ANALYSIS: More than ever, Canadas general election is a collection of polarized regional races – Global News

ANALYSIS: More than ever, Canadas general election is a collection of polarized regional races - Global News
Federal NDPs proposed super-wealth tax could raise $70B over 10 years, budget watchdog finds
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will officially kick off the federal election campaign with a visit to Rideau Hall at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Liberal sources have told CBC News.

Trudeau will formally ask Gov. Gen. Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament, setting the stage for Canada's 43rd general election on Oct. 21.

Instead, he has struggled. Fournier’s analysis rates not a single riding anywhere in Canada “safe” for the NDP, as Trudeau officially starts the campaign on Wednesday. Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, says Singh’s best chance to turn things around might be to focus on the NDP promise to dramatically expand universal health care, by adding prescription drugs, dental care, mental health services and more. Kurl says her polling shows that health costs rank high among the concerns of uncommitted voters. So, yes that has the potential to be profoundly resonant, she says, but also cautions, Singh has got his work cut out for him.

CBC News will have extensive live coverage on CBCNews.ca, CBC News Network and CBC TV beginning at 9 a.m. ET. The radio special will start at 10 a.m. ET.

The various party leaders have been holding campaign-style events for several weeks, but the official start means strict rules around spending and advertising kick in.

For stalwart New Democrats, that issue of their party’s ready-for-prime-time professionalism is a major concern. University of Saskatchewan political science professor David McGrane, a provincial NDP candidate, writes in his new book, The New NDP: Moderation, Modernization and Political Marketing, that the party transformed itself under the late Jack Laytons leadership, and then under Mulcair, to being run by political professionals, a major shift from its former reliance on volunteers and activists. The fall 2019 campaign is now seen by many insiders as a test of how much the party has slipped back.

The Liberals are seeking a second four-year mandate, citing the party's accomplishments on child poverty, job creation and Indigenous relations while beating back criticism over the SNC-Lavalin ethics breach.

Royce Koop, head of University of Manitobas political studies department, says that while a solid debate performance might boost Singhs standing among voters, the NDP leader has a different sort of problem when it comes to motivating his core activists and operatives, who tend to be disgruntled about the state of their party. Theres this management role of a leader, Koop says. When you talk to New Democrats, theres dissatisfaction with his performance thats not just the polls. He hasnt built the bridges with the party organization that he needed to.

ANALYSIS: More than ever, Canadas general election is a collection of polarized regional races

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will be fighting his first campaign as party leader and will continue to tear into Trudeau over his ethics record and performance on the world stage.

The NDP's Jagmeet Singh is also fighting his first campaign as leader. He's struggling to retain his party's third-place status as Green Party Elizabeth May works to make a breakthrough and build on the party's two seats in the House of Commons.

The fledgling People's Party of Canada (PPC) under leader Maxime Bernier is also hoping to make a breakthrough by holding on to his own seat while bringing new MPs to Parliament under his party's banner.

Singh was supposed to be all about excitement when the NDP chose him to replace Mulcair back in the fall of 2017. Just 38 when he won the leadership, he embodied the NDPs aspirations to compete with Trudeau for that progressive-minded youth vote. As a Sikh from the Toronto suburbs, who now represents a suburban Vancouver riding, Singh was also expected to vault the NDP into competitiveness in must-win swaths of ridings around those two cities where the votes of immigrants and their Canadian-born children are key to victory.

The CBC's latest Poll Tracker, which aggregates all publicly available polling data, shows the Liberals and Conservatives neck-and-neck at just under 34 per cent support.

The Poll Tracker finds the Liberals are favoured to win the most seats, but it's not yet clear whether any party can secure a majority.

The Green Party is the wild card. The party is currently favoured in four seats and is considered competitive in as many as eight. The Greens are the only party that can claim to be in a significantly better position than four years ago. Their success or failure in making good on those numbers will have big implications for the New Democrats and Liberals, the two parties that have been hurt most by the rising Green tide.

