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Local pharmacies struggle with “High Dose” flu vaccine shortage – wlfi.com

October 21st, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Several pharmacies in the West Lafayette area have been struggling with a shortage of the “High Dose” flu vaccine. This dose is for those aged 65 or older. According to the CDC, the higher dose of antigen in the vaccine gives the elderly a better immune response.

The pharmacies at Payless, CVS and Walgreens along Sagamore Parkway have all been dealing with the shortage. However, Walgreens and CVS do have the dosage in stock currently. IU Health confirmed that they do not have a shortage of the vaccine. A Payless pharmacist said they quickly went through the small supply they were given.

It is unclear why there is a shortage. Sarah Kennedy is a pharmacist at IU Health. She said the flu can be very dangerous for the elderly.

“The most at-risk groups for the flu are babies and the elderly,” she said. “However, everyone can be affected by the flu. They do see deaths in children all the way up to the elderly.”

Getting a flu shot is no one’s idea of fun, but getting your vaccine now can make all the difference in your health later.

“Everybody six months and older needs to get a vaccine this year,” she said, “Hopefully it will prevent you from getting the flu and will lessen your symptoms if you do contract the flu this year.”

Kennedy said it’s too soon to tell how bad this year’s flu season will be, but she said last year was considered to be a severe flu season. The CDC and the FDA monitor all production of the vaccine, and they try to be proactive in curbing the spread of the disease.

“They look and see what they’re expecting from other parts of the world and piece together three or four different vaccines into the (main) vaccine so that hopefully they catch what’s going to be the most problematic for the year,” she said. 

Kennedy said there have already been reports of the flu in Indiana. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and body aches. This is not to be confused with the stomach flu, which the vaccine does not prevent.

“Stomach flu is more like a stomach bug, it’s not necessarily a flu,” she said. “That’s gastrointestinal issues where we’re talking about diarrhea, upset stomach and nausea.”

She said October is the prime month to get your flu shot, and they have been busy at IU Health Arnett administering the vaccine. The flu season runs through April. It takes a full two weeks for your flu shot to take effect.

Most insurances cover flu shots for free. Those without insurance can get their shot at the Tippecanoe County Health Department for $20. 

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Incumbent Liberal Catherine McKenna crowned in Ottawa Centre – Ottawa Citizen

October 21st, 2019

Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna celebrates her win with her supporters for the Ottawa Centre riding on the day of the federal election on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. James Park / Postmedia

Voters in Ottawa Centre returned Liberal Catherine McKenna to Parliament for a second term Monday night, handing her a surprisingly easy victory despite a strong challenge from the NDP’s Emilie Taman.

“This has been a tough campaign in Ottawa Centre and it’s been a really tough campaign for the country,” McKenna told a crowd of supporters at her victory party at the Craft Beer Market at Lansdowne Park. “One of the lessons to emerge from today’s results is the need for a more positive political culture in our country,” she said, urging Canadians to listen to each other and be open to different ideas.

She also said she was heartened to see that climate change was such a key issue for voters, with more than two-thirds of all votes cast for parties that make climate change a priority.

“I’m so happy that finally climate change is a top election issue,” McKenna said. “Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It’s an economic issue. It’s a national security issue. It’s a social justice issue. And most of all, it’s about the kind of future that we want to see for our kids and grandkids.”

If the Liberal celebration was muted by the knowledge that they would govern as a minority in the next Parliament, it didn’t show Monday night, with deafening cheers of “Catherine! Catherine!” when McKenna finally appeared at around 11:30 p.m.

Ottawa Centre was one of several ridings in the Ottawa area plagued by election problems, with polls opening late and reports of long lineups to vote.

What was thought to be a close race turned out to be romp, with McKenna holding a 10,000-vote edge over Taman at midnight, with more than 70 per cent of the votes counted.

“This is not the result we were hoping for,” Taman told a crowd of disappointed supporters gathered at the 3 Brewers pub on Sparks Street. “We ran an incredible campaign, we talked about ideas that were substantive, we were positive and optimistic,” she added.

Taman thanked her supporters, her family, her husband Michael Spratt and her staff. She also paid an emotional tribute to her mentor and former Ottawa Centre NDP MP Paul Dewar. 

For Taman, it was her third unsuccessful run for a seat in the House of Commons. In 2015, she ran in Ottawa-Vanier, challenging the popular incumbent Mauril Bélanger in one of the safest Liberal seats in Canada. She tried again the next year in that ridings’s byelection, again coming second to the Liberals.

Conservative Carol Clemenhagen was a distant third Monday while Angela Keller-Herzog of the Greens garnered just seven per cent of the vote, squeezed out by the strong NDP-Liberal battle.

McKenna was a rookie challenger in 2015 when she took Ottawa Centre away from popular three-term Dewar. Since then, she has been the highest profile Liberal MP in the national capital and one of the most visible members of the Trudeau cabinet. She served as minister of environment and climate change and was front and centre on high profile files such as the Paris climate agreement and the federal carbon tax.

She has also been a frequent target of Conservative and alt-right critics. The weekend her campaign kicked off, it was revealed that she’d been assigned an RCMP security detail for her protection after several incidents including being accosted outside of a movie theatre while she was with her three children.

