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Hours before tonight’s French-language leaders debate, the Conservative Party announced they would release their costed platform – a move likely to have an impact on the two-hour event as rival party leaders weigh in.
The Liberals released a costed platform on Sept. 1 while the NDP, Greens and Bloc Québécois have not said when they will release theirs.
On Wednesday, party leaders were largely behind closed doors preparing for the evening debate, which offers leaders a last opportunity to appeal to Quebec voters after last week’s TVA debate.
Tonight’s two-hour debate, which begins at 8 p.m. ET, will be followed Thursday night by an English-language debate that begins at 9 p.m. ET. Both are being convened by a consortium of broadcasters, and will be held at the Museum of Canadian History in Gatineau, Que.
Details on where and how to listen to both debates are available here.
The French-language debate will cover five themes: climate, the cost of living and public finances, Indigenous peoples as well as cultural industries and cultural identity, justice and foreign policy, and the pandemic and health care. The moderator will be Patrice Roy of Radio-Canada, with journalists Hélène Buzzetti (Les coops de l’information), Guillaume Bourgault-Côté (L’actualité), Paul Journet (La Presse) and Marie Vastel (Le Devoir) also participating. Journalist Noémi Mercier (Noovo Info) will facilitate segments, including questions asked by members of the public directly to the party leaders.
Unlike the recent TVA debate, tonight’s debate will include Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. However, Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, failed to meet the criteria established for participation by the independent leaders’ debate commission.
Ms. Paul’s predecessor Elizabeth May has been in this spotlight before, having participated in two previous sets of debates.
“They’re never anything but nerve-wracking,” Ms. May said in an interview. “It’s high stakes. You want to basically make a favourable impression under incredibly intense circumstances.”
Ms. May said she never prepared, as is conventional, with mock debates in which other people pretend to be the party leaders, nor went into the debates with prepared witty “zinger” lines, but rather approached the experience like an exam, studying all her files. “This may not be a winning strategy, because I am not prime minister.”
Hamish Telford, an associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, said the debate will likely generate clips that will be replayed on social media, helping voters draw conclusions about the proceedings.
“That’s one of the reasons why they talk over each other, to try and prevent the other person from getting memorable lines out,” he said.
SAFE HOUSES OPERATING - A network of safe houses for interpreters in Kabul is still operating to keep people out of the hands of the Taliban until they can be evacuated, but limited resources and the Canadian government’s response continue to make the situation uncertain.
O’TOOLE PROMISES VACCINATED HEALTH MINISTER - Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he would appoint a health minister who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if his party forms government, despite not requiring his candidates to be vaccinated.
LPC TAX PLAN IMPACTS SHARES - A Liberal Party campaign pledge to raise taxes on large banks and insurers is weighing on the share prices of large financial institutions and creating uncertainty for investors expecting a windfall from bumper profits the sector has earned so far this year.
SAFETY CONCERNS COMPROMISE DEBATE - A live election debate in Dawson Creek, B.C., that was supposed to take place this week has been cancelled over safety concerns amid rising conflict over COVID-19 mandates. (CBC) Story here.
GREENS FACE B.C. CHALLENGES - In British Columbia, the Greens face a slide into obscurity that could benefit the NDP in a few critical races, and complicate Liberal ambitions. Story here, from The National Post.
All major national leaders have one key commitment today, namely participating in the French-language leaders’ debate.
ELECTION SPOTLIGHT - NUNAVUT
1 Seat. At dissolution of Parliament, 1 NDP.
Corey Larocque, managing editor of the Nunatsiaq News
“At a time when Canadians are encouraging more women to run for office, we already know Nunavut’s next MP will be a woman. The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all have female candidates in the three-way race to represent Canada’s geographically biggest riding. Nunavut should be seen as “up for grabs.” In a tight national race, it’s an open seat in a riding that has picked an MP from three different parties over the past 10 years.
“It’s a wide-open race because New Democrat Mumilaaq Qaqqaq announced in May she would not seek re-election to the seat she won in 2019.
