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politics briefing newsletter

The shape of Canada’s 44th Parliament is in the hands of voters today as the snap 2021 federal election campaign comes to a close.

The daily diet of news conferences from party leaders is over as Monday’s public agenda is largely focused on photo ops at polling stations. Parties are now spending the last few hours of the campaign working to get their supporters to the polls. While much of the public and media attention during a campaign is focused on the so-called “air war” of messages from leaders, voting day is when the parties can prove the effectiveness of their ground game.

Thousands of volunteers for each party in each riding have spent the past few weeks knocking on doors and working the phones, building up databases that identify their potential supporters. The work of reminding those supporters to cast their ballots can give parties a slight edge if they can be more successful than their competition at encouraging their supporters to turnout. The turnout factor – which can be tied to how motivated voters are for their preferred choice – is one of the main caveats listed by pollsters as they make their final projections.

The Globe and Mail will have extensive coverage of the election results as they come in Monday night, including a live results page. Our Ottawa bureau is covering the party leaders at their election-night headquarters, while Globe reporters in bureaus across the country will provide regional analysis of the results.

For a refresher on where the parties stand on key issues, a platform guide compiled by Globe and Mail staff can be found here.

Hello,

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Filling in today is Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

IT’S NECK AND NECK BETWEEN THE LIBERALS, CONSERVATIVES AS VOTERS HEAD TO THE POLLS: The three major party leaders spent their last hours on the campaign trail Sunday stumping in key battlegrounds, making their final pitches to voters in a short and divisive campaign in which no party has managed to swing momentum its way.

Heading into election day, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are in a dead heat nationally, according to Nanos Research polling released on Sunday.

ERIN O’TOOLE SIDESTEPS QUESTIONS ABOUT CONSERVATIVE PARTY’S NON-DISCLOSURE ON VACCINATIONS: Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the Tories are running a safe campaign during a pandemic, but he is refusing to elaborate on the party’s refusal to release information on the vaccination status of candidates.

During a news conference Saturday in the Hamilton-area district of Flamborough, Ont., Mr. O’Toole faced multiple questions about why the vast majority of Conservative candidates are not disclosing whether they have been vaccinated.

LIBERALS REMOVE TORONTO CANDIDATE IN FINAL DAYS OF CAMPAIGN: The Liberal Party said this weekend it would remove a candidate after a dropped sexual assault charge against him was revealed, as leader Justin Trudeau campaigned in the Greater Toronto Area as part of final get-out-the-vote efforts.

IN PITCH TO PROGRESSIVES, JAGMEET SINGH TOUTS CLIMATE PLAN, COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AS ELECTION DAY LOOMS: In a final push to win seats in Western Canada, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Saturday stopped in five cities in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., where the party hopes ridings could flip orange in Monday’s federal election.

LEADERS

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will vote Monday morning in the Montreal riding of Papineau, where he is seeking re-election.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will vote in Bowmanville, Ont., Monday morning, where he is seeking re-election in the riding of Durham. The Conservative Party’s election night headquarters is at a community centre in Oshawa, where Mr. O’Toole will speak late Monday to comment on the results.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, where he is seeking re-election.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has a busy public schedule Monday, with stops to support Bloc candidates in Saint-Hubert, Châteauguay and the Montreal area. He will be at the Bloc’s election-night headquarters in Montreal to watch the results come in.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul has already voted by mail, but has a morning photo op at her campaign headquarters in the riding of Toronto Centre, where she is seeking to unseat the Liberal incumbent, Marci Ien.

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is in Saskatoon, for election night, even though he is running as a candidate in the Quebec riding of Beauce.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) writes that party leaders didn’t offer much in the way of inspiration or incentive this federal election: “After 18 months of pandemic and everyday talk about what parts of life have changed forever, you would think that a national election campaign would have featured politicians making compelling cases about the direction for the country through a crisis and beyond.

Yet as voting day 2021 arrives, that’s the thing that’s still missing. This was a campaign where party leaders focused so much on why you shouldn’t vote for the other candidate that they largely neglected to provide a good reason to vote for them. In a sense, they have left voters alone to find one.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) writes that this was no ordinary election, but perhaps not ‘important’: “If the polls are to be believed, we have all just wasted five weeks of our lives. An election that, in law, should never have been called, the reason for which has never been adequately explained, limped through a listless campaign on track to producing a Parliament remarkably like the one it was supposed to replace. The “most important election since 1945,” according to Justin Trudeau, might as well never have happened.”

Lynne Groulx (Globe and Mail contributor and chief executive officer of the Native Women’s Association of Canada) writes that Indigenous issues are, in fact, pivotal in this election: “There has been a collective awakening and a call to consciousness happening in Canada. Indigenous people are no longer a small group fighting on their own. Others have joined us in numbers large enough to have an impact on the outcome of this election.

Political leaders would be wise to pay attention to that awakening, both before and after election day. Otherwise, they may very well find themselves seated in their living rooms watching parliamentary debates, rather than participating in them.”

The Globe and Mail editorial board on the importance of voting: “In an election that seems likely to produce another minority government, every seat will be critical. And, consequently, so will every vote.

Before the campaign began, an Elections Canada survey found that 67.8 per cent of eligible voters said they were certain to cast a ballot, if the conditions were right. And an estimated 5.78-million electors voted at advance polls last week – a record number, and an 18.5 per cent increase over 2019.

The record-setting turnout at advance polls shows that, despite the challenges, our fellow citizens are eager to exercise their democratic rights. If you haven’t voted yet, then Monday, Election Day, is your last chance.”

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