Ottawa Centre is considered one of the most politically active seats in the country, traditionally flipping  between the Liberals and NDP. In 2015, it had a voter turnout of 82 per cent, the highest in the country.

 — With files from Emilie Warren


ALSO IN THE NEWS

ANALYSIS: Liberal minority should suit the City of Ottawa fine, for now

Carleton: Poilievre, Rodgers await results of close race a block apart in Manotick

Liberal stronghold in Hull-Aylmer

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Bloc Quebecois to regain party status with strong comeback – CTV News

October 21st, 2019

In a major comeback, the Bloc Québécois is poised to regain official party status in the House of Commons and is in a tight race with the Liberals to lead the province in votes amid a remarkable resurgence that has seen the once-faltering party take seats away from the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP.

The Quebec party has won 28 seats so far out of the 78 in Quebec and leading in another 4 ridings, as party support under Yves-François Blanchet’s leadership surged over the course of the 40-day campaign.

Blanchet won his riding, while several other races are still too close to call.

The Bloc is on track to more than triple its presence in Parliament, which Blanchet hopes will be enough to give the party leverage when negotiating for support with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government. The Bloc had 10 seats prior to this election.

The Bloc was still in shambles a year ago; its revival comes after languishing for nearly a decade without official status after it won fewer than the requisite 12 seats in the last two federal elections.

Blanchet, who only stepped in as party leader a little over 10 months ago, campaigned by appealing to Quebec pride and underscoring his understanding of Quebec priorities, to win over voters despite low support for Quebec independence.

He has attributed the party’s resurgence to growing Quebec nationalism, and he has positioned himself as the only leader whose sole focus in Ottawa would be to represent and lobby for Quebec rights and values.

It was a strategy that appeared effective as Liberals and Conservatives struggled to gain traction in the province throughout the campaign, while the NDP fought to hang on to the 14 seats it held in the province at the time of dissolution.

Expectations were low for the Bloc Québécois prior to the elections. But with support for the NDP eroding in the province, a number of seats were in contention with party leaders all vying to win over Quebec voters. The NDP is on track to lose all but one of its seats.

RIDINGS SPOTLIGHT

Blanchet, who is 53, took the seat for his riding in Beloeil-Chambly, which was held by NDP Matthew Dubé, in a decisive win with more than 51 per cent of the vote at last count.

The Bloc is still in a tight race with the Liberal incumbent in the riding of Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, which was previously held by former cabinet minister Diane Lebouthillier.

The party has a narrow lead in the riding of Berthier-Maskinongé against NDP incumbent Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

The riding of Trois-Riveres is also in a tight race with Bloc Québécois candidate Louise Charbonneau having an edge against Liberal candidate Valerie Renaud-Martin. The NDP incumbent is a distant fourth.

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Live coverage: Liberals poised to form minority government – Montreal Gazette

October 21st, 2019

Welcome to the Montreal Gazette’s live coverage of election night in Canada. Stay tuned throughout the night for updates and analysis.

Welcome to the Montreal Gazette’s live election coverage. Stay tuned throughout the night for updates and analysis. Questions/comments? ariga@postmedia.com


11:37 p.m. And she’s out

Ruth Ellen Brosseau appears to have lost.

You may remember her from the 2011 election when she raised eyebrows by spending several days in Las Vegas during that campaign, and was then roasted for her poor French.

But voters in the riding — on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, between Repentigny and Trois-Rivières — embraced her. Brosseau became known as a hard worker, her French improved and she easily won re-election in 2015, unlike many other NDP MPs.


11:20 p.m. What happened in Montreal?

Here’s our list of winners and losers on Montreal Island.

It appears the Liberals took 16 of the 18 ridings on the Island.

The Bloc and the NDP each took one. Bloc MP Mario Beaulieu won re-election in La Pointe-de-L’Île. NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice was re-elected in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.


11:15 p.m. Remaking Quebec

Who’s up/who’s down in Quebec?

At the moment…

  • The Bloc is up 24 seats compared to 2015.
  • The NDP lost 14 seats.
  • The Liberals lost seven seats.
  • And the Conservatives lost three seats.

11:06 p.m. Brosseau now losing

If she loses, the NDP would be left with one Quebec MP – Alexandre Boulerice.


11:01 p.m. Liberal minority

The National Post says it’s going to be a minority Liberal government.

Standings at the moment:

  • Liberals: 155
  • Conservatives: 119
  • Bloc: 35
  • NDP: 24
  • Other: 3

Needed for a majority: 170


11 p.m. Liberals take Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel

Hassan Guillet ran as an independent in Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel after he was turfed as the Liberal candidate over alleged anti-Semitic social media posts. But Guillet, a high profile member of the Muslim community, fell flat.

Liberal Patricia Lattanzio, a city councillor and English Montreal School Board commissioner, has 62 per cent of the vote at the moment. Guillet: seven per cent.


10:55 p.m. Guilbeault leading

Environmentalist Steven Guilbeault, a Liberal, is leading by six percentage points in Laurier—Sainte-Marie, ahead of the Bloc’s Michel Duchesne. But only 10 of 174 polls are reporting.

Some are touting Guilbeault as a possible future environment minister.


