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Aurora Cannabis Provides Corporate Update and Confirms Cannabis 2.0 Roll Out – PRNewswire

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“We have focused our collective efforts to be ready for the successful launch of Cannabis 2.0 as Canada takes the next step in the legalization of newly allowed product forms. We are ready and have launched a diversified portfolio of new product formats and are excited for Canadians to have access to high-quality, safe alternative cannabis products such as edibles, vape pens and other derivatives,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora. “We have prudently deployed capital and we believe that we’re ready with the appropriate combination of technology, scale and consumer insights to have the right products on store shelves in a timely fashion. This was not an easy task and I would like to thank the entire Aurora team for their collective efforts in getting 2.0 across the goal line in time for our provincial regulators.”

Recent Corporate Initiatives

Aurora has taken steps to proactively rationalize capital expenditures, reduce near term debt and bolster liquidity in an effort to position the Company for the long-term success. The previously announced deferral of construction and commissioning activities is expected to conserve approximately $200 million of cash in the near term. Aurora believes that its existing assets are sufficient to meet current demand at a low cost per gram. The company expects to have the flexibility to ramp up projects as global demand dictates.

In late November, the Company also retired $227 million of the $230 million 5% unsecured convertible  debentures that were due in March 2020 with the issuance of shares and thereby preserving cash. Aurora continues to evaluate multiple sources of capital and currently has access to undrawn capacity under a CDN$360 million credit facility with a syndicate of banks, in addition to its US$400 million at-the-market (“ATM”) equity distribution program.

Cannabis 2.0 Product Launch

The Company has commenced shipments of initial orders received to 10 of Canada’s provincial regulators of Cannabis 2.0 products following December 17, 2019, however most Canadian consumers will likely not see these products on retail store shelves until early January 2020 due to varied retail operations across the country. Patients can now immediately access a variety of the new product formats.

Initially the Company is providing a variety of CBD and THC vape and edible products, such as gummies, chocolates, baked goods and mints. These new cannabis products are being produced at Aurora Sky in Edmonton, Alberta, Aurora River in Bradford, Ontario and Aurora Vie in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. These centres have been outfitted to provide centralized production, packaging, logistics and distribution capabilities. The Company has prioritized its resources to prepare for a successful initial launch and has built inventories to support an ongoing replenishment strategy to help ensure consumers across Canada have access to a diverse portfolio of high-quality derivative products.

The Company encourages Canadian consumers to review Aurora’s “Ready for Edibles” campaign, which aims to educate consumers about the responsible consumption of cannabis edibles. The campaign can be seen at cannabis retail outlets across Canada. For more information, visit the Ready for Edibles website.

To learn more about Aurora’s upcoming portfolio of new products please click here.

Provincial Regulatory Updates

Aurora commends Premier Ford, Minister Downey and the Government of Ontario for committing to improving the province of Ontario’s cannabis retail environment through the open allocation of retail cannabis licensing. The new policy is expected to see the removal of the cap on the number of private cannabis stores in the province as well as thoughtful pre-qualification requirements.

“We applaud this positive step by the Province of Ontario to provide a retail environment which is conducive to a successful system that  provides Canadians with more safe, regulated cannabis products,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora.

Recent Executive Appointment

Aurora is pleased to announce that Rick Savone has joined the company as Senior Vice President of Global Government Relations. In this new role, Rick will oversee Aurora’s relationships with governments around the world, helping them to create regulations that will allow greater access to medical cannabis products for patients. Over the course of his career Rick has developed deep government relations experience, most recently as the Director General for Global Affairs Canada. Prior to that, Rick was Canada’s ambassador to Brazil and has held various other senior level positions with the Department including as consul general in Shanghai.

International Market Developments

Denmark

Aurora has received the very first approval from the Danish Medicines Agency for the import of the Company’s Sedamen Softgel capsules into Denmark. Aurora is currently working to obtain an export permit from Health Canada and expects to complete the first shipment from its Aurora Ridge facility in Markham, Ontario in the first calendar quarter of 2020.

