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The Liberals and Conservatives are fairly matched for the campaigns

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The Liberals and Conservatives are matched fairly evenly when it comes to how ready their local campaigns are to pay for the coming federal election, a shift from when the big blue machine dominated the scene the last time around.

The Conservatives have boasted of besting the Liberals when it comes to fundraising at the national level, but an in-depth analysis by The Canadian Press suggests a closer race between the red and blue teams of candidates knocking on doors in neighbourhoods nationwide.

The 2018 annual financial returns for riding associations, which are still trickling in to Elections Canada, show Conservative ridings ended last year with about $24.2 million in combined net assets. The Liberals were not far behind, with about $21 million in net assets spread out nationwide.

The Conservatives and Liberals also dominate the top 20 richest associations in the country.

The relatively small gap between the Conservatives and the Liberals marks a shift from how things looked heading into the last federal election, when Conservative riding associations ended 2014 with net assets totalling more than $19 million — more than double the roughly $8 million amassed by Liberal riding associations.

The NDP, meanwhile, has not managed to budge its finances out of a distant third place, with its riding associations reporting about $3.8 million in net assets in 2018. None of its riding associations are among the top-100 richest in the country.

The Greens had about $735,000, although only about half of their riding associations have submitted their reports so far.

NDP, Greens lagging

A party running a full slate of candidates will be allowed to spend about $28 million during the coming election campaign, plus an average of about $110,000 per candidate, depending on the riding. Unlike in 2015, new election laws mean the cap will not increase with the length of the campaign.

The 2018 financial reports, which are the latest figures available, suggest the Conservatives and Liberals will be well-equipped to reach the spending limit in the lead up to the Oct. 21 election, but the NDP and the Greens will have to ramp up their fundraising and look to their national parties and wealthier riding associations for help.

The financial reports also show the Liberal riding associations brought in about $8.5 million in contributions last year, compared to about $4.7 million for the Conservatives. The NDP riding associations received about $1.2 million in contributions last year.

“Grassroots Liberals over the last few years have worked with Justin Trudeau to grow a base of fundraising support that will be competitive at the local level with the Conservative party for the first time in a generation,” said Braeden Caley, spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Cory Hann, spokesperson for the Conservative Party of Canada, said he would have expected better financial results from a party in power.

At the national level, the Conservatives raised about $24.2 million from 104,000 donors in 2018.

The Liberals raised $15.9 million from 66,000 individuals.

Spending varies by region

“The national party probably has some things to learn from their riding associations, then, because they haven’t quite been able to close the gap like that with us on the national level,” Hann said.

The Conservative riding associations also received about $2.5 million in transfers from the national party, but Hann said that was the result of a revenue-sharing agreement that sends a percentage of money raised through membership sales back to the local ridings.

The numbers also tell a story when broken down by geographical area, providing some clues on where the biggest battles will be.

Each party is allowed to spend a total of $3.7 million in British Columbia, but according to the reports filed so far, only the Conservative riding associations had enough cash on hand at the end of last year to meet that limit.

In Quebec, where each party can spend $6.9 million, none of the parties came close. The Liberal riding associations were in the best shape, with $3.6 million, with the Conservatives having about $1.3 million.

The NDP’s riding associations in Quebec, the province that was key to its good fortune in the 2011 campaign, had only about $615,000.

Melissa Bruno, national director for the NDP, said the party has been working with its deputy leader, Montreal MP Alexandre Boulerice, to raise its fundraising game in Quebec, particularly after losing so many seats there in 2015.

“There was a lot of work that needed to be done to repair relationships with our party activists and that is some of the work that Alex has been integral and crucial in helping the federal party with,” said Bruno.

The riding financial data was downloaded from Elections Canada on Aug. 7.

The Liberals had filed 331 of 338 returns containing details of net assets by that date. The Conservatives had filed 324, the New Democrats 312 and the Greens had submitted 174 reports. The Bloc Québécois, which runs candidates only in Quebec’s 78 ridings, had filed 18 reports. The People’s Party of Canada only registered as a party in January.

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Liberals block ethics commissioner from testifying about SNC-Lavalin report

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The Liberal majority on the House ethics committee voted down an opposition motion to have Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion testify about his report which found that Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Vassy Kapelos gets reaction from MPs on the committee. Plus, the Power Panel breaks down the Ford government’s changes to Ontario’s sex-education curriculum.

