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Debt, deficit ‘not ballot booth issues’ for most Canadians: pollsters

Unlike in the last election, none of the major party leaders has promised to try and balance the budget within a four year mandate during this campaign.
'There may well be a message to this to the main parties, that slagging each other will only take you so far,' says Greg Lyle, whose own polling also suggested earlier this month that negative messaging was one of the best strategies available to the Conservatives and the Liberals, as they sought to pull supporters of small parties into the fold.
There's no clear front-runner, no overarching election issue, and both major national party leaders are taking personal shots at each other in what has become ‘personal’ and ‘ugly’ between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, says pollster and Ipsos president Darrell Bricker. It's a dirty 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.
News|Neil Moss
Catherine McKenna's 'tenure in environment would have prepared her well for any other kind of responsibility the prime minister may assign,' says former environment minister Jean Charest.
News
Democracy Watch says Governor General should speak with all party leaders before deciding who can try forming government, but Emmett Macfarlane says the confidence convention is the 'linchpin of the parliamentary system.'
'If anybody should've won a majority, it should've been Trudeau. He didn't, and it's his to wear,' says CBC columnist Neil Macdonald of the Oct. 21 election results.
In many ways the incoming Parliament looks quite similar to its predecessor, with 240 returning MPs, the same number of MPs who are Indigenous or a visible minority, and 10 more women.
High voter turnout in the National Capital Region demonstrates public servants 'must be doing their civic duty,' says PIPSC president Debi Daviau.
Almost 4.8-million Canadians voted at advance polls this year, according to Elections Canada estimates, a roughly 30.6 per cent increase over 2015, accounting for roughly one-quarter of all ballots cast this election.
News|Neil Moss
'I’m so relieved,' Catherine McKenna said, about continuing with the Liberal climate change plan.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.
As many as nine per cent of progressive voters could vote strategically in this close election potentially affecting the outcome in more than 100 ridings, says Innovative Research president Greg Lyle.
Opinion
The election ushered in what is certain to be a period of uncertainty and discord unseen in Canada for years.
Opinion|Tim Powers
For most of the campaign, Trudeau and Scheer were painful to watch and listen to. Talking point, after talking point targeting different segments of voters. Political marketing is killing originality and neutering personality.
Opinion|Erica Ifill
Despite any positive outcomes, we’re stuck with the same-old prime minster, who uses the same-old parlour tricks to get us to vote for him.
If you want someone who says he can both cut taxes and increase spending, then Justin Trudeau is your man, writes Michael Harris.
Election Tools
News and Opinion

‘Worst debate format in the history of Canadian TV debates’: English-language debate failed to inform Canadian voters, say politicos

Over the course of two hours, six federal party leaders jostled for air time, strained to be heard, and clamoured to squeeze in their talking points in segments that sometimes had little to do with the topic raised. 
Here’s an analysis of the near-record 1,700-plus candidates running for the six major parties this election.
Parties have been pitching promises that directly appeal to the preoccupations of millennial voters, who represent the largest voting bloc in this election.
Opinion|Greg Lyle
In 2019, 37 per cent of Canadians strongly agree that it is time for a change in government. In 2015, this number was 57 per cent.
Anyway, what’s happened in this election should be a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about making a career in politics. Mistakes you make now in 2019 could hurt you in 2030.
News
Traditional media commentary simply can’t go into the same kind of detail around policy developments and election campaign developments as podcasts, says David Herle.
From Rihanna's follow to Obama's endorsement of Trudeau to Time Magazine's brownface scoop, here are some highlights from the 40-day campaign.
The Conservative's candidate, Justin McCaffrey, has skipped two events, including a debate on the environment, intended to feature all candidates. Conservative strategist Tim Powers, who is also vice-chairman of Summa Strategies, says avoiding debates is 'kind of standard Conservative strategy.'
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.
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.
News|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.
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.
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.
Opinion
Opinion|Stanley Tromp
In this 2019 federal election campaign, Canadians should insist upon answers from all the candidates.
Opinion|Rose LeMay
The horror is the Liberals' decision to refuse to change their ways and the Conservatives stating they would do the same. The fact is that a request for a procedural delay until after the election was the obvious choice. An ethical choice.
Election 43 should be known as the Election of Ignorance for the lack of vision, lack of leadership, and a lack of accountability. If this is the best Canada has to offer, we’re effed.
Opinion|Susan Riley
Monday’s outcome will be a verdict on the shameless brand of Trumpian politics that crept into this campaign. Does it work, or does a fair-minded, open-hearted, slow-to-judgment country assert itself and say 'enough'?
Polling
Opinion|Greg Lyle
The NDP's decline and the Conservatives' piling up of votes in their strongholds has the Liberal Party in a strong position to protect or even add seats in the election, writes pollster Greg Lyle.
But pollster Frank Graves says the upcoming election will be about a choice between the Liberal vision of an ‘more open Canada’ and the Conservative Party’s vision of a ‘more ordered type of Canada.’ Either way, he says, the country is divided and there's no outcome that will make most Canadians happy.
Opinion|Greg Lyle
The Grits are vulnerable on several issues, but more Canadians feel close to the Liberal Party than any other, says the pollster.
Despite 74 per cent of respondents expressing support for deeper emissions reductions, only 36 per cent of respondents were in favour of the levy.
News and Opinion