10:50 p.m. Green fizzles out

The Green Party’s only hope in Quebec – former NDP MP Pierre Nantel – is a distant third in Longueuil-Saint-Hubert.

The Bloc’s Denis Trudel, who tried and failed to win here in 2015, appears set to clinch the riding, just ahead of Liberal Réjean Hébert (a former Parti Québécois health minister)


10:45 p.m. Maxed out

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada is far behind his Conservative opponent… And the other Maxime Bernier managed to get 363 votes.


10:42 p.m. New Duceppe in House

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, son of former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, is the new MP for Lac-Saint-Jean.


10:40 p.m. NDP in Quebec

The NDP is leading in two Quebec ridings:

  • Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, where Alexandre Boulerice has a comfortable lead.
  • Berthier—Maskinongé, where Ruth Ellen Brosseau is in a fight with Bloc opponent Yves Perron

10:35 p.m. Aislin’s view


10:30 p.m. Liberals back in power

The National Post is saying the Liberals are poised to form the next government. Whether or not it will be a majority is yet to be called.

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10:20 p.m. Results so far

In Quebec, the Liberals are holding on to a lot of seats but the Bloc is soaring.

At the moment, the Liberals are leading or elected in 35, with the Bloc ahead in 28. The Conservatives are leading in nine ridings, while the NDP is ahead in just two.

Going into the election, here’s what the breakdown looked like.


10:10 p.m. Liberals lead

Radio-Canada is calling a Liberal government.

Minority or majority? Only time will tell.


10:05 p.m. Meanwhile in N.D.G.

Supporters of NDP candidate Franklin Gertler in NDG-Westmount watch the results at his campaign office on Sherbrooke St. W and Beaconsfield Ave.


10 p.m. Happy crowd at Bloc HQ


9:50 p.m. Already a minority?

Two networks are calling a minority…


9:45 p.m. Bloc rising as NDP drops

Early Quebec results show the Bloc surging and the NDP collapsing, as polls predicted.

So far, the Bloc has 34 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals 31 per cent, the Conservatives 25 per cent and the NDP at just four per cent.

The Liberals are leading in 13 Quebec ridings, the Bloc in eight, the Conservatives in three and the NDP in one.

Early results show Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet is leading in his riding – Beloeil-Chambly.

In Beauce riding, Maxime Bernier of the People’s Party of Canada is trailing his Conservative rival, Richard Lehoux.


9:35 p.m. Tight security


9:30 p.m. Polls have closed in Quebec

Let the counting begin.


9:25 p.m. Electoral angles

Gazette colleagues are covering different angles tonight:

McGill students debate voting strategically versus voting on principle. Progressive voters had a dilemma in this election. Do you vote strategically to try ensure the Conservatives don’t win or do you vote following principles?

The Liberals are fighting to keep Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel. Long a Liberal fortress, the riding witnessed a rancorous campaign between candidates.

NDP star candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau fights to hang on to party toehold. The former unilingual Ottawa bartender has made herself at home in Berthier-Maskinongé, where she faced stiff competition from the Bloc.

Projections see Pierrefonds-Dollard remaining Liberal. Whatever the outcome, voters will be looking for action on climate change, services for seniors as well as increased support of local businesses.


9:10 p.m. Polling station ‘incident’

There was an “incident” at a polling station at a retirement home on Tupper St. in Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs riding in Montreal. I have asked Elections Canada for more details but have not heard back yet.


9 p.m. Flashback

Before results start pouring in from seat-rich Quebec (it’s home to 78 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons), here’s the seat breakdown at dissolution.

If polls are correct, the breakdown will be much different once today’s votes are counted.


8:45 p.m. The Mags

The first Quebec results are trickling in. That’s because one riding – Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine – is in the Atlantic time zone.

With one of 214 polls reporting, the Liberal incumbent Diane Lebouthillier is leading by 11 votes…


8:30 p.m. Some scenes

Gazette reporters and photographers are at the hot spots tonight.


8:20 p.m. Liberal losses?

In 2015, the Liberals swept all 32 seats in Atlantic Canada.

Votes from that region are streaming in and they show the Conservatives leading in six ridings.

But it’s early yet.

So far, the results are in line with what polls were showing. If that trend continues across Canada, it would probably be a minority Liberal government.


8:05 p.m. Attention, laggards

If you’re in line when the polls close, you’ll still be able to vote, Elections Canada just said on Twitter.


7:50 p.m. The calm before the results


A technician works on the stage at Liberal headquarters in Montreal Monday October 21, 2019.

John Mahoney / jpg


MONTREAL, QUE.: October 21, 2019 — TV crews check the lights before the start of Bloc quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet election night event in Montreal, on Monday, October 21, 2019. (Allen McInnis / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 63335

Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette


7:40 p.m. Pre-results reading list

Some stories to tide you over until results start pouring in:


7:15 p.m. What a difference a campaign makes

P.J. Fournier’s 338Canada uses polling data and previous election results to create seat projections.

Here’s what he was projecting very early in the campaign, followed by what he projected yesterday.

They won’t be elected prime minister tonight but polls – and these projections – show Yves-François Blanchet of the Bloc Québécois and Jagmeet Singh of the New Democrats did something right over the past 40 days.