Ireland

On December 2, 2019, Aurora announced that one of the Company’s oil products has now been approved for use under Ireland’s new Medical Cannabis Access Programme (“MCAP”). Aurora’s High CBD Oil Drops received approval from the Irish authorities and have now been added to a regulatory schedule by the Irish Minister of Health enabling importation, prescribing and supply under the schedule and is to date, one of only two products to gain such authorization.

Flagship Retail Store Update

Aurora’s Experiential Flagship Store Opens in the West Edmonton Mall

The Company’s flagship retail store official opened on November 27, 2019 in North America’s largest shopping mall. At approximately 11,000 square feet, the location in the West Edmonton Mall combines a retail cannabis store that showcases Aurora brands and an immersive experiential space for cannabis education, events and community engagement. With more than 30 million visitors to the West Edmonton Mall each year, Aurora’s flagship is already seeing a combined average of 700 visitors per day. On average, 94% of visitors to the cannabis and accessories store make a purchase. Thus far, the top selling cannabis products have been Aurora’s Hybrid and THC Pre-Rolls, Whistlers organic products and the Company’s popular cultivar, LA Confidential. To learn more about Aurora’s new flagship store, please click here.

Facility Status Updates

Whistler Pemberton Facility Construction Complete

Aurora’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp. (“Whistler”), recently completed construction of its 62,000 square foot production facility in Pemberton, British Columbia (the “Pemberton Facility”). Construction of the Pemberton Facility commenced April 2018, and is purpose built to European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU GMP) standards. The fifteen-room Pemberton facility is Whistler’s largest and has a designed capacity of 4,500 kg of premium, organic certified, cannabis per year. The new Pemberton facility also incorporates a public lounge to educate visitors to the region about Whistler and its history of pioneering organic certified cannabis cultivation.    

Whistler product is in strong demand from both medical and consumer markets, and its craft production commands a premium brand position and pricing. The additional capacity of the Pemberton facility is expected to enable Aurora to increase the availability of Whistlers organic certified dried cannabis, hand-rolled joints and cannabis. Whistler expects to introduce a new line of organic certified hashish and live rosin cannabis extracts soon.

Aurora Nordic 1 Receives Additional Licensing

Aurora Nordic 1, the Company’s 100,000 square foot facility located in Odense, Denmark, with a production capacity of 8,000 kg per year of medical cannabis, recently received a processing and drying license. Aurora has also completed the requisite filings to obtain EU GMP certification of the facility, and expects to receive approval in the first calendar quarter of 2020, which will allow for sale to patients across Europe.

New Extraction Technology Implemented at Aurora River

Aurora River, the Company’s 210,000 square foot production facility located in Bradford, Ontario, recently completed installation of new, proprietary extraction equipment to increase the Company’s resin extract production capacity for soon-to-be-released premium cannabis derivative products. The highly-advanced, process patented equipment was designed in-house and uses CO2 extraction to process up to 20 kg of plant material per run and is capable of performing two runs per day. Aurora River is already using the new extraction technology for the production of edibles and Aurora’s new line of vapes with high-quality cannabis resin from the company’s high-THC and high-CBD cultivars.

Aurora Eau Receives Health Canada Processing License

Aurora Eau located in Lachute, Quebec, recently received a Health Canada processing license. In addition to its existing Health Canada license, which authorized cannabis cultivation and sales, the new license allows the facility to process, package and sell dried and fresh cannabis to authorized Canadian retailers. Designed for the cultivation of niche and exotic cannabis varieties and home to Aurora’s eastern Canada outdoor grow operation, Aurora Eau is a 48,000 square foot facility with a production capacity of 4,500 kg/ year.