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Joshua Boyle worried about what his wife might tell police

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Joshua Boyle

After calling 911 to report that his wife was missing and suicidal, Joshua Boyle told an Ottawa police sergeant that he was also worried what she might tell authorities when she was found.

“He told me he was concerned, as any husband would be, with what Caitlan (Coleman) would say to us when we found her,” Sgt. Shane Henderson told court Tuesday.

Henderson was one of the first officers to respond to Boyle’s 911 emergency call late on the night of Dec. 30, 2017. A recording of that call was played in court Tuesday.

The 911 call was made at 11:47 p.m. from a Centretown address.

Boyle told the dispatcher that his wife was threatening to kill herself. He said she was alone in her room then ran outside, and was “screaming at the top of her lungs that she was going to kill herself.”

He said she had borderline personality disorder, PTSD, “extreme mental instability” and other issues.

“I am very worried for her right now,” he said in the telephone recording, played in court.

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Boyle told police his wife was wearing a hijab scarf on her head, but did not have a coat and may not have shoes.

Before she left the apartment, Boyle said they had an argument that “turned into rabid self-loathing, a panic attack, something, I’m not sure.”

“I had asked her to stay in her room,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be long,” the dispatcher told Boyle. “We’ll get some officers to see you there, OK?”

“OK,” Boyle replied. “Just try to be gentle with her: She is really going through a rough time.”

Sgt. Henderson was the first officer on scene, and went to Boyle’s apartment at 12:05 a.m.

Boyle repeated what he had told the dispatcher, and said his wife had initially raced up the stairs towards another apartment in the three-storey apartment block. Henderson testified: “He told me that he did not want to drag Caitlan back into the apartment or did not want to hit her.”

Henderson and another officer went to the second apartment and interviewed the young man who lived there. The tenant said he had heard someone banging on his back door 20 minutes earlier, but did not answer it.

Court heard that the officers searched the back staircase and yard but could not locate Coleman so they returned to Boyle’s apartment for more information.

According to Henderson, Boyle said Coleman was particularly stressed because her mother was in town, and she was worried about the state of their apartment. They had also argued, Boyle told Henderson, about drawing on walls and “Caitlan, as a wife, not performing her roles and responsibilities as a mother.”

Boyle told Henderson that he wanted Coleman to stay in her room and calm down. “He told me he kept the door open and at no time prevented her from leaving,” Henderson testified.

“He said he offered to have sex with Caitlan if she wanted to.”

When Henderson asked if Coleman had a cellphone, Boyle reached on top of the fridge and retrieved a flip phone.

Henderson asked what it was doing there. “Boyle said he took the phone away to make sure she did not break the phone as she had broken phones in the past,” Henderson testified.

Boyle is on trial on 19 charges, including assault, sexual assault and forcible confinement.

His wife Caitlan Coleman, with whom he was held hostage in Afghanistan, is the principal complainant in the case. She’s expected to testify Wednesday.

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Tanker crash kills one, injures nine near Cereal Alberta

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Tanker crash

“One of the semi trucks was hauling fuel and that fuel ignited,” said RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott. “So, that caused other vehicles in the collision to catch fire. A second semi was hauling butane and that’s caused a concern.”

A release from RCMP also confirmed the collision area is “consumed with flames.”

As a result of the second truck hauling butane, a preliminary evacuation order had been issued for the hamlet of Chinook.

By 9:00 pm, Alberta Emergency Alert officially rescinded the evacuation order for the community.

STARS Air Ambulance has flown one person to hospital in Calgary in serious, potentially life-threatening condition while HALO transported another individual in serious condition.

Brideaux also confirmed to Global News that six people have been treated at the scene and are likely to be released.

RCMP are also reaching out to anyone who was a part of or was witness to the domino crash, asking them to meet with officers in nearby Oyen.

“We’re asking those people to attend the Legion in Oyen,” said Scott. “Right now the Legion has been opened, food is available at the Legion, our Victims Services Unit members are at the Legion, and we have an RCMP member or members at the Legion. So, anybody who was a part of this collision, witness or needing some assistance in relation to the collision, is asked to go to the Legion.”

There is no word yet on the original cause of the fatal crash, as Scott added it will be several hours before a collision analyst is able to attend the scene.

“We will have a collision analyst attending,” she said. “But, I can tell you that collision analyst is not able and has not been able to look at the scene to do any examination or investigation.”

Traffic has since been rerouted from Highway 9 to Highway 884 eastbound and Highway 41 westbound.

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