Weekly Round-Up: September 18, 2015

September 18th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Last night’ leaders’ debate

Sparks flew last night as Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau met in Calgary for the campaign’s second leader’s debate.

Hosted by the Globe and Mail, the debate was focused on the economy and related issues like energy and the environment, housing, infrastructure and jobs.

Who came out on top?

We’ll leave it to you to decide who won (or lost), but Globe journalist Jane Taber spoke to us this week about some notable ‘knockout punches’ from past leaders’ debates:

It will be interesting to see if yesterday’s debate has an impact on the polls. In the meantime, a look at several new polls released this week appears to show support for each of the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals.

Canada’s Democracy Week is here!

The federal election is just a little more than a month away and, fittingly, the theme of this year’s Canada’s Democracy Week is “Let’s Get Canada Ready to Vote!” Organized by Elections Canada, #CDW2015 provides Canadians of all ages the tools to prepare for the upcoming vote.

Canada’s Democracy Week and Elections Canada are proud supporters of our Student Vote program. You can read our blog post on why preparing young Canadians for the voting process can, and should, start at an early age.

Six thousand schools registered for Student Vote

Speaking of Student Vote, there are now more than 6,000 schools registered from across the country. We’ve shattered our registration records from the previous federal election by more than 1,500 schools!

We are proud to have The Globe and Mail as our official content partner for this election and, on Monday, we worked with them to create a series of videos previewing the campaign. In other media, Maclean’s created an infographic to recap our 2011 results and we were mentioned in an iPolitics piece on civic engagement.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: September 11, 2015

September 11th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal election update

The 42nd Canadian general election is now past the midway point and less than six weeks remain until election day. If you’re itching to cast your ballot, you can vote now at any one of 400 Elections Canada offices across the country.

Results from a new Nanos poll were released this morning and show a “very tight three-way race” between Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau. The numbers show 30.9 per cent support for the Liberals, 30.8 per cent support for the Conservatives and 29.9 per cent support for the NDP.

Social media madness

Social media has been an “Achilles heel” for many during this election, with candidates from all of the major parties now having to deal with past tweets, comments and videos coming back to haunt them. In several cases, these have led to resignations.

Facebook has been measuring the election campaign thus far, and more than 2.5 million unique users have discussed Canadian politics on their site since June 1. Who’s winning the election on social media so far? CBC News offers their analysis.

Samara’s latest report

Our friends at Samara released a new report this week, and this one’s right up our alley. “Message Not Delivered” debunks the myth that young people in this country are lazy and care less about politics than other generations. You can read the full report here.

Need even more proof that Canadian youth aren’t apathetic? Keep reading for an update on this year’s Student Vote program…

Record-setting Student Vote registration

It was back to school this week, and we’re shifting the Student Vote 2015 campaign into high gear. More than 5,000 schools have already registered – our most ever! – and our distribution team packaged and shipped thousands of packages last week.

During National Student Vote Week, we expect that more than 7,000 students will cast a Student Vote ballot. Educators: there’s still time to register if you want to get your class involved.

Looking forward to the leaders’ debate

We’re now less than a week away from the next leaders’ debate, and the last to be held entirely in English. Hosted by the Globe and Mail and focused on the economy, the debate will include Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau.

How do you watch the debate? Here are the details. Why is it being held in Calgary? Watch this video.

In case you missed it, we brought together a group of high school students to watch the campaign’s first leaders’ debate. You can watch their reactions here:

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: September 4, 2015

September 4th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal poll frenzy

A new Abacus Data poll shows a “tightening race” between Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, while another suggests that half of Canadians have yet to make up their minds. All in all, the Globe and Mail’s Election Forecast shows the NDP as being the most likely to win the most seats on October 19.

What’s most intriguing is the potential impact the latest numbers could have on the election, and in the days immediately following. The National Post’s Andrew Coyne lays out some possible minority government scenarios, while the Globe’s Campbell Clark proposes that two parties may already have coalition plans in the works.

On the lighter side, another new Abacus poll asked which party leader Canadians would prefer to babysit their kids for an evening, and who would pick the best movie to watch. You can find out who came out on top for those questions, and others, here.

Where do you fit in?

Most Canadians know where they stand on the key issues, but how will this translate into who they support on election day? To that end, we’re supporting Pollenize Canada, a new website that breaks down the party platforms of the six party platforms and provides Canadians with information to make an informed decision.

Another tool we recommend is Vote Compass, and their federal election edition launched this week. After answering a short online questionnaire, users will learn which party is most closely aligned with their own views.

By-election breakdown

Let’s take a break from the federal election to talk provincial politics. The ridings of Simcoe North, in Ontario, and Calgary-Foothills, in Alberta, held by-elections yesterday.

