- Title: The federal party leaders contesting Canada's election
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: TORONTO, ONTARIO CANADA (AUGUST 19, 2021) (REUTERS) PAUL COLLECTING SIGNATURES WITH ANOTHER GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE WIDE SHOT OF PAUL AT PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEN PARTY LEADER, ANNAMIE PAUL, SAYING: "These were derelict barns for many years that have now been converted into an environmentally friendly green space with artists with multiple uses for people in the community of various incomes and it really demonstrates what we can do when we work together." TORONTO, ONTARIO CANADA (SEPTEMBER 16, 2021) (REUTERS) WIDE SHOT OF MAXIME BERNIER, OF THE POPULIST PEOPLE'S PARTY OF CANADA AS CROWD CHANTS "FREEDOM" HIM WHILE HE IS ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAXIME BERNIER, OF THE POPULIST PEOPLE'S PARTY OF CANADA, SAYING: "Everybody. Every Canadian is in the same boat. Everybody can spread the virus. Yes, we know that vaccinated people, that decided to have the vaccine, if they have COVID-19 will have mild symptoms. But like myself, and a lot of Canadians decided not to have the vaccine. They can spread the virus, so there's no reason, there's no reason to do that segregation. I want to be able to go to a restaurant, I want to be able to go to a baseball game, And to people who decided to have the vaccine, your life is not in danger if people unvaccinated are with you because you took the vaccine, you protect yourself. So, let's reopen the economy, say no to lockdowns." MAN IN AUDIENCE CHEERING (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAXIME BERNIER, OF THE POPULIST PEOPLE'S PARTY OF CANADA, SAYING: "We want to have the freedom of choice. Freedom of choice that's our fight -- we are not anti-vaccine we are not, everybody should be able to decide what they want to do. If they want to have the vaccine or not. You know the feminists were saying a couple of years ago my body my choice, I am saying the same thing today -- our body our choice." PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE CHEERING
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 19:07
- Keywords: Annamie Paul Canada Erin O'Toole Jagmeet Singh Maxime Bernier Trudeau election
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Canada
- Topics: Canada,Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00AEV4MSZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Canadians go to the polls on Sept. 20 in an election that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called two years early, seeking to turn public approval for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic into a fresh, four-year mandate.
Since 2019, Trudeau has only commanded a minority in parliament, leaving him dependent on other parties to govern. Trudeau argues the pandemic has changed Canada as World War Two did and Canadians should now choose who they want to make important decisions for decades to come.
After Trudeau called the election, his hefty opinion poll lead vanished. Recent surveys point to a tight race in which he might retain power with another minority.
The top challenger to Trudeau is Conservative Erin O'Toole, who was elected leader in August 2020 and was relatively unknown heading into the campaign. His tightly managed campaign and socially conscious platform have made his party unexpectedly competitive. O'Toole, a former army helicopter navigator, vows more restraint on government spending, but his platform promises tens of billions in investment and no clear path to a balanced budget. He also faces tension with social conservatives within his party over issues such as climate change, gun control, and abortion.
Jagmeet Singh of the New Democrats is also vying for the top spot in Canada. Singh, 42, made headlines in October 2017 when he became the first person from an ethnic minority to be elected leader of a major Canadian political party. It lost almost 40 percent of its seats in 2019, but Singh has cultivated a large following on social media and polls suggest he is gaining in popularity. If he picks up seats and no other party wins a majority, he will likely retain his role of kingmaker, able to help the governing party pass legislation in exchange for policies his left-leaning supporters favor. Singh promises more social spending to be offset by higher taxes for the very wealthy and multi-national corporations.
The Green Party's Annamie Paul is the first Black person to head a mainstream Canadian federal party. The activist and lawyer was elected leader of the Greens last October but has recently become mired in a dispute over Israel policy that could undermine the party. Her party lost one seat when a lawmaker crossed the floor to join the Liberals and now only has two legislators.
Maxime Bernier, a former cabinet minister nicknamed "Mad Max", is channeling anger against mandatory vaccines into surprising support for his populist People's Party of Canada (PPC) in the country's tight election race. His efforts may end up helping the man he calls a "fascist psychopath": Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Bernier, 58, who quit the main opposition Conservatives in 2018 after losing a leadership race, was previously most famous for leaving classified documents in a former girlfriend's apartment, leading to his resignation as foreign minister in 2008. Now, amid fatigue over successive coronavirus lockdowns and simmering anger over mandatory masking and vaccine rules, his right-wing party is rising in polls. The PPC, which Bernier founded, has 9 percent support nationally, according to an EKOS poll, up from 1.6 percent in the 2019 election. That is higher than the Green Party though well below Trudeau's Liberals and the Conservatives, who are hovering around 30 percent.
But PPC support may draw votes away from the Conservatives in close district races, helping the Liberals eke out a win.
(Production: Kyaw Soe Oo: Deborah Lutterbeck)
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