For the second time in a week, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has had a campaign event disrupted by protesters shouting obscenities, uttering death threats against the prime minister and hurling racist and misogynist insults at people of colour and women in his protective detail.
While making a stump speech to promote his party’s climate change policies in Cambridge, Ont., Sunday morning, the Liberals were forced to delay Trudeau’s appearance for an hour because of the disruptions.
Signs brandished by angry protesters displayed slogans such as “Who benefits from the lock down?” and the “Liberals ruined the country,” with one protester shouting through a megaphone decked out with the name; “InfoWars,” a U.S.-based far-right conspiracy theory website.
When the event did start, it was disrupted by honking horns and foul and threatening language hurled from a crowd of people — almost all of whom were unmasked and were not maintaining physical distance from one another.
Asked if he felt he could continue to hold campaign events safely, Trudeau said his message on climate change and vaccination was not one he would walk away from.
“No, I’m not going to back down on a message that Canadians know is the right path forward, and that’s why Canadians need to choose to move Canada forward in this pivotal time,” Trudeau said.
CBC News was present when a protester shouted a racist remark at a police officer of colour on Trudeau’s protective detail, while another protester was heard making misogynist remarks to a female police officer on the detail.
“First of all, I want to thank the police officers, local and national, who do an amazing job in both keeping people safe and allowing Canadians to express themselves,” Trudeau said. “That is what an election is all about. We may disagree with them, and of course, we will always condemn violence and hatred.”
“This needs to make us ever more convinced of the importance of the choice in this election. Do we fall into division and hatred and racism and violence, or do we say no.”
On Sunday, the Conservative Party tweeted: “The threatening images and behaviour are disgusting. This needs to stop immediately. Canada is better than this.”
Watch: Protesters disrupt Trudeau campaign event shouting threats, obscenities:
Trudeau has been dogged by protesters at many of his campaign events. He was forced to cancel a campaign event in Bolton, Ont., Friday night when hundreds of angry protesters showed up at the Liberals’ outdoor rally.
Among the protesters of Friday were anti-vaccination activists who shouted vulgarities at Liberal volunteers and carried anti-Trudeau signs and flags scrawled with obscenities. The crowd was frustrated with Trudeau’s push to make vaccines mandatory in some settings and his support for provincial vaccine passports to restrict entry into some non-essential businesses.
Video footage from the event shows a handful of people with blue Conservative-branded T-shirts among the unmasked crowd assembled for the protest, which also included a strong contingent of people angry over the federal government’s ban on flavours in smoking cessation devices, such as e-cigarettes.
Conservatives ban protesters from volunteering
In response to the behaviour, Conservative candidate Kyle Seeback said that the volunteers from his campaign who attended the protest are no longer welcome on his campaign team.
“My campaign has zero-tolerance for obscenities or threatening behaviour against any candidate,” Seeback said.
Speaking at an event in Fredericton on Saturday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he is trying to run a positive campaign, and he “strongly condemns any form of harassment” on the campaign trail.
“We should be having a healthy and respectful debate. We have no time for people who bring negativity to campaigning. I urge everyone to put the country and our democracy first — let’s have a positive debate of ideas on the future. That’s my approach, and that’s my expectation for every single member of our team,” he said.
“I expect professionalism, I expect respect. I respect my opponents.”
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On Sunday evening, O’Toole issued a news release stating that anyone who does not support his party’s plan to tackle climate change would not be welcome in the caucus.
“If there are candidates who don’t support it — or any other part of Canada’s Recovery Plan — they won’t be sitting in the caucus of a future Conservative government,” he said.
The statement came just hours after Trudeau called out O’Toole during an event in Cambridge, Ont. for, in his words, not doing enough to condemn “conspiracy theories” from an incumbent Tory candidate.
At a campaign event in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., earlier in the day, O’Toole was repeatedly pressed about an undated flyer that longtime MP Cheryl Gallant sent before the election to constituents in the eastern Ontario riding of Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke.
In the materials, she suggested federal Liberals would pursue a “climate lockdown” and said her constituents should make the upcoming election “a referendum on more lockdowns.”
Tories need to crack down on conspiracy theories: Trudeau
Gallant also released a video in June in which she asked: “How long do you think it will take for the Trudeau Liberals to start calling for a climate lockdown?”
Liberals shared a screenshot of Gallant’s flyer online Sunday, prompting the Conservative Party to allege that the Liberals have candidates who support “9/11 truther conspiracies.”
