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Dinner is ready, but the guest list isn’t finalized

By Susan Riley      

But the present can be the worst predictor of the future. Politics is full of shocking reversals, unforeseen calamities and personal revelations straight out of the afternoon soaps.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured in this file photo on the Hill, is at the mid-point of his mandate, and retains a comfortable edge in the polls, but the present can be the worst predictor of the future, writes Susan Riley. The Hill Times photograph by Sam Garcia
GATINEAU, QUE.—At the mid-point of his mandate, Justin Trudeau must be a happy prime minister. He retains a comfortable edge in the polls, he has survived many mostly self-inflicted errors, and, there are no obvious giant killers on the parliamentary horizon. And he keeps winning hearts (if not votes) one selfie at a time.
But the present can be the worst predictor of the future. Politics is full of shocking reversals, unforeseen calamities and personal revelations straight out of the afternoon soaps. In recent years, for instance, death has claimed at least four larger-than-life political players: Jack Layton, Jim Flaherty, Jim Prentice and Jean Lapierre. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, once the saviour of his party, has become a ghost. Other one-time fixtures on the nightly news—John Baird, Jean Charest, Peter MacKay, Christy Clark and Brad Wall, to name a few—have retreated to private life and more profitable pursuits.

In their place, we have relative unknowns. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, until he defines himself more emphatically, seems an odd amalgam of Stephen Harper and Howdy Doody. He spouts Conservative gospel, issues scathing and typically over-the-top criticisms of government, but with almost fawn-like shyness. Not his fault, but the dimples are disarming.

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For whom will the bell toll in Peterborough-Kawartha?

News|By Charelle Evelyn 1:24 PM ET
In a riding where voters are deeply engaged in the political process, candidates avoid the low-hanging fruit and stay out of the mud as they grapple with who to send to the House of Commons.

Singh’s strong campaign an internal win, whatever the outcome, New Democrats say

Jagmeet Singh’s impressive campaign has ‘rescued’ and ‘refocused’ the NDP after the failed 2015 effort, Ed Broadbent says.

The astrophysicist whose polling aggregator is projecting the election

News|By Neil Moss
The mastermind behind 338Canada, poll aggregator Philippe Fournier, is aiming to correctly call 90 per cent of the seats in the Oct. 21 race.

Transition teams must be prepared for ‘unpredictable outcomes’ in minority situation, say former senior bureaucrats

News|By Mike Lapointe
The 'essence of clerkness' is continuity of government, says former PCO clerk Mel Cappe, who says he's 'strongly advised' current PCO clerk Ian Shugart to reach out to Andrew Scheer's team.

What’s your issue? Taxes, climate change, health care top leaders’ campaign pitches this election

The Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and Greens collectively spotlighted tax offers on 17 of 31 days of the campaign, climate change on 15 days, and health care on 11.

Preliminary data shows nearly 3 million tuned in to French debate, more than double 2015’s ratings

The viewership for the Leaders' Debates Commission's French debate was more than double the viewership for the TVA debate, preliminary data shows, and higher than the 2015 French consortium event.

‘It’s definitely in the top quadrant’: election campaign one of dirtiest in recent history, say political insiders

News|By Abbas Rana
This campaign is not defined by any overarching issue, and has become ‘personal’ and ‘ugly’ between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, says pollster and Ipsos president Darrell Bricker.

‘They’re really riled up here’: Conservatives circling Goodale’s lone Liberal seat in Saskatchewan

‘The numbers are holding very closely to what they were last time. It all depends on turnout,’ says the 31-year MP Ralph Goodale. 

Candidates scramble to outperform their competitors in the critical ground game ahead of next week’s election

News|By Abbas Rana
Liberal MP Ken Hardie says his team has set up get-out-the-vote ground operations in the riding to get all his supporters to the polling booths on election day.
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