New Automated Packaging Line Installed at Aurora Vie

Aurora Vie located in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, recently commissioned and installed a new automated packaging line, reducing the time it takes to package solid dose cannabis products. The state-of-the-art equipment can package, seal and cap up to 100 bottles per minute and has been used for softgels at the facility since Oct. 31, 2019. The new packaging line is used for cannabis-infused mints, which are made at Aurora Vie and are expected to enter the consumer and medical cannabis markets after December 17, 2019.

Dehulling and Decorticator Arrive at Hempco’s Nisku Facility

Hempco’s new, state-of-the-art, 56,000 square foot processing facility, which is capable of processing 2.9 million kg per year hemp is nearing completion. The facility, located in Nisku, Alberta, recently commissioned its new dehulling and decorticating equipment. Upon completion in the first calendar quarter of 2020, the new equipment will be capable of dehulling 450 kg/hour of hemp hearts and decorticating 1.5 tonnes per hour of hemp fibre.

Industry Recognition

Aurora Wins Top Prizes at Canadian Cannabis Awards

Aurora took home four top prizes at Lift & Co.’s Canadian Cannabis Awards on November 8, 2019. Awards received at the event included “Top Sativa Flower” for San Rafael ’71 Tangerine Dream, “Top Indica Flower” for San Rafael ’71 Pink Kush, “Top Cannabis Spray” for Aurora Sativa Oral Spray and “Top Balanced Bottled Oil” for MedReleaf Midnight Oil. Other Aurora family products and companies were also finalists in the “Top Sativa Flower,” “Top High CBD Bottled Oil,” “Top Cannabis Capsules,” “Top Home Growing Box” and “Top Testing Lab” categories.

Strategic Partner Developments

Aurora has a broad partnership portfolio of cannabis and cannabis-adjacent businesses which all provide valuable strategic benefits to Aurora. The benefits include retail footprint and customer insights, product technology/intellectual property, and operational or cost advantages. The Company continuously evaluates the strategic fit of these investments and may choose to monetize investments which are no longer core to the strategic plan.

Alcanna Inc. (“Alcanna”)

  • Alcanna continues to build-out its cannabis retail store network across Canada with 30 Nova Cannabis locations in Alberta;
  • Nova Cannabis’ Queen Street West location in Toronto continues to average $400,000$500,000 per week in sales – of which Aurora and MedReleaf are the highest selling brands by a wide margin;
  • Alcanna is targeting the maximum of 10 stores in Ontario by August 31, 2020 with 10-15 more by year end and to reach the 30-store limit before August 2021.

Capcium Inc.  (“Capcium”)

  • Capcium is currently in the final stages of construction at its new state-of-the-art production facility with a capacity for up to 10 softgel encapsulation lines capable of producing approximately 2.5 billion softgel capsules annually.
  • Capcium recently received its cannabis R&D license for the new facility and will be starting its cannabis R&D laboratories in Q1 2020. Capcium is expecting to obtain its standard processor license by end of Q1 2020.
  • Capcium’s softgel capsules manufactured for Aurora were the first finished softgel products of a Canadian LP to be approved for sale in an EU country.

Choom Holdings Inc. (“Choom”)

  • Currently, Choom has 14 stores open and operating and is targeting 20 stores open across Canada by the first quarter of 2020 with two additional cannabis development permits in highly coveted areas of the Greater Vancouver region;
  • On December 1, 2019, Choom expanded its executive team with the appointment of Corey Gillon as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, who was also appointed to the Board of Directors. Corey’s executive leadership roles were established at Walmart and Aritzia where the corporate strategies he implemented were customer-focused and ensured operational retail development;
  • With the recent announcement made by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to move to open market for private cannabis retail, Choom had commenced the process of exercising the option to purchase its branded flagship retail store located in Niagara Falls. With these regulatory changes, Choom expects to expand its footprint in Ontario starting the first quarter of 2020.

