Federal Election 2021  

Many Kamloops-area MP hopefuls confident on eve of election day

Campaign trail winds down

As the campaign trail comes to an end, there is no shortage of confidence among those looking to represent the Kamloops area in Ottawa.

Monday is election day and many Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP hopefuls say they are feeling optimistic.

“Oh, I'm gonna win by a landslide — obviously,” independent candidate Bob O’Brien joked before offering his actual prediction: “I have absolutely no idea.”

Both the Liberals and the NDP believe they are the progressive alternative to the Conservatives — and both local candidates said they are feeling good as election day draws near.

“We're feeling pretty darn good in our campaign. We think it is a two way race here between us and the Conservatives,” the NDP's Bill Sundhu told Castanet Kamloops.

“It appears that I am the progressive alternative to change 20 years of Conservatives here.”

Corally Delwo, People’s Party of Canada candidate, said she hasn’t been paying too much attention to the polls — but she's hopeful for her chances.

“I’m hoping PPC get get some seats this year, because it would be would really be awesome for us,” she said, adding that her experience on the campaign trail gave her a new perspective.

“[It’s] really given me a lot of hope for the future.”

Liberal candidate Jesse McCormick said he thinks Justin Trudeau will remain Prime Minister for another term.

“I’m predicting that the Liberal government will be re-elected, and predicting lots of success for our campaign here in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo,” McCormick said.

The only thing certain for Green Party candidate Iain Currie on election night is a good time.

“I’m making margaritas,” Currie said.

No matter the results of the election, Currie said, he feels good about what’s been accomplished in recent weeks.

“We're going to celebrate regardless of what happens. It's been a tough summer — a tough 18 months — and it's been a tough election campaign,” Currie said.

“Regardless of the outcome, if we just get two votes, my mother and I, we're going to be celebrating because we put our message out there.”

Conservative candidate Frank Caputo said he isn’t sure if there will be any results to celebrate on election night.

“We are hoping for a good result on election night," he said.

"We may not actually even have a result on election night because there are thousands of mail in ballots."

Independent candidate Wayne Allan said regardless of who wins, it will be another minority government.

“Hopefully it won't be a long minority government," he said.

"And, in that time, I will be able to prepare for the next election.”

All the candidates, with he exception of McCormick and Currie, said they plan to have a quiet night, watching the votes come in from home.

“I'm just going to be at home with my family and watch the results come in like everyone else from across the country,” Sundhu said.

O’Brien, who doesn't have TV or internet access at his place in Rayleigh, said he might need some help if things go his way.

“If I win, someone's going to have to call me and say, ‘Hey, you won,'” he said.

Green Party leader makes surprise, last-minute visit to Vancouver Island

Green leader visits Island

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul broke with her tradition throughout the federal election campaign and travelled to British Columbia Saturday, marking her first visit to the only region where her party held seats before Parliament was dissolved.

Paul's trip to Vancouver Island was a departure from her approach throughout the campaign, which has seen her concentrate her efforts almost exclusively on the Toronto riding she hopes to win away from the Liberals.

The visit was announced late Friday night, prompting questions about whether she was invited by local party officials or if she was worried about declining party support in B.C.

But she said the province has long supported the party and made her feel welcome.

"Frankly I would've been spending most of the 11 months that I have been in this role travelling, had it not been for the pandemic," she said at a campaign event featuring several B.C. candidates, including former leader Elizabeth May.

"I really hope it's a boost, even if it's a boost for today then it's worth the trip."

Paul said she's tried to make the trip before but was hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, adding she's also been limited by her status as a new candidate tasked with running both her own campaign and boosting the party's national profile.

She acknowledged that party infighting had contributed to a drop in popular support heading in to Monday's election.

"There's no question, and I've said this before, the turmoil that we've been through as a party has definitely had an impact on our fortunes," she said.

Paul Manly, the Green MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, was not in attendance at the Saturday morning event, but did make an appearance at an evening event.

Paul and Manly had a public falling out over the defection of Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals.

She fielded another blow earlier this month when Andrew Weaver, the former head of B.C.'s Green Party, endorsed the climate change plan put forward by the federal Liberals.

"I respect him but I respectfully disagree with him on this," she said.

Paul criticized other parties' plans as "smoke and mirrors," highlighting the Liberal plan as not doing enough to combat climate change and carbon emissions.

