Leadership candidate Peter MacKay might just be the Conservatives’ best chance at getting more Canadians to vote for the party.
That’s according to a new Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, that asked Canadians about their views and recognition of four candidates in the Conservative leadership race — MacKay, Erin O’Toole, Marilyn Gladu and Derek Sloan.
Ipsos asked 1,000 Canadians — both Conservative voters and those who say they vote for other parties — under whose leadership they would consider voting for the Tories in the next election. A total of 40 per cent pointed to MacKay, compared to 31 per cent for both O’Toole and Gladu.
Just 29 per cent said they would be open to voting Conservative if the party was led by social conservative Sloan, who was just elected in the fall.
“You can really see that Peter MacKay is benefiting from his level of visibility as a cabinet minister over many years, because when you ask both Conservative voters and even Canadians generally, obviously his awareness is pretty far ahead,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, in an interview with Global News.
“Awareness at this stage really does lead to support not just among Canadians generally, but also among people who say they would vote Conservative in the next election.”
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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer lost the election to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall.
While the Conservatives under Scheer won the popular vote and swept Alberta and Saskatchewan, they failed to win much-needed seats in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec, which traditionally determine which party will form government.
Critics from within his own party, including some who worked on his campaign, pointed the finger at Scheer’s social conservative views, including his opposition to same-sex marriage and reproductive rights.
Following that loss, Scheer said in December that he would step down as Conservative leader once the party picked a replacement.
That leadership race is now underway, with voting scheduled for June 27.
But the race has been notable for the number of high-profile candidates who have chosen not to run: big names like Rona Ambrose, Jean Charest, Pierre Poilievre, Candice Bergen and Michael Chong.
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Bricker said the big question for Conservatives now will be looking at which candidate has the name recognition to swing voters in key regions like the Greater Toronto Area. On that front, he said, it could be MacKay who has the advantage.
Thirty-one per cent of Liberal voters said they would consider voting for him compared to 22 per cent for O’Toole.
Twenty-seven per cent of NDP voters and 22 per cent of Bloc Quebecois voters said the same.
In contrast, just 17 per cent of NDP voters and 12 per cent of Bloc voters said they would consider voting for O’Toole.
Gladu and Sloan did even less well: 22 per cent of Liberals said they would consider voting for Gladu and 19 per cent said the same for Sloan.
Among the NDP and the Bloc, 16 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, said they were open to voting for Gladu.
Those dropped to 13 per cent and 12 per cent for Sloan.
All of that, Bricker suggested, will prompt questions for Conservative voters as they weigh the options before them.
“The lesson of the last election is that the big shift has to work. And the big shift means that you need to win Western Canada, but you also need to win the suburbs of Ontario, principally the 905 [area code] region around the City of Toronto,” he said, “and if you can’t win there, you can’t defeat the Liberals.
“That’s going to be the challenge for the next leader of the Conservative Party.”
This Ipsos poll was conducted between January 24th and 27th, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians over the age of 18 was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians over the age of 18 been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Passport delays: Canada opens new service sites – CTV News
The federal government is adding new passport service locations across Canada as a backlog in processing applications continues.
Social Development Minister Karina Gould announced Wednesday that people can now apply for and pick up passports at Service Canada centres in Red Deer, Alta., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Trois-Rivieres, Que., and Charlottetown, P.E.I.
That’s on top of five new locations added in July, and Gould expects to bring another seven to nine locations into the program soon.
“I think this is a really important and long-overdue change,” she said in an interview. “Those of us who live in more urban areas, we don’t realize that we’re so lucky to be close to a passport office.”
The additions should make it easier for people outside large centres to access services and ease stress on offices in regional hubs, she added.
No new federal money was required to make the change, Gould said. Resources come out of a revolving fund made up of passport fees.
Gould said the current crisis and complaints over long wait times have accelerated the work but she was already looking at bringing passport services to more locations before the backlog.
She visited Sault Ste. Marie in April, before media began reporting on complaints over wait times. The local Liberal MP, Terry Sheehan, told Gould that people in the Sault had to drive seven or eight hours to Thunder Bay or Toronto to visit a passport office in person.
Until Wednesday, there was no passport office on Prince Edward Island.
“So I was starting to already look at who is not close, and how can we fix this,” she said. “And then it became that much more acute.”
Nearly 1.1 million applications for new and renewed passports have been filed since April as pandemic restrictions loosen and Canadians resume travelling.
More than one-quarter of those hadn’t yet been processed as of early August.
Government statistics show the system is starting to catch up with demand, as the gulf between the number of passport applications each month versus the number of passports issued is getting smaller.
Call centre wait times have gone down significantly and “triage measures” were implemented at 17 passport offices to mitigate in-person headaches.
Gould said 442 new employees were hired so far this summer and 300 are already trained and working.
But a large backlog remains.
In the first week of August, the number of passports issued within 40 business days of an application fell to 72 per cent from 81 per cent the week before.
That is largely because of mailed applications.
During the first week of August, passports from in-person applications were issued within the government’s 10-day service standard 95 per cent of the time, a rate that has remained steady throughout the summer.
For mailed applications the service standard of 20 days was met only 40 per cent of the time in early August, down from 53 per cent in late July. The government also warns it can take more than 13 weeks to get your passport by mail.