CTT Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc. (“CTT”)

  • On October 6, 2019, Aurora commenced sales of its Dissolve Strips to the Canadian medical market. Dissolve Strips, a novel non-smokable, sublingual cannabinoid delivery technology, were developed in collaboration between CTT and Aurora, who hold a 9% ownership interest;
  • Based on the successful market introduction, with the Dissolve Strips selling out in short order, Aurora and CTT are in the process of developing additional SKUs, including CBD infused strips and THC:CBD balanced strips for both the medical and the consumer markets;

EnWave Corporation (“EnWave”)

  • EnWave has signed a total of 14 royalty-bearing commercial licenses for REV technology in fiscal 2019;
  • On December 11, 2019, EnWave announced that in its Fiscal 2019 it generated $42.8 million in revenue, up 88% from $22.8 million in 2018;
  • EnWave has sold its innovative REV machines for the drying of Cannabis to Swiss, Australian and New Zealand companies.

High Tide Inc. (“High Tide”)

  • High Tide expanded its retail cannabis network from 25 branded stores at the end of September to 30 operating locations today, including 27 Canna Cabana stores and 3 KushBar stores located across Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
  • Acquired the remaining 49.9% of its KushBar joint venture, including 3 operating retail cannabis stores and a fourth location currently under construction, all located in Alberta.

Radient Technologies Inc. (“Radient”)

  • Radient is currently extracting and processing a large inventory of cannabis biomass for Aurora at its Edmonton I cannabis processing facility (designed for 56,000 kg / year throughput capacity). Recovery of cannabinoids is consistently above 90% and as much as 99%. Products have shown high levels of quality and demonstrated extended “shelf life,” with negligible cannabinoid degradation over multiple months.
  • Radient’s Edmonton II hemp processing facility, designed to process 420,000 kg / year of hemp, is on track for completion at the end of calendar 2019. Additional commissioning and validation work is expected to commence in early calendar 2020, after licensing is granted by Health Canada. Radient’s Edmonton III facility (“Edmonton III”), with construction well underway, is expected to begin operations in the second half of calendar 2020, scaling up to its intended full capacity of 280,000 kg/ year of cannabis and 2.8 million kg/ year of hemp thereafter.
  • Radient’s Germany facility (“Germany”) will be commissioned in two phases. The first phase, a leased production facility that is being built to suit cannabis extraction, is now under way. Phase one capacity and throughput will be 200 kg/ day, processing either hemp or cannabis biomass. The second phase will be the expansion of capacity on a site adjacent to the facility noted in the aforementioned first phase, scaling up to a throughput capacity of 280,000 kg/ year of cannabis, and 2.8 million kg/ year of hemp.

About Aurora

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 25 countries across five continents, Aurora is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.

Highly differentiated from its peers, Aurora has established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customization, resulting in the massive scale production of high-quality consistent product. Designed to be replicable and scalable globally, our production facilities are designed to produce cannabis at significant scale, with high quality, industry-leading yields, and low-per gram production costs. Each of Aurora’s facilities is built to meet European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU GMP”) standards. Certification has been granted to Aurora’s first production facility in Mountain View County, the MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Deutschland. All Aurora facilities are designed and built to the EU GMP standard.

In addition to the Company’s rapid organic growth and strong execution on strategic M&A, which to date includes 17 wholly owned subsidiary companies – MedReleaf, CanvasRX, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Aurora Deutschland, H2 Biopharma, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, Anandia, HotHouse Consulting, MED Colombia, Agropro, Borela, ICC Labs, Whistler, Chemi Pharmaceutical, and Hempco – Aurora is distinguished by its reputation as a partner and employer of choice in the global cannabis sector, having invested in and established strategic partnerships with a range of leading innovators, including: Radient Technologies Inc. (TSXV: RTI), Cann Group Ltd. (ASX: CAN), Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE: MWM), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO), CTT Pharmaceuticals (OTCC: CTTH), Alcanna Inc. (TSX: CLIQ), High Tide Inc. (CSE: HITI), EnWave Corporation (TSXV: ENW), Capcium Inc. (private), Evio Beauty Group (private), and Wagner Dimas (private).

