Who won the leaders debate? Everyone, and no one: Poll

A new poll shows that all of the leaders succeeded in rallying their bases (Trudeau appealed especially to Quebecers), but it also finds voters increasingly tuning out The post Who won the leaders debate? Everyone, and no one: Poll appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Who won the leaders debate? Everyone, and no one: Poll

The polling consensus is a shrug emoji. The running assumption, as neck-and-neck frontrunners lay out their final arguments, is still that this election could go any which way.

Another piece of collective wisdom, with six days left in the campaign, is that last week’s debates must’ve had a favourable impact on the Liberal Party effort. Most polls show that a small but consistent Conservative lead has evaporated in the days since—despite the pummelling Justin Trudeau took on the debate stage for his six-year record as prime minister.

But is that really the case?

A weekend poll from Innovative Research for Maclean’s implies the debates had no clear winner overall, with all leaders succeeding in rallying their bases, and all leaders making better impressions on those who watched the debate than on those who simply heard about the debate.

The survey took the pulse of 1,831 Canadians Friday through Sunday. It was weighted to be representative of the Canadian population, but the pollster says margins of error are not available due to the online format.

READ: Five takeaways from the federal election debate, a disjointed but feisty showdown

In last week’s French contest, Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois had a small edge over Trudeau among Quebec voters, while Trudeau won according to the rest of Canada. In the English edition, Trudeau won, according to Quebecers; in the rest of the country, Erin O’Toole got the best reviews, but Jagmeet Singh and Annamie Paul fared best among unaligned voters.

The same poll tracked other trends that could be more relevant as we try to divine why topline numbers are tightening in the dying days of the campaign.

Almost three-quarters of respondents, 73 per cent, say they are “very worried about what might happen to this country if the wrong government is elected.” A majority, 57 per cent, reported being disappointed with Trudeau and his Liberal government. A similar number, 59 per cent, say they are upset with his decision to call an election, though only 12 per cent would consider themselves less likely to vote Liberal as a result.

But despite their disgruntlement with Trudeau, on policy, respondents said they believe Liberals would do better than Conservatives in a majority of categories: on climate change, gun violence, women’s rights, containing further waves of COVID-19 and, by small margins, “helping people like you make ends meet,” “helping people like you get ahead” and “making housing more affordable.” Despite offering a fairly robust policy book that tried to check all of those boxes, Conservatives only have a minor edge on economic recovery, though they enjoy, unsurprisingly, a huge advantage on balancing the budget.

READ: Could it be Prime Minister Erin O’Toole?

The poll confirms that the fear of a Conservative government coming into power is lower than it was in 2019 under the leadership of Andrew Scheer—with 36 per cent of respondents agreeing that the “most important thing” in the election would be to stop Conservatives from getting into power, versus 41 per cent agreeing with the same in 2019. This could be why the Liberals have had a harder time making bogeyman attacks stick.

Perhaps the most interesting finding is one that sheds a little light on the surge for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, which currently sits at 6.2 per cent support in poll aggregator 338Canada’s projection.

The poll found that fully 25 per cent of respondents who believe that pandemic restrictions are “far too tight” intend to vote for the splinter party. Another 37 per cent would vote Conservative. At the other end of the spectrum, among people who think restrictions are “far too loose,” there’s no support for Bernier but 35 per cent favour O’Toole.

That the Tories enjoy support from both groups will continue to prove tricky for O’Toole as he navigates his position on vaccine mandates. But that Bernier is the only comfortable choice for people who are anti-vaccine may be the bigger problem. In 2019, when the PPC was much weaker, the Tories lost a handful of swing ridings because of tiny numbers of defectors to Bernier’s tribe. The dent could be larger this time.

If a tree falls in the forest…? 

An Abacus Data survey over the weekend found only 12 per cent of 2,000 respondents said they were following this election “very closely,” pollster David Coletto pointed out in POLITICO Tuesday. Another 29 per cent are following “pretty closely,” but 47 per cent only a little, and 11 per cent not at all. About a third of those who haven’t paid much attention to date are just starting to now, Coletto said.

Greg Lyle, from Innovative Research, notes there has been a recent drop in voters looking for more information from parties, from 47 per cent to 35 per cent. At the same time, respondents’ attention is “flat,” he says, with 40 per cent not hearing anything from any campaign. “This suggests as new people tune in, those who have made up their minds are tuning out.” ”

Looking at the debate-specific numbers from Lyle’s weekend poll, one of the most noticeable statistics was that the majority— of Canadians didn’t bother to watch the debates at all.