The Green Party isn’t running a full slate this election, with only 228 candidates running out of 338 ridings, and has been trailing in the polls despite the climate crisis being one of the top concerns among voters, especially in B.C. where wildfires and heat waves have caused destruction and death this summer.

"The environment and climate have touched B.C. and these are things touching every part of the country," Paul said. "People in Canada, wherever they are, recognize that worse climate change is here and the question now is how much worse do we want it to get?"

The issue of old-growth logging is also important to the party, Paul added.

About 1,000 people have been arrested in the Fairy Creek area north of Port Renfrew since the RCMP started to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction in May.

"We have been championing and encouraging those who have put themselves on the line at Fairy Creek," Paul said.

O'Toole won't say how many of his Conservative candidates have been vaccinated

Are candidates vaccinated?

Vaccines continue to dog Canada's Conservative leader as he vies for votes in seat heavy Ontario with the clock ticking down to election day.

Erin O'Toole started his second last day of campaigning running by a farmers market, without appearing to go inside to capitalize on one of his last chances to meet prospective voters.

That decision reflects the party's overall campaign strategy, which has relied more on O'Toole answering questions from people through virtual townhalls in a broadcast studio in downtown Ottawa, as opposed to pressing the flesh in local communities.

Speaking during a stop near Hamilton, Ont., O'Toole says he's met thousands more people this way and run a safer campaign than the Liberals, who have at times had leader Justin Trudeau appear in crowded rooms and hospitals.

The Conservative leader faced renewed questions about his decision not to require his candidates to be vaccinated and today wouldn't answer questions about whether he knew how many have received their shots.

O'Toole is himself inoculated and has committed to appointing a health minister who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but didn't say whether he would be asking candidates for their immunization status.

The Conservative leader says vaccines are a safe and critical tool to help fight COVID-19 and has told unvaccinated members of his team to take daily rapid tests.

Also on Saturday, retired vice-admiral Mark Norman, who was at the centre of a failed prosecution by the Liberal government in a politically heated case that ended his military career, came out with an endorsement for O'Toole.

In a 59-second video clip the Conservatives shared on social media, Norman says Canadians have an important decision to make in the next few days as to who should lead the country through the challenges it faces at home and abroad.

Liberals cut ties with Toronto candidate after news of dropped sex assault charge

Liberals cut ties with Vuong

The federal Liberals say a candidate in downtown Toronto will no longer run under their banner after it came to light that he had previously faced a sexual assault charge that was later dropped.

The party said Friday it had learned of the allegations against Kevin Vuong through a report in the Toronto Star a day earlier, and had asked him to "pause" his campaign.

But the party released a statement this morning saying Vuong won't be a Liberal candidate anymore, and if he's elected to represent Spadina-Fort York on Monday, he will not be a member of the Liberal caucus.

Vuong denied the allegations against him in a statement Friday, and noted the charge was withdrawn.

Court documents confirm Vuong was charged with sexual assault in 2019 and that the charge was withdrawn later that year.

Spadina Fort-York was previously represented by Liberal Adam Vaughan, who is not running again in 2021.

Three main federal party leaders on final campaign blitz

Party leaders' final push

There will be no let up in campaigning today as the main party leaders count down the remaining hours and minutes to Monday's federal election.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party leader Anamie Paul are heading to B.C. Saturday, with a planned stop in Cranbrook Saturday evening for Singh.

He starts his day in Saskatoon, before meeting this afternoon with Indigenous leaders and youth in Pense, Sask. Prior to arriving in Cranbrook, he will meet with health-care workers in Edmonton, who are on the verge of being overwhelmed by Alberta's escalating COVID-19 crisis.

While Paul's website says she'll be in Toronto through the weekend, it appears she's made a change of plans, posting to Twitter Saturday morning to say she's "heading out to BC this morning to support our candidates during the final stretch of the election."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is scheduled to make an announcement this morning in Aurora, Ont., just north of Toronto.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole will also campaign in Ontario, with an announcement planned this morning in Dundas, Ont., followed by a meet and greet this evening in Kitchener, Ont.

Meanwhile, the People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier is spending his last weekend before the election in Alberta.

On Friday, the federal party leaders made a plea for voters to go to the polls even though they debated whether the election in the midst of the pandemic was needed at all.