Aurora’s Common Shares trade on the TSX and NYSE under the symbol “ACB”, and is a constituent of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

For more information about Aurora, please visit our investor website, investor.auroramj.com

Terry Booth, CEO       
Aurora Cannabis Inc.  

Forward Looking Statements

This news release includes statements containing certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law (“forward-looking statements”). Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as “plan”, “continue”, “expect”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “may”, “will”, “potential”, “proposed” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. These forward-looking statements are only predictions.  Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the projections contained in the forward-looking statements throughout this news release. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions, estimates and assumptions of management in light of management’s experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected developments at the date the statements are made, such as current and future market conditions, the current and future regulatory environment and future approvals and permits. Forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors that management believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances could cause actual events, results, level of activity, performance, prospects, opportunities or achievements to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including general business and economic conditions, changes in laws and regulations, product demand, changes in prices of required commodities, competition and other risks, uncertainties and factors set out under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s annual information form dated September 10, 2019 (the “AIF”) and filed with Canadian securities regulators available on the Company’s issuer profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The Company cautions that the list of risks, uncertainties and other factors described in the AIF is not exhaustive and other factors could also adversely affect its results. Readers are urged to consider the risks, uncertainties and assumptions carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such information. The Company is under no obligation, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable securities laws.

SOURCE Aurora Cannabis Inc.

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Amazon to hire 3500 workers in B.C. and Ont., expand their office footprint – CTV News

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Amazon.com Inc. will hire 3,500 Canadians to work in spaces it is opening and expanding in British Columbia and Ontario.

The e-commerce giant revealed Monday that 3,000 of the jobs will be in Vancouver, where it is growing its footprint, and another 500 will be in Toronto, home of a new Amazon workspace.

Jesse Dougherty, Amazon’s vice-president and Vancouver site lead, said the company wanted to offer the jobs in Canada because the country has an “enormous” amount of tech talent Amazon is eager to tap into and accommodate at home.

“I look at it through the lens of how can we grow so that people don’t have to leave Canada to learn and take on amazing global challenges that are of a scale that aren’t typically available here?” he said.

The new corporate and tech jobs will include software development engineers, user experience designers, speech scientists working to make Alexa smarter, cloud computing solutions architects, and sales and marketing executives.

The bulk of the jobs will be done out of the Post, a Vancouver building where Amazon will take over an extra 63,000 square metres of office space. By 2023 it will be operating across 18 floors it is leasing in the building’s north tower and 17 in its south tower.

Vancouver has long been seen as an attractive Canadian outpost for companies because of its proximity to the U.S. and major tech hubs including Silicon Valley and Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle.

The company will also welcome new workers in Toronto, where it will lease 12,000 square metres over five floors at an 18 York St. building that is not far from investors on Bay Street. It hopes workers will be in the building next summer.

Amazon’s renewed interest in its corporate and tech workforce and footprint in the country comes after focusing the bulk of its efforts in the market on its network of 16 fulfilment centres — 13 already in operation and another three coming in Hamilton, Ajax and Ottawa, Ont.

Those centres have faced homegrown competition from Shopify Inc., an Ottawa-based e-commerce business that has shot up the Toronto Stock Exchange to hold the title of country’s most valuable company several times this year.

While it was long known for providing the back-end for companies to sell goods online, Shopify launched its own fulfilment network in 2019 and bulked up its presence in Vancouver with 1,000 hires and a new office earlier this year.

Dougherty doesn’t appear to be nervous about Shopify.

“Amazon works in lots and lots of different businesses and all of them are highly competitive and we welcome that because it inevitably creates better experiences,” he said.

“There are other benefits to having other tech companies raise the bar in markets we work in because it educates more talent, you can move around and it creates more economic activity.”

