MOST
PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE (a),
AGAIN TO BORROW A TERM SOMEBODY
USED, SAFE HANDS TO HANDLE THE
ECONOMY; AND SECOND OF ALL, HAS
SOME EMPATHY FOR WHAT THE
ORDINARY PERSON IS GOING THROUGH
IN TERMS OF THEIR OWN FINANCIAL
PRESSURES AND AFFORDABILITY,
THAT PERSON WILL WIN THE
ELECTION.

Steve says, MY MEMORY ISN'T AS
GOOD AS IT USED TO BE, SO I'M
GOING TO FACT-CHECK YOU ON THIS
RIGHT NOW.
DIDN'T YOU GIVE SAFE HANDS AS A
SLOGAN FOR KATHLEEN WYNNE?
IS THAT WHERE I HEARD IT FIRST?

David says, 2014.

Steve says, OKAY.

David says, 2014.
AND WHEN THE OTHER GUY PROMISES
TO CUT 100,000 JOBS, IT REALLY
WORKS WELL.

Steve says, RIGHT.

Robyn says, IT WAS SAFE
HANDS OR RECKLESS SCHEMES, I REMEMBER THAT.

Steve says, RIGHT ON. OK, SO MY MEMORY ISN'T
AS BAD AS IT OCCASIONALLY IS.
LAURA, LET'S MOVE ONTO THIS
THEN.
IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET
THROUGH AN ELECTION CAMPAIGN
WITHOUT ONE OR MORE PARTIES
PLAYING THE WEDGE ISSUE GAME ON
ONE ANOTHER.
AND WE DID SEE THE LIBERALS COME
OUT, THEY TRIED TO DO A WEDGE ON
ABORTION, THEY'RE TRYING TO DO A
WEDGE ISSUE NOW ON GUNS.
YOU KNOW, IT'S BEEN HAPPENING.
HOW RELEVANT, HOW USEFUL DO YOU
THINK THAT IS IN TERMS OF
HELPING THE ELECTORATE MAKE UP
ITS MIND ON WHERE TO MARK THEIR
X?

Laura says, THIS IS I
THINK THE INTERESTING THING
ABOUT O'TOOLE'S POSITION ON
GUNS.
I HEARD RECENTLY THAT THERE'S
NOW A FOOTNOTE ON THE ONLINE
PLATFORM TO INDICATE THE CHANGE
IN STANCE, BECAUSE I THINK WHAT
VOTERS ARE LOOKING FOR IS
SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN REALLY
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE PARTIES
FOR, RIGHT?
OTHERWISE, IT COMES DOWN TO,
WELL, LEADERSHIP, DEFINITELY, AS
OTHER PANELISTS HAVE SAID.
LEADERSHIP MATTERS.
WHETHER THEY THINK THEY CAN
TRUST SOMEBODY OR THEY THINK
THEY HAVE EMPATHY.
BUT IF THERE'S A SPECIFIC ISSUE
THAT THEY CAN SAY, I DISAGREE
WITH THIS COMPARED TO I AGREE
WITH THIS, THEN THAT REALLY
HELPS THEM TO MAKE THE BIG
DISTINCTION.
I MEAN, THE LIBERALS HAVE BEEN
TRYING, I'M NOT SURE IT'S STICKING.
I HAVE TO BE HONEST.
IT DOESN'T SEEM TO ME THAT
THERE'S A LOT OF CLEAR
DISTINCTIONS THAT ARE HAPPENING
THIS TIME AROUND.
AND SO, IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO
SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE DEBATE
TONIGHT BECAUSE I THINK THIS IS
AN OPPORTUNITY WHERE THE LEADERS
CAN TRY TO CALL EACH OTHER OUT
EVEN MORE SPECIFICALLY AND SEE
IF ANY OF THOSE KINDS OF IDEAS
GET MORE TRACTION.

