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Is a leadership race ever truly over?

Robert Fife and Janice Dickson, of The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau, report today that there has already been some jockeying in Conservative circles to line up Peter MacKay as a potential leadership contestant if Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer does not become prime minister after the Oct. 21 election.

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Mr. MacKay, who sat out the 2017 leadership race that Mr. Scheer won, would be a top contender if he did throw his hat in the ring. He was an MP for nearly 20 years, the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party and a top cabinet minister for a decade under Stephen Harper.

Mr. MacKay told The Globe that he still stands by Mr. Scheer’s leadership and that his current campaigning activities are all in support of getting the Conservatives into government in this election.

Mr. Scheer, if he loses the election, would be up for a mandatory leadership review next year. (Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will also face a party leadership review if he loses the election and does not resign.)

Still, while the Conservatives are behind in today’s Nanos poll, there’s still time for things to change. The party is set to finally release their full platform tomorrow afternoon.

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DAILY TRACKING OF PUBLIC OPINION

  • Liberals: 37 per cent
  • Conservatives: 33 per cent
  • NDP: 14 per cent
  • Green: 8 per cent
  • Bloc Québécois: 5 per cent
  • People’s Party: 2 per cent

Analysis from Nik Nanos: “With only four points between the Liberals and the Conservatives neither front-runner has a strong upper hand in #ELXN43.”

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The survey was conducted by Nanos Research and was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV. 1,200 Canadians were surveyed between Oct. 7 and 9, 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 https://tgam.ca/election-polls.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

Today on the campaign trail: It’s a quiet day as leaders prepare for tonight’s French-language debate, from 8 to 10 p.m. ET, at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. Mr. Scheer and Green Leader Elizabeth May are staying inside to prep. Mr. Trudeau visited a pumpkin patch just outside Ottawa. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a press conference where he said he will be aiming at the Liberals in tonight’s debate.

Elections Canada denies it gave permission to the Conservative Party to use an ad agency co-founded by their campaign manager, Hamish Marshall, while the company also did work for a prominent pro-oil group. Elections Canada rules prohibit collusion between political parties and non-political interest groups. Mr. Scheer said yesterday that the agency had cleared the possible conflict of interest, but Elections Canada says it was just giving some general advice – not making a ruling.

The Liberal Party has been outspending all its rivals on Facebook, and has run nearly two-thirds of all the political ads bought by parties on the social-media platform.

Liberal candidate Judy Sgro, who has previously served as immigration minister, has apologized for saying in a radio interview that “those in the black community have told me that how much more love they have for the prime minister that he wanted to have a blackface.” Her comments come after photos last month revealed that Mr. Trudeau had worn blackface at least three times up until 2001. Mr. Trudeau, and now Ms. Sgro, say they now recognize those actions were racist.

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The Bloc Québécois says its candidates who have posted anti-Islam messages or expressed support for far-right groups “share the Bloc Québécois’ values and platform.” The party says it will leave it up to “voters to judge” the candidates. The Bloc, which supports the Quebec law banning some public servants from wearing religious symbols, has been on the rise in polls taken in recent weeks.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has confirmed he was approached by the Speaker of the province’s legislature about improper spending by top staff before it came to public light, but did not want to get involved with the issue and left it to his chief of staff. “Out of an abundance of caution, I said, ‘Don’t talk to me about this,’” Mr. Horgan said Wednesday.

And it’s a new movement among those highly concerned about climate change: pledging not to have children unless humanity comes to grips with how to solve the potentially disastrous global problem. “There’s a lot of thought that goes into something like this, especially for people who really did want to have children,” said Alysia Boudreau, a 26-year-old in Nanaimo, B.C. “People are not taking this lightly. It’s not hysterics.”

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the fiscal gaps in the Conservative promises: “Before the election campaign, Mr. Scheer ditched his promise to balance the federal budget in two years, saying it will take five. But he has since made promises that would make the deficit bigger – unless he identifies billions in spending cuts or new taxes. As it stands now, Mr. Scheer’s platform would not lead to a balanced budget in five years, in 2024-25 – not even close.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on energy in the election: “Now the major parties are treating the sector like an embarrassing uncle who showed up drunk to Thanksgiving dinner – barely tolerated by some, scolded by others, but mostly ignored in the hopes he’ll just pass out and leave everyone alone. This for an industry that, even after its slump of the past several years, is still responsible for roughly 20 per cent of Canada’s exports. It produces about 9 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. It directly employs more people than the entire population of Prince Edward Island. This industry, whether it embarrasses you or not, is still a big deal.”

Hugh Segal (The Globe and Mail) on politicians keeping their promises: “Being specific about investments on climate change and emission control, on the one hand, while leaving details on the needed investment on poverty reduction to some future federal/provincial negotiation on the other, as the Green Party has done, is both unfair and illogical. When political parties evade implementation clarity before an election, despite sweeping promises and brave commitments, they fuel public cynicism and lower voter turnout.”

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Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney campaigning in the federal election: “Mr. Kenney lives and breathes politics to an extent few human beings can contemplate. It’s not Mr. Scheer’s fault if Mr. Kenney’s outsized presence and personality might only serve to remind voters that the current federal Conservative Leader seems, well, rather bland and boring. He sure doesn’t seem to revel in taking the fight to his rivals the way Mr. Kenney does.”

Jacqueline Hansen (Maclean’s) on the discussion of gender issues in the election: “Thank you, party leaders, for not re-opening the abortion debate, even though there’s been no groundswell of public support calling for this debate to be re-opened. If you do want to debate sexual health, the real issue is the lack of consistent access to comprehensive sex-ed and sexual health services including abortion, across Canada.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why turnout will matter so much in this election: “Since the Conservative vote has been stable for two elections, and since there has been no Tory surge in the polls, we can reasonably predict that the Conservatives will get the same level of support this time out. Whether those ridings turn Conservative or remain Liberal will depend on whether the voters who came out to vote for Mr. Trudeau in 2015 come out again.”

Christie Blatchford (National Post) on Liberal candidate Judy Sgro’s comments: “Actually, the comments were not insensitive. They were preposterous, almost certainly untrue, and condescending, in that Sgro, a white woman of 74, was purporting to speak for a diverse array of visible minorities, all of them quite able to speak for themselves without a self-appointed interpreter.”

Maya Wang (The Globe and Mail) on another way the Hong Kong protests could have gone: “Imagine if, after people went on the streets in 2014 in a months-long peaceful protest known as the “Umbrella Movement,” the Chinese government had granted Hong Kong universal suffrage – a right people are entitled to under the city’s functional constitution, the Basic Law. People would have had the chance to vote and to run for office. One can imagine that many of the teenagers demonstrating extraordinary civic commitment could have expressed their political passions in the democratically elected legislature rather than the city’s seething streets.”

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