In Simcoe North, PC leader Patrick Brown won a seat at Queen’s Park with more than 53 per cent of the vote. Ontario Liberal candidate Fred Larsen finished second. Complete results are available on the Elections Ontario website.

Voters in Calgary-Foothills went to the polls for the third time in less than a year and elected Prasad Panda of the Wildrose Party. The NDP, fresh off their majority government win in May, finished in second. Full results can be found on the Elections Alberta website.

Student Vote update

The Student Vote distribution team was firing on all cylinders this week as we packed and shipped resource materials for the thousands of elementary and secondary schools who have already registered for our parallel election program!

In fact, with more than 4,400 schools registered from all 338 ridings – the most ever! – we’re on pace for the biggest Student Vote yet.

If that’s not enough of a reason to register your class and/or school, you should watch four sharp secondary students describe their Student Vote experience in our latest video.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: August 28, 2015

August 28th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal election update          

A Nanos poll shows the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals are “tangled in a three-way tie” for voter support, but a Forum poll suggests the NDP are “in reach of a majority.” But can we trust the latest polls? The Globe and Mail reported on how pollsters are trying to regain credibility for their industry after some “spectacular recent flops.”

CBC News reported this week that more than 22,000 federal inmates will be eligible to vote this October from behind bars. Are you registered to vote? You can check on the Elections Canada website. And if you are eligible, the National Post has put together a look at where your vote might count the most.

Debating the economy

Another new poll this week suggests that, despite balancing this year’s federal budget, the Conservatives have “lost their edge” on the economy. The NDP announced that they would not run a deficit to finance their election promises, but the Liberals will not commit to balancing Canada’s books should they come to power.

Will this new information impact how Canadians cast their ballots? A majority of Canadians support the idea of the federal government running a deficit to stimulate the economy, according to a new Nanos poll. The results of our 2015 Student Budget Consultation show that young Canadians favour a balanced budget. These fiscal discussions are getting underway at just the right time: the Globe and Mail’s leader’s debate focusing on economic issues is now less than three weeks away.

Student Vote stats

There’s still more than a week left until most Canadian schools return to session but nearly 4,000 schools have already registered for the 2015 Student Vote program. This includes elementary and secondary schools from every province and territory, and you can view them all on our interactive map.

Still looking for a good reason to register your class? Watch some ridiculously cute elementary students describe their Student Vote experience in our new video:

Pollenize launches

We’re very proud to support Pollenize Canada, which launched this week. Pollenize breaks down each of the parties’ platforms point-by-point and provides you the information you need to make an informed decision on election day. Check it out!

By-election countdown

Two provincial by-elections are set for next Thursday: Calgary-Foothills, in Alberta, and Simcoe North, in Ontario. Ontario PC leader is the favourite in Simcoe North, but a new poll shows a “tight race” in Calgary.

Advance polls continue today in both constituencies; visit the Elections Alberta and Elections Ontario websites for more information.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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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.

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Weekly Round-Up: August 14, 2015

August 14th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal election update

Week two of the 2015 federal election campaign is nearly over and just over two months remain until election day. The race is “gridlocked,” according to one recent poll, and attack ads are set to become more and more common.

Last week’s’ debate reportedly drew less viewers than 2011 but still managed to reach more than 4 million Canadians through television and online broadcasts. The conversation shifted this week to future leader’s debates, and an agreement was reached between the parties that will allow four more to take place: one English, one bilingual and two French.

Kids react to the leaders’ debate

Speaking of leaders’ debates, our team gathered a group of high school students participating in this year’s Student Vote program to watch the debate, discuss what they saw and share their reactions to each leader.

We assembled a few of the highlights into our new video, which you can watch here (and read about on the Maclean’s website):

By-election races

Provincial by-election campaigns continue in Ontario and Alberta. The Calgary Foothills by-election is seen as both “a test” and “a barometer” for Alberta’s new NDP government. Parties have nominated candidates and the “scorecard is nearly filled.”

The race is “heating up” in Simcoe North and the majority of candidates have now been named. Most notably, party leader Patrick Brown will represent the Progressive Conservatives in his bid to win a seat at Queen’s Park. Both ridings head to the polls on September 3.

Resignations and nominations

More provincial by-elections could be on the horizon. In British Columbia, three provincial seats could be left vacant as provincial MLAs seek federal party nominations, including former Finance Minister Doug Horne.

In Manitoba, former cabinet member Peter Bjornson resigned his legislature seat in Gimli. The moves comes just eight months before the next provincial election, currently scheduled for April 19.

