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Federal party leaders kick off 2nd full week of campaigning

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 23rd, 2021

The main federal party leaders are in central and eastern Canada as the election campaign enters its second full week.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau remains on the East Coast today, making an announcement in Halifax before heading to St. John’s, N.L., to meet with locals and supporters.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, meanwhile, returns to the Ottawa hotel where he spent the first several days of the campaign.

He’s set to make an announcement in the morning, followed by two of the “virtual telephone town halls” that have become a hallmark of his election outreach later in the day.

O’Toole has faced criticism from his opponents for spending so much time on the fourth floor of the Westin, but he says he’s simply a pandemic-era leader making safety-driven decisions.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh plans to make an announcement about climate change in Montreal, where he launched his campaign and is trying to win back seats from the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois.

C-17 military planes flying into Afghanistan reconfigured to maximize amount of passengers

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 20th, 2021

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says the C-17 military transport planes flying into Afghanistan have been reconfigured to maximize the number of passengers they can carry.

She says the planes are already flying in and out of Kabul and that troops will be given a list of vetted and vulnerable Afghans and will be helping them board the flights.

Lamirande says the flights will carry foreign and Afghan nationals who have been accepted under the immigration programs of other nations.

And she adds that other nations have, and will continue to, extract Canadian citizens or Afghans who are destined for or eligible for immigration to Canada.

The effort to get former Afghan interpreters and their families out of Afghanistan is gathering momentum in the face of complaints about roadblocks in Kabul and bureaucratic hurdles in Ottawa.

Yesterday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau revealed the Canadian military had arrived back in Afghanistan to help with evacuation efforts.

At the same time, he admitted Canada would probably not be able to get everyone out of Afghanistan that it wants to.

Statistics Canada says retail sales gained 4.2% in June as restrictions eased

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 20th, 2021

Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 4.2 per cent to $56.2 billion in June as public health restrictions were eased in many parts of the country.

However, the agency says its preliminary estimate for July, which will be revised, suggests retail sales fell 1.7 per cent last month.

For June, retail sales increased in eight of the 11 subsectors as clothing and clothing accessories stores led the way with a gain of 49.1 per cent following two months of declines.

Sales at general merchandise stores rose 7.4 per cent, while motor vehicle and parts dealers gained 2.7 per cent.

Sales at food and beverage stores fell 2.6 per cent as sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores dropped 3.5 per cent. Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers fell 3.1 per cent.

Retail sales in volume terms rose 4.1 per cent in June.

What does Nova Scotia’s shocking election mean for the rest of Canada?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Aug 19th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, a Liberal government with a big lead in the polls decides to call a snap election in the hope of securing more time in power. Then the polls start to tighten. And eventually … it doesn’t work out the way they hoped.

Is the Progressive Conservative victory in Nova Scotia a sign that should worry the federal Liberals, as they try to do the same thing? How did the polls get this one wrong? And what can we learn about federal elections from provincial results?

GUEST: Philippe J. Fournier, 338Canada.com

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Canadian evacuation flights from Kabul set to resume

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 19th, 2021

The Defence Department has announced the military will use two C-17 transport planes to make regular flights in and out of Kabul as long as the security situation permits.

Spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says the flights will focus on evacuating Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and Afghans who have an enduring relationship with Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the government continued to face questions about the pace of Canada’s effort to evacuate hundreds of Afghans from their country.

Canadian veterans and advocacy groups say a lack of information is creating frustration and fear for former Afghan interpreters and support staff who are facing the threat of Taliban reprisals if they are discovered and caught.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the main factor limiting the number of people getting out of Afghanistan isn’t paperwork or connections with the Canadian government.

He says the problem is people not being able to get to the airport because of Taliban roadblocks and checkpoints.

Live Nation Canada to require COVID-19 vaccination proof or negative test at concerts

DAVID FRIEND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 18th, 2021

Live Nation Canada says it’ll soon require ticket holders to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before they’re granted entry to its concerts.

A representative for the live event promoter told The Canadian Press that the company will enforce those rules at “as many shows as possible” in Canada.

Live Nation Canada declined to answer further questions about the plan or when the new measures would take effect.

But it said in a statement that ticket holders will be notified by email with “important information needed to plan their visit to our events.”

The mandate comes as concert venues and promoters face increasing pressure to outline what actions they’re taking to ensure their premises don’t become home to superspreader events for COVID-19.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced on Tuesday that it will require staff and patrons to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result before gaining access to its venues and restaurants.

A representative for MLSE confirmed those requirements will be enforced at concerts held on its premises, which include Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, where Enrique Iglesias, Maluma and Genesis are booked to play later this year.

Live Nation Canada described its planned mandates as a reflection of the guidelines enforced by its U.S. parent company at Lollapalooza, a four-day music festival held in Chicago earlier this month with about 385,000 people.

Local health officials traced at least 203 cases of COVID-19 back to Lollapalooza and characterized the figure as largely anticipated and not a superspreader event.

Live Nation moved to replicate that model across the United States by saying last week that it would require shots or proof of negative tests for all events starting Oct. 4, as long as it was permitted by local laws.

“Live Nation pioneered a great strategy with Lollapalooza – which saw over 90 per cent of attendees show up vaccinated,” a statement from Live Nation Canada said.

“We are working to get as many shows as possible on this model.”

Live concerts are already being held across the country under varying COVID-19 measures.

For example, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival held 50 indoor and outdoor shows at full capacity with no mandates. Manitoba is allowing events with less than 1,500 people to be held indoors at full capacity as long as the attendees are fully vaccinated.

In Ontario, many large clubs and venues have booked indoor concerts starting in October with the hope that restrictions will be loosened in the province to allow for more than 50 per cent capacity.

How this election will, and won’t, be different

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Aug 18th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, the promises and criticisms aren’t going anywhere. Neither is the partisanship. But there’s a whole lot of uncertainty about the first federal election of the pandemic era. What happens if Covid hits a campaign, or a community hosting a leader? How is Elections Canada adjusting its plans? And did you know you can vote right now if you don’t want to deal with any of it?

GUEST: Cormac Mac Sweeney, Parliament Hill Reporter

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

Liberals maintained healthy lead on eve of federal campaign, new survey suggests

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Aug 17th, 2021

New survey results suggest Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were clinging to a five-point lead on the eve of the federal election campaign.

Thirty-five per cent of decided voters who took part expressed support for the Liberals, 30 per cent for the Conservatives and 20 per cent the NDP.

Seven per cent would vote for the Bloc Québécois, which is fielding candidates only in Quebec, while five per cent supported the Greens and two per cent the People’s Party of Canada.

The online survey of 2,007 Canadians, conducted Aug. 13 to 15 by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press, cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random samples.

Trudeau quickly framed the election that began Sunday as a referendum on the party most able to guide the country through the months and years after COVID-19 subsides.

The 36-day campaign, the shortest allowed under the election law, concludes Sept. 20.

How Canada and the Western world failed Afghanistan

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Aug 17th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, there are millions of Canadians for whom the rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has been a shock. The images coming from the country right now are disturbing and will likely only get worse in the days and weeks to come.

This war was the longest in Canada’s history, featuring 12 years of military efforts. For America, it was two full decades. But now that the US has left the country, it’s worth asking: If this is the result, why were we there? What were we doing? What did decades of death and trillions of dollars get the people of Afghanistan?

GUEST: Stephen Saideman, Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University, author of Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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