Amazon has invested more than $11 billion in Canada, including infrastructure and compensation, delivered $9 billion to the country’s economy and helped create at least 67,000 jobs, he said.

However, many have those jobs have been dogged with concerns.

The Warehouse Workers Centre, a Brampton, Ont.-based organization representing people in the warehouse and logistics sector, started a petition earlier this year that garnered hundreds of signatures claiming “Amazon is failing to protect our health.”

The petition alleged that Amazon, which employs tens of thousands of people in Canada and has fulfilment centres in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, was refusing to give workers paid leave and not telling staff what their plans are if facilities are contaminated or suspected of being contaminated with COVID-19.

The petition claimed physical distancing at its facilities is “nearly impossible” and said some warehouse workers are now putting in 50 hours a week or more, which the petition called “unsustainable” and said needs to stop.

Amazon has spent more than $800 million on employee safety since the start of the year, Dougherty said.

The company has unveiled temperature checks, physical distancing measures and offered personal protective wear as part of that investment.

“The health of our employees is absolutely critical to us,” Doughtery said. It is our top priority, so we are always paying attention to how those systems are working and ensuring they are the best they can be.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020

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Presidential debates: Memorable moments mingle truth and myth – CBC.ca

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U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden square off for the first of three scheduled debates Tuesday, an event sure to produce a number of sound bite moments.

In the 2016 debates with Hillary Clinton, Trump inspired memes with his “no puppet” denial of Russian influence, and his contention that “somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds” could have been behind cyberattacks targeting Democrats has often been quoted.

Presidential debates, while often entertaining, are more importantly an opportunity for voters to get energized and learn about issues. But as far back as 1976, early in the history of televised presidential debates, an NBC News-Boston Globe poll indicated that just three per cent of those surveyed said the debates changed their vote.

Debates occur too late in the campaign to usually make a huge dent in the final election result, argues political science professor James Stimson. 

“There is no case where we can trace a substantial shift to the debates,” writes Stimson in Tides of Consent: How Public Opinion Shapes American Politics. He contends that conventions are usually more consequential when it comes to moving polls than debates, based on looking at nearly 40 years of polling data.

First debates have proven a particularly poor election bellwether. The candidate deemed the winner of the first debate in Gallup surveys has gone on to win the presidency just four out of 12 times.

Which is not to say that debates don’t matter, just that their impact is hard to isolate. Television news coverage often grafts memorable debate moments onto retrospective packages of elections past, whether there was a real connection to the result or not. Here’s a closer look at some of those moments:

Lazy narrative

Moderator Howard K. Smith sits between Sen. John Kennedy, left, and then Vice-President Richard Nixon during the first televised presidential debate in Chicago on Sept. 26, 1960. (AP)

Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy looked tanned and youthful during the first televised presidential debates in 1960, while then Vice-President Richard Nixon, who ill-advisedly applied a product called Lazy Shave to cover up his five o’clock shadow, looked wan and sweaty.

It’s a great story, but according to political science professors Christopher Wlezien and Robert Erikson, Kennedy’s polling average at the beginning of the first debate was commensurate with the support he got in the election.

WATCH | Kennedy shines, Nixon flops in first televised debate: 

In the first televised U.S. presidential debate, RIchard Nixon and John F. Kennedy square off. 1:00

There’s also a repeated narrative that Nixon was the preferred choice of radio listeners of the debate. Joseph Campbell in Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism and academics such as David Vancil and Sue Pendell in 1987 detailed how much of that narrative was fuelled by anecdotal reports.

In the one known market research survey of self-identified radio listeners, it was not clear that the smallish sample was representative in terms of factors like geography or religious beliefs. Picking Lyndon Johnson from Texas as his running mate was probably more consequential for Kennedy.

For his part, Nixon chose not to debate Hubert Humphrey (1968) and George McGovern (1972). Whether he was scarred by the 1960 experience or saw debating as a no-win scenario given his lead in the polls is open to speculation.