The latest polling suggests Trudeau's Liberals and O'Toole's Tories are in a virtual dead heat with neither likely to land a majority mandate on Monday.

Meet the PPC candidate for South Okanagan-West Kootenay

Meet Sean Taylor

Chelsea Powrie

Castanet is conducting a Q&A with each candidate running to represent the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding in the upcoming Sept. 20 Canadian federal election. Look for one each day this week. Each candidate was asked the same questions, with some additional personalized inquiries.

People's Party of Canada candidate Sean Taylor is hoping his core message of vaccination skepticism and opposition to vaccine passports will resonate with voters.

Q: Let’s start with the basic question: Why should you be chosen to represent this riding?

A: Well I think it comes down to what are the priorities of the voters. As the People's Party of Canada candidate, we're the only voice that is standing up against the vaccine passports, and the lockdowns that are occurring right now. So if that is congruent with the way that you feel, and you feel that this gross government overreach that we've been experiencing for the last 18 months has been ineffective, and we need a new approach, then I'm the only guy that's saying that. All the Liberals the Conservatives the NDP and the Greens, they're all down with the vaccine passport and the lockdowns, and we are not.

Q: So you would say that's your core issue, the vaccine passports and government overreach?

A: You know, I've been doing these forums, and I bring this issue up, no one wants to talk about it, they're all on the same page. I think if you're living in this country right now, that is the ballot box question. Do you believe that vaccine passports are going to be effective, and that these continual lockdowns are helping our nation, or not.

We're in the middle of a federal election, the governing Liberal Party is implementing a medical apartheid system as we speak during this election, and what is the official opposition saying, they're talking about old age pensions and banning puppy mills. Jagmeet Singh has gone around making dance videos, I don't even know what the Greens are doing. No one is talking about this. It was the first day of school here in British Columbia, and we have government workers coercing 12 year olds into getting an experimental gene therapy without parental consent. [*"Mature minor consent," more information here]

Q: So you are calling the vaccine "experimental gene therapy," are you anti-vaccination, and anti-vaccination passports?

A: I am fundamentally, but let's be clear. It is an experimental gene therapy. This is a trial that runs until 2023. I'm in frontline healthcare, I've been an emergency nurse for 16 years. And when you come in, say you've got acute appendicitis, you come into the hospital. The physician diagnosis is, okay, you've got a hot appendix, we need a surgical consult. The surgeon comes in, they sit down with you. All right, you've got a 1 per cent chance of dying of this, you've got a less than 1 per cent chance of dying to this, if we accidentally connect an artery you could bleed out, we'd have to give you blood, then you have these risks associated — they spend five minutes talking with you at the bedside outlining all the risks that are associated with the procedure that you're about to undergo, and then you sign a consent form.

That's what we call in the medical field, informed consent. We've informed you of all the risks associated with that. This isn't approved, this isn't emergency measures, even though, and I don't quite understand the legality of that because the state of emergency in this province was quietly finished on June 29, yet we're still deploying this this vaccine or this this gene therapy.

Q: Let's move on. What's the biggest issue locally, aside from vaccines which is obviously something that's on your mind, that has not been correctly addressed by the federal government, in your opinion.

A: We're in a war right now, and the focus of my entire campaign has been addressing the issues with the erosion of sovereignty, both personal national community sovereignty.

Q: As an MP, should you be elected and find yourself in the federal government, presumably in a minority roll based on current polls, how would you implement any sort of power there to implement change?

A: If we'd had this conversation a month ago or a month and a half ago, I would have said we're gonna see a Liberal majority, I would have bet money on that. And I don't have a hope in hell of winning this riding, right, I'm in for the fight. I look at the threats that Canada faces today and I'm all in for the fight.

Today, it looks like I've got a really good chance of winning this riding, I don't think we're gonna see a Liberal government, and what we what we might see in Ottawa coming here shortly, could be a very unstable minority government and PPC may hold the balance of power and have an have incredible leverage over the way that this country is run. It's the momentum shift. If we had another month runway, we could form government. I've been saying this for the last year and a half, I've been going around talking about these issues.

I've been saying for the last year and a half, that the PPC is one catalyzing event, or one news story, away from being able to form government.

