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By Gloria Galloway (@glorgal)
First Nations issues don't get raised much during federal elections in Canada because, experience shows, First Nations people don't vote - at least not in large numbers.
Perry Bellegarde, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, took some flak from a few chiefs earlier this year for saying that he would be casting a ballot. Some native leaders argue that First Nations people should not vote in any election other than those run by their own local government.
But there is a major push this year to get indigenous people to the polls and both the Liberals and the New Democrats have devoted a chunk of their platform to their issues. The parties have sniped at each other when they have found their opponents' proposals for indigenous peoples to be lacking. And both have sniped at Conservatives for not holding an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
On Wednesday it is NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's turn to put First Nations issues in the spotlight. He and his tour start the day near Edmonton and then travel to Whitefish Bay in Ontario where he will talk about establishing "a new era" in federal-First Nations relations based on a respectful relationship and meaningful progress.
Among other things, the New Democrats say they will create a cabinet-level committee chaired by Mr. Mulcair to ensure that all government decisions respect treaty rights, inherent rights and Canada's international obligations, including the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The NDP also say they would also remove the 2-per-cent funding cap on social transfers to indigenous communities and will try to close the economic gap between the First Nations and non-indigenous Canadians.
DAILY TRACKING FROM NANOS RESEARCH
Nik Nanos: "Two-way race between Liberals and Conservatives continues, NDP nine points back of front runners."
> Conservatives: 32.1 per cent (unchanged from last week)
> NDP: 23 per cent (down 3.3 from last week)
> Liberals: 34.3 per cent (up 2.1 from last week)
> Green: 4.6 per cent (up 0.2 from last week)
> Bloc: 5.1 per cent (up 0.5 from last week)
The margin of error is 2.8 points. Click here for Nanos methodology.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
By Chris Hannay (@channay)
> NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is trying to win over farmers who don't like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
> Inside the race to win over the bellwether Kitchener-Waterloo ridings.
> A re-elected Conservative government would consider banning the niqab for public servants, Stephen Harper said.
> Even though it's past the deadline, the Conservatives have dropped a GTA candidate for his controversial comments about homosexuality.
> Justin Trudeau used an empty stadium to illustrate how many children he said would be lifted out of poverty in Quebec.
TODAY'S ELECTION SIMULATION
The Conservatives win a reduced government of 147 seats, with the Liberals coming back in Ontario to take 118 and the NDP losing much of their Quebec base to win 60. Try your hand at our simulator and find out what could happen if an election were held today.
Overall, the Conservatives currently have a 74 per cent chance of winning the most seats.
WHERE THE LEADERS ARE
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has no itinerary available.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair starts with an event in Enoch, Alta., before travelling to Whitefish Bay and Kenora in northern Ontario.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau begins the day at a Goodwill in London, Ont., before heading to New Brunswick, first in Fredericton in the afternoon and then in Sussex.
The decline over the years in voter turnout makes it more important to understand who is going to actually cast a ballot, since it has major implications for which parties get into power and how pollsters survey the population. Paul Fairie breaks it down.
WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"When the Liberal Party projects deficits a shade under $10-billion for the first two years of a government it would lead, followed by $5.7-billion in the third year and a $1-billion surplus in the fourth, the projections are guesstimates. The party can only surmise that future economic growth will be strong, hope the public money it will invest stimulates economic activity as forecast, and cross its fingers the cuts it will necessarily have to make in government administration plus the elimination of yet-unidentified tax expenditures will balance the budget." - Jeffrey Simpson on the Liberal platform
Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): "The dairy farmers have been bought off to accept what they don't like about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it's not so easy to use money to cover the political repercussions in the auto sector. And that's more of a conundrum for Justin Trudeau than anyone else."
Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail): "Mr. Harper went on television on Tuesday, and said that beyond prohibiting the niqab at citizenship ceremonies, his government would consider trying to ban it for all public employees. And in the process, he demonstrated that when you light this kind of fuse, you can't just walk away from it."
Lysiane Gagnon (Globe and Mail): "Thomas Mulcair is desperately trying to regain momentum and he's seizing an issue dear to the old NDP: the knee-jerk protectionist reaction against free trade."
Sheema Khan (Globe and Mail): "Now, things feel different. I never imagined that the federal government would use its hefty weight to vilify Muslims. Never in 50 years have I felt so vulnerable. For the first time, I wonder if my children will have the opportunity to thrive as I did."
LOOKAHEAD: WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
The election is in 12 days.
This newsletter is produced by Chris Hannay and Steve Proceviat.