‘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 Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the 31-year House MP. 
'Does that create a legitimacy question, for Trudeau to combine with Singh, or not? There’s no legal impediment to it, there’s no constitutional impediment to it,' says former CBC Parliament Hill bureau chief Elly Alboim.
With a campaign that has been 'characterized by bickering' and personal attacks, and less about policy, turnout doesn’t appear poised to hit the same levels as the last election, says pollster Nik Nanos.
Once viewed as a three-way race, Burnaby North-Seymour is now seen as a tight, two-way contest between the rookie Liberal incumbent and his experienced NDP challenger.
With former Liberal Raj Grewal not in the running after his gambling scandal, the NDP are mounting a fierce campaign in party leader Jagmeet Singh’s home turf.
News
With just two weeks out from election day, six federal party leaders who have a shot at claiming a seat come Oct. 21 took to the stage Monday evening to make their pitch to voters in the English-language debate.
A robust mental health policy promise could help sway millennial and female voters, polls show. Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice-president at Ipsos, says a robust policy promise on mental health could go a long way in shoring up support among those sub-groups, specifically young adults.
Former Liberal Party adviser Sheamus Murphy says the challenge for the Conservatives in this campaign is that people who voted for Doug Ford 'may not be feeling like they’re getting what they voted for.'
News|Neil Moss
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the Democrats are 'making progress' in negotiations with the White House over the new trade pact.
Polls show the sovereigntist party fighting for second-place in Québec behind the Liberals.
'Every pollster, any campaign strategist, everybody is watching the same thing which is how those ridings go,’ says Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker.
Conservative candidate Justina McCaffrey and People's Party candidate Scott Miller are not expected to participate in an all-candidates debate on the environment in Kanata-Carleton. Mr. Miller, in a debate last week, said 'there is no climate crisis.'
As party leaders continue to criss cross the country in the campaign, ridings they are hitting up show nobody can overestimate their hold on a region, say strategists.
In Vancouver Granville, the race is heating up between Independent incumbent Jody Wilson-Raybould and her Liberal challenger, who's raising the spectre of a Conservative government to draw votes.
Opposition leaders are likely to go after Justin Trudeau for his past use of blackface in the leaders' debates to come, which 'could get interesting,' says Greg Lyle, depending on how the Liberal leader reacts.
PIPSC president Debi Daviau says her union will work with whoever forms government, but that any effort to change recent provisions 'un-muzzling' federal scientists would have to be pried from her 'cold, dead, fingers.'
News|Neil Moss
Conservative MP Karen Vecchio and Conservative candidate Liz Snelgrove say the Saudi Arabia arms sales review hasn't been a campaign issue in London.
Opinion
Opinion|David Crane
Our next government must address the big challenges of economic growth, innovation, and productivity, environmental sustainability, including climate change, and economic and social equity. The road to success will be highly disruptive and could also be highly divisive.
Consistently spending beyond government revenues, with the expectation that it will be paid off in the future, has a real impact on generational equity. It has the effect of unduly benefiting current generations at the expense of future generations.
Opinion|Sheila Copps
I never was much of a tweeter until earlier this year, when another columnist accused me of taking my marching orders from the Prime Minister’s Office. The attacks were in the Twittersphere, so I decided to fight fire with fire. Like everyone, I am anxiously awaiting the Monday's election outcome. And on Monday evening, I am taking a break from that vicious medium, Twitter.
With elections being messed with in ways democracies are just beginning to fight, maybe protecting the process itself should be the ballot question.
In spite of the media focus on the leaders’ campaigns, we do not have a presidential system in this country. We elect a cabinet, not a king.
Opinion|Tim Powers
We now have mixed generations of leaders and political activists who are masters in political marketing, audience segmentation, and voter targeting. Many are feeling we are lesser for it.
Opinion|Sheila Copps
The bottom line is that when you are literally one turkey dinner away from the vote, the last thing Andrew Scheer needs is public speculation about who will replace him when he loses.
The next government in power after Oct. 21 must seize the moment and satisfy the financial needs of Canadian veterans and their dependants, and recognize that the longstanding social covenant between the Canadian people and the veterans’ community demands nothing less.
The campaign will ultimately come down to which is more formidable, Conservative cash or Justin Trudeau’s cachet.
Whatever dirt he has on Justin Trudeau, the CPC leader can thank his lucky stars that the current dog-and-pony show hasn’t become the Integrity Election. If it had, he might have needed that insurance broker’s licence after all.
Opinion|David Crane
Canada faces as critical future, one where there are serious challenges.
It would make for better elections if we could focus on a small set of consistent national goals, and achieve those goals.
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