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'Their hearts are not in it.' Liberals in Atlantic Canada accused of being unfocused – CTV News



At the start of the election campaign, the polls were suggesting Justin Trudeau’s Liberals could hold most of the 32 seats in Atlantic Canada after they won every riding in the region in 2015 and lost only six seats in 2019.

But political pundits in the region say the Liberal campaign is in trouble. They say Trudeau has failed to explain the need for a vote on Sept. 20, leaving the party unable to properly defend its East Coast fortress.

“It’s almost as if Justin Trudeau himself is trying to figure out why we’re in an election campaign,” Tom Urbaniak, a political science professor at Cape Breton University in Sydney, N.S., said in a recent interview. “I’m starting to get the sense that the Liberals are realizing they may be vulnerable, at least in certain seats.”


Don Desserud, a political science professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, says the Liberal campaign is unfocused.

“It’s bizarre that there is no coherent message,” he said. “The ministers are all over the place. Their hearts are not in it.”

The Liberals’ big-spending, feel-good campaign appears aimed at capitalizing on Trudeau’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the strategy isn’t working, Desserud said.

“I think Liberal support is ebbing, and I don’t think Trudeau is going to get a pandemic bump,” the professor said in a recent interview, adding that the region’s premiers and their chief medical officers have received most of the credit for keeping the pandemic in check.

“They don’t see Trudeau as having had that role, though he has been handing out a lot of money.”

In July, Trudeau signed multi-year affordable child-care deals worth a total of more than $1 billion with P.E.I., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Later that month, he signed a $5.2-billion deal to help Newfoundland and Labrador cover the cost overruns that have plagued the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

In Nova Scotia, however, the surprising results from the provincial election on Aug. 17 should serve as a warning for the federal party, Urbaniak says.

Like their federal cousins, the provincial Liberals started their midsummer campaign for a third term in office by highlighting their stewardship during the pandemic. And like the federal campaign, the provincial version lacked focus.

“The Nova Scotia Liberals went into the campaign without a clear narrative and without a bold road map,” Urbaniak said. “They thought people would reward past performance ΓǪ (Liberal Premier Iain Rankin) thought this would be enough to coast through, and that was an historic miscalculation.”

Rankin’s minority government was swept from power by a decisive Progressive Conservative majority victory.

The Nova Scotia election race, however, was decidedly different on several levels, including the fact that Rankin had been premier for only six months, and he proved to be an awkward campaigner — unlike the seasoned and smooth Trudeau.

As well, the provincial Progressive Conservatives, led by Tim Houston, campaigned on a decidedly moderate, big-spending platform that stood in contrast to the Liberals’ tight-fisted, deficit-averse approach — a reversal of the roles typically seen at the federal level.

“The Nova Scotia example doesn’t translate to the national stage,” Donald Wright, chairman of the political science department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, said in a recent interview. “Houston ran from the left as a progressive ΓǪ to distance himself from the social conservatives. I don’t know if that’s going to translate into votes for Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives in Nova Scotia.”

On another front, Wright said, the perceived momentum behind Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats could siphon votes from the Liberals in urban ridings in Atlantic Canada, where Conservative candidates could find themselves the prime beneficiary.

“And there is a very strong provincial Green movement in New Brunswick, and in Fredericton in particular,” he said.

Meanwhile, the federal Conservative campaign on the East Coast has been helped by the fact the Liberals have failed to demonize the party or its leader, as they did in the previous two elections.

“In Atlantic Canada, you need a right-wing bogeyman to frighten people,” Alex Marland, a political science professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, said in a recent interview. “In Atlantic Canada, it comes down to the question of, can the Liberals paint Erin O’Toole as somebody to be afraid of?”

Last week, Trudeau accused O’Toole of planning to privatize Canada’s publicly funded health-care system. “We will continue to stand up for a public, universal health-care system, unlike Erin O’Toole,” Trudeau said Tuesday.

Part of the problem for the Liberals is that Trudeau is no longer the fresh face of change he used to be, said Marland, author of “Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada.”

“It’s not a particularly exciting government anymore.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2021.

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'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News



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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons



A woman wearing a large pink dress holds a microphone and speaks to a camera while attending a red carpet event.
Cheryl Hickey, longtime host of ET Canada, speaks to the camera on the red carpet of the 2019 Canadian Country Music Awards at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. ET Canada will end on Oct. 6 after 18 seasons. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.

“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”

The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.


The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.

ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.

The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.


An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.

The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.

The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.

Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.

“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.

ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.

“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.

“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”


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Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?



The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.

A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.

Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.


While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.

The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.

Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.

“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.

Click to play video: 'Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem'

Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem

The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.

“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.

It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.

Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.

The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.

The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.

As some couples delay their plans to have kids for a variety of reasons, egg freezing and other fertility treatments are on the rise in Canada.

Click to play video: 'More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study'

More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study

Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.

There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.

Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.

Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.

Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.

Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.

“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.

— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward


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