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The Canadian election is (mostly) over. Cue the party leadership speculation: experts – Globalnews.ca

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The Canadian federal election is now — mostly — a thing of the past after being dominated for weeks by questions over whether it was warranted in the midst of the COVID-19 fourth wave.

For the major federal party leaders now though, experts say the question is poised to become: could they or should they have done better at the polls, and will the political knives now come out?

Prominent Conservative Lisa Raitt, a former federal cabinet minister, said she expects both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will face questions from their caucuses, but what happens next is still uncertain.

“I think it’s too early to say, ‘knives out,’” she told Global News on Tuesday.

“I do believe that caucus has a right to understand from both of their leaders behind closed doors what happened, what’s the analysis and where do we go from here.”

READ MORE: Liberals projected to form minority government; Trudeau bills win as ‘clear mandate’


Click to play video: 'What does the future of party leadership look like after election 2021?'



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What does the future of party leadership look like after election 2021?


What does the future of party leadership look like after election 2021?

After five weeks and $600-million, the pandemic election — the most expensive in Canadian history — has left the makeup of the House of Commons virtually identical to what it was when Trudeau chose to seek a dissolution on Aug. 15, and send the country to the polls.

That early lead quickly evaporated and Trudeau is once again set to lead a minority government that will see him forced by Canadians to negotiate and cooperate with the other parties in order to govern.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh now appears poised to play kingmaker, and said he plans to stay on as leader when questioned early Tuesday morning about whether he should be replaced. In comparison, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul’s second straight failure to win the Toronto Centre seat she was campaigning for is already prompting questions about her own future and ability to lead the party.

“I’ve never seen the party so unprepared for an election,” said former Green leader Elizabeth May, who was re-elected as the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, during an interview with Global News.

The two major party leaders are likely also facing questions in light of the election result.

Grace Skogstad, a professor of political science with the University of Toronto, described the outcome as “a disappointment for both the Liberal and Conservative leaders.”

“In terms of what it means for their leadership, there’s going to be a greater challenge to Erin O’Toole’s leadership than there is to Justin Trudeau’s. … It’s always easier to win an election, even if he’s only gained one seat.”

READ MORE: O’Toole’s election gamble — swinging Tories to the centre

O’Toole gambled big by swinging the Conservative Party to the centre of the political spectrum, but was not able to oust Trudeau from the Prime Minister’s Office.

He told journalists on Tuesday afternoon he was “disappointed” with the result but planned to remain in the role and has already started the process to review what could have been done better.

“Next time we will,” he said of the frustration members feel at not winning.

“We’re closer in dozens upon dozens of ridings, but not close enough. I want to earn that trust with Canadians. That’s why we’re going to work tirelessly.”

His predecessor, Andrew Scheer, vowed to stay in the role as leader following the 2019 campaign that saw Trudeau reduced from a majority to a minority, but within weeks because the target of internal party fighting and damaging leaks that led him to shift gears, and step aside.

O’Toole won the ensuing leadership race. But unlike with Scheer’s election loss, there are already strong voices from within the party speaking out about the need to rally around O’Toole rather than kick him to the curb, and search for a new leader.


Click to play video: 'Conservative support drops in Alberta, PPC and Kenney a factor: political scientist'



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Conservative support drops in Alberta, PPC and Kenney a factor: political scientist


Conservative support drops in Alberta, PPC and Kenney a factor: political scientist

Matthew Conway, one of the Quebec representatives on the party’s national council of members, said Conservatives will need to do a post-mortem to figure out what could’ve been done better.

But he said in a minority government, changing leaders after each election simply isn’t realistic.

“I think going into another leadership would be a massive mistake,” he told Global News.

“We can’t be quick. We can’t change leaders after every election. There is absolutely no momentum into that next election. There’s causes too much upheaval.”

A former Conservative candidate and ex-political staffer, Conway said the post-mortem on the election results will need to take a hard look at why some Liberal attacks over things like the party’s positions on abortion access and firearms control resonated with voters.

Both will likely continue to be part of Liberal political attacks in the future, he noted.

“The Liberals will play the fear game and we need to be ready to defend ourselves on that. We need to realize also that the Morgentaler abortion decision was in 1988,” he said, adding more can be done to make it clear O’Toole is pro-choice.

“But also people in our party need to stop fighting battles that were fought many years ago. It’s 2021. … Continuing to fight these battles just allows Justin Trudeau and his corrupt government to continue getting elected, and that doesn’t serve Canada.”

READ MORE: O’Toole reverses campaign pledge on conscience rights, says doctors must refer patients

Jason Lietaer, a Conservative strategist, offered a similar case for why O’Toole should stay on.

