OTTAWA – A distant boom reverberated across the federal electoral landscape after Nova Scotia voters ousted the Liberals in the provincial government.
But in the federal campaign, the liberals seemed indifferent while the federal conservatives tried to share some of the glory.
And suddenly the political risks, if not the health risks, of launching a federal election pandemic were front and center.
Inflation soared to 3.7% in July, the highest year-on-year increase in the last decade. The liberals’ chosen topic of the day – helping train 1,000 firefighters to fight wildfires in British Columbia – took a backseat to the affordability arguments of the other parties. And the liberals’ handling of sexual misconduct in the military returned to the limelight with the former head of Canada’s vaccine delivery operation showing up at a police station to face a sexual assault charge.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who traveled through three major battlefield regions, Quebec, Ontario and BC, this week in a bid for a third term in power, seized the Nova Scotia outcome as an opportunity to clarify for what is turning to the voters. saying that elections like Nova Scotia underscore that there are real choices to be made.
He used it as a springboard to point out the contrasts with his rivals in childcare, climate change and to make life more affordable for Canadians.
“I think what we saw is that election campaigns are an important time for citizens to choose what direction they want their country, their communities to take,” Trudeau said, speaking in Vancouver.
“That is why in this federal election, options are so incredibly important to Canadians. Will we see the Conservatives take back Canada? Or do we advance for everyone? “He took aim at the conservatives’ promise to repeal the assault weapons ban.
The loss of the provincial liberals could be attributed to a rookie leader of a former ruling party who ran an uninspiring campaign, and to a progressive conservative party that took advantage of voters’ concerns about health care. And it is far from clear that the surprise victory will help the federal Conservative Party. Nova Scotia’s Conservative leader alienated himself and his party during the federal Conservatives campaign.
Conservative federal leader Erin O’Toole acknowledged it, but was encouraged by the result anyway. He said he began his political career and met his wife, Rebecca, while volunteering for the Nova Scotia party years ago.
“It is a different party. Yes. But we have volunteers and common values and I think it is an example of change, ”O’Toole told reporters in Quebec. “So it was a great night for Nova Scotia and an example of how often people will seek change and demand better. And I’m offering it in Ottawa. “
O’Toole highlighted his promise to toughen penalties for ethical violations in government and blamed Trudeau and the NDP for inflation and the high cost of living.
O’Toole said it would “boost our economy to cope with rising cost of living” and give Canadians “a break” by offering a GST holiday on December purchases, saying it is not “restructuring our entire system. financially, he is acknowledging, we need to let families get ahead. “
“That is never going to happen with Justin Trudeau, Mr. Singh, they want to raise taxes, they are the reason there is inflation,” O’Toole said.
Jagmeet Singh, the federal leader of the NDP, said little about the provincial party placing a distant third in Nova Scotia, but said it was a warning at the federal level.
“What we saw in this election was a liberal government that called the elections in the hope of finding a majority that was surprised to lose that completely. And I think that’s a lesson for Justin Trudeau, ”said Singh in Coquitlam, BC.
Singh condemned the pandemic elections as unnecessary, but switched to criticize Trudeau for what he said was an affordable housing crisis. On a photo opportunity, Singh spoke with a young couple who said they would be moving into a smaller apartment, were paying off student loans, and “can’t even imagine” owning a home or starting a family yet because of the cost. of buying a house. .
“We want to make sure people know they have a choice,” Singh said. “They are not stuck voting for a liberal government or Justin Trudeau, who keeps allowing the housing crisis to worsen, who protects wealthy investors. They can vote for a new Democrat who will fight for them and their family. “
Singh said the NDP will impose a 20 percent “foreign buyer’s tax” on the sale of homes to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and will build 500,000 affordable homes in 10 years.
On the fourth day of the federal campaign, Elections Canada outlined the big picture of the complicated logistics to hold a pandemic election.
Elections Commissioner Stéphane Perrault of Canada set the cost at $ 612 million, far more than the $ 506 million it cost to vote in 2019. The additional costs are due in part to the additional precautions that will need to be taken on voting day. , Sept. 20, and advance surveys and the processing costs of up to five million mail-in ballots that Canadians are expected to use this time.
He said the results of those ballots may not be known until a few days after Election Day and defended his decision not to require poll workers to be vaccinated, saying voting can be conducted safely for voters and poll workers with rigorous security measures at the polls. locations on September 20 and during four early election days from September 10-13.
He said Canada’s director of public health, Dr. Theresa Tam, had confirmed that: “It is perfectly safe to vote at a polling place if the proper steps are taken.”
Vaccine policies were also at the center of political attention.
Singh said the NDP would require that a federal employee who refuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 without medical justification be removed from his position.
Trudeau has said unvaccinated travelers will not be allowed to board interprovincial planes and trains, meaning rapid tests will not be an option for them.
And the NDP leader wrote to the federal debate commission to object to the possible presence of the leader of the Popular Party, Maxime Bernier, in any debate.
Bernier, whose party did not have seats and did not obtain four percent of the votes in the 2019 elections, could nevertheless be included if his party obtains “at least four percent of the national votes five days after they are called. the elections, as demonstrated by public voting ”, according to criteria. That period ends on Thursday.
Bernier “has repeatedly disobeyed public health rules designed to protect others from COVID19. He has also clearly stated that he will not be vaccinated against COVID19, ”Singh wrote to Debating Commissioner David Johnston.
“Mr. Bernier has the right to hold these views and express them and can choose not to be vaccinated. However, allowing him a national television platform to spread misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination is simply not acceptable.”
Bloc Québécois leader Yves Blanchet said all of his candidates are vaccinated as he criticized the failure of liberals to close the borders quickly during the pandemic and promised that a new plan would be proposed on the Bloc platform this weekend. .
Ecological leader Annamie Paul, campaigning at the Toronto Center, said her party “encourages” vaccines, but has not supported mandatory vaccines because people doubt or reject them for “medical, religious or cultural reasons.” Like conservatives, he suggested that rapid tests or other measures can be taken to accommodate such people.
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