In a tweet, the party highlighted a 2011 tweet from Toronto Centre Liberal incumbent Marci Ien, in which she said “Loose Change 9-11: An American Coup,” a 9/11 conspiracy theory documentary, “really makes you think about what really happened on September 11, 2001.”
The tweet came to light in the Toronto Centre byelection last October. Ien, a former journalist, tweeted at the time: “I’ve spoken often with the families of 9/11 victims and shared their stories as a broadcaster — and I’ll also do everything I can as an MP… to help keep Canadians safe from all such tragedies.”
O’Toole wouldn’t tell reporters if he found Gallant’s comments acceptable and instead pivoted to promoting his platform, which includes a plan to fight climate change.
“We’re running on a plan to get our country back on its feet, not on things that happened months or years ago,” he said.
Shortly after O’Toole’s statement was released threatening to turf people from caucus if they didn’t support the Conservative climate plan, Gallant tweeted that she is proud to run on the Conservatives’ recovery plan platform “in its entirety.”
I’m proud to run on Canada’s Recovery Plan, in its entirety.
Conservative campaign spokesperson Cory Hann said party officials spoke with Gallant Sunday about the views she expressed in the video and that she removed them as a result of that conversation. Gallant posted the tweet after the party asked her to publicly confirm her support for the party platform, he said.
Asked about Gallant earlier Sunday, Trudeau said it was “extremely disappointing” to see elected politicians “peddle in conspiracy theories.”
“It’s not enough for leaders like Erin O’Toole to simply distance themselves from those comments. He has to flat-out condemn them and then correct the record,” he said.
Drawing a link to the aggressive protests outside of his event, Trudeau said the Conservative leader can help people “shouting out here today” understand they are misinformed on matters such as climate change and vaccines.
“We know they don’t listen to me. Perhaps they will listen to Erin O’Toole,” he said. “That’s the choice that Erin O’Toole needs to make right now around Cheryl Gallant and all of these conspiracy theories being peddled.”
Canada’s Trudeau hammers main election rival’s COVID-19 approach
Opinion polls show Trudeau’s center-left Liberals are tied with the right-of-center Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole and appear set to fail in their bid to win a parliamentary majority in Monday’s vote.
Trudeau, 49, noted that O’Toole, 48, had praised Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s decision earlier this year to quickly lift public health restrictions in the Western Canadian province.
Kenney, who was a minister in former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government before the Liberals took power in 2015, backtracked this week after a surge in COVID-19 cases threatened to overload the provincial healthcare system. Kenney apologized and said he would introduce vaccine passports.
“The choices that leaders make in a crisis matter … just a few days ago Mr. O’Toole was still applauding Mr. Kenney for his management of the pandemic,” Trudeau told reporters in Montreal.
“That’s not the leadership we need in Ottawa to end this pandemic for good,” added Trudeau, who backs mandatory vaccine mandates. The Liberal leader heads a minority government that depends on the opposition to pass legislation.
A central element of Trudeau’s campaign pitch is that Canada needs a leader who is clear on the need for vaccinations to get through the pandemic.
O’Toole has repeatedly sidestepped questions about his earlier support for Kenney’s approach to COVID-19.
“As prime minister, I will work with all premiers, regardless of stripe, to fight against the pandemic,” he told reporters in Saint John, New Brunswick, saying Trudeau should not have triggered an election during a pandemic.
A fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, is continuing to surge mainly among the unvaccinated, Theresa Tam, the country’s chief public health officer, said in a briefing in Ottawa.
“Hospitalizations could exceed healthcare capacities in impacted areas,” she said.
Alberta and neighboring Saskatchewan have among the worst rates of COVID-19 cases per capita in Canada.
Trudeau said his government would send ventilators to Alberta. Liberal campaign organizers, citing unhappiness with Kenney, say their party could pick up three of Alberta’s 34 federal seats after being shut out in the traditionally right-leaning province.
With Saskatchewan hospitals nearing capacity, Premier Scott Moe imposed a mask requirement for indoor public spaces starting on Friday. By Oct. 1, provincial government employees must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing, and people must be inoculated or test negative to dine in restaurants.
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How to handle COVID-19 has become a challenge for O’Toole. He supports inoculations, but says he prefers rapid testing to detect the virus rather than vaccination mandates.
