Election 2015: The day that was, Sept. 28

A promise of a free ride, an undiplomatic leak and an outsider takes on the PM

The Important

While all eyes are on Toronto on Monday for the federal leaders’ debate on foreign policy, outgoing Industry Minister James Moore was on the West Coast, announcing that a re-elected Tory government would provide up to $700 million for the $2.1-billion light-rapid-transit proposal in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, B.C.

The cash for the project in Surrey, one of this election’s battleground areas, will come from the new Public Transit Fund, which provides capital for major transit projects.

Meanwhile, in the Conservative heartland of Alberta, the province’s premier may be an NDPer, but that doesn’t mean she agrees entirely with her federal counterpart. During a business trip in Montreal, Rachel Notley said Tom Mulcair’s national cap-and-trade proposal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada “may not be our best road forward.”

Although the premier didn’t answer any media questions after her talk, her press secretary tried to dispel the idea that her comment contradicted the NDP leader.

The Interesting

In the lead-up to the debate, leaked documents from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs warned that the country’s global influence might be waning.

For starters, the report describes Canada’s “loss of our traditional place at some multilateral tables” and “declining market share in emerging markets,” stemming from inadequate commercial relations with developing countries. In addition, the leaked memo notes that “20 per cent of [Canada’s diplomatic] missions are now categorized as high-risk,” most notably in Africa and the Middle East.

While Canada’s influence slips on the world stage, domestically, the NDP’s poll numbers continue to slide. The most recent numbers from Abacus Data have the orange wave subsiding in Quebec, putting the party only six points above the Liberals in La Belle Province in the aftermath of last week’s French-language debate.

Two weeks ago, the NDP was leading the polls nationally, but now it has dropped to third.


The Fun

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge can’t vote in the election on Oct. 19, but that isn’t stopping him from running to become an MP in Stephen Harper’s own riding. Duchastel de Montrouge hasn’t lived in Canada for 15 years and currently resides in Seattle, but, during two campaign stops this month in Calgary Heritage, he collected just enough signatures from within the riding to run for office. He was approved by Elections Canada over the weekend in his bid to run as an Independent.

Duchastel de Montrouge isn’t gunning for a seat in the House of Commons. He doesn’t even have an official office phone number for his campaign. He says he simply wants to bring attention to the fact that he, like about 1.4 million other Canadian expats, aren’t able to vote, as he has been in the past.