Steve says, WELL, LET'S SEE IF
THIS HAS SOME STICKING VALUE TO
IT.
I KNOW ERIN KELLY THE POLLSTER
WAS ON OUR PROGRAM A FEW NIGHTS
AGO.
SHE SAID EVERY TIME THERE'S ONE
OF THESE ULTRA-VIOLENT -- I
GUESS BY CANADIAN STANDARDS --
DEMONSTRATIONS WHERE PEOPLE PICK
UP GRAVEL AND THROW IT AT THE
PRIME MINISTER, JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S
POLLING NUMBERS GET A BOOST.
AND PETER, I WONDER FROM YOU IF YOU
THINK THAT UNANTICIPATED THIS
WHOLE "I'M THE CHAMPION OF
DEMOCRACY" AGAINST THIS ANGRY
MOB THAT WANTS TO RIP THE
COUNTRY APART AND DENY SCIENCE,
HAS THIS ISSUE GIVEN TRUDEAU A
VOICE THAT HE DIDN'T EXPECT TO
HAVE FOUR WEEKS AGO?

Peter says, SO MY
INTUITION IS NO, ACTUALLY, AND I
THINK IN THE DEN OF A CAMPAIGN,
CAMPAIGNS CAN TELL THEMSELVES IF
SOMETHING IS WORKING REALLY WELL
AND IN FACT, IT ISN'T.
SO, IF I THINK -- THE ARGUMENT
THAT HAS BEEN MADE IS THAT
MR. TRUDEAU IS STANDING UP
AGAINST THESE BARBARIANS AT THE
GATE WHICH HE ALSO DESCRIBED AS
A SMALL RAG-TAG MINORITY OF THE
POPULATION.
SO, WHAT'S THE THREAT HERE?
HE'S TALKING ABOUT THE NEED TO
DEAL WITH THIS 10% OF PEOPLE WHO
DON'T WANT TO GET VACCINATED.
THEY'RE NOT A THREAT TO HIM
ELECTORALLY.
THEY'RE CERTAINLY QUITE RUDE AND
THEY'RE A THREAT TO HIS RALLIES
AND THERE PROBABLY IS SOME
THREAT OF VIOLENCE THERE, BUT
THIS ISN'T SOMEONE STANDING
AGAINST MOBS AT THE GATE AND
KIND OF HOLDING THEM BACK
AGAINST US.
THE OTHER THING ABOUT THIS IS
THAT NO ONE IS SCARED OF THESE
FOLKS BEYOND MR. TRUDEAU AND I
DON'T THINK HE'S SCARED OF THEM
EITHER FRANKLY.
IT'S NOT THAT HE'S PROTECTING US
FROM THESE FOLKS.
HE CAN STAND UP AND SAY HE'S
GOING TO DEFEND JOURNALISTS.
WHO CARES?
HE CAN STAND UP AND SAY HE'S
GOING TO DEFEND THE VACCINATED
HEALTH CARE WORKERS?
HE’S NOT ACTUALLY MADE IT THROUGH THE CORRIDOR OF A HOSPITAL
SO, I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY ONE WHERE THE
CAMPAIGN IS TELLING ITSELF THAT
THIS IS PLAYING REALLY WELL BUT
I THINK ALL IT'S DOING IS JUST
CROWDING OUT WHATEVER MESSAGE
THEY SHOULD BE TRYING TO DELIVER
ABOUT THEIR POLICY AND WHY
THEY'RE HAVING AN ELECTION
TODAY.
REMEMBER, IF THERE WASN'T AN
ELECTION TODAY, THERE WOULDN'T
BE THESE PROTESTS.

Steve says, DAVID, DO YOU THINK
THEY’VE BEEN A USEFUL FOIL FOR
TRUDEAU?

