How New Democrats and Liberals breached the Conservatives’ Fortress Alberta

EDMONTON—The Conservative party’s traditional Fortress Alberta has been breached this election, with New Democrats and Liberals making key incursions into urban ridings.The federal election Monday resulted in another Liberal minority government and nearly identical seat counts for the federal parties as in 2019 — but the political state has shifted on the Prairies.Even though the Conservatives have maintained a blue wall of ridings across Alberta and Saskatchewan, CBC said on election night that support for the party in Alberta had slipped about 14 per cent overall.The NDP picked up a win in Edmonton Griesbach as rookie candidate Blake Desjarlais beat Conservative incumbent Kerry Diotte. The NDP once again secured the Edmonton Strathcona riding as well in a decisive victory for Heather McPherson, who was first elected there in 2019.The Liberals, meanwhile, were able to secure the Calgary Skyview riding from Conservative incumbent Jag Sahota thanks to a successful campaign by outgoing city councillor George Chahal.Meanwhile, the Edmonton Centre riding remained too close to call Tuesday morning as former Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault was neck-and-neck with incumbent Conservative candidate James Cumming. As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, just 136 votes separated the two.Questions will be asked of the Conservatives about their home base of Alberta: Did Premier Jason Kenney’s decision to bring in vaccine passports hurt Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole? Did the People’s Party of Canada siphon some Tory support, allowing Liberal and NDP candidates more breathing room?On Monday, Kenney’s restriction exemption program — a vaccine passport system — kicked in for some businesses and events just as most Canadians went to the polls to vote.The decision from Kenney — along with a slew of new public health restrictions to tackle a raging fourth wave of COVID-19 — came after he had promised for weeks that the province would not bring in vaccine passports and said for months that Alberta was open for good.O’Toole, who had previously praised the province’s handling of COVID-19, was questioned repeatedly about Kenney’s approach to the pandemic but would not give a definitive analysis of the dire situation facing Alberta’s health-care system during his final days of campaigning.Kieran Leavitt is an Edmonton-based political reporter for the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @kieranleavitt

How New Democrats and Liberals breached the Conservatives’ Fortress Alberta

EDMONTON—The Conservative party’s traditional Fortress Alberta has been breached this election, with New Democrats and Liberals making key incursions into urban ridings.

The federal election Monday resulted in another Liberal minority government and nearly identical seat counts for the federal parties as in 2019 — but the political state has shifted on the Prairies.

Even though the Conservatives have maintained a blue wall of ridings across Alberta and Saskatchewan, CBC said on election night that support for the party in Alberta had slipped about 14 per cent overall.

The NDP picked up a win in Edmonton Griesbach as rookie candidate Blake Desjarlais beat Conservative incumbent Kerry Diotte. The NDP once again secured the Edmonton Strathcona riding as well in a decisive victory for Heather McPherson, who was first elected there in 2019.

The Liberals, meanwhile, were able to secure the Calgary Skyview riding from Conservative incumbent Jag Sahota thanks to a successful campaign by outgoing city councillor George Chahal.

Meanwhile, the Edmonton Centre riding remained too close to call Tuesday morning as former Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault was neck-and-neck with incumbent Conservative candidate James Cumming. As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, just 136 votes separated the two.

Questions will be asked of the Conservatives about their home base of Alberta: Did Premier Jason Kenney’s decision to bring in vaccine passports hurt Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole? Did the People’s Party of Canada siphon some Tory support, allowing Liberal and NDP candidates more breathing room?

On Monday, Kenney’s restriction exemption program — a vaccine passport system — kicked in for some businesses and events just as most Canadians went to the polls to vote.

The decision from Kenney — along with a slew of new public health restrictions to tackle a raging fourth wave of COVID-19 — came after he had promised for weeks that the province would not bring in vaccine passports and said for months that Alberta was open for good.

O’Toole, who had previously praised the province’s handling of COVID-19, was questioned repeatedly about Kenney’s approach to the pandemic but would not give a definitive analysis of the dire situation facing Alberta’s health-care system during his final days of campaigning.

Kieran Leavitt is an Edmonton-based political reporter for the Toronto Star. Follow him on Twitter: @kieranleavitt

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Premier Doug Ford pleads for ‘unity’ after ‘an extremely difficult and divisive’ federal election campaign