“Qaqqaq became a high-profile MP partly due to her House of Commons farewell speech in which she said that as an Inuk woman, she felt she never belonged in Parliament, never felt safe there and that she had been racially profiled by Parliament Hill security. Earlier in 2021, she got into a war of words on Twitter with Labrador MP Liberal Yvonne Jones over Jones’ “Inuk-ness.” In the month leading up to the election, the government paid a lot of attention to Nunavut; cabinet ministers Marc Miller, Catherine McKenna, Ahmed Hussen and Dan Vandal all made government funding announcements in Iqaluit.
“Housing – a perennial issue in the North – is a hot-button issue, partly due to Qaqqaq’s efforts to raise awareness of what she called “deplorable” housing conditions in a report she prepared earlier this year.
“As of Sept. 6, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is the only party leader to visit Nunavut during the campaign. About 100 people turned out to a speech in which he pledged a Liberal government would add $360-million to housing in the North.
“In the past 10 years, the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives have all held the Nunavut riding. Former MPs Hunter Tootoo and Leona Aglukkaq were cabinet ministers in the governments of Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, respectively.”
Together with CTV and Nanos Research, The Globe and Mail is doing daily surveys to track which party and leader Canadians prefer. Read more here.
MANDATORY VACCINATION POLL - New data from the Angus Reid Institute finds rising support for mandatory vaccinations to enter public spaces, with support for proof of vaccination now a majority opinion in both Alberta and Saskatchewan despite opposition to vaccine passport systems by Premiers Jason Kenney and Scott Moe. Details here.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Justin Trudeau as the Liberal campaign’s biggest asset, turned into its greatest liability: “There is that brief pause Justin Trudeau often takes before launching into his reply to a reporter’s question, followed by a little nod, an intake of breath, and a stock opening like, “Canadians expect their government to …” Some Canadians will watch it and give it a mental thumbs-up. Others never could stand Mr. Trudeau, anyway. And some large number of Canadians will roll their eyes even when they half-agree with what he says. It’s that last portion who are making this election campaign a bigger challenge than the Liberals expected. Justin Trudeau is the Liberal campaign’s biggest asset, and its biggest liability.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why Maxime Bernier and his noxious views should be at the leaders’ debates: “There are two weeks to go until the election, but already it’s possible to declare a winner. Not the Liberals, who are down about six points in the polls since the start of the campaign. Not the Tories, whose gains to date are only enough to bring them back to where they were in 2019. The NDP have mostly gone sideways, the Bloc has slipped a little, while the Greens have lost a third of their support. No, the early winner is the People’s Party of Canada, otherwise known as the Max Bernier Experience. At roughly 5 per cent (some polls have them as high as eight), support for the Peeps is half again as high as it was at the start of the campaign, and three times what it was in the last election. They are now clearly ahead of the Greens, and within striking distance of the Bloc. This is an appalling development.”
Camellia Wong (contributor to The Globe and Mail) on how Elections Canada’s cancellation of on-campus voting program fails Canadian democracy: “My experience isn’t unique. Voting is a habit, like drinking your morning coffee or brushing your teeth. Decades of research shows that when our democracies engage young people early we can create entire generations of lifetime voters, just like me. Since the 2019 election, more than 800,000 young Canadians have become eligible to vote for the first time. In this election, many of them should have been offered opportunities to vote on their postsecondary campuses. But, to the detriment of our country’s democracy, Elections Canada has cancelled its Vote on Campus Program this year.”
Michael Wernick (Policy Options), former Privy Council clerk, on how politicians need to be honest about what’s on the table when it comes to their spending plans: “Political parties don’t like to talk about spending cuts – except perhaps to insinuate that the other parties have some hidden agenda. They try to project to voters that they can be trusted to manage the finances of the federal government, but details will always be sketchy. Campaign promises tend to be specific about shiny new programs, and occasionally about the reversal of measures the previous government took. But, generally, political parties are very vague on how to get to fiscal targets. Every party platform should end with the warning: “Check against delivery.” To paraphrase the misquoted remark attributed to Kim Campbell, an election is not seen as a great time to discuss serious matters. But Canadians should start asking for more clarity during the current campaign.”
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