Here are the 338Canada projections by province/region:


6:50 p.m. The two who could be PM


6:25 p.m. Smooth sailing in Montreal

So far, voting seems to be going well in the Montreal area, though in Laval, north of the city, some confused voters called 911 to ask where they could cast ballots.

Here’s our story on voting in Montreal today.

If you had or are having problems voting, let us know. Send an email to citynews@montrealgazette.com


6:15 p.m. Dirty tricks?

Elections Canada says some voters in Quebec and Atlantic Canada have received robocalls falsely claiming that voting day is tomorrow. That’s wrong, of course: today – Oct. 21 – is voting day.

Here’s the statement that Elections Canada sent me.

We have received reports about some electors receiving robocalls indicating that election day is on a date other than today (from Quebec, NS and NB).

We have no indication these calls are widespread. Today is election day, and the only day to vote. It is illegal to willfully misdirect electors in order to prevent them from voting.

If anyone has received a communication that they believe shares the wrong information about the electoral process, they should contact Elections Canada as soon as possible at 1-800-463-6868. Elections Canada is the authoritative source on where, when and ways to vote in the federal election.

People can also file a complaint with the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

At least one Liberal-held riding – Hull-Aylmer – appears to have been targeted.

The CBC is reporting that in New Brunswick, one of the calls appears to have originated at a number controlled by Proudly New Brunswick, which is affiliated with Canada Strong and Proud. The two anti-Liberal organizations are funded by the conservative Manning Centre.


5:45 p.m. Polls close at 9:30 p.m.

A team of Montreal Gazette reporters is covering the election results tonight. Stay tuned to this post for updates.

You still have time to vote — polls close at 9:30 p.m. in Quebec.

Here’s what you need to know about where to vote — and what you should bring to the polling station.

Related

ariga@postmedia.com

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Federal election 2019 live – CBC.ca

October 21st, 2019

Federal election 2019 live stream and analysis

LIVE

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After a grim campaign, Trudeau emerges damaged but victorious – CBC.ca

October 21st, 2019

Faced with a Liberal shutout in Alberta and Saskatchewan and rising tensions in the West, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended the election campaign by vowing to govern for all Canadians when his MPs return to Ottawa.

Trudeau spoke directly to Western Canadians in his victory speech in Montreal early Tuesday morning, telling them they are “an essential part of our country.”

“I’ve heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together,” he said.

Trudeau, who brought the Liberal Party from third place to a landslide majority win in 2015, finished this campaign with a more modest victory: a minority government.

With a reduced seat count, Trudeau will now need to work with other parties on a case-by-case basis to pass budgets and legislation, or work to build a more formal arrangement with another party or parties.

During the campaign, Trudeau repeatedly warned that the Conservatives, if elected, would make deep cuts that would harm Canadians. He said Liberals now have a “clear mandate” to go in a different direction.

“Tonight from coast to coast to coast, Canadians rejected division and negativity. They rejected cuts and austerity and they voted in favour of a progressive agenda and action on climate change,” he said.

After failing to win a single seat in Saskatchewan or Alberta, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he has heard those provinces’ frustrations. 2:01

One of Trudeau’s most trusted ministers, veteran Saskatchewan politician Ralph Goodale, was defeated, along with Alberta minister Amarjeet Sohi, but other members of the Liberal cabinet were re-elected.

Facing a western backlash over his government’s carbon tax and failure to build a new pipeline, Trudeau vowed that his team will work for everyone, no matter how they voted.

“We will govern for everyone,” he said. “Regardless of how you cast your ballot, ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians.”

The 40-day campaign was marked by daily barrage of insults between leaders — and a succession of embarrassing revelations about candidates unearthed by party operatives.

McGill University political science professor Daniel Beland said Trudeau’s weakened mandate capped off a campaign that was less than inspiring.

“They have not really galvanized Canadians this time around. It’s quite a different campaign than 2015 — more nasty in tone, with the message being about who not to vote for than who to vote for,” he said.

Beland said that if the Liberals can hold a relatively stable minority, they will likely rally behind Trudeau’s leadership — at least for now.

“They will want to stay in power at any cost, but there will be talk behind the scenes about who is next,” he said.

Blackface scandal

The biggest blow to Trudeau’s campaign came early on, when photos emerged of him dressed in blackface in his 20s.

Beland said that revelation served to further tarnish a reputation that was already scarred.

“I think he’s been damaged goods for a while … the India trip, SNC-Lavalin, blackface. It’s not just his image at home. Justin Trudeau staying as prime minister is a diminished figure, not just internally but externally in terms of the image of Canada in the world,” he said.

Liberal commentator Susan Smith concedes there were a “few bumps” in the campaign, but said Trudeau reacted to the blackface controversy with an apology and a genuine expression of humility.

She said she believes his international reputation remains firmly intact.

“‘Barack Obama’ is all I have to say with regards to that,” she said, referring to a tweet from the former U.S. President endorsing Trudeau in the final days of the campaign.

As for Trudeau’s future as leader, Smith argued the Liberal Party will need his negotiating skills more than ever in a minority government situation, citing as an example his government’s ability to complete the NAFTA talks.

Smith said he sees relations with the provinces emerging as a key challenge of Trudeau’s second term in office.