Q: This summer, the interior has obviously been gravely impacted by wildfires, and climate change is on people's radar because we've had year after year of intense wildfire seasons. What should be better done to protect this area and its residents, and is climate change action part of your platform?

A: No.

Better forest management, right, we're dealing with decades of bad forest management. We've had a couple unseasonably warm winters, pine beetle outbreaks, we're going to do controlled burns, you have all these organizations that rushed to stop that, you can't do controlled burns anymore. The forest mismanagement that's going on. The incredible fuel loads.

I would really like to see more disclosure with weather modification, right, we've got all these treaties with the United States with the United Nations, where we have to disclose all the weather modifications that are going on in North America, with our partners at a governmental level, but I think that should be. I think the public should become more aware of this, right up until just recently that was considered considered conspiracy theory, but when you look at what they're doing to augment weather systems and spraying nano aluminum everywhere. [information on engineered nanoparticles here.]

We're the small government guys, Max's plan is radical decentralization, it requires strong provinces, and a lot of these decisions that you're talking about forest management, the health care stuff, like these are provincial issues, right, and we want to, you know, come up with a new template, and take power out of Ottawa and put it back into the provinces' hands.

I'm involved with the BC Conservative Party. This is a problem from the federal to the municipal level, in a country where you've got million dollar houses everywhere, and a local farmer can't build a house on his property for his own kids because of zoning.

Q: That actually segues into what I was going to ask about next which is the housing crisis in this riding. Housing is unaffordable for people of all income levels, and there is a lack of lack of rentals, and a lack of ability to get into the housing and land market as owners.

I'm hearing from you repeatedly that you're not a big fan of the federal government stepping in and you want strong provinces so what, if anything, do you think is the federal government's role in stepping in and helping with more housing?

A: I don't think it is [the federal government's role], I think they need to get the hell out of the way.

You look at these government interventions and they cause more troubles than they solve and create a lot of jobs for the government. It's just it's a self fulfilling prophecy, you build the bureaucracy to take care of it and it just, it feeds itself, and we need to get the the power back into the hands of the free market, and they will be able to solve these questions.

We live in the largest second largest country in the world, the coldest country in the world, and we've got this incredible burden of a carbon tax, taxing energy. Basically, it makes it so expensive to do anything with all the regulation and bureaucratic red tape, it costs an incredible amount of money before the first shovel hits the dirt. We need to get out of the way and let these things go. And, again, a multifactorial problem when we're bringing in over 350,000 new migrants every year. How can we not have a housing shortage. Especially with 40 per cent, or approximately 40 per cent of those immigrants going to Vancouver and Toronto, where we see the most acute housing shortage.

Q: So you would you would support a cease of immigration or a scaled down immigration into Canada?

A: Very much scaled down. We are proposing between 100,000 and 150,000.

What we've got is everyone incentivized, this is what I'm finding ,so on the campaign trail a couple days ago I blew out my truck and tried to get a new motor and everywhere I go, it's like, we don't, we're so backlogged, they can't even look at my truck until the end of October, because everyone's incentivized to stay at home and not work.

We need to get this country back to work, right, and the government answers throughout all of this has done nothing but hurt our economy, and look, I'm not gonna lie. We're not saving the day here, you want you want someone to tell you, everything's gonna be okay and we got the answers for everything, you can look at the other parties.

We're the realist party. We look at the mistakes that have been done over the last little while and I believe that te interests of Canadians would be best suited with Canada First patriots in the House of Commons.

Q: How do you plan to work with Indigenous communities in this riding and address their needs and concerns?

A: I had a little talk in Nakusp and this Native gentleman came up and we had a really good conversation, and this kid was awake, he knew exactly what was going on, and he sees the hardships, and he said two things to me that really kind of struck a chord. He said, "now that Canada's getting a taste of what we've been having for quite some time, I have no empathy for you. And I have no hope."

I've been working with Native communities since I was a young man, I used to do it as a paramedic and I did air ambulance and worked in the fly-in reserves, and this is a thing that's been near and dear to my heart.

I talk with the elders and they they brag about the farms that used to be up there and this reserve that I used to fly into all the time Fox Lake they had a horse breeding program that was second to none on the continent, and they had these thriving communities. And we look at the Great Society program brought about by Lyndon Johnson and a lot of things echoed up here by Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and we threw money at them, and we've destroyed these communities, and there's a narrative going around of hate and oppression and not at all these things.