David says, I REALLY WANT
TO PICK UP ON WHAT PETER SAID BECAUSE LAST WEEK IN THE
FOCUS GROUP WE TALKED ABOUT THIS, AND
I SHOWED PEOPLE A CLIP OF
TRUDEAU IN SUDBURY.
AND THIS WAS A CLIP THAT LIBERALS WERE EXCITEDLY SHARING
AROUND TWITTER.
AND IT WAS WHERE HE REALLY CHANGED HIS APPROACH FROM COMPASSION TO
THE PROTESTORS, TO US
VERSUS THEM AND I’M FIGHTING THEM, AND O'TOOLE SHOULD
BE ASHAMED TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH
THEM AND ALL THAT.
AND I SHOWED THAT TO MY FOCUS GROUP
OF SWING VOTERS AND THEY DIDN'T
LIKE IT AT ALL.
THEY THOUGHT IT WAS HIGHLY
DIVISIVE, INFLAMMATORY LANGUAGE
FOR A PRIME MINISTER TO BE
USING.
THEY THOUGHT HE WAS OVERSTATING
THE THREAT FOR POLITICAL
REASONS.
AND FRANKLY THEY THOUGHT THAT
HIS INITIAL POSTURE OF, LET'S
TRY TO UNDERSTAND THESE PEOPLE
AND AT LEAST RESPECT THEM ON
SOME LEVEL, WAS FAR MORE FITTING
FOR A PRIME MINISTER THAN THE
TONE THAT GOT THE PARTISANS ALL
WORKED UP.

Steve says, INTERESTING.
LAURA, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON IT?

Laura says, I THINK
I'D AGREE ON THAT.
WHAT IS THE DANGER, IS A REALLY
GOOD QUESTION.
I THINK WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE
PPC AND WHO IS BEING DRAWN TO
SUPPORT THAT PARTY RIGHT NOW
AND, I MEAN, I THINK WE'RE
SEEING A LOT OF ANGER, RIGHT, A
LOT OF FRUSTRATION.
AND I WOULD AGREE WITH PETER
THAT I THINK IT DOES COME OUT OF
THE PANDEMIC.
AND SO, WHEN WE SEE THIS KIND OF
BUBBLING OVER, YOU KNOW, FOR ME
IT'S PERSONALLY, IT'S QUITE
WORRYING.
I'M NOT SURE THAT CREATING IT AS
A CONSERVATIVE VERSUS LIBERAL
ISSUE IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT.
I WOULD AGREE WITH THE FOCUS
GROUP PEOPLE THAT THE FIRST
STANCE I THINK WAS THE RIGHT
STANCE Y’KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THE
HIGH ROAD ON THIS AND LET'S TALK
ABOUT CANADIANS AND HOW WE CAN
GET EVERYONE BETTER.
THAT'S CERTAINLY THE LEADERSHIP
STANCE, RIGHT?
IF YOU WANT TO BE SEEN AS A GOOD
LEADER MOVING FORWARD, YOU CAN'T
BE THE LEADER THAT'S ONLY FOR
SOME OF THE PEOPLE.
YOU HAVE TO BE THE LEADER THAT
IS GOING TO BE LISTENING TO THE
VOICES OF ALL CANADIANS,
INCLUDING THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN
SUFFERING AND ARE THE MOST --
I'LL SAY DISGRUNTLED BUT NOT
WITHOUT REASON IN MANY CASES.

Steve says, WELL ROBYN, MAYBE THERE'S
A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WATCHING
THESE DEMONSTRATIONS ON VIDEO
AND ACTUALLY BEING THERE.
BECAUSE YOUR COLLEAGUE FROM THE
TORONTO STAR, SUSAN DELACOURT,
WAS ON THIS PROGRAM A FEW DAYS
AGO IN WHICH SHE SAID SHE WAS
THERE AND IT WAS TERRIFYING AND
SHE DESCRIBED WHAT SHE SAW AS A
DEMOCRATIC MUTATION AND WONDERED
HOW THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THOSE
DEMONSTRATIONS WOULD AT ALL BE
GOVERNABLE GOING FORWARD, THAT
THERE WAS A FURY AND AN ANGER
THAT JUST SEEMED COMPLETELY OUT
OF CONTROL.
DO YOU THINK THIS HAS WORKED
ULTIMATELY TO THE PRIME
MINISTER'S BENEFIT IN AS MUCH AS
HE CAN NOW REALLY SET HIMSELF UP
AS BEING IN SIGNIFICANT CONTRA
DISTINCTION TO WHATEVER IT IS
THEY STAND FOR?

