2021 Canadian election last-half log, III : polls still show close race after “farce of Canada’s televised federal leader’s debate … an insult to viewers and voters”

Sep 11th, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
“Spectral Landscape” by Michael Seward, September 2021.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2021. Both Philippe Fournier’s 338Canada poll-based projections and Éric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker continue to show the O’Toole Conservatives slightly ahead of the Trudeau Liberals in Canada-wide popular vote.

(Though the Poll Tracker for September 11, 11:34 AM ET has a virtual tie : 338 Canada Sep 10, pop vote — CON 33%, LIB 32%, NDP 20%, BQ 6%, PPC 5%, GRN 3% ; 338 Canada Sep 11, pop vote — CON 33%, LIB 32%, NDP 19%, BQ 6%, PPC 6%, GRN 3% ; CBC Poll Tracker Sep 10, pop vote — CON 33%, LIB 32%, NDP 19%, PPC 6%, BQ 6%, GRN 3% ; CBC Poll Tracker Sep 11, pop vote — CON 32%, LIB 32%, NDP 19%, PPC 6%, BQ 6%, GRN 3%.)

Despite the popular vote numbers, at this point in the campaign both 338Canada and CBC Poll Tracker also suggest that in an election held today the Trudeau Liberals, with their more geographically diverse support, would win a few more seats in the Canadian House of Commons than the O’Toole Conservatives, and form a second minority government.

Electronic sign in Peterborough, ON falsely linking Peterborough-Kawartha (Muslim) MP Maryam Monsef with the death of 158 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Photo: kawarthaNOW.

(338Canada Sep 10 update, seats — LIB140, CON 136, NDP 35, BQ 26, GRN 1 ; 338Canada Sep 11 update, seats — LIB142, CON 134, NDP 33, BQ 27, GRN 1 CBC Poll Tracker Sep 10 update, seats — LIB 146, CON 131, NDP 34, BQ 26, GRN 2 ; CBC Poll Tracker Sep 11 update, seats — LIB 152, CON 126, NDP 33, BQ 26, GRN 1.)

Whatever else, Liberal supporters can take heart from the September 11 Nanos Daily Ballot Tracking numbers : LIB 34.4%, CON 30.1%, NDP 19.0%, BQ 6.4%, PPC 5.0%, GRN 4.6%. Some observers were surprised, but a parallel Mainstreet Research poll found similar numbers up front — LIB 33.9%, CON 30.2%, NDP 17.9%, PPC 7.9%, BQ 6.4%, GRN 2.6%.

On the other hand, it also seems that those who most aggressively oppose Justin Trudeau and his kind of Liberal government are having a last and conceivably damaging assault, with such alleged objective news stories as “Trudeau says he did not want Wilson-Raybould to lie as SNC-Lavalin affair re-emerges.” The race remains close, and the result is still a mystery.

The English TV debate on September 9 : “Family Feud from hell”

The September 9 TV debate in English : “family feud from hell.”

Meanwhile, John Doyle, the Globe and Mail’s television critic, has written that the “farce of Canada’s televised federal leader’s debate” this past Thursday, September 9, was “an insult to viewers and voters.” And we couldn’t agree more.

Doyle complained that : “Moderator Shachi Kurl took the view that her job was to stop the leaders from talking … a peculiar tack to take.” We also felt the entire debate focussed far too much on the journalists asking questions — and often arguing with the answers political leaders gave. It is the politicians competing for office we the people want to hear from, not the professional TV pundits who never have to face the democratic discipline of getting elected.

It is beyond us as well to understand those who urge that new Green Party leader Annamie Paul made an impressive showing in the September 9 English language debate. She did talk much bigger than the average 3% of the vote opinion polls suggest her party currently enjoys. But to us what she said made very little practical sense. To argue the culture in Ottawa needs to change for real progress in Canadian public policy betrays inexperience in the real world of democracy.

Maxime Bernier, leader of the right-wing Peoples Party of Canada, was not included in the 2021 TV debates, because when they were organized his party’s opinion polling numbers were not high enough. Now in September the PPC has higher numbers than Annamie Paul’s Green Party.

Ms Paul’s several allusions to Jody Wilson-Raybould similarly underlined her practical problems from our point of view. There do seem increasing numbers of Canadians nowadays (including many New Democrats with around 20% of the vote in current opinion polls eg) who would like to see the political culture in Ottawa change for good enough reasons. But the one real-world action which might move things in this direction — electoral reform that would bring more proportional representation to the elected parliament — has been rejected in several provincial referendums. (And then New Democrats and Greens will also complain about Justin Trudeau’s great betrayal here, without quite remembering what his 2015 platform promises actually said.)

Ms Paul and a number of journalists and pundits involved in the September 9 TV debate still seem to think that clever talking and aggressive gotcha moments can bring about real political and economic change and better public policies. Some of us think better public policies bring about real political and economic change — and even finally change the culture in Ottawa. The trick is to bring them to life and manage them effectively.

We were pleased as well to see the eminent Canadian journalist and TV commentator Chantal Hébert’s September 10 tweet : “Yep: John Doyle: The farce of Canada’s televised federal leader’s debate is an insult to viewers and voters … like an episode of Family Feud from hell.”

“The Conservative platform sure looks different, now that it has numbers in it” (and 9/11 memories)

Lawrence MacAulay has been MP for Cardigan in PEI since 1988. This 2021 campaign, he says, has been different : “I’ve seen a lot of elections and I’ve never seen the likes of this on Prince Edward Island … Beyond heartbroken to see such disturbing symbols of hatred in our community.”

Surprisingly enough, on September 10 the Globe and Mail Editorial Board also came up with some especially apt commentary on the O’Toole Conservative campaign platform — as recently adorned with financial numbers.

As the Globe Board nicely put it : “Without numbers, the Conservative platform appeared to be one thing. With numbers, it’s a very different thing … The Conservatives could argue that their platform aims at fiscal responsibility and lower deficits … But such arguable propositions aren’t what Mr. O’Toole spent the first two-thirds of the campaign arguing. It isn’t what the largely prenumerate version of his platform said. Quite the contrary.”

So much, in other words, for Mr. O’Toole’s “Progressive Conservative” rhetoric, which finally proves to be the fake-progressive mirage many suspected from the start.

The Canadian election campaign has not forgotten that today is the 20th anniversary of the appalling 9/11 terrorist attacks as well. We thought Justin Trudeau’s statement worked well enough :“Today, let’s come together to remember and mourn those who were lost and honour those who courageously and selflessly helped others that day. And let’s continue to stand with the United States, our closest neighbour and ally, and recommit to always having each others’ backs.”

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