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Canada Canadians head to the polls as political wildcards leave election outcome up in the air

12:15  20 september  2021
12:15  20 september  2021 Source:   cbc.ca

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  Federal election live updates: Tight results expected as polls close in Quebec This is the Montreal Gazette’s live election night coverage. Questions/comments? ariga@postmedia.com Top updates: Tight results expected as polls close in Quebec As long as you arrive before your polling station closes, you can vote: Elections Canada Video: Montrealers sound off on the federal election campaign Seven people injured after being struck by vehicle outside West Island polling station There were long waits at some Montreal polling stations today Election results start trickling in as polls close in Atlantic Canada Canada’s COVID-19 response could be key factor for many voters, poll suggests Here are 14 Quebec ridings to watch tonight Leaders make last-m

The CBC News Poll Tracker is your guide to following the polls . Get the latest numbers and analysis about where Canada 's political parties stand from Éric Grenier. Though the Liberals and Conservatives are effectively tied with a small edge given to the Liberals, Justin Trudeau's party is favoured to win the most seats and has roughly a three-in-five chance of being re- elected with a minority government. The Conservatives are holding their support but are trailing in some key battlegrounds.

As Canadians head to the polls on Monday, prime minister Justin Trudeau will be watching nervously to see if his gamble to call an election will win his party more power in parliament – or leave him with even fewer seats and rivals sensing a growing political weakness. In the final days of campaigning, Trudeau’s opponents continued to complain that the election was not necessary. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who has offered his own childcare plan, as well as benefits for gig workers, slammed Trudeau’s “vanity project” decision to send Canadians to the polls during a public health crisis.

Justin Trudeau, Erin O'Toole, Yves-François Blanchet, Jagmeet Singh posing for the camera: Composite illustration featuring Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O'Toole, centre left, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, centre, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, centre right, and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. © CBC, Erin O'Toole/Creative Commons, CBC, CBC, Chris Young/The Canadian Press Composite illustration featuring Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left, Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O'Toole, centre left, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, centre, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, centre right, and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.

Canadians head to the polls today for the final day of voting in this 44th general election and surveys suggest the result is far from certain with as many as six parties in contention for seats in Parliament.

More than 5.8 million Canadians have already voted in the advance polls, and Elections Canada has received nearly one million special ballots — a record-setting early turnout that suggests there's an energized electorate.

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But with hours left before Election Day, a new poll finds Liberals and Conservatives locked in a dead heat with the latter inching ahead by just one per cent in the national popular vote. An Ipsos poll of 2,359 Canadians conducted exclusively for Global News showed Conservatives on track to garner 32 per But for Bricker, the “energy” of the vote — or how many Canadians said they were committed to showing up to the polls — has been the real kicker of this year’s election . Seventy-one per cent of Canadian respondents said they were “completely certain” they would vote in this year’s federal

Perhaps it's no surprise, but when it comes time to vote, Canadians are very good about doing it politely, and in queues. While Americans are still embroiled in a bitter feud over voting rights and the outcome of the 2020 election , their neighbours to the north are hardly breaking a sweat as they head to the polls to vote in their country's general election on 20 September. Things like widespread advanced voting, mail-in ballots, and federally-run elections seem to make it easier for Canadians to show up at the polls - voter turnout in Canada was higher (62%) than in the US (56%), according to

Poll workers will start the vote count tonight, but the outcome may not be known until tomorrow after the many mail-in ballots are verified at hundreds of returning offices nationwide.

This 36-day election featured policy talk on everything from housing and the COVID-19 response to Canada's place in the world, but there were also heavy doses of partisan sniping as the leaders jockeyed for front-runner status in a very close race.

Here's a look at the closing arguments from the main party leaders.

Trudeau says he's best to lead Canada through COVID

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called this election on Aug. 15 saying he wanted Canadians to weigh in on who should finish the fight against COVID-19 and lead the country into a post-pandemic recovery.

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This table provides a list of scientific, nationwide public opinion polls that were conducted from the 2019 Canadian federal election leading up to the 2021 Canadian federal election , scheduled to take place on September 20, 2021. For riding-specific polls see the list of 2021 constituency polls .

Canadians are heading to the polls on Sept. 20 after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, riding high approval ratings, called an early election in what is widely believed to be an attempt to secure a majority government. Had Trudeau not called an election he would have served as Prime Minister of While managing the ongoing pandemic, securing affordable child care services and climate change are the top issues Canadians are talking about, foreign policy , particularly how Canada contends with communist China, is attracting significant attention by Canadians and the two leading parties have a

"Canada is today at a crossroads — a moment where we have to make a really important choice," Trudeau said at a rally in Maple, Ont., on Sunday, the last day of campaigning. "It's not just about what we're going to do in the coming months to end this pandemic for good, but also how we're going to meet the challenges of the future."