The overall numbers aren’t materially better than in June, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to respond to growing complaints and called the system’s performance “unacceptable.”
The week of June 20, 76 per cent of passports were issued within 40 business days.
The processing times also don’t take into account the wait to get an in-person appointment and there are only a limited number of walk-ins available.
Proof of upcoming travel is required to get service within two months at offices with 10-day processing times, including those announced Wednesday.
Urgent services for people who can prove they need a passport within 48 hours are only available in bigger urban centres — Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Gatineau, Que., and Quebec City.
As the backlash over the wait times continues, some reports suggest Canadians are making “fake” travel plans to show to passport officers, then cancelling their flights once their application is in the queue.
Gould said she’s not aware of this being a “widespread issue” but she has heard about it anecdotally. “I strongly discourage Canadians to do that. It’s unfair, it’s unkind and it’s unnecessary,” she said.
Gould said at the morning press conference that the government failed to predict to what extent demand would sharply spike earlier this year. She insisted an unexpected glut of mailed-in applications is the main culprit in the passport delays.
Although she wouldn’t comment on the specifics of its deliberations, she said a cabinet committee stood up earlier this year — the Task Force on Services to Canadians — is looking at how to make sure that services under federal jurisdiction are being delivered in “a timely and effective way” that takes the toll of the pandemic into account.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2022.
UK: Inflation hits 40-year high
London, United Kingdom (UK)- According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) has risen to 10.1 percent in the 12 months to July, up from 9.4 percent in June and remaining at the highest level since February 1982.
Food price inflation hit 12.7 percent in July, the highest rate in the category for more than 20 years.
The biggest increases came from bakery products, dairy, meat and vegetables, which were also reflected in higher costs for takeaways. Price rises for other staple items such as pet food, toilet rolls, toothbrushes and deodorants also sent inflation soaring to the highest rate in four decades.
Driven by a summer rush, with travellers flocking to packed airports across the UK, prices for package holidays also rose, while airfares increased.
“A wide range of price rises drove inflation up again this month. Food prices rose notably, particularly bakery products, dairy, meat and vegetables, which was also reflected in higher takeaway prices.
Price rises in other staple items, such as pet food, toilet rolls, toothbrushes and deodorants also pushed up inflation in July.
Driven by higher demand, the price for package holidays rose, after falling at the same time last year, while airfares also increased.
The cost of both raw materials and goods leaving factories continued to rise, driven by the price of metals and food respectively,” said ONS’ chief economist, Grant Fitzner.
Separate ONS analysis showed that poorer households were facing greater rates of inflation than those with higher incomes because they spent a bigger proportion of their budgets on energy and food, which are rising fastest in price.
While all advanced economies have seen a rise in inflation, it has been stronger in the UK than in other G7 countries and most European nations.
This reflects the country’s greater use of gas, the underlying strong growth in spending last year, pay growth in the private sector rising above five percent and the ease with which companies expect to pass on higher costs to customers.
Many economists on Wednesday said the upward surge in inflation along with robust wage growth in the second quarter would stiffen the Bank of England’s resolve, encouraging the Central Bank to raise interest rates further and faster.
Households are expected to come under further pressure this autumn from a fresh rise in energy bills, which the Bank of England forecasts will drive inflation above 13 percent and trigger a long recession as families rein in their spending.
UK’s water provider bans use of hosepipes
London, United Kingdom (UK)- Thames Water which supplies water to some parts of the country has said that from next week, anyone who gets their water from the water supplier would have to do away with the use of hosepipes.
According to Thames Water, anyone taken to Court for persistent breaches of restrictions on hosepipe bans including watering a garden, cleaning a vehicle or washing windows, walls, paths, and patios will face a fine of up to £1 000 (US$1 200).
“We have been working around the clock to supply everyone, and customers have been brilliant at saving water where they can but with low rainfall forecast for the coming months, we now need to take the next step in our drought plan,” read a statement from Thames Water.
Welsh Water, Southern Water and South East Water have already imposed hosepipe bans, while several others are set to follow suit.
All around the UK, water levels are struggling following record-breaking heat and historically low rainfall which has since prompted the government to declare a drought.
At a meeting of the National Drought Group on Friday, the government’s Environment Agency said the drought trigger threshold had been met in parts of southwestern, southern, central and eastern parts of the country.
The government said the move to drought status was based on factors such as rainfall, river flows, levels of groundwater as well as reservoirs and their impact on public water supply.
According to the meteorological department, the period from January to June this year saw the least rainfall in England and Wales since 1976 and every month of the year except February has been drier than average. That summer of 1976 saw the use of drastic measures such as roadside standpipes and water rationing.
“We urge everyone to manage the amount of water they are using in this exceptionally dry period,” said National Drought Group chair, Harvey Bradshaw.
Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has warned beachgoers to stay away after sewage alerts across England and Wales following heavy rainfall affecting water quality, especially in the south.
The environmental campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has collected data that suggests storm sewage discharges have taken place on beaches in Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon, Essex, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland and Sussex.
With much of the UK in drought, the land has become less able to absorb heavy rainfall, meaning larger than usual quantities reaching drainage channels, which can cause flash floods.
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