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Liberals heading for losses in Atlantic Canada

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By Michael MacDonald, THE CANADIAN PRESS


Last Updated Monday, October 21, 2019 4:46PM ADT

HALIFAX — Four years after Atlantic Canadians gave Justin Trudeau a sweeping electoral endorsement — handing his Liberals all 32 of the region’s seats — the party is bracing for losses that could have a significant impact on the final tally later tonight.

As voters head to the polls today, politicians of every stripe are keenly aware the Liberals have nowhere to go but down in the four easternmost provinces.

Even though the Liberals have maintained a lead in the polls in the region since June, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are counting on scoring victories in traditionally Tory ridings — particularly in northern Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick.

However, the recent surge in voter support for the NDP — a trend seen across the country — is expected to make for some tight races in the Halifax area and northern New Brunswick and could siphon enough votes from the Liberals to deliver more Tory wins.

In Nova Scotia, the Liberals are facing challenges in five ridings where popular incumbents stepped down before the election race began — among them former Tories Scott Brison and Bill Casey.

In three of those ridings, the Tory challengers are well-known former provincial politicians, including former cabinet minister Chris d’Entremont in West Nova.

During the last week of the campaign, Trudeau travelled to three Nova Scotia ridings: the former NDP stronghold of Halifax and the northern ridings of Cumberland-Colchester and Central Nova — both traditionally Tory ridings.

In New Brunswick, the Conservatives are banking on a return of traditional voting patterns, particularly in southern districts where the English-speaking majority has typically voted Conservative.

On Friday, Scheer was in Fredericton, where he warned voters that a potential Liberal-NDP coalition would raise the GST or cut transfers to the provinces to pay for the parties’ campaign promises — assertions that were not backed up with any proof and were swiftly denied by Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

In northern New Brunswick and along the Acadian shore, where French-speakers dominate, the Liberals were expected to hold on to several safe seats, including Beausejour, held by cabinet minister Dominic LeBlanc since 2000, and Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, held by Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the NDP is counting on gains in the St. John’s area, and the Conservatives are hoping the riding of Egmont in western P.E.I. will once again turn Tory blue.

However, the Liberals are widely expected to hold on to virtually all of the seats in those two provinces.

Across the Atlantic region, health care, climate change and the cost of living appeared to be the top issues on voters’ minds during the 40-day campaign.

There’s little evidence to suggest voters were moved by revelations in late September that Trudeau had posed for photos showing him in blackface.

The Liberal leader’s apologies for what he admitted were racist acts seemed to placate voters, though Scheer repeatedly insisted the photos undermined Trudeau’s progressive image.

In Atlantic Canada, it appears there was a turning point on Oct. 7, when Singh delivered a strong performance during the English-language leaders debate.

Soon after the debate, polls showed the NDP gaining support across the region while the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens all slumped.

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MacKay will vote for Scheer to stay on as Conservative Leader

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Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay says that when the time comes to vote on Andrew Scheer’s continued leadership of the party, he’s going to back the Conservative Leader.

The comment comes less than two weeks after MacKay told a Wilson Centre think tank panel in Washington that Scheer’s 2019 election loss “was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

Now, MacKay – whose name has been floated as a potential challenger to Scheer for the top spot in the party – told CTV Power Play host Don Martin that he supports the current leader and will continue to do so.

“Well Andrew Scheer is going to face a mandatory review, Don, that’s part of the Conservative constitution, so that will be for he and the membership. I’ll be there, and I’ll be voting no,” MacKay told Martin in a pre-taped interview, airing Monday.

MacKay also walked back other comments made during the same panel on Oct. 30. At the time, MacKay said the chatter about issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like stinking albatross, quite frankly.”

Speaking to Martin on Monday, MacKay said those comments weren’t directed at Scheer’s position on those issues.

“Those comments, of course, were torqued. It was about the election performance generally, writ large, myself included. It wasn’t aimed directly at Andrew Scheer – and when I said there was an albatross around his neck, he didn’t put it there. It was put there by the media, it was put there by the opposition quite deliberately to hamstring his performance,” said MacKay.

Asked about the lack of clarity surrounding Scheer’s personal beliefs on same-sex marriage, MacKay couldn’t explain why Scheer hasn’t been more clear.

“I think Andrew Scheer, who has very strong beliefs, doesn’t think it’s a sin and I can’t answer why it is he hasn’t been more direct in his answer,” MacKay said.

MacKay went on to defend both Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party’s record when it comes to protecting human rights.