Warnings about Conservative cuts

Throughout the campaign, the Liberal leader spoke about how Conservative premiers cut services and limited access to abortion services — a strategy designed to raise fears that a Conservative federal government under Andrew Scheer would do the same.

In some cases, it was the Conservative premiers who initially picked the fights with the Liberals. Ontario’s Doug Ford drew unflattering comparisons between Trudeau’s fiscal management and the record of former premier Kathleen Wynne, while Alberta Premier Jason Kenney skewered Trudeau over the carbon tax and the Liberal government’s failure to build a new pipeline.

But after the dust settles, Smith said Trudeau will try to work with the provinces to “look for ways to move the country forward.”

“The premiers have got to do what is best for their people in their provinces, and that includes sitting down at the table and having a conversation about pharmacare, affordable housing and other things. So they won’t be able to dig in 100 per cent from a partisan perspective,” she said.

University of Calgary political science professor Melanee Thomas said a less skilled politician would have been “toast” after the blackface scandal.

Much of Trudeau’s positive “rhetoric,” though, hasn’t been backed up by substantial action on issues such as equality and reconciliation, she said.

“It seems like his brand and his narrative around himself — his sunny ways, equity and diversity and … a better way of doing politics … the actions that need to go along with that to make it really credible have been wanting,” she said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters after his party wins a minority government. 11:15

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Yves-François Blanchet heads to Parliament as leader of resurgent Bloc Québécois – CBC.ca

October 21st, 2019

Named leader of his party less than a year ago, when the Bloc Québécois was on the verge of extinction, Yves-François Blanchet handily won his riding of Beloeil-Chambly on Monday night and saw his party take about a third of the popular vote in Quebec.

When Blanchet, 54, threw his name into the hat last November to lead the Bloc, he had no competition. There was no leadership convention, no fanfare. The party sent out a brief statement last January, declaring him leader by default.

Under those circumstances, political watchers could be forgiven for not predicting a change in the Bloc’s fortunes any time soon.

Blanchet proved them wrong.

He may not have been on many people’s radar, but in Quebec, Blanchet is a known quantity. He’s been a pundit, a provincial cabinet minister and the manager of a rock star.

Committed to sovereignty

And he’s been committed to Quebec sovereignty his whole life.

Blanchet was born in Drummondville in 1965, at the height of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. He was just three years old when René Lévesque, a former Liberal cabinet minister, created the Parti Québécois.

By the time he was 14, Blanchet had figured out a way to become a card-carrying PQ member — even though the party didn’t sell memberships to anyone under 18.

Blanchet said Lévesque’s leadership left a permanent mark on him. To this day, whenever he refers to the PQ founder, he uses the honorific “monsieur.”

After graduating from Université de Montréal with a degree in history and anthropology, Blanchet took a job working for the PQ’s youth wing. In 1990, he started working in the music industry. He discovered rocker Éric Lapointe, the biggest-selling male artist in Quebec history, managing Lapointe’s career for 20 years. 

Blanchet presided over ADISQ, the Quebec industry association for music, film and television, for three years, before he was elected to represent the PQ in the provincial riding of Drummond in 2008.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, left to right, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet take part in the the federal leaders French-language debate in Gatineau, Que. (Chris Wattie/Canadian Press)

The creation of the ‘Goon’

As a member of the PQ caucus, Blanchet earned a nickname that he’s tried hard to shake during his first campaign as a party leader: Goon. 

The name apparently came from one of his colleagues when he emerged as a forceful defender of former premier and PQ leader Pauline Marois during the challenge to Marois’s leadership in 2011.

When the PQ was elected in 2012, Marois named Blanchet to her cabinet, first as party whip and then as environment minister.

Blanchet has said he and Marois were not that close, but he was loyal to her. She appointed him to her cabinet even though he had been convicted in 2010 for having been found drunk behind the wheel of his car two years earlier.

The vehicle had been parked — Blanchet has always maintained he never planned to drive. Nonetheless, he accepted the DUI “with humility,” Marois said. 

Yves-François Blanchet meets the mayor of Louiseville, Que., during the Mauricie town’s annual Buckwheat Festival. The Bloc leader hit every fall fair in rural Quebec he could, to drum up support for his party. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Blanchet’s frequent spats with journalists during his time at the National Assembly only cemented his reputation as a man with a temper. 

He has done his best over the course of the 2019 federal election to put that reputation to rest, saying repeatedly that his defensiveness was due to the political realities at the time.

A passion for work

His partner of seven years, Nancy Déziel, told Radio-Canada that Blanchet’s occasionally terse reactions spring from his passion for his work.

“It’s true: he has to work on being completely in control of his emotions,” she said.

It was the new, smiling Bloc leader that Canadians saw during the leaders’ debates. While Scheer and Trudeau traded barbs and interrupted each other, the Bloc leader seemed almost collegial, in contrast.

Two years after the Marois government’s defeat in 2014, Blanchet became the voice of sovereignist Quebecers on the popular daily Radio-Canada TV show Les Ex, which analyzes social, political and economic issues. 

On Quebecers’ television screens every afternoon, Blanchet became a familiar face. In a recent interview with Radio-Canada, he said his time on Les Ex also made him more familiar with how the media works  — and helped him feel at ease in front of cameras.