Gaffe didn’t drive Ford down

U.S. President Gerald Ford and wife Betty celebrate after securing the Republican nomination in Kansas City on Aug. 19, 1976. (Karl Schumache/Gerald Ford Library/Reuters)

The defining TV moment from 1976 occurred when then President Gerald Ford insisted in the second debate on Oct. 6 that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

A serious gaffe to journalists and policy wonks, but there’s no evidence in debate surveys that voters paid it much mind. Americans were dealing with a recession, high inflation, rising gas prices and some of the worst-ever U.S. crime rates — the fate of Poland and Hungary in the shadow of a world nuclear power probably didn’t loom large.

WATCH | Ford’s fumble on Soviet question: 

[embedded content]

Furthermore, the Gallup poll of Sept. 30 showed Jimmy Carter enjoying an 11-point advantage in the polls, and by Oct. 12, six days after the Ford gaffe, it was just two points. The state of the race didn’t change drastically after a third debate.

Ford had trailed in one poll by 33 points in the summer, but Carter would then commit a few missteps and verbal miscues of his own on the campaign trail.

Ford lost the election by just 57 electoral college votes and two percentage points. His debate slip overshadowed the fact that he was within shouting distance of an incredible comeback.

One and done

Then President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan shake hands in Cleveland before the only presidential debate of 1980. Reagan’s calm, relaxed demeanor during the debate was seen as key to his victory. (Bettmann Archive)

Legislative changes in the 1970s helped ensure regular presidential debates going forward, but negotiations between the principals were fraught in 1980. There was only one Carter-Ronald Reagan debate, held just a week before the election.

During the debate, the candidates differed in their responses to questions about the handling of the ongoing Iran hostage crisis. Carter also sought to paint the Republican’s positions as superficial and inconsistent, but his persistent needling at one point led a smiling Reagan to shrug, “there you go again.”

WATCH | Reagan’s relaxed one-liner:

A key moment from the 1980 U.S. presidential debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. 0:53

The one-liner came to crystallize the former actor’s optimism and ease on camera.

Reagan then wrapped up his night by asking Americans: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

That conclusion was favoured 45-33 over Carter’s in one poll, with the Harris Poll showing that of the respondents who saw a clear debate winner, it was Reagan 44-26.

With little time left for Carter to bounce back before election day, the debate has been widely viewed by academics as impactful in widening what had been until then a close race. The drift toward Reagan continued, leading to a nine-percentage point and 440-electoral college vote win.

While Reagan projected strength in the debate, the issue of U.S. hostages in Iran was more nuanced than is commonly portrayed. As detailed in Rick Perlstein’s book Reaganland, the 17 per cent in exit polls who thought the hostages were the top issue reported voting for Carter by a 2-to-1 margin.

Did crime pay?

Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis speaks during the first presidential debate with opponent George H.W. Bush in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Sept. 25, 1988. Dukakis likely faced an insurmountable deficit by the time he was forced to answer a controversial question in the third debate that October. (Bob Jordan/The Associated Press)

Moderator Bernard Shaw didn’t waste time with softballs in the second and final 1988 debate, asking Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis off the top: “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favour an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”

Dukakis, the governor of Massachusetts, answered in a manner consistent with his longstanding position that capital punishment was not a deterrent while highlighting his state’s declining rates of violent crime. But his answer was seen by reporters as clinical and dispassionate.

WATCH | Dukakis’ dispassionate answer: 

[embedded content]

Dukakis later told frequent debate moderator Jim Lehrer that the issue had come up, “about a thousand times” in his political career. “Unfortunately, I answered it as if I’d been asked it a thousand times,” he said in Lehrer’s 2011 book Tension City.

In the retelling of that election, Dukakis’s answer along with a foreboding George H.W. Bush campaign ad about a Massachusetts prisoner who committed a violent sexual assault while on furlough have often loomed large.

But Bush was already up several points in the polls heading into the debates after trailing Dukakis early in the summer.