Engaging youth in the election

Our federal Student Vote program is being delivered in partnership with Elections Canada, and nearly 3,200 schools have already registered from ridings across the country. Educators sign up here to receive free election resources.

Elections Canada has also launched a new program aimed at making voting easier for post-secondary students who want to vote in their home ridings by setting up offices on 40 college and university campuses across the country. 

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

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Weekly Round-Up: August 7, 2015

August 7th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

The 42nd federal election has begun

The writs of election have been issued and the 42nd general election campaign is officially underway! Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Governor General David Johnston on Sunday morning and, after an 11-week campaign, Canadians will head to the polls on Monday, October 19.

If you’re looking for news from the first week of the campaign, the Globe and Mail has launched their Election 2015 website. For more information on the election, you can never go wrong by visiting the Elections Canada website.

Leaders’ debate recap

The first leaders’ debate of the campaign took place last night in Toronto. Hosted by Maclean’s and moderated by Paul Wells, the debate featured Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau and May and focused on issues like the economy, the environment, democratic reform and foreign affairs. You can watch a replay of the debate here.

Last night, we tried something new by gathering a group of 7 high school students to watch the debate and capturing their reactions. We tweeted some of the initial feedback, and we’ll be releasing more in a video soon. We’ll be directly engaging with Student Vote participants and providing them with a voice throughout the election. (And, speaking of Student Vote, educators can sign up their school here).

Other elections and by-elections

As a result of the federal election call, Saskatchewan’s 28th provincial election has been officially moved to April 4, 2016. The date was initially set for November 2 of this year, but this move avoids any overlap between the two campaigns.

Despite the federal election, Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown will have a chance to win his seat before the provincial legislature resumes in September. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced last week that the Simcoe North by-election would take place on Thursday, September 3.

In Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley has called the provincial by-election in Calgary-Foothills for September 3. The by-election is being held to replace former Premier Jim Prentice, who resigned on election night. Voters in the riding will be heading to the polls for the third time in less than a year.

CIVIX is hiring for the federal election

We’re currently accepting applications for multiple positions, including Campaign Distribution Manager. Apply today!

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

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Weekly Round-Up: July 31, 2015

July 31st, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Will the writ drop this weekend?

Monday is a holiday for most Canadians, but by the time it rolls around the country may already be in the midst of the 42nd federal election campaign. Reports suggest that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Governor General David Johnston as early as Sunday to dissolve Parliament and call the election.

The extended campaign – at 11 weeks it will be one of the longest in Canadian history – will cost taxpayers more, due to inflated election expenses, but will also give voters more time to consider how they will cast their ballot on October 19.

A new Ipsos poll shows a statistical tie with a “new-school two party race” at the top, while an Abacus poll of millennials show that the younger demographic favours the NDP. The first leaders’ debate, hosted by Maclean’s, takes place on Thursday.

Remembering Flora MacDonald

The week began on a sad note with the passing of Flora MacDonald, Canada’s first female secretary of state for foreign affairs. MacDonald was a long-time politician who helped pave the way for other female parliamentarians, ultimately receiving the Order of Canada in 1992.

MacDonald served as a Member of Parliament from 1972 to 1988, serving in several cabinet positions. You can read some of her many tributes, as posted on Twitter, here.

Electoral changes

Electoral reform remains in the news for another week, with the federal Conservatives proposing that a national referendum be held before any changes are made to how we choose our elected representatives.

The NDP and Liberals had already presented their plans for eliminating first-past-the-post, which Peter Loewen has summarized in the Ottawa Citizen. At the end of the day, Campbell Clark argues in the Globe and Mail, parties will just end up favouring the electoral changes that will benefit them the most.

Notable nominations

The candidate nomination process has been accelerated with the election approaching fast. The week started with the much-publicised loss of MP Eve Adams in the race for the Eglington-Lawrence Liberal nod, where she was defeated by Marco Mendicino.

Also in Toronto, an interesting race is shaping up in the new riding of Spadina-Fort York. Former MP, and Toronto mayoral candidate, Olivia Chow was appointed as the NDP candidate for the upcoming election. She’ll be taking on Liberal Adam Vaughan, who won the seat in a by-election last summer.

By-election breakdown

It’s easy to lose track of provincial politics with the election frenzy, but there are still several interesting stories to follow. In Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives are “pressing” Premier Kathleen Wynne to call a by-election this summer so that new leader Patrick Brown can get into the legislature before its return in September.

Former Premier Jim Prentice resigned his seat on Alberta’s election night, and the by-election to replace him will take place this fall. Two candidates have been nominated so far, including former two-term MLA and city councillor Bob Hawkesworth for the NDP.

Register for Student Vote 2015!