“I have some good memories of the media world,” he said.”I’m in a comfortable space … and now I can make the odd rascally comment.”

Blanchet didn’t run in the 2018 provincial election. The Parti Québécois suffered a historic defeat in that race — reduced to 10 seats, it lost official party status.

Took the risk

With the PQ in disarray and the Bloc near extinction, running for the leadership of the Bloc Québécois was a risk it appeared no serious politician was willing to take.

Blanchet said he took it on in an effort to revive the sovereignty movement. 

“Promoting Quebec’s interests in Ottawa or promoting Quebec’s independence in Quebec City: it’s not the flavour du jour,” he told Radio-Canada as he was weighing his decision to take over the Bloc. 

“But for me, it is indispensable that we not give up on ideas that are this important.”

Blanchet has not talked much about separating from Canada in this campaign, except when forced to by his opponents. 

Instead, he has latched onto the Coalition Avenir Québec provincial government’s brand of nationalism — and he says in Parliament, he will do what he has always done: defend Quebec’s interests.

“We are people who are convinced that one day Quebec will take on the attributes of sovereignty,” Blanchet said on the final day of the campaign. 

“But that’s not the mandate of this election. We’ve been saying it for five weeks.”

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Andrew Coyne: The Liberals didn’t win the 2019 federal election, they just lost less than the Conservatives – National Post

October 21st, 2019

Can’t they both lose? I asked, irritably, in my last column. As it turned out, they both did. Never before have both major parties taken such a small share of the vote. Never before, in my memory, have both declined steadily and together throughout a campaign. Their platforms landed with the same dull thuds, their leaders failed to impress in roughly equal measure.

The Liberals, then, did not so much win this election as lose it less. They gave up roughly 30 seats, yielded half a dozen points in the popular vote — but not to the Tories, whose vote remained as steady, or as inert, as ever. Rather, it was to the benefit of the other parties on the left: the Greens, the resurgent NDP and especially the Bloc Québécois. It was left-of-centre voters, not those in the centre or right, that administered this rebuke — enough to humble the Liberals but not to remove them from power.

The story of this election is likewise not of any surge in support for the Conservatives, but of the restlessness and rootlessness of voters on the left, whose partisan attachments would seem as permanent as a breeze. In 2015, the Liberals had rounded up just enough of the progressive vote to win a majority, on the strength of an ambitious, left-leaning platform and an idealistic young leader. But by 2019 much of the platform, especially the signature electoral reform promise, had been abandoned, and the leader was neither so young any more nor so idealistic.

A replay of the same appeal to progressive voters’ hopes was not, therefore, in the cards. Instead, the Liberals returned to an older strategy, that of frightening the pants off them, with tales of the horrors that would follow if any of them were so foolish as to stray into the Green or NDP camp. It didn’t work. Next to the extravagant bidding war that went on between the NDP and the Greens, the Liberal platform looked timid and derivative, while the Tories, under the cautious, plodding leadership of Andrew Scheer, failed to live up to their terrifying billing.


Liberal Party supporters flash V-signs while watching the live federal election results at the Palais des Congres in Montreal, Quebec, Canada October 21, 2019

Stephane Mahe / Reuters

Still, the Liberals will remain in government, with a more solid grip on power than they might have expected even a week ago. They have been humbled, as has Justin Trudeau, reduced from majority to minority in just four years — much as his father was in 1972 — but they have a strong enough plurality that they can probably govern as governments traditionally have in minority parliaments in Canada, by finding votes where they need them, one piece of legislation at a time rather than by any formal agreements with another party or parties.

By now we should be used to this: this will be the 10th minority Parliament to result from the past 21 elections; the fourth in the past six. But this one comes with an unusual wild card: the SNC-Lavalin affair, and its unresolved aftermath. Had the Liberals maintained their majority, they might have hoped to keep some sort of a lid on it, give or take an RCMP investigation. But without a majority, the opposition will now control all the committees, and can call whatever witnesses they like.

That return to closer legislative scrutiny of the executive is a welcome result of this election. More worrisome are the consequences for the public treasury. In majority the Liberals had raised spending to previous unheard of levels; what they might be tempted to offer to hold onto power in a minority, especially given the promises in the NDP platform, should be cause for profound concern — not least to many Liberals, for the opportunity it might provide the Conservatives to occupy the centre.

That’s if the Conservatives have the wit to take it. The other lesson from this election, alongside the divisions on the left, is the limitations of the Conservatives’ perennial base-first strategy. Election after election, the Conservatives come in with roughly the same level of support; if they need not fear much in the way of erosion, neither do they have much room to grow. That was solidified and entrenched with the decision to oppose carbon pricing. It guarantees they will continue to win nearly all of the seats in Alberta, with astronomic margins. But it also puts a ceiling on their support in other parts of the country where races are tighter and more seats are to be won or lost.

That’s not just a geographic division. The Tories find themselves equally blocked in their ability to appeal to younger voters, to the university-educated, to women. The climate change debate is just one example of an issue where the party has passed on a chance to expand its base in favour of appealing to its existing supporters. This was a winnable election for them, with a wounded Justin Trudeau and a divided left. That they flubbed it will bring calls for a change of leader. It should also prompt calls for a change of approach.