The Conservatives are at risk of seeing some support leak to the right-wing People’s Party of Canada (PPC), which is feeding into public anger https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-mad-max-stokes-anti-vax-rage-could-help-trudeau-2021-09-14 over vaccinations and lockdowns.
PPC leader Maxime Bernier, who also was a minister in Harper’s government, attacked Kenney over his vaccine passport announcement. Bernier tweeted that he would go to the province “to join Albertans in their fight against this despot.”
A rolling Nanos Research telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians for CTV on Thursday put public support for the Liberals at 31.9%, the Conservatives at 30.3% and the left-leaning New Democrats at 22.4%.
Such a result could produce deadlock in which no party is able to form even a stable minority government. Trudeau triggered the election two years early, seeking to benefit from his handling of the pandemic, but the Liberals have not so far been able to shrug off voter fatigue.
Trudeau, however, got a big endorsement on Thursday from former U.S. President Barack Obama, who wished his “friend” all the best in the election.
“Justin has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I’m proud of the work we did together,” Obama wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Writing by David Ljunggren; additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Paul Simao)
Politics Briefing: Post-debate Nanos poll shows the Liberals ahead in Ontario – The Globe and Mail
The travel patterns of the party leaders make one thing clear: Federal elections are won and lost in the Greater Toronto Area, Quebec and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.
To provide a more in-depth look at those key battlegrounds, Nanos Research combined its daily polling data over the past five days to produce larger sample sizes for regional battles. The five days cover Sept. 10 to 14, meaning all surveys were conducted after the Sept. 9 English-language leaders’ debate.
The results show the Liberals are well ahead in the GTA, but are essentially tied with the Conservatives in the rest of the province. For Ontario as a whole, the Liberals hold a 10-point lead with 40 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 30 per cent, the NDP at 20 per cent, the People’s Party at 7 per cent and the Greens at 3 per cent. The province-wide numbers are based on a sample size of 588 and have a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In Quebec, the Liberals are slightly in front at 32 per cent, followed by the Bloc Québécois at 28 per cent, the Conservatives at 18 per cent, the NDP at 15 per cent, the People’s Party at 4 per cent and the Greens at 3 per cent. That is based on a sample size of 447 respondents, with a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In British Columbia, the Conservatives lead with 30 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 28 per cent, the NDP at 26 per cent and the Greens and People’s Party tied at 8 per cent. That is based on a sample size of 300 respondents and has a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The polling data was collected as part of a daily tracking survey commissioned by The Globe and Mail and CTV News.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Bill Curry. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
TRUDEAU, O’TOOLE, SINGH CALL FOR APOLOGY OVER BILL 21 ENGLISH DEBATE QUESTION: All three major party leaders are calling for an apology from the consortium of media broadcasters that oversees the federal election debates over a question about Quebec laws during the recent English-language debate.
The question, posed by moderator Shachi Kurl to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet during the Sept. 9 debate, has set off a firestorm of criticism in Quebec, including a unanimous call from the provincial National Assembly for a formal apology for the “hostile” views expressed “against the Quebec nation.” A report by the Globe and Mail’s election team is here.
CHRÉTIEN APPEARS ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Former prime minister Jean Chrétien made an appearance in support of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail, touting the Liberal government’s record as the party looks to gain ground in a competitive electoral race with less than a week to go until election day.
In a speech Tuesday evening to a packed room of about 400 supporters in Brampton, Ont., which is considered a key battleground, Mr. Chrétien spoke of the world being in turmoil and cited such issues as the impacts of climate change. The story by The Globe and Mail’s Kristy Kirkup is here.
TRUDEAU DEFENDS ONTARIO EVENT WITH 400 PEOPLE, SAYS ALL HEALTH GUIDELINES FOLLOWED: Mr. Trudeau is defending holding a packed campaign event in Brampton with 400 people on Tuesday evening, saying the event was in keeping with provincial guidelines despite criticism, including from Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. Kristy Kirkup’s follow-up story is here.
SINGH SAYS CANDIDATES RESIGNING WAS THE ‘RIGHT DECISION’ AFTER ANTISEMITIC TWEETS SURACE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the resignations of two NDP candidates was the “right decision” after old Twitter posts recently came to light that were deemed to be antisemitic.
At a campaign stop in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday morning, Mr. Singh was asked about Sidney Coles and Dan Osborne, two NDP candidates that were running in the ridings of Toronto-St. Paul’s and Nova Scotia’s Cumberland-Colchester, respectively. Both stepped down less than a week before election day, after old Twitter posts from each candidate resurfaced. The story by the Globe and Mail’s Menaka Raman-Wilms is here.