He said while some party members are getting “restless” after losing three elections in a row, the best shot at forming government again is building on the foundations he says O’Toole laid in the campaign.

“I think the main question you ask yourself is, can this guy win? And I think the answer is yes. It’s one of the reasons why I think Mr. O’Toole should probably get another crack at this,” said Lietaer, who is president of the political strategy firm Enterprise.

“The truth is, it’s a lot easier to win the second time than the first time if you continue to grow in the job. I think he’s shown capacity to grow.”


Click to play video: 'Canada election: Mood not great at Conservative party headquarters following projected Liberal minority government'



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Canada election: Mood not great at Conservative party headquarters following projected Liberal minority government


Canada election: Mood not great at Conservative party headquarters following projected Liberal minority government

Skogstad also noted O’Toole may be able to stave off leadership challenges with the fact that the People’s Party of Canada, the far-right group led by ex-Tory Maxime Bernier, didn’t win a single seat in the House of Commons in the election.

If O’Toole can demonstrate he has a plan to keep building on the pivot to the centre and turn that into more votes, he may have a chance to stay on that Scheer did not get, she suggested.

“A little more than a third of his caucus is going to be from Saskatchewan and Alberta, and we can expect those MP’s to take issue with the kind of campaign that he ran, which is to try to move the party to the centre, make it look much more like an old Progressive Conservative Party,” she said.

“I think he can justifiably argue that the pathway to a national government in Canada does have to be to hold much more toward the centre.”

— with files from Global’s Mike Le Couteur, Abigail Bimman and Rachel Gilmore.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada no longer advising against non-essential travel, first time since March 2020 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The Canadian government has quietly lifted its advisory against non-essential international travel, marking the first time since March 2020 that the notice has been lifted.  

A travel notice on the Government of Canada website had been advising travellers against all non-essential international travel, but is now replaced with a notice urging all travellers to be fully vaccinated before a trip.

“Be aware that although you are better protected against serious illness if you are vaccinated, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19,” the updated advisory states.

“If you’re unvaccinated, you remain at increased risk of being infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 when travelling internationally. You should continue avoiding non-essential travel to all destinations.”

The updated notice also urges travellers to keep up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation in their destination, to follow the local public health measures and follow the traditional measures, such as wearing a mask, hand washing and physical distancing.

“The Government of Canada will continue to assess available data and indicators—including the vaccination rate of Canadians, the border test positivity rate, and the epidemiological situation globally and in Canada―and adjust advice as needed,” a spokesperson for Health Canada said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca.

While the government is no longer advising against international travel, it is still urging against international cruises.

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Biden says United States would come to Taiwan’s defense

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The United States would come to Taiwan‘s defense and has a commitment to defend the island China claims as its own, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday, though the White House said later there was no change in policy towards the island.

“Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall when asked if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has complained of mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty.

While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

In August, a Biden administration https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-position-taiwan-unchanged-despite-biden-comment-official-2021-08-19 official said U.S. policy on Taiwan had not changed after the president appeared to suggest the United States would defend the island if it were attacked.

A White House spokesperson said Biden at his town hall was not announcing any change in U.S. policy and “there is no change in our policy”.

“The U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the Act, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” the spokesperson said.

Biden said people should not worry about Washington’s military strength because “China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we’re the most powerful military in the history of the world,”

“What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake,” Biden said.

“I don’t want a cold war with China. I just want China to understand that we’re not going to step back, that we’re not going to change any of our views.”

Military tensions between Taiwan and China are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said this month, adding that China will be capable of mounting a “full-scale” invasion by 2025.

Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States and has denounced what it calls “collusion” between Washington and Taipei.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Thursday, China’s United Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun said they are pursuing “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and responding to “separatist attempts” by its ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

“We are not the troublemaker. On the contrary, some countries – the U.S. in particular – is taking dangerous actions, leading the situation in Taiwan Strait into a dangerous direction,” he said.

“I think at this moment what we should call is that the United States to stop such practice. Dragging Taiwan into a war definitely is in nobody’s interest. I don’t see that the United States will gain anything from that.”

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington, Michelle Nichols in New York and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Alec Baldwin fires gun on movie set, killing cinematographer, authorities say

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Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set in New Mexico on Thursday, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, authorities said.

The incident occurred on the set of independent feature film “Rust,” the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography, and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop  firearms was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” the police said in a statement.

A Variety report https://bit.ly/3nnyldg said the shooting occurred at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location south of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

No charges have yet been filed in regard to the incident, said the police, adding they are investigating the shooting.

Baldwin’s representatives did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

 

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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