I look at our Aboriginal communities. And don't get me wrong, they're not all a monolithic block right, there's some communities out there that are crushing right now and they're doing really good, but there's a lot that aren't. And I think we're dealing with the legacy of socialism, we've got this paternalistic Indian Act, which I think needs to be abolished, and come up with a new relationship going forward.

You're not allowed to own private property, you're on the government tit for absolutely everything they tell you how to live, this is socialism. It creates nothing but dependence, and despair. And I'm so proud to be a part of the only party that is coming on and saying you know what, I know this is a political landmine, but we need to we need to have a new relationship going forward, we need to get rid of the Indian Act that is paternalistic and it's corrosive.

We're sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Africa to fight climate change, when we can't even provide drinking water on our own reserves in this country? In a day and age where we've got the technology where you could suck water out of a sewer and turn it into Evian? The way that we have handled this is a stain on our nation. Okay, we need a new relationship moving forward. We're going to need these guys on our side. This country faces incredible adversity ahead. The acts that we've seen play out over the last couple of years, there's going to be consequences to this, and I got to tell you, I'm excited to have that conversation. We're being fed a load of goods that is not true. And I know that there's animosity, and racism exists, but I think when we start pulling together in the right direction, we can we can get through this. We live in a hell of a country, and we're putting our minds to it, there's nothing we can't do.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Obama, Clinton and Sanders endorse Canadian party leaders — is it election interference?

U.S. endorsements come in

Some major endorsements from American politicians for Canadian party leaders ahead of the Sept. 20 vote have caught the eye of many — but do they violate election acts?

Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau received a strong endorsement from former U.S. President Barack Obama via Twitter yesterday (Sept. 16), where the 44th president said Trudeau "has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values."

Less than a day later, another ringing endorsement was given to Trudeau by former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, also on Twitter.

"I have seen my friend @JustinTrudeau show leadership in the fight for accessible child care, protected reproductive rights, and ambitious climate action. I'm wishing him and our progressive Canadian neighbors the best in Monday's election," she wrote.

This morning, Burnaby South candidate and NDP Party of Canada Leader Jagmeet Singh got a vote of confidence from American Senator Bernie Sanders, who said "there's one leader who has the courage to make the wealthy pay their fair share so everyone gets the medication they need. That's why I support the @NDP and @theJagmeetSingh."

Obama and Clinton no longer hold positions in any government office, while Sanders is the U.S. Senator for Vermont.

Many on social media have asked if the comments from the trio are foreign election interference or if it's appropriate for American politicians to be endorsing candidates in Canada's election.

Elections Canada told the NOW all individuals, whether Canadian or non-Canadian, are free to express their views on any topic during an election. Comments don't necessarily mean interference, the organization said.

"A foreign citizen commenting about the election does not by itself constitute an instance of undue foreign influence under the Canada Elections Act," Elections Canada spokesperson Andrea Marantz said in an email.

"Whether someone incurred expenses, who that person is, and for what reason that person spent the money would be among the factors that need to be considered before determining if undue foreign influence has taken place.

"Investigation and enforcement of the act are the mandate of the Commissioner of Canada Elections and are mainly based on complaints received by the commissioner."

Hamish Telford, an associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, told the NOW while he's not a lawyer, he believes the endorsements from Sanders, Clinton and Obama don't violate the Canada Elections Act.

"I think these endorsements would be more problematically politically — if not legally — if they came from sitting heads of state or government," he said.

"I am sure our leaders are accepting these endorsements because they think they will be helpful, but if Canadians tell them otherwise, they may refrain from seeking and accepting these endorsements in the future."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an early, snap election on Aug. 15, 2021.

Insights West poll finds voters upset with Liberal election call

BC voters turn on Liberals?

As we enter the final days ahead of Monday's federal election, voter sentiment in British Columbia has narrowed and solidified.

The latest survey by Vancouver-based Insights West shows the Liberals in third place with 22 per cent of decided voters, and the Conservatives and NDP in a statistical tie.

“It appears as though the Liberals will be the losing party in this election—at least among BC voters – when we look at the popular vote” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West.