Premier Doug Ford, who remained neutral in the federal election, is calling for unity after “an extremely difficult and divisive” campaign.The Progressive Conservative premier specifically forbade his cabinet ministers and senior staff from helping Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives in Monday’s election.He also had a de facto truce with the federal Liberals, his partners during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020, and is continuing to negotiate an agreement with Ottawa on $10-a-day child care.“I want to congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his re-election and congratulate all federal leaders who campaigned across Canada to ensure Canadians’ voices were heard on the important issues facing this country,” Ford said Tuesday.“COVID-19 doesn’t care about partisanship or politics and I will continue to work closely with the prime minister. People elected our government to work in the best interests of Ontario, not in service of one political party over others,” the premier said.“For many, this has been an extremely difficult and divisive election and I would like to take this opportunity to urge unity. Emotions have run high as candidates from all parties debated pandemic policies, including vaccine certificates,” he said.That was a reminder to Ontario voters, who go to the polls for a provincial election on June 2, that Ford differed from O’Toole over vaccine mandates.While the federal leader refused to even say how many of his candidates were vaccinated, the provincial Tories forced MPPs and candidates to get their shots or be ejected from the party. Veteran MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Leamington) was defenestrated on Aug, 19. “Ontario is set to introduce its own vaccine certificate this Wednesday to enter certain higher-risk businesses and settings,” said the premier, who had initially opposed such measures, but announced them after Trudeau publicly urged him to do so earlier this month.“There are a lot of people who are concerned about this policy and I want you to know that I hear you. I understand your concerns about protecting your civil liberties and right to privacy,” said Ford.“While many fully vaccinated people like myself share these concerns, the greater concern is having to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases like in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”Both prairie provinces have been plunged into public health emergencies during the fourth wave of COVID-19 that Ontario, which has yet to fully reopen its economy, has avoided.“This pandemic remains an emergency and there are real-world consequences of not acting. We need to do everything in our power to avoid future lockdowns and closures,” he said.“That is why we are bringing in these exceptional measures on a temporary basis and will end them as soon as they can be responsibly removed.”Mindful that his sometime ally, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, is in political peril over a bungled response to the pandemic, Ford promised help for Albertans.“Alberta was there for Ontario earlier in the pandemic when we needed critical equipment and we will be there for them now.”The federal Tories lost four seats in Alberta — two to Trudeau’s Liberals and two to Jagmeet Singh’s NDP — in part because of Kenney’s unpopularity.Sources in Alberta told the Star the embattled premier may not survive much longer as United Conservative leader.“I think people were waiting until the (federal) election was done before moving on Jason,” said one senior federal Tory, speaking confidentially in order to discuss internal machinations.Kenney trails NDP Leader Rachel Notley, his predecessor as Alberta premier, in public opinion polls and could serve as a useful scapegoat for O’Toole, who is also fighting for his political life.Robert Benzie is the Star's Queen's Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Premier Doug Ford pleads for ‘unity’ after ‘an extremely difficult and divisive’ federal election campaign

Premier Doug Ford, who remained neutral in the federal election, is calling for unity after “an extremely difficult and divisive” campaign.

The Progressive Conservative premier specifically forbade his cabinet ministers and senior staff from helping Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives in Monday’s election.

He also had a de facto truce with the federal Liberals, his partners during the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March 2020, and is continuing to negotiate an agreement with Ottawa on $10-a-day child care.

“I want to congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his re-election and congratulate all federal leaders who campaigned across Canada to ensure Canadians’ voices were heard on the important issues facing this country,” Ford said Tuesday.

“COVID-19 doesn’t care about partisanship or politics and I will continue to work closely with the prime minister. People elected our government to work in the best interests of Ontario, not in service of one political party over others,” the premier said.

“For many, this has been an extremely difficult and divisive election and I would like to take this opportunity to urge unity. Emotions have run high as candidates from all parties debated pandemic policies, including vaccine certificates,” he said.

That was a reminder to Ontario voters, who go to the polls for a provincial election on June 2, that Ford differed from O’Toole over vaccine mandates.

While the federal leader refused to even say how many of his candidates were vaccinated, the provincial Tories forced MPPs and candidates to get their shots or be ejected from the party. Veteran MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Leamington) was defenestrated on Aug, 19.

“Ontario is set to introduce its own vaccine certificate this Wednesday to enter certain higher-risk businesses and settings,” said the premier, who had initially opposed such measures, but announced them after Trudeau publicly urged him to do so earlier this month.

“There are a lot of people who are concerned about this policy and I want you to know that I hear you. I understand your concerns about protecting your civil liberties and right to privacy,” said Ford.

“While many fully vaccinated people like myself share these concerns, the greater concern is having to shut down again or experience a sudden surge in cases like in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

Both prairie provinces have been plunged into public health emergencies during the fourth wave of COVID-19 that Ontario, which has yet to fully reopen its economy, has avoided.

“This pandemic remains an emergency and there are real-world consequences of not acting. We need to do everything in our power to avoid future lockdowns and closures,” he said.

“That is why we are bringing in these exceptional measures on a temporary basis and will end them as soon as they can be responsibly removed.”

Mindful that his sometime ally, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, is in political peril over a bungled response to the pandemic, Ford promised help for Albertans.

“Alberta was there for Ontario earlier in the pandemic when we needed critical equipment and we will be there for them now.”

The federal Tories lost four seats in Alberta — two to Trudeau’s Liberals and two to Jagmeet Singh’s NDP — in part because of Kenney’s unpopularity.

Sources in Alberta told the Star the embattled premier may not survive much longer as United Conservative leader.

“I think people were waiting until the (federal) election was done before moving on Jason,” said one senior federal Tory, speaking confidentially in order to discuss internal machinations.

Kenney trails NDP Leader Rachel Notley, his predecessor as Alberta premier, in public opinion polls and could serve as a useful scapegoat for O’Toole, who is also fighting for his political life.

Robert Benzie is the Star's Queen's Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Source : Toronto Star More   

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