Though 26 per cent of Quebec respondents watched at least some of the French debate Wednesday and only 11 per cent of non-Quebecers tuned in. The audience was larger for Thursday’s English debate: 20 per cent of Quebecers tuned in along with 36 per cent of respondents in the rest of Canada, though fewer than half of them watched the whole thing. Still, much larger contingents, usually half, reported hearing nothing at all on the subject.

Maybe those voters had already made a decision on who to support. Maybe they expected a useless yelling match. Maybe they expected to learn nothing from the tired debate formats. Maybe they were still hungover from last year’s (yes: last year’s) United States presidential election or burnt out after the latest provincial contest.

Maybe they were just exasperated at the mere thought that an election campaign is taking place. (Lyle’s poll sure seems to suggest so.) Maybe they decided to prioritize enjoying the last few days of a relatively “normal” summer before the cold weather and the school year and the Delta-driven fourth wave and the renewed social anxiety set in. Maybe they buried themselves in the TV show they’ve been binging lately, because they’re deep into season three and the important thing is to know whether Jack and Kate are going to make it off the island.

Whatever the reason for Canadians’ indifference to the debates, these numbers track closely with viewership over the past couple of elections. It is the norm.

But however this election shakes out on what’s likely to be a nail-biter of an election night, it might be worth remembering, next time, how few voters decided that watching leaders square off was worth their time. It might be worth asking what we can do to change that. Or the fact that a large minority of them won’t bother to vote at all.

The post Who won the leaders debate? Everyone, and no one: Poll appeared first on Macleans.ca.

Source : Maclean's More   

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In her new book, Canada's 'Indian in the cabinet' has harsh words for Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA—Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book may not swing an election. But it is giving new fuel on the campaign trail to Justin Trudeau’s rivals.Titled “Indian in the Cabinet,” Wilson-Raybould’s second book since leaving the Trudeau government amid the SNC-Lavalin affair is a 304-page personal memoir that landed like a stink bomb in the last week of the 2021 election campaign and Trudeau’s third bid for the highest office in the land.In it, the former justice minister and attorney general offers a deeply personal and scathing perspective, with a few new revelations about her time in federal politics and her relationship with the Liberal leader.It should be required reading for anyone interested in knowing more about how she saw partisan politics played in Ottawa (roughly) or what kind of prime minister Trudeau is (he has a temper yet holds himself oddly distant from cabinet members, requiring loyalty above all). And on the brink of next week’s vote, Wilson-Raybould offers a sobering view of how likely “real change” is on Indigenous reconciliation, criminal justice reform and climate change if a Liberal government is re-elected (hint: not very).Wilson-Raybould is not running again as an Independent in this election after her 2019 win, and gives no hint in her book or in an interview with the Star where she plans to next make her mark.But the publication tees up her desire to ensure her voice is heard, once again, at the highest political reaches. The book was supposed to come out in mid-October. Its publication date was moved up to six days before Canadians cast a vote. She said that was entirely coincidental, not planned to maximize impact on Liberal electoral fortunes.“There wasn’t an election campaign at the time that the date was moved up,” she said. “The publisher moved it up to today’s date, because it was done, and there was demand for it.”On the campaign trail, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh are holding up Wilson-Raybould’s experience as a cautionary tale and an inspiration for voters.O’Toole said Trudeau “will threaten anything if he doesn’t get his way. Don’t believe me? Ask Jody Wilson-Raybould.”Green Leader Annamie Paul name-dropped and thanked her at the opening of the leaders’ debate on national television, a surprise to Wilson-Raybould, she says.Wilson-Raybould shrugs it all off. She is “pleased” to show that “independent MPs can have impact” on the debate today.One of her primary indictments against Trudeau is the book’s opening chapter: after a couple of face-to-face meetings after the Globe and Mail broke news that Trudeau and his office had exerted political pressure on her to intervene in a criminal case against Quebec engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin, Wilson-Raybould again met Trudeau at a Vancouver hotel and says she had a moment of clarity. “In that moment, I knew he wanted me to lie” — an assertion Trudeau flatly denies.To this day, she stands her ground: “This is not just about a policy choice that may or may not be made. This is about the rule of law and the norms and core principles of our democratic system. So my approach to it was, of course, different. I was the attorney general, for f - - -’s sake.“I knew from the outset that even the conversations that were happening were dangerous and wrong, and that we should not be discussing the matter casually or loosely.”The impact of her critique likely depends on who wins a credibility contest with readers between Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould.At the Toronto Star’s editorial board Friday, Trudeau downplayed its impact.“Listen, politics is a challenging career to be part of. And always there are very strong perspectives from anyone writing their own side of the story and devoting the whole book to it. I think people will look at it with a level of interest, but also a healthy level of skepticism, including people in the Indigenous community who’ve worked with her and know her.”Wilson-Raybould denies being the source of the original leak, or knowing who was responsible.But she is unequivocal, as she was in 2019 when the scandal exploded, that Trudeau and his top staffers applied improper if not illegal political pressure, claiming thousands of jobs at the Quebec company were at stake if it couldn’t cut a deferred prosecution deal to escape a criminal finding of guilt on a corruption charge, and retain its ability to bid on federal contracts.Wilson-Raybould notes that the company later pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud and was fined $280 million, but it didn’t quit Canada and didn’t kill thousands of jobs. She also underscores that the federal ethics commissioner agreed with her.Mario Dion found Trudeau guilty of violating the conflict of interest law against furthering private interests.Trudeau has repeatedly said in the past several days that the issues Wilson-Raybould raises were thoroughly aired by parliamentary committees two years ago.The RCMP said Wednesday in a statement