“The Liberals were unable to stop the slide throughout this campaign, as the electorate was never able to get over the audacity of having what is perceived to be an expensive and unnecessary election during the fourth wave of the pandemic. As a result of this, there is an overwhelming sentiment that a change is needed in governance at the federal level here in BC, and the NDP and Conservatives will benefit most from this feeling. Whether the change here in BC is enough to upset the apple cart in the House of Commons for the rest of the nation will be understood better on election day when the final ballots are tallied in the rest of the country.”

Mossop says according to the latest poll, the Liberals will end up in third place in British Columbia after only a minor increase in voter support in the final days of the campaign and since their last poll (conducted September 1-4, 2021).

"Current indications are that the NDP has 33 per cent of decided voters, down 2 points from two weeks ago, and the Conservative Party is up one point to 34 per cent, while the third-place Liberals, despite being up three points will only get 22 per cent of decided voters in the province. The Green Party has the support of 7 per cent of the decided vote, down 1 point, and a small number, 4 per cent currently support the People’s Party," Mossop says.

The NDP is more popular among female voters, and 18-34 year-olds, while the Conservatives are more appealing to males, and the 55 years+ age group. The Liberals are also slightly more popular among female voters, and those who live in Metro Vancouver.

"Voter certainty has increased dramatically since our last poll two weeks ago, 80 per cent of decided voters are ‘very certain’ their vote will not change now compared to 62 per cent two weeks ago," says Mossop.

Insights West examined voter motivation and broke it down by party voting intentions, which revealed some interesting findings.

A significant percentage of BC voters, 72 per cent are voting the way they are because they want a change in government—but that number is dramatically higher for Conservative voters, 94 per cent, and NDP voters, 81 per cent versus Liberal voters, 19 per cent. Many voters, 74 per cent, are voting against the platform and policies of another party. Hurting the Liberals perhaps most is the finding that nearly half, 49 per cent of all voters are voting against the Liberals because they called an unnecessary election.

On an overall basis, the vast majority, 87 per cent of voters indicate they are selecting the party based on the platform or policies, and this does not vary by partisan vote.

North Okanagan Land to Table Network hosting online forum today

Food focus of forum

The North Okanagan Land to Table Network wants area voters to consume information from North Okanagan-Shuswap's five federal candidates.

This afternoon, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., residents are invited to join the candidates for Eat, Think, Vote – an online food forum.

Participants will be able to hear from the candidates, ask questions, and become more informed about their positions on food sovereignty, along with other food topics, such as food security, resilient local food systems, justice for food workers and more.

“We are voting in a time that is testing the fragility of our food system, whether it is the difficulty of farming during heat waves and fires, or the challenge of accessing healthy and/or culturally appropriate food,” says a statement on the group's website.

Panelists will include dietician Serena Cane of the Shuswap Food Action Society; local dairy farmer Henry Bremer, president of the Kamloops Okanagan Dairy Association; and organic farmer Rebecca Kneen (Left Fields Farm), a board member of the Organic Federation of Canada and Organic BC and member of the Okanagan Indian Band.

“We hope to listen, learn and step away more informed about why food matters to us in this riding. Coming together in this way is one action to rebuild a better, local and national food system,” said the group.

To register for the forum, click here.

Tory Leader Erin O'Toole suggests a vote for People's Party is a vote for Liberals

O'Toole raises vote splitting

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says Justin Trudeau wants Canadians who are angry with the government to vote for "smaller parties."

O'Toole made the comment today at a campaign stop in London, Ont., but he wouldn't give details on exactly what parties he claimed the Liberal leader wanted Canadians to choose in the Sept. 20 election.

Political experts are indicating that the People's Party of Canada, led by former Tory cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, could siphon off votes from disaffected conservatives in key ridings and prevent O'Toole's party from winning.

O'Toole says if people allow their frustration with the Canadian government to lead them to do anything other than vote Conservative, then they are voting for the Liberals.

A Leger poll released earlier this week in collaboration with The Canadian Press indicated the Liberals and Conservatives are tied with the support of 32 per cent of decided voters and that the People's Party was at five per cent support.

O'Toole says there are five parties in this election but only two choices: more of the same with the Liberals or a change with the Tories.

