Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 9, 2019
Can Jagmeet Singh build on debate-night momentum? It’ll be difficult, experts say
Experts say Jagmeet Singh, of all the federal party leaders, came out on top after Monday’s official English-language debate, but they caution it’ll be difficult for the NDP leader to turn that momentum into votes.
Doing so would involve breaking a campaign narrative established over the last month that paints the 2019 federal election race as a neck-and-neck battle between the Liberals and the Conservatives, according to McGill professor Daniel Béland.
“The challenge is that it’s widely perceived — and it’s true — that it’s a race between two parties, and it’s also a debate about who should not be the next prime minister,” said Béland.
Monday night’s event was the first and only English debate featuring all six federal party leaders in the 2019 election campaign.
Singh went into the evening “relatively unknown” to many of the Canadians watching and he made “an excellent first impression,” according to Anne McGrath, a longtime senior NDP staffer and now public affairs associate at Hill+Knowlton.
In what turned out to be a chaotic and time-crunched debate, experts agree Singh stood out during those two hours for his positive messaging and a few choice zingers.
Throughout the debate, Ipsos measured Twitter sentiment and volume regarding the party leaders, parties and issues exclusively for Global News.
According to the measurements of attitudes towards the leaders, Singh started strong and was the only leader to finish the night with a “net positive rating,” the results showed.
The question now is whether and how Singh can make that strong performance benefit his party — which has remained a distant third in the polls so far — in the lead up to Election Day.
A debate performance can end up meaning nothing or everything to an election campaign, according to Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
“What typically happens is what we see on the debate and then what everybody says happened afterwards. And it’s the ‘what-everybody-says-afterwards’ that tends to have a bigger impact,” Bricker said. “We’ll know later in the week when we start seeing polling results coming out whether or not he’s actually moving ballots.”
Nelson Wiseman, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said he thinks that it’s “unlikely” Singh’s performance will move the needle significantly but he likely accomplished “cementing” support among New Democrats who may have been “wavering.”
While Singh is far behind the Liberals and Conservatives, Béland noted the NDP has pushed ahead of the Green Party in the polls in some provinces, which wasn’t the case just a month ago. Re-establishing a solid third-place standing is “an important thing” for the party, Béland argued.
“The NDP should emphasize the fact that if there’s a minority government, the NDP might have the balance of power and that’s something really important,” he said. (Global News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday October 3, 2019
In debate, Bloc leader says only his party represents the Quebec nation
Whether it was on abortion, religion, or health care, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet hammered home a single message Wednesday night: the only party in which Quebecers can fully recognize themselves is the one he heads.
During the first French-language election debate, where leaders fought for the hearts of Quebecers — and their coveted 78 seats in the House of Commons– Blanchet repeatedly tried to position his opponents as out of step with the majority of Quebecers, whom he sees as forming a nation apart.
And the Bloc leader used the debate to try to convince Quebecers he would be the champion in Ottawa of the policies put forward by their highly popular and self-professed “nationalist” premier, Francois Legault.
Early on, Blanchet hit the Conservative leader on abortion, painting Andrew Scheer as a man who rejects a value “anchored” within Quebecers. He then described Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau as a haughty prime minister who looks down on Quebecers who desire a secular state.
And he criticized the NDP leader for wanting to expand medical coverage across Canada, calling Jagmeet Singh a centralizing politician looking to strip Quebecers of their constitutional right to determine their own health care needs.
“I am going to Ottawa to defend the right of Quebec to function in its own way,” said Blanchet, who was acclaimed as Bloc leader in January. “I don’t want to send people to Ottawa who want to undue what we are doing in Quebec.”
Blanchet asked Trudeau to accept Premier Legault’s demand that he stay out of any court challenges against Quebec’s secularism law, known as Bill 21.
The legislation bans some public-sector employees from wearing religious symbols in the workplace, such as hijabs for Muslim women and turbans for Sikh men.
Bill 21 is also overwhelmingly popular among francophones in Quebec — and with the Bloc. But Trudeau said he wouldn’t commit to staying out of any court challenges.