In her new book, Canada's 'Indian in the cabinet' has harsh words for Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA—Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book may not swing an election. But it is giving new fuel on the campaign trail to Justin Trudeau’s rivals.

Titled “Indian in the Cabinet,” Wilson-Raybould’s second book since leaving the Trudeau government amid the SNC-Lavalin affair is a 304-page personal memoir that landed like a stink bomb in the last week of the 2021 election campaign and Trudeau’s third bid for the highest office in the land.

In it, the former justice minister and attorney general offers a deeply personal and scathing perspective, with a few new revelations about her time in federal politics and her relationship with the Liberal leader.

It should be required reading for anyone interested in knowing more about how she saw partisan politics played in Ottawa (roughly) or what kind of prime minister Trudeau is (he has a temper yet holds himself oddly distant from cabinet members, requiring loyalty above all). And on the brink of next week’s vote, Wilson-Raybould offers a sobering view of how likely “real change” is on Indigenous reconciliation, criminal justice reform and climate change if a Liberal government is re-elected (hint: not very).

Wilson-Raybould is not running again as an Independent in this election after her 2019 win, and gives no hint in her book or in an interview with the Star where she plans to next make her mark.

But the publication tees up her desire to ensure her voice is heard, once again, at the highest political reaches. The book was supposed to come out in mid-October. Its publication date was moved up to six days before Canadians cast a vote. She said that was entirely coincidental, not planned to maximize impact on Liberal electoral fortunes.

“There wasn’t an election campaign at the time that the date was moved up,” she said. “The publisher moved it up to today’s date, because it was done, and there was demand for it.”

On the campaign trail, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh are holding up Wilson-Raybould’s experience as a cautionary tale and an inspiration for voters.

O’Toole said Trudeau “will threaten anything if he doesn’t get his way. Don’t believe me? Ask Jody Wilson-Raybould.”

Green Leader Annamie Paul name-dropped and thanked her at the opening of the leaders’ debate on national television, a surprise to Wilson-Raybould, she says.

Wilson-Raybould shrugs it all off. She is “pleased” to show that “independent MPs can have impact” on the debate today.

One of her primary indictments against Trudeau is the book’s opening chapter: after a couple of face-to-face meetings after the Globe and Mail broke news that Trudeau and his office had exerted political pressure on her to intervene in a criminal case against Quebec engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin, Wilson-Raybould again met Trudeau at a Vancouver hotel and says she had a moment of clarity. “In that moment, I knew he wanted me to lie” — an assertion Trudeau flatly denies.

To this day, she stands her ground: “This is not just about a policy choice that may or may not be made. This is about the rule of law and the norms and core principles of our democratic system. So my approach to it was, of course, different. I was the attorney general, for f - - -’s sake.

“I knew from the outset that even the conversations that were happening were dangerous and wrong, and that we should not be discussing the matter casually or loosely.”

The impact of her critique likely depends on who wins a credibility contest with readers between Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould.

At the Toronto Star’s editorial board Friday, Trudeau downplayed its impact.

“Listen, politics is a challenging career to be part of. And always there are very strong perspectives from anyone writing their own side of the story and devoting the whole book to it. I think people will look at it with a level of interest, but also a healthy level of skepticism, including people in the Indigenous community who’ve worked with her and know her.”

Wilson-Raybould denies being the source of the original leak, or knowing who was responsible.

But she is unequivocal, as she was in 2019 when the scandal exploded, that Trudeau and his top staffers applied improper if not illegal political pressure, claiming thousands of jobs at the Quebec company were at stake if it couldn’t cut a deferred prosecution deal to escape a criminal finding of guilt on a corruption charge, and retain its ability to bid on federal contracts.

Wilson-Raybould notes that the company later pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud and was fined $280 million, but it didn’t quit Canada and didn’t kill thousands of jobs. She also underscores that the federal ethics commissioner agreed with her.