Justin Trudeau flying through the air: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau leaves Montreal,  on Sunday. © Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau leaves Montreal, on Sunday.

Trudeau has asked Canadians to reward his party for steering the country through the darkest days of this health crisis. He has also presented himself as a vaccine champion, the man who secured enough doses to get everyone eligible for a shot fully vaccinated by July, and the leader who will keep people safe in the fourth wave of this pandemic by pushing mandatory vaccines for federal public servants and the travelling public.

As Alberta grapples with another public health emergency under the leadership of Premier Jason Kenney, Trudeau said Sunday that conservative leaders can't be trusted to lead the country at this critical juncture.

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Canadians are heading to the polls to vote in a general election , with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals hoping to hold on to their majority. But that outcome appears unlikely as polls suggest the result of the vote is headed towards a hung parliament. The Liberals have been deadlocked with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer deemed Mr Trudeau "a phony" and "a fraud" during a national TV debate and accused the Liberals of "making up lies" about his policies . Potentially damaging past statements, social media posts and transgressions by candidates were dredged up and made public.

But Elections Canada 's approach is also getting praise from experts for the physical distancing, masks and ventilation efforts that target the main routes of transmission of the airborne virus. Here's what Canadians can expect on voting day. People line up to vote in the advance polls for the federal election on Sept. 10 in Chambly, Que. Elections Canada is limiting the number of people inside polling places to ensure physical distancing, leading to long queues. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press).

In addition to hammering the opposition on pandemic management, Trudeau said his party has the best plan to fight climate change and get more Canadians into a home at a time when eye-popping real estate prices have kept so many out of the market. "Let's keep Canada moving forward as a progressive country," he said.

O'Toole asks voters to punish Trudeau for calling an election

The August election call came at a time when the Liberals were enjoying a sizable lead in opinion polls, but that support cratered as some voters recoiled at the thought of an election when COVID cases are on the rise.

Since day one, opposition leaders have focused their criticisms of Trudeau on the election call itself. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, a relative unknown at the start of the race, sought to capitalize on the frustration, slamming Trudeau as "privileged," "entitled," divisive and untrustworthy.

To shake off lingering concerns about a "secret agenda" from a man who once branded himself a "true blue" Conservative, O'Toole released the party's platform on the first full day of the campaign. Pitching a more moderate form of conservatism, O'Toole made a play for disaffected Liberal voters in central and eastern Canada.

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The platform, with its slogan "secure the future," lays out a plan for a post-pandemic Canada. He's promising some $60 billion in new health-care funding over 10 years, a mental-health strategy to help the millions of Canadians battling mental anguish after lockdowns and one million new homes to help with a pandemic-fuelled housing supply crunch.

O'Toole has also promised to balance the budget in 10 years' time, a commitment made to neutralize past Liberal criticism that a Conservative-led government would result in big cuts to public spending.

According to the CBC Poll Tracker, Conservative support surged five points in the two weeks after the platform release as some voters started buying what O'Toole was selling. But the campaign hit a snag when the Conservative leader was forced to defend his firearms policy.

The Tory platform initially promised to repeal a ban on assault-style weapons such as those used in mass shootings. The Liberals pounced on that pledge and on O'Toole's past association with the gun lobby. With his support softening in Ontario, the Tory leader shifted his position, promising to maintain the Liberal ban until an independent review by firearms experts was completed.

O'Toole also faced questions about his support for vaccines at every one of his campaign press conferences.

Battle for Quebec ends with Legault front and centre

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While personally pro-vaccine, O'Toole has called a Liberal plan to implement a vaccine mandate for federal bureaucrats, transportation workers and most passengers travelling by air and rail a divisive program that will lead to the "politicization of the pandemic."

O'Toole has also repeatedly dodged questions about just how many people carrying the Conservative banner in this race have had at least one shot. As a result, Trudeau has characterized O'Toole as a leader beholden to the "far-right, anti-vax" wing of the Conservative Party.

O'Toole hit back, saying Trudeau was trying to distract from his "scandal-shredded" reputation after six years in government.

"Justin Trudeau hasn't talked about the future of our great country. He hasn't provided a plan for Canada. Instead, he has veered into personal attacks, dividing Canadians and using American-style, misleading politics in an election that is only about himself," O'Toole said Saturday at a rally in Kitchener, Ont., asking Canadians to punish Trudeau for triggering "an unnecessary $600 million pandemic election."

People's Party could complicate Conservative path to power

O'Toole's path to power may also be complicated by another party leader. For the first time in nearly two decades, conservative-minded voters have two viable options to choose from in this election: the Conservatives and the People's Party of Canada (PPC) led by former Tory MP Maxime Bernier.

Public health measures such as lockdowns slowed the spread of COVID-19 — and likely saved lives — but they also prompted anger and frustration among some Canadians who saw their livelihoods destroyed as economic and social life ground to a halt.