Robyn says, I SORT OF
AGREE WITH WHAT DAVID SAID,
ACTUALLY.
I THINK THE RELEVANCE MIGHT BE
OVERSTATED WITHIN PARTISAN
LIBERAL CIRCLES AND I THINK IT'S
A PROBLEM THAT ALL OF THE
PARTIES TEND TO EXPERIENCE IN
THE MIDST OF AN ELECTION WITHIN
THEIR OWN WAR ROOM.
THEY SORT OF ADOPT THEIR OWN
IDEOLOGY AND THINK IT APPLIES TO
THE WIDER POPULATION, SO THE
LIBERALS MIGHT THINK THAT JUSTIN
TRUDEAU TAKING A STRONG STANCE
AGAINST A VIOLENT ENEMY READS
REALLY WELL AMONG THE PUBLIC AND
THEY JUST SORT OF SHRUG IT OFF
THE SAME WAY THAT IN THE LAST
ELECTION I THINK THE
CONSERVATIVES HAD A REAL PROBLEM
WITH ASSUMING THAT THE REST OF
THE POPULATION JUST HATED JUSTIN
TRUDEAU THE WAY THAT THE
CONSERVATIVES DID.
AND BECAUSE OF THAT, THEY DIDN'T
OFFER MUCH BY WAY OF PLATFORM OR
POLICY OR IDEOLOGY OR OUTLOOK.
THEY JUST KIND OF VILLAINIZED
JUSTIN TRUDEAU AND HOPED THAT
WAS ENOUGH AND OF COURSE IT
WASN'T.
SO, I THINK IT MAY HAVE SEEMED AS
THOUGH JUSTIN TRUDEAU HAD A
GREAT FOIL IN THESE PEOPLE,
PARTICULARLY AT THE BEGINNING
WHEN THE LIBERALS I THINK WERE
REALLY STRUGGLING TO FIND THAT
WEDGE, AS WE'VE MENTIONED.
THEY WENT THROUGH ABORTION.
THAT DIDN'T REALLY WORK.
THEY TRIED VACCINE MANDATES.
THAT HASN'T REALLY WORKED ALL
THAT WELL.
THEY TRIED TWO-TIERED HEALTH
CARE.
THAT HASN'T WORKED.
NOW WE'RE ON TO GUNS.
IT'S A REAL ISSUE ESPECIALLY
WHEN ALL OF THESE THINGS THAT
THEY'RE THROWING AT ANDREW -- AT
ERIN O'TOOLE, HE CAN KIND OF
CALL THEIR BLUFF.
IF THEY CALL HIM ANTI-ABORTION,
HE HAS NO PROBLEM WITH COMING
OUT AND SAYING, "WELL, ACTUALLY,
I'M PRO CHOICE."
I THINK THAT'S BEEN A REAL
STRUGGLE FOR THE LIBERALS
THROUGHOUT THIS ELECTION IS
FINDING THAT WEDGE THAT REALLY
RESONATES.
FINDING A TARGET IN ERIN O'TOOLE
OR EVEN IN THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
TRAILING THE LIBERAL LEADER
ACROSS THE COUNTRY, FINDING A
WAY TO KIND OF CREATE AN
ADVERSARIAL RELATIONSHIP TO
REALLY DISTINGUISH THE LIBERAL
LEADER FROM THAT OPPOSITION, AND
I THINK THEY HAVEN'T QUITE FOUND
IT YET.

Steve says, WELL, HE'S GOT A
CHANCE AT THE DEBATE TONIGHT AND
WE'LL SEE IF IT HAPPENS.
ENJOY THE DEBATE TONIGHT YOU
FOUR.
THANKS TO ROBYN URBACK, PETER
LOEWEN, LAURA STEPHENSON, AND
DAVID HERLE FOR JOINING US ON
TVO TONIGHT.
ALL GOOD WISHES TO YOU GUYS.

David says, THANK YOU.

Robyn says, THANKS.

Text reads, Produced by Wodek Szemberg @wodekszemberg

Watch: How Do Voters Decide?