While Elections Canada is getting ready for the official election, we’re busy putting the final touches on the federal Student Vote parallel election program.

Elementary and secondary school students across the country will have an opportunity to cast their own ballots this fall, and nearly 3,000 schools have already registered from ridings across the country.

Educators can sign up today to receive free resources as soon as school returns in September!

(And, by the way, we’re still accepting applications for our Campaign Communications Assistant position).

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: July 24, 2015

July 24th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal election news

Less than three months remain until the federal election and there continue to be rumours of an early election call. The writ may drop a month earlier than required, but the four major parties “are starting to look like they’re ready” for the campaign with candidate rosters nearing completion. The polls show a tight race, so this fall will certainly be an exciting one.

Adding to the anticipation is the possibility of a coalition government. The NDP are in favour, the Liberals aren’t and the Globe and Mail explains the “rules and conventions” that could allow it to happen. In other election news, Canadian expatriates who have lived abroad for more than five years will not be eligible to vote this October.

Brown to face by-election

Patrick Brown has been Ontario PC leader since May but he still does not hold a seat at Queen’s Park. On Tuesday, long time MPP Garfield Dunlop announced that he will resign so Brown can run for his seat in Simcoe North.

If called right away, the by-election could take place before Labour Day and Brown could be in legislature for its return on September 14. However, Premier Kathleen Wynne will wait to set a date until after the federal election, arguing that Brown should have found a riding to run in sooner.

Quebec’s new L-G

On Tuesday, the PM announced the appointment of J. Michel Doyon as the new Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. Doyon replaces Pierre Duchesne, who served as Quebec’s vice-regal representative since 2007.

Electoral reform recap

In the Globe and Mail, David McLaughlin speculates on how the results of the federal election will impact Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system. And, later today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to call for Senate abolition with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

In Prince Edward Island, the Greens and NDP want to seek public input before next year’s plebiscite on preferential balloting. In Nova Scotia, some are calling on Premier Stephen McNeil to “follow through” on his promise to pursue electoral reform.

Youth engagement update

Electoral changes are also being debated for those under the voting age. In London, Ontario, it was proposed that teens be allowed to vote for mayor. In the United States, Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi voiced her support for lowering the voting age to 16 or 17.

Legislation may take years to change, but it is possible for Canadian youth to take part in the election this fall. To get started, educators can register their class for our federal Student Vote program today.

Interested in joining our team?

There is still time to apply for our Campaign Communications Assistant position for this fall’s federal election!

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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Weekly Round-Up: July 17, 2015

July 17th, 2015 by Dan Allan

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

Federal election countdown

After a three-week hiatus, the Weekly Round-Up is back! And right on time, too, as there are now reports that the prime minister may have a “cunning” plan to call the federal election earlier than expected. The writ doesn’t have to drop for the scheduled October 19 vote until September 13, but many expect it could come as soon as early-August.

Over at the Ottawa Citizen, Kady O’Malley mused about the fixed-election date, and what would happen if the PM ignored it, and also offers a super handy guide to the upcoming leaders’ debates. In other federal news, the National Post created a fun election advent calendar, Global News looks at where your money goes when you donate to a party and the Globe and Mail released their new election simulator.

Youth engagement

A new report from the Broadbent Institute suggests that millennials aren’t apathetic – they just don’t trust politicians. Our friends at Samara and Apathy is Boring are quoted in this Global News article on the findings.

How can we change youth attitudes and engage them in the electoral process? Educators can start by registering their class for our federal Student Vote program. Nearly 3,000 schools have already signed up from across the country!

Canada’s premiers gather

Premiers from almost all of Canada’s provinces and territories met in in Newfoundland and Labrador this week to discuss several concerns, including aboriginal issues, energy and health care. This was the first Council of the Federation meeting for the recently elected Rachel Notley and Wade MacLauchlan.

By-election breakdown

Nova Scotia held three provincial by-elections on Monday, which many saw as the first real “test” for Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government.

In the end, the Liberals won two seats (in Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier), and the NDP took one (in Dartmouth South). Full results are available on the Elections Nova Scotia website.

Electoral reform

After weak turnout in advance polls for the by-elections, Premier McNeil floated the idea of a ranked ballot voting system, and possibly online voting. McNeil won’t act on changes during this mandate, and will consult with opposition parties before taking any action.

A plebiscite on electoral reform is likely to be held in Prince Edward Island next year, where voters will choose from three voting systems (including the current First-Past-the-Post). And in Ottawa, community groups are asking residents to discuss how the province’s municipal elections legislation could be improved.

Join our team!

Interested in joining our team for the upcoming federal election? We’re hiring a Campaign Communications Assistant. Apply today – you won’t regret it.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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