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Liberal, Conservative campaigns ‘at war,’ Scheer ‘vigorously swinging to land a punch’ on Trudeau: pollster

It's only week two of the campaign and already the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, and the Greens have all had to drop candidates over offensive or controversial past remarks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who told reporters he only found out the story was breaking hours before, says he's 'going to be asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did.'
The $535-million pledged won’t cover all of the costs of the Liberals’ promised daycare reforms.
One thing is clear, marketing experts say Andrew Scheer will have to be more animated when he debates against Justin Trudeau, especially with his former leadership rival, Maxime Bernier, now in the mix.
Many thought NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh won the debate, though it was mostly a matter of beating low expectations.
News|Neil Moss
Liberal MP Larry Bagnell says he thinks the timing wasn't due to the federal government's framework on the Arctic and Canada's North being rushed, but rather due to waiting on territorial partners co-developing the package.
Elections Canada says it is on track to see the number of expats it initially expected to register and to take advantage of new rules that allow Canadians living abroad to vote no matter how long they have been out of the country.
Incumbent Liberal MP Arif Virani and NDP opponent Paul Taylor are both selling their housing platforms in Parkdale–High Park, where homelessness is a growing issue.
The Canadian Press is looking to keep costs to a bare minimum, The Globe and Mail will be 'tactical' in their planning, and The Toronto Star will take a 'flexible' approach to covering the federal party leader tours.
Pollsters Greg Lyle and Darrell Bricker say the extent of the damage as a result of more coverage of the SNC-Lavalin depends on how much more damaging information comes out during the 40-day election campaign.
The NDP’s downsized leader’s tour could be a sign of things to come for future contests.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is relying on the same senior strategists to get re-elected who brought him from third place party leader in the House to the Prime Minister's Office in 2015. But it's a whole new ball game this time, after four years in power.
'People are waiting, they’re more and more strategic about their vote as well, so we feel like that last weekend is becoming extremely important,' says Léger’s Christian Bourque.
Opinion|Tim Powers
If you want to run for office, the easiest thing to do is effectively become a cyborg. Have no flaws; be a perfect, shareable graphic in the space that is now our political arena.
With the disclaimer that these days, the 48 hours between filing and press time can produce a multitude of dumpster fires, our federal election actually seems pretty normal so far.
Opinion|Ken Rubin
Access-to-information records indicated that Parks Canada had put forward a business case to spend more than $1-million to redo and widen the three-kilometre access trail to a private boat tour operator well before the public knew some of the redesigned trail features.
Opinion|Sheila Copps
To avoid undue election influence, the RCMP has announced it will not be investigating anything during the writ period. That fact was buried in The Globe story.
When moderate and progressive governments lose touch, they leave vacuums that can be filled by others. It leaves fertile ground for those with solutions that are populist and simple, that blame elites, or particular groups. It pits people against each other. 'They are the cause of your problems.'
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News and Opinion

Trudeau should follow his father’s lead and let others challenge Bill 21

One hopes this Trudeau will do on Quebec's Bill 21 as his father did on Bill 101: listen to wise counsel and wait as this issue plays itself out.
Maxime Bernier launched his new party one year ago, and a core team of seven staffers are behind the People’s Party’s national campaign.
The federal NDP campaign team is stocked with experienced organizers, including people who backed Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in 2018 and B.C. Premier John Horgan in 2017.
Opinion|Greg Lyle
The Conservatives have a lead among voters who believe in the Canadian Dream, but are struggling to get a piece of it. The Conservative Party recently released an ad appealing directly to people who feel that way.
Opinion|Susan Riley
A brace of new Green members—along with allies like the NDP’s Svend Robinson in Burnaby North-Seymour, or Montreal Liberal candidate and anti-pipeline activist, Steven Guilbault—could keep a new government’s feet to the fire on what is, arguably, an issue that transcends all others. For everyone else, there’s the Conservatives.
The Conservatives want to roll back most of the Liberals' signature environmental policies, while the Liberals and NDP have promised more expansive health care coverage.
Justin Trudeau rides the bus as the Liberals contend with a ‘distance’ between high-flying Trudeau and average joes.
From British Columbia, to the East Coast, here are some of the juiciest races to keep an eye on in this campaign.
Hamish Marshall is in charge as national campaign manager, supported by two deputy campaign managers: Dustin Van Vugt and Marc-André Leclerc.
The Green Party’s Ottawa headquarters now has about 80 staffers, up from 39 before the start of the year.
Carl Pilotte is the Bloc Québécois’ campaign director, while France Amyot is director of communications and Christian Picard is director of organization.
In seeking to contrast his party with the Conservatives, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau leaned on familiar attacks, invoking the spectre of  Harper government’s decade in office and the now-deeply unpopular Ford government. 
The NDP needs to do a better job differentiating from the Greens, says interim NDP provincial leader Mackenzie Thomason. 'That is on us.'
With the PM showing the substance-averse reflex of a guy who wants to campaign on a shoe shine and a smile, Canadians might be about to see the second peek-a-boo election featuring a Trudeau. Lots of photo ops, few interviews or debates. It worked like a charm back in 1980 for his father. This time around, I wouldn’t bet the farm.
By personalizing his attacks on Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer has tried to incite the anger that is the lifeblood of populism. It thrives on resentment and a feeling of being betrayed and usurped by elite political leaders, immigrants, cosmopolitans, or others.
Opinion|David Crane
It will be easy, in our election, for parties to compete on who can be toughest on China. But what happens after that?
Greenpeace doesn’t need to invent new technology to save us from climate change. Alternatives to oil, gas, and coal already exist. Wind and solar energy are cheaper and more scalable than they’ve ever been.
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