TRUDEAU WARNS PROGRESSIVES TO VOTE LIBERAL TO WARD OFF CONSERVATIVES, AS O’TOOLE COURTS QUEBEC: Mr. Trudeau appeared alongside the former leader of British Columbia’s Green Party on Tuesday to make a final attempt at appealing to progressive voters, arguing that the Liberals are the only party that can stop the Conservatives as election day draws near.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole sent a letter to Quebec Premier François Legault in an effort to ease concerns about the Conservative Party’s child-care plan, as the Tory Leader looks to court Quebec voters. Story by the Globe and Mail’s election team is here.
CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE APOLOGIZES FOR SPREADING COVID VACCINE MISINFORMATION: Manitoba Conservative candidate and incumbent Ted Falk has apologized after he was quoted in a local newspaper making the false claim that people are 13 times more likely to die from the Delta variant if they were double-vaccinated, compared to unvaccinated. The Canadian Press report can be found here.
TRUDEAU SAYS HE PLAYED NO ROLE IN DEAL WITH CHINESE GOVERNMENT PRESS THAT REPUBLISHED HIS MEMOIR: The Conservative Party is asking Canada’s federal ethics watchdog to reveal whether it scrutinized a 2016 deal where a Chinese state-owned publishing house republished Justin Trudeau’s private memoirs under the title The Legend Continues. Meanwhile, Mr. Trudeau distanced himself from the book deal and declined to explicitly say whether the ethics commissioner okayed the China book deal. Story by the Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase and Robert Fife is here.
NEW INFLATION NUMBERS SPILL INTO ELECTION CAMPAIGN: Canadian inflation surged in August at the quickest pace since 2003, jumping 4.1 per cent in August from a year earlier. The Globe and Mail’s Matt Lundy reports on the details here. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who has been raising inflation concerns throughout the campaign, said in a statement that Canada “is experiencing an affordability crisis” and Liberal and NDP policies will make it worse. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suggested the situation is temporary and said his party is offering policies on housing and child care that will help lower costs for Canadians.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet campaigns in Montreal. Longueuil, Châteauguay, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Varennes and Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made an announcement and held a media availability in Jonquiere, Que., and is scheduled to hold an evening event with supporters in Orford.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul holds a press conference in Kitchener, Ont., with Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Ontario Green Party, and mainstreets in Kitchener and Toronto.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made an announcement and held a media availability in Halifax.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke to the media in Essex, Ont., and visited supporters in London. He was scheduled to visit supporters in Niagara Centre, Hamilton and Brampton and join a Twitch stream event with YouTuber Ryan Letourneau.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on Maxime Bernier’s disgraceful election campaign: “Election campaigns are bruising, generally thankless affairs, in which the mood of the candidates is inextricably linked to the proximity of the finish line. That is, unless you have nothing to lose, then you can often enjoy the experience and get more exposure than you ever imagined – or frankly, deserved. Welcome to Mad Max Bernier’s world.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why the Peoples’ Party of Canada should be represented in Parliament: “If PPC members fail to break through in Parliament, just as Mr. Bernier was unfairly denied representation in the leaders’ debates last week – they will find another way to be heard.”
Eric Reguly (The Globe and Mail) on how Norway’s election thrust climate to the political forefront and may be a taste of elections to come: “The Norwegian election might be a foretaste of elections to come as the planet heats up. The election result – the swing to the left partly propelled by heightened environmental awareness – signaled climate issues are entering the political mainstream, at least in western Europe, and are less divisive than they used to be. Canada is not quite there yet, but give it time. Wealthy Norway has the luxury of knowing that throwing fortunes at reducing emissions won’t hurt the economy, as it might in some other countries. Cries of hypocrisy as the oil revenue continues to fill Norwegian state bank accounts will not disappear any time soon. But give that time, too.”
Erna Paris (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on why federal leaders’ sycophantic acceptance of Quebec’s Bill 21 is dangerous for all of Canada: “To back such legislation is not only hypocrisy on the part of Canadian leaders, but an affront to the fundamental commitments we espouse in this country. During the debate, it was striking to note that in the same breath as the main party leaders refused to challenge Quebec’s right to discriminate, they simultaneously mouthed their support for the Canadian shibboleths of human rights and equality.”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. Please note that it is not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.
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