Blanchet said the value of state secularism is something Quebecers inherited from the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, which included a social rebellion against links between the political world and the Roman Catholic Church.
He said he has “an enormous problem” with Quebecers’ tax dollars in Ottawa going towards court challenges against a law adopted “in their own legislature” in Quebec City.
Toward the end of the debate, moderator Pierre Bruneau asked Blanchet a simple question that went to the heart of the Bloc’s purpose: How many laws has the Bloc gotten adopted in Ottawa?
Blanchet evaded the question, knowing the answer was zero.
“The contribution of the Bloc is to use all the advantages of the parliamentary system to get gains for Quebec,” Blanchet said. (National Post)
Editorial Cartoonists wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they forgave & forgot… pic.twitter.com/JD3lKSQt6U
— Graeme MacKay (@mackaycartoons) October 3, 2019
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday August 2, 2019
A lot at stake for Canadians in this election
In a perfect world we should see an election as an outward symbol of something almost sacred, the culmination of generations of struggle for electoral equality and the representation of popular will.
That, of course, is not how it all seems. An election is called, and the usual pundits, consultants, and advisers are wheeled out, many of them seemingly more concerned with winning than with ideas, with what they consider a great game, as they mimic characters from The West Wing, and throw around fog rather than clarity.
Be that as it may, it’s all we’ve got, and we should see it as a moral maze, an opportunity to tread through the lies and the nastiness and reach a place that might, just might, achieve the best for the most. I would never tell anybody who to vote for, but I will suggest some of the stepping-stones in the maze that should be avoided.
The People’s Party of Canada borders on the cultish, and is built around one man, Maxime Bernier, who never forgave the Conservatives for failing to elect him as leader. He only lost on the 13th ballot, was still ahead on the 12th, and lost with more than 49 per cent of the vote. He is an angry man, convinced he was the heir apparent denied, at the last moment, his rightful inheritance – and by a much lesser man.
His party has made up policies in a scream of hysterical pragmatism, has become exponentially more right wing, and as such has assembled a list of frequently unattractive and volatile eccentrics as parliamentary candidates. They rely on a dark consensus of ill-informed panic, and while they certainly won’t win the election, they’ve brought into the relative mainstream what was formerly the preserve of the internet basement. Any party that tries to exploit the most hideous aspects of a society – racism, fear, and panic, – should be rejected.
Bernier has taken some of the most raw and strange elements away from the Conservatives, but Andrew Scheer still has a number of such people within his ranks. While Scheer makes occasional statements about inclusion and tolerance, he’s been far too slow in jettisoning those who clearly don’t share this view of Canada; for example, his repeated and long-term refusal to march in any Pride parades, in Ottawa or in his riding, has become ridiculous. Attending Pride should not be a party political action, but an affirmation of diversity and a physical statement that LGBTQ people are welcomed and loved. Mr. Scheer, your absence speaks volumes, and your attempts to obfuscate are not convincing anybody.
While Scheer may not be personally responsible, the anti-Trudeau campaign on social media and particularly in Western Canada, is vitriolic and dangerous. I’ve found the Liberals to be disappointing in government, but the visceral personal attacks on the prime minister resemble the worst of U.S. politics. As with the late John McCain’s intervention regarding Barack Obama during the 2008 election, Scheer should make it quite clear that this scandalous vendetta has to stop.
The Liberals? In the early days they relied far too heavily on the charisma of their leader, and he was given a very easy run by the media. That all began to change, and various errors and scandals that may have been treated more leniently, and in some cases even forgiven, stuck firm. As always with the Liberals, they promise more than they can deliver, but there have been some tangible successes, particularly for those most in need.
The NDP is still the political conscience of Canada, but the problem with consciences is that people tend to listen to them only when it’s convenient. If it were otherwise, the world would be a much better place. As for the Greens, Elizabeth May is arguably the most principled and likeable politician in the country, and it’s a great shame that her honesty sometimes gets her into trouble in this cynical and unforgiving age.
So it begins. As I say, tread through the moral maze carefully, and look beyond the style and the show, the bots and the bullies. It may just be that this one is going to matter more than most.- Michael Coren (Toronto Star)