As for the other parties, the NDP can take solace in having exceeded expectations, but little else: though they emerged as “winners” from the campaign, they took fewer seats and a smaller share of the vote than in the “defeat” of 2015. The Greens, conversely, will be disappointed they did not take more seats, given the momentum with which they entered the campaign. But they doubled their previous best performance in terms of the popular vote.

The most unambiguous winners were the Bloc, who like the NDP had been all but given up for dead before the election. They have returned as a force in Parliament, with their best performance in more than a decade. The future of the federation suddenly looks gloomier than it has for some time, not only with the Bloc poised to make mischief, but with the disaffection that is bound to arise in the resource-producing West. Bad enough to have the pipeline-ambiguous Liberals returned to power, but with three parties to their left pushing them to block all further pipeline construction, the West is set to be unhappier than ever.

How unhappy? They might have even preferred a Liberal majority.

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Global News projects Justin Trudeau’s Liberals will form minority government – Global News

October 21st, 2019

Global News is projecting a Liberal minority government.

The Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau, will head back to Parliament for a second consecutive term as the governing party, although they’ll need to negotiate support from at least one other party in order to pass any legislation while they are in office.

READ MORE: Real-time results in the federal election

Neither the Liberals nor Conservatives are projected to hit the 170-seat threshold needed for a majority government as polls were counted on Monday night.

But Global News is projecting the Liberals will hold the plurality of seats in the House of Commons.

READ MORE: Party leaders join fellow Canadians at the polls as voting gets underway

Monday night’s projections come after public opinion polls throughout the five-week federal election campaign described a neck-and-neck race between the Liberal and Conservative parties.

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0:37Federal Election 2019: ‘Excitement’ at Liberal headquarters

Federal Election 2019: ‘Excitement’ at Liberal headquarters

Polls have closed so far in the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada and it is those results that form the basis of Global’s projection.

Based on those polls, voters in Atlantic Canada — which the Liberals swept entirely in 2015 — showed an early preference for the Liberals with the majority of elected candidates from that region so far being from that party.

READ MORE: Should party with most seats get first crack at forming government? Here’s how minorities work

Of those Atlantic Liberals, the cabinet ministers who have held on to their seats are Dominic LeBlanc, Seamus O’Regan, Bernadette Jordan, Ginette Petispas Taylor and Lawrence MacAulay as well as Geoff Regan, who was Speaker of the House of Commons most recently, and longtime Liberal Wayne Easter.

Liberal backbenchers Scott Simms, Gudie Hutchings, Ken McDonald, René Arseneault, Bobby Morrissey, Andy Fillmore and Serge Cormier also secured their seats, as did Darrell Sampson, Darren Fisher, Sean Fraser, Sean Casey and Churence Rogers.

Rookie Liberal candidate Kody Blois also held on to the Kings-Hants seat vacated by former cabinet minister Scott Brison earlier this year.

3:03Federal Election 2019: Why Global News is projecting a minority government

Federal Election 2019: Why Global News is projecting a minority government

Several Conservatives managed to chip away at the Liberal hold on Atlantic Canada though, with three formerly red seats swinging blue.

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Conservative Richard Bragdon won the riding of Tobique–Mactaquac away from incumbent Liberal T.J. Harvey. John Williamson also won the riding of New Brunswick Southwest away from Liberal incumbent Karen Ludwig.

Conservative Rob Moore also won the New Brunswick seat of Fundy Royal away from Liberal Alaina Lockhart, who was among the crop of first-time MPs swept into office in 2015.

3:19Federal Election 2019: Conservatives concerned, NDP ‘excited’ over Liberal minority projection

Federal Election 2019: Conservatives concerned, NDP ‘excited’ over Liberal minority projection

But the comeback story of the night so far is that of the NDP’s Jack Harris, who will be returning to Ottawa.

Harris had been a longtime NDP MP for the Newfoundland riding of St. John’s East before he lost to Liberal Nick Whelan in 2015.

Results in Quebec also hinted at early signs of strong showing by the Bloc Quebecois with that party taking seven seats so far in the province.

Several Liberal cabinet ministers from Quebec have kept their seats though: both Marc Garneau, Melanie Joly and David Lametti held on to their Montreal-area seats while Jean-Yves Duclos kept his Quebec City seat in what had been predicted to be a close race.

Pablo Rodriguez, who served as minister of Canadian heritage in the last government, also kept his seat, as did longtime Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia.

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Prominent Conservatives in that province who also kept their seats include Gérard Deltell, Alain Rayes, Luc Berthold and Steven Blaney.

Over in Ontario, Kirsty Duncan was the first of the Liberal cabinet ministers from that province to secure her Toronto-area seat, as did Bill Blair, Bill Morneau, Mary Ng, Carolyn Bennett and Navdeep Bains. Bardish Chagger and Ahmed Hussen also held onto their seats.

Maverick Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith also kept his downtown Toronto seat in Beaches-East York.

At the same time, the Liberals lost the Northern Ontario riding of Kenora to the NDP’s Rudy Turtle, who was chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation.

Conservatives Scott Reid, Cheryl Gallant and Michael Barrett kept their Eastern Ontario ridings.

Closer to Ottawa, Liberal Mona Fortier held on to the historically safe seat of Ottawa-Vanier while David McGuinty kept his seat of Ottawa South.

