At first glance, Monday’s federal byelection in a coveted Greater Toronto Area riding might seem like a nail-biter.
It’s the first contest under the Conservative leadership of Pierre Poilievre, in an area of the country crucial to his party’s chances of success in future federal elections.
And the contest, in a district the Tories won when Stephen Harper earned a majority mandate, comes seven years into the tenure of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government is on its second minority stint in Parliament.
But the Liberals recruited a well-known former Ontario cabinet minister as their candidate for Mississauga-Lakeshore, and Poilievre has been scarcely visible as parties test their ground game a year after the last general election.
“The Liberals should be able to win,” said Philippe Fournier, the creator of 338Canada, a statistical model of electoral projections based on polling, demographics and elections history.
Still, he warned that byelection results are not always meaningful in the grand scheme.
“If the Conservatives pull it out, it’s a big story. If the Liberals win by five or six points, it’s just business as usual,” he said.
Fournier said Conservatives will need to learn how to win again in the regions outside of Toronto if Poilievre wants a kick at the can as prime minister.
“When you look at the riding map, the Conservatives have maxed out in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta. They could win maybe a handful more in Atlantic provinces, maybe two, three more in Quebec, maybe two, three more in B.C.,” he said.
“That doesn’t give you victory. They have to win more in Ontario. Where are the potential gains for the Conservatives? It’s into the Mississaugas and the Scarboroughs.”
Ron Chhinzer, the Conservative candidate in the race, is a gang prevention expert and member of the Peel Regional Police Service serving in Mississauga. He did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Brian Gallant, 53, a Conservative voter, said he doesn’t know much about Chhinzer but will vote for him nonetheless.
“I am tired of the Liberals, and we need a change, we definitely need a change,” he said.
Charles Sousa, Ontario’s finance minister under former premier Kathleen Wynne, lost his seat in the 2018 provincial election that saw the Liberals fall from the governing party to one without official status in the legislature.
He said his experience representing the community west of Toronto and navigating government makes him the most qualified person for the federal seat.
“People want someone who is positive, open-minded, listens to them and gets things done. And so I try to avoid the partisan stuff. I don’t get to the extremes of the spectrum,” he said.
“Nothing’s gonna change in Ottawa, regardless of the outcome of this election. So who do you want to fight for you and be there for you? I’m getting a lot of positive feedback.”
Joining Sousa in the crowded 40-candidate race — with the vast majority of hopefuls running as Independents — is the NDP’s Julia Kole, whose party placed a distant third in the riding’s last three elections.
Kole, a former constituency staffer for a member of the provincial legislature, suggested that people who are frustrated with the Liberals should turn to the NDP rather than to the Conservatives.
“Look what the NDP has been able to accomplish. In a time where there is a lot of indecision, or a lot of delays of decision from the Liberal government, we are working to hold them accountable,” she said. “We’re small, but we’re mighty.”
The byelection was announced after Sven Spengemann, the former Liberal MP, announced earlier this year that he would resign to pursue a new job at the United Nations.
Polling stations in Mississauga are open from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Monday, with their co-ordinates available on Elections Canada’s website.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2022.
UPEI students offered $1,500 to leave residence during Canada Games – CBC.ca
Some UPEI students are earning extra money during the mid-semester break this year, simply by packing up and leaving campus.
The 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society offered $1,500 each to students living in Andrew Hall if they give up their residence rooms to make space for arriving athletes.
The students have to leave a few days before the break starts, on Feb. 17, and can return March 7. They also had to give up their meal plan for the duration.
Many athletes are staying at UPEI’s new 260-bed residence, built to meet accommodation requirements for the Games’ temporary athlete village.
But Wayne Carew, chair of the Games, said there are 120 more athletes coming than originally planned.
“We ended up getting 44 rooms [in Andrew Hall] and that’s great,” said Carew.
He said the athletes staying at UPEI “are going to have a wild experience on the campus of the beautiful University of Prince Edward Island.”
Carew said the costs of doing this are a “lot cheaper” than arranging accommodations elsewhere. But he said the main reason is to provide all athletes the same, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
“Where they live, the food and the camaraderie and the experience of a lifetime: that’s what they’ll remember in 20 years’ time about P.E.I.,” he said.
‘Pretty good deal’
Some students were eager to take the organizers up on their offer.
“I’m going away to Florida during the two-week break anyways. So I was like, ‘May as well let them use my room then,'” said Hannah Somers.
“It’s $1,500. Pretty nice,” said Benji Dueck, who agreed to vacate the room with his roommate. “We’re moving out, living with a friend in the city. So, sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”
As part of the agreement, the students had to clear out their rooms. Canada Games organizers made arrangements so students could store their belongings.
But not all students thought it was a good deal.
“I’m not giving up my spot in Andrew Hall for $1,500,” said Maria de Torres. “It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic. And since I’m an international student, I got a lot [of things] right now.”