Campaign race for home has main federal party leaders in Eastern, Central Canada

Campaign races for home

With just three days now until the federal election, the main party leaders will be keeping the campaign throttle wide open today as they chase any still undecided votes in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is to begin his day with a scheduled announcement this morning in Windsor, Ont.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is also in southwestern Ontario. He'll be making an announcement in London, Ont., early this afternoon before moving on to St. Catharines, Ont., for an event with supporters this evening.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has a packed agenda which begins this morning in Sherbrooke, Que., where he'll talk about the Trudeau government's record on climate change. Singh will then head east to Sackville, N.S. to visit a local business this afternoon before moving on to Halifax to meet with supporters.

Much of yesterday's campaigning was dominated by the leaders pointing fingers and firing broadsides of blame at each other over the spiralling COVID-19 crisis in Alberta.

As the clock ticks down to Monday's election the latest polling suggests the race between the Liberals and Conservatives is still too close to call.

It remains to be seen whether the high level endorsements Justin Trudeau and Erin O'Toole received this week — Trudeau from former U.S. president Barack Obama and O'Toole from former prime minister Brian Mulroney — will help tip the scales.

Election signs show importance of traditional campaigning in online age

Signs still woo in digital age

Political parties put up election signs on streets to keep up with each other and to build momentum — even though one expert says there is little data to prove this tactic has any impact on the parties’ winning chances.

The use of plastic and paper election signs shows how traditional campaign strategies are still important despite the rise of online efforts in recent elections, said Carleton University professor Jonathan Malloy.

"To get voters’ attention, you often have to go offline. You'd have to use physical signs, paper or plastic. You need some tangible, physical things," he said.

"Putting a sign on the street, on the road is a way to make sure to catch voters' attention in a way that's different from social media. They are impossible to avoid and they are very simple, of course they definitely have the name (of the candidate) and the party and a picture, not much else on them."

The content of the signs indicates what the candidate's campaign is focusing on, whether that is the local candidate, the party leader or the policies of the party, he said.

"The Liberals certainly have a design that emphasizes Mr. Trudeau's name right at the top, and they've been doing that for the last three elections, they've been emphasizing the Trudeau name," he said.

"I haven't seen … a Conservatives sign that says Erin O'Toole on it. They may be there though. Obviously I'd have to go across the country to look everywhere."

Malloy said there isn't a lot of research on this because studying the effectiveness of signs during a campaign would require gathering a lot of data of the amount of signs that were used in an election and how that impacted the outcome of that vote.

"Election campaigns are very data-driven these days, but I'm not sure that signs are very data-driven, because it's hard to really scientifically link the number of signs to the number of votes. It may be an indicator, but it doesn't necessarily mean you can prove that the signs created more votes by any means," he said.

"From what I can tell, it is pretty anecdotal, rather than data-driven."

Duane Bratt, a political-science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, is one of very few researchers in Canada who studied the relation between political signs and election turnout and results.

Bratt and other researchers counted all the lawn signs used in three provincial byelections in Alberta in 2014 and the Calgary Centre riding in the 2015 federal election.

"We used a group of student volunteers and we drove around every riding and counted the signs in the last week of the campaign, and showed that there was a correlation between the number of signs for a party and their overall vote toll," he said.

"We had four cases, three of which accurately predicted the order of finish and predicted the winner. The fourth, we were incorrect on, but the fourth case also had the lowest amount of lawn signs."

He said the ridings that had the largest number of election signs saw the highest turnout rates.

"The more lawn signs that you see, the higher the turnout … and if a party leads (in the number of) signs, it is more likely to to win the election," he said.

"Parties spend a lot of money and a lot of volunteer hours putting up signs. So, obviously parties believe that signs matter."

A Green Party spokesman said the party is collecting data on how many signs its candidates have put up during the campaign but an accurate number won't be available until after the election.

John Chenery said the party provides design templates that local campaigns use after adding the candidate name and photo.

"Many campaigns use the standard design but others create their own unique designs," he said.

The Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP didn't respond to requests for comment on the role of lawn and street signs in their campaigns.

There are no rules in the Canada Elections Act on the content of campaign signs, but all campaigning messages including election signs must have a line that states who has authorized the message.

"A candidate's or political party's official agent must authorize candidate signs. If the advertising was placed by a third party, it must include the third party's name, telephone number, and physical or internet address," Elections Canada says on its website.

Malloy said the considerations of cost and practicality determine whether the signs include pictures of the candidate or the party leader or both.

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