Mario Dion found Trudeau guilty of violating the conflict of interest law against furthering private interests.

Trudeau has repeatedly said in the past several days that the issues Wilson-Raybould raises were thoroughly aired by parliamentary committees two years ago.

The RCMP said Wednesday in a statement it had no update to provide “as the RCMP continues to examine this matter carefully with all available information and will take appropriate action as required.”

In some ways, the book is less about the details of who said what to whom — though there’s lots of that — than it is an exploration of a doomed political relationship.

Wilson-Raybould’s background in consensus-building Indigenous politics — she was an elected commissioner on the B.C. Treaty Commission and served as regional chief of B.C. First Nations at the Assembly of First Nations — did not prepare her for the command-and-control style of partisan politics as it is practised by the Trudeau Liberals and other parties as well, she says.

“In our Canadian political culture, the goal is not only to become government but to stay in government. I came to realize that this goal — to hang on to power — is the paramount objective through which every decision is filtered.”

Wilson-Raybould ran into the biggest headwinds on Indigenous reconciliation, on getting rid of mandatory minimum penalties in criminal law that disproportionately affect Indigenous and racialized offenders, and on taking the politics out of judicial appointments.

Access to Trudeau was all but blocked. She had neither his cell number nor his email address, and says Prime Minister’s Office staffers made clear that ministers were not to meet — even to have dinner together — to hash out policies unless the PMO’s hand-picked aides were present. She took to writing memos and slipping them to Trudeau, hoping he would hear her out on policy files.

Wilson-Raybould is frank that Indigenous politics is also fraught, with misogyny and divisions among leaders on how best to advance causes. “Indigenous politics remain, to this day, very colonial and very male-centred, although this is changing.”

She writes of a heavy toll that all the “leadership roles” she occupied in her professional and political career had on her personal life with husband Tim Raybould.

“I desperately wanted children, as did Tim. We tried in all ways possible and suffered many losses along the way. But if I am honest, there is part of me that knows the health impacts of the work I was doing made it much harder for me to get pregnant, and stay pregnant.”

She describes speaking at a WE Day event in Vancouver in 2011 — years before the children’s charity made pandemic headlines — when she realized she had started to have a miscarriage, while onstage.

Wilson-Raybould pulls back the curtain on another low point, when she says she was forced to attend a fundraiser at the Bay Street law firm Torys.

“I had pulled out of the fundraiser because I had learned that some people who were expected to attend might have submitted applications to be appointed judges and also because of certain expectations that the party had about supporting important donors and allies. The PMO basically ordered me to attend.”

Wilson-Raybould writes that despite changes, “The possibility of political interference in the (judicial) appointment system has not been eradicated as fully as it should have been.”

Most “shocking,” Wilson-Raybould writes, was the control unelected PMO officials exerted over ministers.

Trudeau’s “mode of functioning is in some ways worse than what I knew of and heard about former prime minister Harper’s. Harper was at least transparent about the fact that he and the PMO controlled everything; he let everyone know it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office controlled the workings of government while creating a different public perception. For me, this is not good leadership or good government.”

Wilson-Raybould charges that on Indigenous reconciliation, the Liberal government has been deliberately dragging its feet. Legislation on preserving Indigenous languages and children touches on critical issues “but is piecemeal and not comprehensive.”

“The reality today? More endless negotiations on the same subject matters bereft of a rights recognition framework and without clear mandates. The ‘Indian industry’ continues to be fed. The real work of nation rebuilding is still delayed, pending the signing of agreements.”

In her book, Wilson-Raybould concedes that “much of what the Trudeau government has done and is still doing is good.”

But she concludes with a devastating critique of how ill-fated the relationship with Trudeau was:

“One way or another, my time with this government was not going to be long, for any number of reasons: Aga Khan. India. Vice-Adm, Norman. SNC-Lavalin. Blackface. WE. Payette. General Vance. There are similar patterns reflected in all of these … Over time, if it hadn’t been SNC-Lavalin, something was going to arise that made it clear this way of governing was not my way of governing and that I did not want to be part of it — to be complicit.”

The partisanship now on display on the campaign trail worries her but her book places much of the blame at the Liberals’ feet, saying the emphasis on partisanship serves to replace “hope and trust” with “fear and anger.”

“This can contribute to other kinds of movements that are less constructive and even dangerous. This is why I think the image-driven emptiness of much of how the Liberal government operates is becoming dangerous. Selling lofty rhetoric but failing to act in ways that live up to it breeds cynicism and even hopelessness that change can ever take place through our regular political processes and culture.”

Tonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @tondamacc

Source : Toronto Star More   

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