Weekly Round-Up: August 21, 2015

August 21st, 2015 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Federal election countdown

The 42nd federal election is nearly three weeks in, and there are now less than two months remaining until the big day. The writs of election have been signed by Elections Canada CEO Marc Mayrand, and our national electoral agency is seeing heightened voter interest in the campaign.

The NDP reportedly lead a “subtly shifting national race,” but a new poll shows that only 30 per cent of voters have made up their minds about which party they will vote for. The numbers from Abacus Data also show a tight “horserace” with the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals separated by only a few percentage points.

Parties and candidates

Parties still have more than a month to confirm their roster of candidates but there have already been some notable nominations. Canada could have its youngest candidate ever in Casandra Poitras, who is running for the Green nomination in Longueuil—St-Hubert. Poitras is just 17, and doesn’t turn 18 until election day. The party has also nominated 18-year-old Vincent Chiu in Richmond Centre.

Former NDP MP Jose Nunez-Melo will now be running for the Green Party. Nunez-Melo was elected as a member of the NDP in 2011 but was blocked from running for a nomination this time around. Another former NDP MP, Manon Perreault, will be Forces et democratie’s candidate in Montcalm.

Unofficial campaign signs have also been spotted for Darth Vader, in Penetanguishene, and for Gowron, the Klingon High Council chancellor in Star Trek, in Montreal. In Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, Humbert the cat will unofficially join the race.

This election will see an openly transgender person on a ballot for the first time. Jennifer McCreath is running in Avalon, representing Forces et democratie.

The Rhinoceros Party will be running candidates in this election, with campaign promises like nationalizing Tim Hortons and moving the national capital to Kapuskasing.

The social media election

The use of social media “adds a new dimension” to the current federal election, especially in regards to vetting candidates. This proved prescient on Tuesday when Calgary Nosehill Liberal candidate Ala Buzreba resigned after offensive tweets surfaced from when she was a teenager.

Two days later, Quebec Conservative candidate Gilles Guibord resigned after questionable web comments came to light.

Social media comes with risks, but there are also many opportunities for innovative uses. The Globe and Mail is trialling a service where election updates are sent to users through the WhatsApp messaging service. The federal Liberal party is also the first to use Snapchat to connect with supporters and prospective voters.

By-election races

We’re just two weeks away from knowing the result of provincial by-elections in Ontario and Alberta. “Voter fatigue is a given” in Calgary-Foothills, as the riding is heading to the polls for the third time in less than year. In Simcoe North, Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown is being “targeted” by the other parties.

Youth engagement update

Nearly 3,400 schools have already registered for our federal Student Vote program from across the country. There is still time for teachers to sign up!

Teachers can also get their classes involved in the National Democracy Challenge, which opened this week. Youth aged 14-17 can enter by “showing Canadians how to get ready to vote” through video, photo, image/artwork or text submissions.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada and like our Facebook page.

Posted in English, Weekly Round-Up |

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