Marie-France Lalonde kept the riding of Orleans in Liberal hands after quitting her role as MPP for that same riding provincially last month.

Conservatives see strong showing so far in Prairies

Large swaths of the Prairies are seeing a strong Conservative showing, with the party largely sweeping Alberta so far and many parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Of the Conservatives in the West, James Bezan was the first to secure his Manitoba riding of Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman.

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Conservative Candice Bergan also kept her Manitoba seat while incumbent Conservatives Larry Maguire, Dan Mazier, Robert Kitchen, Glen Motz, Ted Falk, Cathay Wagantall, John Barlow and Arnold Viersen also kept theirs in that province and in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

So far, Kevin Lamoureux and Jim Carr, who served as a cabinet minister in the last government, are the only Liberals to win seats in the Prairies.

Lamoureux represents Winnipeg North while Carr held on to Winnipeg South Centre.

The NDP’s Niki Ashton also held on to her Manitoba riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski.

More to come …

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Bloc Quebecois to regain party status in decisive resurgence – CTV News

October 21st, 2019

The Bloc Québécois is poised to regain official party status in the House of Commons following a remarkable resurgence that has seen the once-faltering party take seats away from the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP.

The Quebec party won 32 seats out of the 78 in Quebec, as party support under Yves-François Blanchet’s leadership surged over the course of the 40-day campaign.

The Bloc is on track to more than triple its presence in Parliament, which Blanchet hopes will be enough to give it leverage when negotiating for support with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government. The Bloc had 10 seats prior to this election.

“We are coming back from far, but we will go even further,” said Blanchet in a victory speech late Monday evening, and thanking his small team for achieving an “impossible” campaign.

The Bloc was still in shambles a year ago; its revival comes after languishing for nearly a decade without official status after it won fewer than the requisite 12 seats in the last two federal elections.

Blanchet, who only stepped in as party leader a little over 10 months ago, campaigned by appealing to Quebec pride and underscoring his understanding of Quebec priorities, to win over voters despite low support for Quebec independence.

He has attributed the party’s resurgence to growing Quebec nationalism, and he has positioned himself as the only leader whose sole focus in Ottawa would be to represent and lobby for Quebec rights and values.

It was a strategy that appeared effective as Liberals and Conservatives struggled to gain traction in the province throughout the campaign, while the NDP fought to hang on to the 14 seats it held in the province at the time of dissolution.

“No party tonight can take control of the House of Commons,” Blanchet said of the new minority government. Blanchet told supporters the party did not wish to form a government nor participate in one, but was open, on merit, to collaborating with any government.

“If what is proposed is good for Quebec, you can count on us.”

Blanchet warned that if a proposal went against the province’s interest, however, the party would stand in the way, and that Quebec would not compromise on its values, including the secularization of its public institutions.

BILL 21 CONTROVERSY

Secularism is an important issue among francophones. Early this summer, the province passed Bill 21, a secularism law that bars anyone working for the government in positions of authority — including police officers, teachers, judges — from donning religious symbols such as yarmulkes for Jewish men and hijabs for Muslim women, while at work.

The bill is very popular and has significant support within Quebec, but is extremely contentious outside the province. The city of Calgary, for example, passed a motion formally opposing the bill.

Despite disapproving the secularism law, most party leaders were reluctant to weigh in too much on the bill during the campaign for fear of alienating the valuable and voter-rich province. Trudeau was the only candidate who would not rule out the possibility of intervening on the bill at a later stage.

RIDINGS SPOTLIGHT

Blanchet, who is 53, took the seat for his riding in Beloeil-Chambly, which was held by NDP Matthew Dubé, in a decisive win with more than 50 per cent of the vote at last count.

A number of other ridings saw tight races between the Bloc and other party candidates.

The party’s Guy Bernatchez battled with Liberal incumbent Diane Lebouthillier in the riding of Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine. At one point, the two candidates were separated by less than 100 votes. Lebouthillier, a cabinet minister in the previous government narrowly won by only a few hundred votes at last count.

In the riding of Berthier-Maskinongé, the Bloc’s Yves Perron was ahead by about 1,500 votes against NDP incumbent Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

A DECADE FLOUNDERING

Formed in 1991, the Bloc was a voice at the federal level for Quebec separatists. But in 2011, the party suffered a devastating loss under the leadership of Gilles Duceppe, giving up nearly all 50 of the seats it held at dissolution, with the bulk of the lost seats going to the NDP in what was dubbed the “Orange Wave”. With only four elected members out of the province’s then-75 spots, the Bloc lost its status as a “recognized party” for the first time in its history.

The party saw some marginal improvements during the last election in 2015, but with only 10 elected members out of 78 seats, the Bloc was still not officially recognized in parliament.

Expectations were low for the Bloc Québécois heading into these elections. But with support for the NDP eroding in the province, a number of seats were in contention with party leaders all vying to win over Quebec voters. The NDP is expected to lose all but one of its seats in the province.

In Quebec, the party’s comeback currently puts it just behind the Liberals, who won or are leading in 35 Quebec ridings. Nationally, the Bloc’s results also puts it ahead of the NDP, which is on track to have 24 seats.

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