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The PPC welcomed those voters with open arms. A party promising a radically smaller government with fewer regulations was suddenly embraced by people who saw government as an oppressive force.

Bernier, a libertarian who has long railed against government overreach, became a champion of the "no more lockdowns" crowd, routinely appearing at well-attended protests against these restrictions. He is also vehemently opposed to vaccine passports — a position that has given the PPC a boost in the polls. Thanks to new support from the unvaccinated, Bernier's movement is expected to perform much better than the 1.6 per cent of the national vote it fetched in the 2019 election.

"O'Toole has flip-flopped and adopted the Liberal program on the few remaining issues where there were still differences between the two parties, such as the carbon tax, gun bans and COVID passports," Bernier said in an emailed statement to CBC News. "Mr. O'Toole will have to live with the consequences of his failing strategy."

It's not just right-wing parties that will have to contend with vote splits. The CBC Poll Tracker suggests Liberal support is marginally lower than it was after the 2019 election, while NDP support is roughly three points higher than it was following that campaign. This NDP strength could result in Liberal losses, particularly in Ontario and the Lower Mainland of B.C.

In the past, groups looking to stop vote-splitting on the left have called on progressive voters to ignore their party preferences and rally behind the candidates with the best chance of defeating Conservatives.

It's a message Trudeau reiterated in the last two days of this campaign as he told progressive voters that only Liberals can keep the Conservatives out of power.

"You can vote both with your desire to stop the Conservatives and your desire to bring forward the most progressive government in the history of the country if you vote Liberal," Trudeau told a crowd of supporters in Markham, Ont., on Saturday.

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Singh says Trudeau is 'bad for Canada'

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh who, polls suggest, is personally popular with voters, has tried to improve his party's fortunes after a disappointing 2019 campaign. He has urged voters to reject Liberal warnings about a fractured left-wing vote and instead pick the party they really want to govern.

From the opening bell, Singh has branded Trudeau as a failed leader who doesn't deserve another term. Those attacks have only become more pointed in the dying days of this campaign as Singh looks to keep progressive voters in the NDP fold and pick off Liberals frustrated with Trudeau's performance.

"We think Mr. Trudeau is bad for Canada, because he's failed on the crises and made things worse, not better," Singh said Friday, condemning Trudeau for voting against non-binding NDP motions on pharmacare and long-term care homes.

Singh has also pointed to higher greenhouse gas emissions and a tax system he said is skewed toward the "ultra-rich."

"He is bad for Canada. He was an abject failure," Singh said of Trudeau.

Singh's campaign has been laser-focused on promoting a plan to make the wealthy pay much more in taxes to help cover the cost of new social programs. He has brandished his party's record in the last Parliament — NDP MPs pushed for more generous pandemic-related welfare programs — as proof that only New Democrats "will fight for you, will lift you up."

"You can vote for Mr. Trudeau, who is all for show, who supports the ultra-wealthy, supports the super-rich and lets you down. Or you can vote for New Democrats. We are fighters and we are here for you," he said at a Saturday campaign stop in Saskatoon.

But Singh has faced criticism for putting out a platform that calls for $200 billion in new spending with few details on how any of this transformative change would actually be implemented.

The party's climate policy has been panned by experts, who say it's both vague and unrealistic. A wealth tax like the one the NDP is proposing has been tried in other countries only to be repealed because it fell well short of revenue projections.

Greens won't be on the ballot in nearly a third of ridings

For months, the Green Party has been beset with internal squabbling that has hampered their electoral efforts.

The party's leader, Annamie Paul, has spent nearly all of the campaign in the riding of Toronto Centre, where she is running for a third time.

Some Green candidates said they didn't want Paul in their riding during this race. But the leader was out stumping for the two Green incumbents, Elizabeth May and Paul Manly, over the weekend as the party looks to maintain its parliamentary delegation.

"I am hoping again to see some of these candidates elected on Monday because their Green voices are needed in Ottawa to talk about the climate, to be champions for the climate and for their communities," Paul said at a Sunday campaign stop in Toronto.

Unlike in 2019, when the party ran candidates in all 338 ridings, there won't be a Green on the ballot in nearly a third of all local races — which could give some Liberal and NDP candidates a boost in this nail-biter election.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul at a campaign stop in Victoria, P.E.I. © Kirk Pennell/CBC Federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul at a campaign stop in Victoria, P.E.I.

Canada election: Tight race expected for South Okanagan-West Kootenay .
Kaley Cuoco is showing some support for her ex Karl Cook amid their divorce. The "Flight Attendant" star took to Instagram recently to share a message of congratulations to her ex after he won an equestrian match, sharing heart and praise hand emojis on a post about his win. The duo announced their split on September third, confirming the news to Access Hollywood at the time.

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