Election direction: front-runners are shying away from bold ideas, harsh realities

From the so-called front-runners, there is no grand design, there are no bold ideas, there are no breakout candidates. What’s so important about this election is what we’re not talking about.
There are four weeks left for parties to name candidates. If the Greens, Liberals and NDP plan to run full slates, there’s almost 270 candidates combined yet to be named.
Ontario Liberal MP Bob Nault was officially nominated as his party's candidate last week, while rookie Liberal MP Eva Nassif chose not to run in October.
Some Liberal MPs say they are considering not using Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s name or image in their election campaign material.
At least seven candidates are seeking the Liberal nomination in the safe Liberal riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard, Que. and have signed up more than 6,000 riding association members.
Parties have nominated 40 Indigenous candidates so far, closing in on the 2015 record for representation on the ballot, when an all-time high of 10 Indigenous MPs were elected.
‘We have impact. We’re not going to be pushed to the side anymore,’ AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde told members July 24.
Most pollsters want their data publicly available, but some take issue with how aggregators combine their data with others' work, saying that when those projections are off, pollsters bear the brunt of the blowback. And some say predictions on the probability of a party’s victory, can depress turnout.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business led in groups lobbying MPs as June’s 1,446 reported communications halved the total reported in May.
If the current voting trends continued until election time, the Green Party could win 14 seats, says EKOS president Frank Graves. But he also says if progressive voters choose to vote strategically to prevent the Conservatives from forming government, they could vote for the Liberals.
The numbers mean the next Parliament could be a turning point for Senate reform, says Sen. Tony Dean, but ‘there’s no scenario where it’s a slam dunk for anybody.’
If an election were held today, 'it's a coin toss,' says pollster Nik Nanos and it could either be a minority Liberal or a minority Conservative government.
Leaders’ tours during the election campaign will indicate where each party thinks it can make gains, or where they are vulnerable, says Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff.
'It’s game on. Buckle up, it’s going to be an extremely unpredictable election,’ says EKOS Research president Frank Graves.
News|Neil Moss
The House of Commons International Trade Committee will have a pre-study on June 18 to hear from between 12 and 15 witnesses in preparation for the possibility that the committee will review Bill C-100 in the summer.
News|Neil Moss
Forum Research's interactive voice response telephone poll is based on 1,633 randomly selected responses from May 31 to June 2. It has a margin of error of three per cent 19 times out of 20.
Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel says the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ findings and recommendations should be an election issue this fall.
Social media has become a key way to connect with voters, with Instagram in particular as the main platform to engage with younger people whose votes may be up for grabs.
Opinion|Tim Powers
Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott can afford to be fearless, since most of the scenarios they have gamed out show many more positives than negatives in their upcoming electoral contests.
Opinion|David Crane
The party leader’s recent speeches display no real understanding of the world ahead and suggest no solutions to our biggest problems.
Opinion|Tim Powers
Contain yourselves, one and all, for the enlightenment that awaits us. I'll buy the beer and popcorn.
Opinion|Marcus Kolga
In the Canadian election, malign foreign actors will likely target key ridings instead of the overall federal campaign, making riding-level security critically important.
Opinion|Tim Powers
Be wary of old prisms and assumptions when looking at things political these days.
Opinion|Tim Powers
Instead of manning the barricades, Justin Trudeau is better off admitting he and his officials erred in the way they dealt with former minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
With seniors being reliable voters with a pronounced Conservative lean, a failure to mobilize young people this time will put the Liberals at a distinct disadvantage.
The populist convulsion seen in the Trump-led United States and across Europe will be a factor in the October federal election here. The only question is how much.
A whole-of-government strategy on neutralizing the spread of disinformation must be developed in the lead-up to this year’s election, says one Liberal MP.
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