“Andrew Scheer was part of the Conservative government for ten years that not only didn’t remove rights, it enhanced rights. It spoke up for people’s rights on the international stage…there’s a proud legacy that Andrew Scheer is a part of, can take ownership of, and can proudly stand behind and I believe he is doing that. He’s trying to make that case.”

Scheer was criticized during the election campaign for failing to clarify his personal beliefs on issues including same-sex marriage and abortion. Scheer, a social Conservative who has publicly opposed both issues in the past, says he would uphold the law on abortion.

He also said in a pre-campaign speech that if he formed government, he would “support and introduce” legislation that protects LGBTQ Canadians.

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Nova Scotians condemn Don Cherry’s poppy comments

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Joseph Lunda recalls choking back tears while teaching high school students about the contributions of Canadian soldiers in the First and Second World Wars.

A historian, he immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo 37 years ago, and became a Canadian history teacher in Nova Scotia.

“Any time I’m talking about a site where Canadians fought, all the time tears were coming,” he told Global News at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Dartmouth.

“Why? Because I remember what these people have done for all of us to benefit (from) — the liberty, the freedom — in this country.”

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Lunda is one of many Canadian immigrants who felt hurt by comments from Don Cherry suggesting not enough newcomers wear poppies, and therefore don’t support veterans.

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Cherry made the complaint during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, and has since received an abundance of backlash, including calls for his resignation.

Lunda, who now teaches at Université Sainte-Anne, attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony with his family. He said not wearing a poppy is not necessarily an indication that one doesn’t support members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past or present.

“Let’s say I have it on my chest and it falls down, and I meet Don Cherry. He’s going to tell me I’m not supporting veterans?” he said. “You see I am here at this memorial. Why am I here? Because I support.”

Others agreed with Lunda and spoke out against the hockey commentator’s suggestion.

Don Cherry faces backlash over comments on Remembrance Day, poppies and immigrants

Gerry White, a veteran of both Royal Canadian Navy and RCMP, said it’s “pretty straightforward” — Cherry’s comments were “out of line.”

“I won’t say disgusting, (but) I guess I already did,” White told Global News. “I don’t think that was a comment that’s shared by the large majority of Canadians…

“One of the rights we fought for was your right to wear a poppy or not wear a poppy. It’s pretty straightforward.”

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Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.

Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.


Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour MP Darren Fisher said he was “very disappointed” in Cherry’s Saturday night rant and said Canada is a country made up of immigrants. The new federal government in Ottawa has a responsibility to unite Canadians, he added, in the face of anti-immigrant sentiments.

“We hear it occasionally and it’s very disappointing every time we hear it. This is not a time to be divisive in Canada, this is a time to be united,” he explained.

“Look at the crowds here today. This is a beautiful, beautiful day to honour our veterans — the women and men who served Canada.”

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“I think Canadians get it more and more.”

Fisher said he’d like to see all Canadians show the same level of support for veterans, not just on Remembrance Day, but every day.

Cherry has yet to apologize for his comments over the weekend. Late on Monday Sportsnet confirmed that Cherry had stepped down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada.

“Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday Night’s Broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” said Sportsnet’s president Bart Yabsley in a statement.

“During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for,” said Yabsley in a statement.

—With files from Hannah Jackson 

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Man up and apologize, Liberal MP from Quebec tells Don Cherry

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Greg Fergus notes his Montserrat-born grandfather was a tailor in the RAF — “that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve.”

Don Cherry, in his weekly Hockey Night in Canada segment, suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day. Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Liberal MP for Hull-Aylmer is calling upon Don Cherry to apologize for remarks about immigrants he made on last Saturday’s edition of Hockey Night in Canada.

“My Montserrat-born and bred grandfather signed up for the RAF and served as a tailor, for that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve,” Greg Fergus wrote in his Twitter account in the hours after Cherry’s comments. “Because of that service, he was able to bring his young family to Canada.

“Seven decades later, I am able to take my seat in the House of Commons and serve my country. Mr. Cherry: my grandfather’s story is not unique. I trust you are a big enough man to apologize for your comments.”

Fergus’ comments are part of the larger wave of backlash over comments made about immigrants by Cherry during his Coach’s Corner segment.

The 85-year-old commentator — no stranger to controversy sparked by his comments in the past — suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.

“You people … that come here … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

After Cherry’s remarks sparked a massive online backlash, Sportsnet issued an apology, saying “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network.”

Ron MacLean, Cherry’s on-air sidekick who had nodded and given a thumbs up during the remarks, also issued an apology, saying the comments were “were hurtful and prejudiced and I wish I had handled myself differently. It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”

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