WATCH | George H.W. Bush’s attack ad: 

[embedded content]

Meanwhile, the ad was not widely seen and was amplified by news coverage largely after Bush took his polling lead, writes George Washington University professor John Sides.

In election exit polls, Bush was the overwhelming choice of voters on all economic questions. The capital punishment answer didn’t do Dukakis any favours, but he was likely dealing with an insurmountable deficit.

Sighs of the times

George W. Bush, left, and Al Gore, get animated during the third debate in 2000, a town hall in St. Louis. The assessment of Gore’s performance in the first debate may have been affected by subsequent media coverage. (Jeff Mitchell/Reuters)

The liberal use of a split screen effect in the first presidential debate of 2000 meant viewers got a full complement of Al Gore’s sighs and eye rolls as he grew exasperated with George W. Bush’s answers.

“We had to try to laugh about it. But really, it hurt us,” said Gore adviser Tad Devine in a 2016 New York Times oral history of the debate entitled Debacle.

A funny thing about that, though. Two polls in the hours after the debate had Gore winning above and beyond the margin of error, with a third poll essentially even. Despite this, it’s become accepted conventional wisdom among pundits that the performance hurt Gore. 

Political scientists D. Sunshine Hillygus and Simon Jackman posited that political realities can be mediated, whether through television pundits or, now, on social media.

“… debate watchers believed Gore won the first and third debate, but the individuals not watching the debates increasingly believed that Bush won those debates — perhaps in response to media interpretations of Gore’s smirks and sighs,” the academics said.

In any event, ascribing Gore’s Supreme Court-contested election loss to the first debate, or even the debates overall, is a tricky business, given that he won the popular vote by 500,000.

Romney puts Obama on the ropes

Then President Barack Obama, left, and Republican nominee Mitt Romney share a moment at the end of the first presidential debate in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 4, 2012, but the incumbent wasn’t laughing at the campaign polls that followed. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The first 2012 presidential debate proved the most impactful despite lacking a signature moment on the order of Mitt Romney’s inartful, meme-inspiring “binders full of women” in the second debate, or when Barack Obama mocked Romney in the third debate for earlier declaring Russia was the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the U.S.

Obama had held a lead in nearly ever poll since June, but White House adviser David Axelrod didn’t feel secure.

“We were always worried about the first debate because it historically is a killing field for presidents,” Axelrod wrote in 2015’s Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, citing a common reluctance of busy presidents to take time out for debate prep.

WATCH | Obama feels the heat in first debate: 

Barack Obama faces added pressure in his rematch with Mitt Romney after the U.S. president’s first debate performance dispirited Democrats and sparked a surge in support for the former Massachusetts governor 5:26

Obama indeed came out flat after the first debate in the eyes of pundits, his team and viewers. Polls had Romney clearly winning.

“It wasn’t one of those classic debate gaffes: Richard Nixon mopping his sweaty brow; Michael Dukakis’s robotic response,” but it was clearly noticeable, wrote CNN’s Maeve Reston, capturing the consensus view.

Election polls soon swung dramatically in Romney’s favour, but Obama bounced back in the next two debates, where he was seen as more comfortable.

“Of course, the [first] debate did not change the outcome. … But it really did matter in that it changed the dynamics of the rest of the contest,” wrote Stimson. “Had Obama not improved in the second and third debates, defeat would have been a likely outcome.”

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Nova Scotia goes 5 days without new case of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 for a fifth straight day Sunday.

The province has one known active case.

One person remains in hospital in intensive care, according to a release from the Department of Health and Wellness.

The latest case was announced Tuesday and involves an essential worker from the western zone who travelled outside of the country.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority completed 878 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday.

The province has recorded 92,348 negative test results, 1,087 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths since March. 

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic bubble are:

Symptoms

Anyone with one of the following symptoms of COVID-19 should visit the 811 website to see if they should call 811 for further assessment:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the 811 website:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.
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