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politics briefing newsletter


Last night’s only official English-language debate was a little chaotic, to say the least. The format – with six leaders, five moderators and multiple questions from voters across a variety of topics – led to no clear winner, but no clear loser either. Party leaders mostly recited pre-prepared one-liners at one other with varying amounts of crosstalk.

Leaders, no doubt with a sigh of relief, are already back out on the campaign trail where they have more control about what they want to talk about. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was up first this morning, in Markham, Ont., where he announced that a government led by him would provide funding to two transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is making an announcement about affordability in downtown Toronto. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is visiting Iqaluit today to make a climate-change announcement and meet with elders. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is in Montreal and campaigning with star candidate Pierre Nantel.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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.


Have questions about the election? We have three Globe and Mail editors and reporters who are ready to talk. Join me (Chris Hannay), parliamentary reporter Janice Dickson, and political feature writer Adam Radwanski on a call to discuss the people, policies, and platform points making news this election. Today at 2 p.m. ET. Register today for call-in details.


  • Liberals: 35 per cent
  • Conservatives: 35 per cent
  • NDP: 14 per cent
  • Green: 10 per cent
  • Bloc Québécois: 5 per cent
  • People’s Party: 1 per cent

Analysis from Nik Nanos: “Prolonged deadlock between the Conservatives and Liberals continues as Trudeau and Scheer fight for the hearts and minds of Canadians.”

The survey was conducted by Nanos Research and was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV. 1,200 Canadians were surveyed between Oct. 5 and 7, 2019. The margin of error is 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at


One of the most important jobs of a government is handling the public purse, deciding what services to cut, which to grow, and how and who to tax. Bill Curry, our finance reporter in Ottawa, has broken down all the tax and budget promises of the major parties. You can read his explainer here. The Globe has produced a number of other policy briefs, on housing, on immigration, on climate change, and on pharmacare.


Climate-change activists involved with the global Extinction Rebellion movement are staging a second day of protests in cities around the world. In London, where the activists held up traffic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson colourfully referred to the protesters as “unco-operative crusties.”

The Trump administration has barred the U.S. ambassador to the European Union from testifying at a House impeachment inquiry, looking into President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukraine. The House committee, led by a Democratic majority, are investigating allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to investigate the business dealings of his political rival Joe Biden and Joe’s son Hunter Biden in Ukraine. Texts from the envoy to the EU, Gordon Sondland, are part of the evidence the committee has released.

And Turkey says it’s ready to launch a full military assault into northeast Syria, after U.S troops began to withdraw from the region. The Turkish moves were cleared with the U.S. ahead of time, but after Mr. Trump began to receive concern from fellow lawmakers, he publicly warned that he would “destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if they do anything he considers “off limits.”

Globe and Mail editorial board on the debate: “What did voters learn from the one (and, sadly, only) official English-language debate? That on a stage crowded with six leaders, five moderators, five topics and a choreography that got ever tighter as two hours raced through the hourglass, it wasn’t easy for any leader to make a mark.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the debate: “But to this observer, if anyone owned the night, it was NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who offered a pitch-perfect positive message while somehow managing to shut down every voice raised against him. More than once, chaos reigned on stage, with leaders speaking over each other, leading to gibberish. Then Mr. Singh would calmly intervene, with his word the last one.”

Christie Blatchford (National Post) on the debate: “I missed a Leaf game for this?”

Pam Palmater (Maclean’s) on the election and Indigenous communities: “There is good reason why First Nations have traditionally resisted voting in Canadian elections. Regardless of who First Nations vote for in any federal election, their voice makes no actual difference.”

Roy Stewart and Derek Simon (CBC) on the human rights tribunal decision on Ottawa letting down Indigenous children in welfare services: "All of this could have been avoided if successive Conservative and Liberal governments had done what they should have done in the first place: funded these services properly so that more Indigenous kids could grow up in their families and communities. Inaction, like action, has consequences. In this case it has had serious consequences for Indigenous children, families and communities. Canada must take responsibility for that. "

Bessma Momani (The Globe and Mail) on the fallout in Syria: “The situation of Syrian refugees is still a massive and important issue, even if the world has stopped paying attention to it and the states that are hosting them. Indeed, Mr. Erdogan claims that he wants to take over the territorial buffer along the Syrian-Turkish border in order to create safe zones, where Turkey can repatriate some of the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. There are still millions of Syrian refugees scattered across the Middle East, especially in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Nearly half of Lebanon’s population consists of Syrian refugees. In parts of Northern Jordan, refugees make up half of the urban population. The associated spike in costs such as schooling, waste collection, electricity and clean water have overwhelmed neighbouring countries. Recent weeks of protests in Beirut, Amman and Baghdad were largely spurred by poor socio-economic situations."

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