Ontario Premier Doug Ford is rejecting suggestions that his party will call an early election to take advantage of his soaring poll numbers thanks to his government’s ongoing pandemic response.
Ford insisted several times on Friday that the next election will be held on the scheduled date of June 2, 2022 and that he has no desire to call an early vote because the Progressive Conservatives has a four-year mandate.
“We aren’t going to be calling it in the spring, we’ll be calling it the regular time,” Ford said during a news conference at Queen’s Park where his party holds a comfortable majority of seats.
Ontario’s PC party, along with the provincial Liberals and NDP have been racing to nominate candidates in Ontario’s 124 ridings – nearly two years before the writs are issued.
Sources with Ontario’s Liberals say the party feels it needs to be ready because “all signs appear to be showing an early election.”
Liberals point to the premier’s campaign-style tour of Ontario during the summer, a stepped up fundraising campaign, and fast-tracked nominations as reasons behind the speculation.
Next election about leadership
Despite ruling out an early vote, Ford says the ballot box question during next election will be about leadership and which party got the province through the pandemic.
“People will have a very clear decision. They’ll have a decision about leadership,” Ford said. “Who do they have confidence in getting the economy back up and running like we did.”
Ford boasted about the 300,000 jobs created during the first two years of him time in office – employment gains that were wiped out during the COVID-19 restrictions that saw Ontario’s unemployment rate spike to 12.3 per cent in June.
Recent polls, however, suggest that despite the economic hardship, the premier’s overall pandemic response could deliver an electoral windfall.
A recent survey by The Angus Reid Institute found 45 per cent of decided voters said they would cast a ballot for the Progressive Conservative party, up from 36 per cent in February.
The NDP were a distant second with 25 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 22 per cent and the Greens at four per cent.
The Premier’s personal approval rating now sits at 66 per cent, according to Angus Reid, up from 31 per cent in February.
Ford rose to power in 2018 with 40 per cent of the popular vote and 76 seats in the provincial legislature. The party currently has 72 seats in the legislature, after the departure of two MPPs and the eviction of two others.
Cenovus-Husky deal to result in upward of 2150 layoffs – CTV Toronto
Officials with Cenovus Energy confirm the acquisition of Husky Energy will result in the elimination of between 20 and 25 per cent of the staff of the combined company.
Together, the companies currently have 8,600 employees and contractors, which means between 1,720 and 2,150 layoffs are planned.
According to Cenovus, the majority of the staffing cuts will occur in Calgary.
Cenovus announced it had purchased Husky on the weekend through a $3.8 billion share transaction. The deal is expected to be finalized in 2021.
Following the announcement of planned cuts at the combine company, Energy Minister Sonya Savage says there’s still reason for optimism regarding Alberta’s energy sector.
“Those who wish to see Canada’s energy sector shut down entirely will no doubt opportunistically seize upon today’s news,” said Savage in a statement. “But projections show continued global demand for fossil fuels well into the future. We believe that Canada should not cede that market to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“As companies across the globe navigate unprecedented economic times, job restructurings are an unfortunate reality of weathering the storm.
“As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Government focused on ensuring that the oil and gas sector is in a strong position for recovery, while also diversifying the economy to create new jobs.”
'Already struggling' Calgary downtown core will be hit hard by job cuts from Cenovus-Husky merger – National Post
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“It’s an unfortunate thing, because, the timing being such, the pandemic has affected everyone in Calgary and certainly in Alberta,” Ball said. “For non-profits it means there’s been an increase in the demands for their services.”
It’s especially acute for the cultural non-profits, most of which are based downtown, she said.
“Of course people working downtown creates a vibrancy 5 to 7 and 7 beyond for bars and restaurants and also live in-person events and so the arts sector is tied to, in some ways, the vitality of the downtown core.”
Still, in spite of the doom and gloom, there are bright spots: On Monday, Suncor announced it would be relocating employees at its branch offices in the Toronto area to Calgary, essentially bringing 700 positions to Calgary.
“Yesterday, Suncor’s leadership spoke with our Downstream employees and let them know that over the course of 2021, we’d be moving our Downstream head office from Mississauga and Oakville to Calgary,” Suncor spokesperson Sneh Seetal said in an email.
Nenshi said that Suncor moving people to the city is good news, evidence of the city’s appealing real-estate market, compared to overheated business markets such as Toronto, something he hopes will bring even more business to the city.
“That’s really the pitch that we’re making to a lot of firms,” said Nenshi.
Woolley, for his part, also remains optimistic: “There is hope, I am a hopeful, optimistic Calgarian, I believe in our city, but it really does speak to the importance of us taking a look at economic diversification,” said Woolley.
With files from Geoffrey Morgan
UPDATE: 17 New COVID-19 Cases in Windsor-Essex – AM800 (iHeartRadio)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is reporting 17 new cases of COVID-19 in our region.
Of the new cases, 12 are considered close contacts of confirmed cases. Further breaking that down, the health unit says nine of the 12 are household contacts of a confirmed case from the same household. Two other unrelated cases are close contacts of cases that visited from another jurisdiction and one case is a household contact from a different household.
According to the WECHU, the two households are not related to each other at this time.
Of the five remaining cases, three are community acquired and two are still being investigated.
There are still 44 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex as well as outbreaks at two workplaces, one in the construction sector in Lakeshore and the food and beverage industry in Kingsville.
The health unit is not reporting any outbreaks at local schools, long-term care or retirement homes.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is reporting 827 cases of COVID-19. 355 new cases are in Toronto, 169 in Peel, 89 in York Region and 58 in Ottawa.
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