The NDP has just under 13 per cent support and appears to be on track to lose many seats. The Greens are just shy of 11 per cent and their support is levelling off after hitting new highs across the country.

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That's a reversal of fortunes for Justin Trudeau's Liberals, who at the beginning of the summer were trailing the Conservatives by five or six points nationwide. Only now, with the election finally being called, has the party erased that deficit — though it has yet to regain all of the support it has lost since the eruption of the SNC-Lavalin affair in February. 

Global News has confirmed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to ask Governor General Julie Payette to dissolve Parliament and issue the writs required to hold elections in each of Canadas 338 ridings.

Beginning at 9 a.m. ET, The National's Rosemary Barton will host special coverage live from Rideau Hall. It will be on CBC News Network and CBC TV, and streamed on cbcnews.ca, the CBC News app for iOS and Android, and on CBC Gem. On CBC Radio One, Susan Bonner and Chris Hall will have live coverage of the election campaign kickoff starting at 10 a.m. ET.

Trudeau is set to arrive at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the governor general, at 10 AM on Wednesday accompanied by Sophe Grégoire Trudeau.

In Quebec, the Liberals are holding their support from the last election with 36 per cent. The Conservatives follow with 21 per cent, the Bloc Québécois with 19 per cent and the Greens and New Democrats with 10 per cent each. That's more than a 15-point drop for the NDP in Quebec — putting every seat the party holds in the province at risk.

Afterwards, he will make a speech and take media questions, according to a press release issued late Tuesday afternoon.

A sweep of Alberta’s 34 seats and a dominant performance in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where a combined 28 seats are up for grabs, is almost assumed. But running up the score in the west, as the Conservatives seem certain to do, will matter little when the government will almost certainly be decided by Ontario — and, more specifically, by the ring of suburban seats around Toronto stretching from Oshawa to Burlington. (Toronto itself, of course, will be reliably red.) Here, the Conservatives are hobbled because enough voters associate Scheer with the tremendously unpopular Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford.

This news means Canadians will see a campaign lasting five and a half weeks – a far cry from the last federal election in 2015, which ran for a record 78 days.

Traditional political thinking is that a short campaign offers greater potential benefit to incumbent governments, while longer campaigns can run the risk of more time for scandals and missteps to emerge to voters.

This campaign comes on the heels of a summer that saw the incumbent Liberals criticized by the Conservatives for a spree of spending announcements worth billions of dollars — something the Conservatives also did towards the end of their government in 2015.

The Quebec story, at this point, will be one of Liberals, more than any other party, cashing in on the NDP collapse in that province. The NDP, at dissolution, held 14 seats in Quebec. They may hold none by day’s end on Oct. 21. Liberals could easily paint the island of Montreal red while the strengthening Bloc Québécois may pick up a few NDP seats outside Montreal.

Already, the parties have been jockeying for traction with voters as their unveil their campaign slogans over recent weeks.

The Trudeau campaign is blessed, at the outset, to have a New Democratic Party that is as weak as it’s been in decades. And while Elizabeth May’s Green Party may have its strongest campaign ever, it may not be enough to prevent the so-called progressive or left-of-centre vote from settling on the Liberals.

The Liberals picked “choose forward “as their re-election pitch to Canadians, while the Conservatives are running with “it’s time for you to get ahead.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is also expected to launch his campaign following the official announcement on Wednesday.

The campaign comes as both the Liberals and Conservatives are effectively tied in the polls, which means the differences between the two parties fall within the statistical margin of error.

It also comes amid indications there is a growing sense of voter unease and concern about the future of the country, according to an Ipsos poll which suggested populist attitudes are gaining ground in Canada.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents to that poll said they feel that Canadian society is “broken.” That’s up 15 per cent from three years ago.

ANALYSIS: More than ever, Canada’s general election is a collection of polarized regional races