Shelby Dyment is also staying in Andrew Hall. Dyment said she and her roommate are working as residence life assistants during the mid-semester break and she’s also doing directed study, so she has to stay on campus.
“There’s a lot of people doing it. It’s just for our situation it just wasn’t working for what we were doing,” she said.
In a statement, UPEI said that enough students had accepted the offer to host all the athletes.
It said the host society made all the arrangements with the students, including paying for their incentives and arranging for storage.
Organizers expect about 3,600 athletes, coaches and officials to participate in the Games. The event will run from Feb. 18 to March 5.
Germany won't be a 'party to the war' amid tanks exports to Ukraine: Ambassador – CTV News
The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they’ll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.
Sabine Sparwasser said it’s a “real priority” for Germany to support Ukraine, but that it’s important to be in “lockstep” coordination with other allied countries.
“There is a clear line for Germany,” she told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, in an interview airing Sunday. “We do want not want to be a party to the conflict.”
“We want to support, we want to do everything we can, but we, and NATO, do not want to be a party to the war,” she also said. “That’s I think, the line we’re trying to follow.”
Defence Minister Anita Anand announced this week Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks — with the possibility of more in the future — to Ukraine, along with Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them.
Canada first needed permission from Berlin to re-export any of its 82 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After a meeting of 50 defence leaders in Germany earlier this month, it was unclear whether Germany would give the green light.
But following what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called “intensive consultations,” Germany announced on Jan. 25 it would send tanks to Ukraine, and the following day, Canada followed suit. It is now joining several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland, which are sending several dozen tanks to Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week the tanks would allow Ukraine to “significantly strengthen their combat capabilities.”
“It demonstrates also the unit and the resolve of NATO allies in partners in providing support to Ukraine,” he said.
Meanwhile Sparwasser said Germany is “walking that fine line” of avoiding steps that could prompt escalation from Russia, while supporting Ukraine, and staying out of the war themselves.
“I think it’s very important to see that Germany is very determined and has a real priority in supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty,” Sparwasser said. “But we also put a high priority on going it together with our friends and allies.”
Sparwasser said despite warnings from Russia that sending tanks to Ukraine will cause an escalation, Germany is within international law — specifically Article 51 of the United Nations Charter — to provide support to Ukraine.
“Ukraine is under attack has the right to self defence, and other nations can come in and provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself,” Sparwasser said. “So in international law terms, this is a very clear cut case.”
She added that considering “Russia doesn’t respect international law,” it’s a more impactful deterrent to Russia, ahead of an expected spring offensive, to see several countries come together in support of Ukraine.
With files from the Associated Press
COVID: Canada retaining Evusheld – CTV News
While Health Canada says it is “aware” of the U.S. decision to withdraw the emergency use of Evusheld, a drug by AstraZeneca used to help prevent COVID-19 infection— the agency is maintaining its approval, citing the differences in variant circulation between Canada and the U.S.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Jan. 26 that its emergency use authorization of the drug was pulled due to its inefficacy in treating “certain” COVID-19 variants.
The FDA stated in a release on its website that as the XBB.1.5. variant, nicknamed “Kraken”, is making up the majority of cases in the country, the use of Evusheld is “not expected to provide protection” and therefore not worth exposing the public to possible side effects of the drug, like allergic reactions.
In an email to CTVNews.ca, Health Canada said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug as the main variant of concern in the U.S. is XBB.1.5.
“Dominant variants in the [U.S.] may be different from those circulating in Canada,” the federal agency said in an email. “The most recent epidemiological data in Canada (as of January 1, 2023) indicate that BA.5 (Omicron) subvariants continue to account for more than 89 per cent of reported cases.”
On Jan. 6 the FDA said in press release that certain variants are not neutralized by Evusheld and cautioned people who are exposed to XBB.1.5. On Jan. 26, the FDA then updated its website by saying it would be limiting the use of Evusheld.
“Evusheld is not currently authorized for use in the U.S. until further notice by the Agency,” the FDA website states.
On Jan. 17, Health Canada issued a “risk communication” on Evusheld, explaining how it may not be effective against certain Omicron subvariants when used as a preventative measure or treatment for COVID-19.
“Decisions regarding the use of EVUSHELD should take into consideration what is known about the characteristics of the circulating COVID-19 variants, including geographical prevalence and individual exposure,” Health Canada said in an email.
Health Canada says Evusheld does neutralize against Omicron subvariant BA.2, which according to the agency, is the dominant variant in many communities in Canada.
The drug was introduced for prevention measures specifically for people who have weaker immune systems and are unlikely to be protected by a COVID-19 vaccine. It can only be given to people 12 years and older.
“EVUSHELD is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended,” the agency’s website reads.
Health Canada says no drug, including Evusheld, is a substitute for vaccination.
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