BLUESKY BRIEF - August 30th

Over the past 15 days, the federal party leaders have been making their way across the country (and in the case of the Greens and the Bloc, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec respectively) rolling our their party platforms in the hopes of gaining interest from Canadian voters.

Unfortunately, much of these issues have been overshadowed by vaccines and the crisis in Afghanistan. That’s why in today’s Brief, we asked our team - what is the issue you feel is not getting the attention on the campaign right now and should be?

Let’s find out what they have to say….

From the desk of Neil Brodie, Vice President

The topic that hasn't gotten enough play this election is the Conservatives’ plan to increase the accountability of those we elect. Currently, several Commissioners oversee ethics, conflicts of interest, lobbying and the election process. These Commissioners report to Parliament. However, when members of the Government are found in contravention of these laws, they can brush them under the carpet because of their controlling position in Parliament.

We have seen the current government found in the wrong many times. A fully paid vacation to a billionaire’s private island who is lobbying the government for money, interference in a criminal investigation of a company that is friendly to the government (and a minister run out of her job for fighting against it), trying to give a multi-million dollar contract to an organization paying the prime minister’s and finance minister’s family and even during this election posting manipulated media to social media accounts. This sounds like a government that has become too comfortable in its position and believes the rules don't apply to it.

The Conservatives aren't perfect. However, they are running on a platform that would introduce tougher laws to require ethics in government, prevent cover-ups and ensure that lobbying is properly regulated.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have intentionally and consistently violated the promises of transparency they made when they were elected. Canadians deserve a government that is acting on their behalf and not for well-connected insiders.

From the desk of Lt.-Gen, the Honourable Andrew Leslie, Senior Associate

As we enter the third week of the federal election, dramatic changes are underway. What was once almost a sure thing for the Liberals to achieve a majority, is now very much in doubt, exacerbated by an inability of the Prime Minister to provide a reasonable explanation as to why Canada is going to the polls during a pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, foreign affairs and defence-related issues are not anywhere near the top of mind for the Liberals or many Canadians. But what is certain is the popularity of Mr. Trudeau is plummeting, and though it may have been caused by a host of issues building over the last six years, the immediate trigger can be traced to events far away.

Canada’s response and political management of the tragedies of evacuating Canadians and allies from Afghanistan have been disappointing with delays, confusion and a glacial bureaucracy. This culminated in a hasty and shameful departure, which means other nations have been asked to risk their lives in bringing our citizens and friends home. Canadians can tolerate many things but they don’t like Canadian citizens being abandoned to foreign dangers, and they don’t like to be shamed. The twin ideas of prime minister and ministerial competence along with the government’s inability to get hard things done, quickly, are now very much in play, and this narrative will probably play a key role in deciding who wins.

What does this mean? No matter how the election ends, and no matter who becomes prime minister, it is reasonable to assume that ministers and key political officials will be chosen with a much heavier priority on a proven ability to get hard things done. More attention will likely be placed on foreign affairs and our place in the world, especially vis a vis the U.S.

As well, one can almost certainly expect that the habitual foot-dragging on major defence acquisition programs will be quickly resolved, or else ministerial and senior officials will be…chagrined.

Opportunities exist, for those who have the will and the resolve to move quickly once the electoral dust settles.

From the desk of Cameron Holmstrom, Consultant

During any election campaign, at the best of times, it can feel that certain issues aren’t getting the attention they deserve. As we know well, this campaign isn’t happening during the best of times, which adds to the number of issues on the agenda that people care about. We knew that COVID would drive a lot of debate in this campaign, but as the campaign itself launched, the fall of Afghanistan came onto the agenda. Both of those serious and important issues have taken a lot of campaign bandwidth, and rightly so.

That has left less time to talk about other issues of serious importance to many Canadians, issues that they’re determining their votes on. What’s been different about this campaign is that while a situation like this would normally mean some issues would just go undiscussed, somehow that hasn’t happened. We’ve seen policy announcements from the parties on issues like climate change, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, economic recovery from COVID, improvements to health care, the strength of the federation and more. While it would have been very easy for any of these issues to fall through the cracks right now, that has yet to appear to be the case.

My only caveat here is that it’s still early in this campaign. There’s still a lot of runway in front of us and it’s quite possible that either these major events or others can swamp out any other potential discussions. I would argue that the closer we get to election day, the pressure on certain parties to focus on a small, handful of issues will only grow stronger. At the end of this race, we’ll see if that turns out to be the case but so far, in many ways, this truly has been a campaign unlike any other.

FRIDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTgetting the job done on vaccines

SATURDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTend plastic pollution and reduce waste

SUNDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTthe Liberal Climate Plan

FRIDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT – increasing EI benefits for those with serious illnesses

SATURDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTsecuring a more affordable future for Canadians

SUNDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENThelping small businesses get back on their feet and create jobs

FRIDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENTplan to eliminate prescription drug costs

SATURDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENThelping students create a brighter future

SUNDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT – unveiled new website to help Canadian voters make a plan for election day

NEW LIBERAL ADS – four ads (two in English and two in French) were released to show the party’s plans to “keep Canadians safe and make homes affordable.”

Liberal ad: Back to Normal Liberal ad:First Home Liberal ad:Retour à la normale Liberal ad:Bienvenue chez vous


HOUSING PLATFORMS - Measures to make housing more affordable wouldn't be popular with voters: economist

PALLISTER OUTManitoba Premier says he will step down on Wednesday

Here is where you can expect the leaders to be today (all times are in Eastern):

Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will make an announcement at 830 am in Granby, Quebec and then fly to Iqaluit to make some campaign stops.

Erin O’Toole, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada visits the GTA where at 11 am he will make an announcement. Then in the evening, he will attend an event with supporters at the Crystal Fountain Event Venue in Markham.

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP begins his day in Ottawa where at 930 am, he will make an announcement on "making the ultra-rich pay their fair share." Singh will then travel to British Columbia where in the evening, he will attend a meet and greet event in Ladysmith, B.C.

Annamie Paul, Leader of the Green Party of Canada is in private meetings and has no events planned.

Yves Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois is in Montreal, where at 9 am, he will hold a press conference on immigration and then in the afternoon, he will hold a press conference on gun control at Montreal City Hall.

Consultant Cameron Holmstrom’s latest weekly opinion column entitled “Failure at Launch

About Bluesky Strategy Group

Bluesky Strategy Group Inc. is a full-service public affairs firm with nearly two decades of extensive experience working with clients - from corporate, not-for-profit, and national associations, to governments, departments and agencies. We provide our clients with government relations, strategic communications and media relations advice and execution.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @blueskygroupand LinkedIn

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