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With voting day just a weekend away, there are questions about the effectiveness of the Liberal Party's dominant campaign strategy in Ontario: invoking Premier Doug Ford to try to drag down Andrew Scheer's Conservatives. CBC's Poll Tracker data for Ontario suggests the tactics of Justin Trudeau's party are working to some extent: the Conservatives have not come within three percentage points of the Liberals in the province at any time in the campaign, and are currently trailing by more than six points.The Poll Tracker, which aggregates all publicly available polling data, currently projects the Liberals to win 66 seats in Ontario, while the Conservatives are projected to take 39, and the NDP 16. While that seat count might sound like success for the Liberals if it happens on Monday, it would still be a drop from the 80 seats the party took in Ontario in 2015, helping propel Trudeau to his majority."I think they put too many chips on that strategy," says Nick Kouvalis, a pollster and political strategist who has worked for a range of right-of-centre candidates at all levels of government. "The Liberals have desperately tried, time after time, to make this election a fight between them and Ford," said Kouvalis, principal of the firm Campaign Research, in an interview Thursday. "Ford's eluded them by not engaging."Since before the campaign officially began, Trudeau has attempted to capitalize on Ford's current unpopularity in Ontario, sometimes subtly, more often blatantly.The party's first campaign TV ad was on the subtle side. "Conservatives like to say they're 'For the People,' but then they cut taxes for the wealthy and cut services for everybody else," said Trudeau in the ad, alluding to Ford's successful campaign slogan from last year's provincial election.On the blatant end of the spectrum: Trudeau mentioned Ford 14 times in just one news conference in Hamilton. Kouvalis credits Scheer for "not taking the bait" from Trudeau. This points to the Conservative Party's own strategy about Ford: avoidance at virtually all costs. Ford has not campaigned for Scheer, let alone with him. Scheer has uttered Ford's name in public just three times all campaign, which would be 11 fewer times than Trudeau did in that one news conference. According to Ford's press secretary, the two most prominent conservative politicians in Canada have not met face-to-face in nearly a year.It wasn't always this way. In August of last year, Ford was greeted as a conquering hero at the federal Conservative party convention in Halifax, where he gave a keynote speech to thunderous applause. Scheer returned the favour at the Ontario PC party convention in Toronto last November.But then came the Ford government's controversies: the appointment of a Ford friend as Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, changes to services for children with autism, and a budget filled with cuts, including a significant rise in class sizes in Ontario high schools. Scheer's avoidance of Ford during the campaign is evidence confirming that the Liberals' strategy was smart, said David Herle, a political consultant who has run Liberal Party campaigns at the federal and provincial level. The Conservatives "obviously knew" that having Scheer tightly linked to Ford would hurt their party, so they went to great lengths to avoid it, said Herle, owner of the Gandalf Group communications consulting firm, in an interview Thursday. That strategy in large part involved Ford nearly disappearing from public view as the election approached. In early June, Ford adjourned the provincial legislature until Oct. 28, taking him out of the question period spotlight until a week after election day.During the campaign, Ford held just two news conferences: one on Sept. 17 in Verner, 400 kilometres north of Toronto, the other on Wednesday in Kenora, 1,500 kilometres northwest of Verner. In the nearly four months since he shuffled his cabinet, Ford has held just one news conference in the provincial capital. In his news conferences, Ford has said he's "too busy governing" to be involved in the campaign, although many of his cabinet ministers and MPPs have publicized their own campaigning efforts on behalf of federal Conservative candidates. Herle credits Ford for being "surprisingly disciplined in staying out of the fray despite the attacks he was taking on an ongoing basis from the Liberals." Still, Herle believes the Liberals will win the most seats in the province come election day, and believes the attacks on Ford have helped. "You have to conclude, but for the existence of Mr. Ford, Scheer would likely do better in Ontario on Monday," said Herle. On this week's episode of Herle's election podcast, called The Herle Burly, another longtime Liberal strategist Scott Reid, urged the party to pull out all the stops to link Scheer to Ford in an attempt to make voters fear the effects of a Conservative government. "You have to convince [voters] that if [Scheer] does win he would do horrible and terrifying things, which is why I'd associate him with Ford," said Reid.
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Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, held her first TV interview since marrying Prince William and becoming a royal.
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(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.U.S. President Donald Trump says “millions of lives will be saved” after he showed his Turkish counterpart some “tough” love over his military operation inside northern Syria.Five hours of talks yesterday in Ankara with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo yielded a deal where Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day pause in his offensive in Syria against the Kurds, a group he accuses of fostering terrorism in Turkey.Problem is the terms look a lot like what Erdogan himself had proposed the day before. Namely that Kurdish militants - who have been key allies for the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State - withdraw from a safe zone that Ankara wants to create in Syria. The U.S. says no further sanctions will be imposed on Turkey. And existing penalties will be removed if a permanent cease-fire takes hold.Trump had initially given the green light for Erdogan’s operation. Then, when the president came under sustained pressure at home for abandoning the Kurds, he warned Erdogan against going too hard. Now he could still end up handing the Turkish leader the outcome he’s sought for years - maybe even his White House visit next month.Global HeadlinesUphill task | U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back in London as he seeks enough votes to get his newly-minted Brexit deal through a Parliament where he lacks a majority, and with his Northern Irish allies saying they can’t support it. Read our exclusive account of how he pulled off the “impossible” divorce agreement with European leaders.Click here for Rob Hutton‘s assessment of the parliamentary math before Saturday’s vote. EU leaders are still in Brussels today where they will talk about budgets and climate change.An aide’s misfire | Mick Mulvaney set out to offer an impassioned defense of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, but he may have only made matters worse for his boss - and himself. The acting White House chief of staff seemed to admit what Trump had been denying for weeks: that the president offered Ukraine a quid pro quo (military aid in exchange for investigating his political opponents). He later denied it, but the damage was done.Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, won’t testify today as planned to House impeachment investigators. She’ll appear Oct. 24 instead.China hurdle | An obstacle to extending a landmark nuclear pact between the U.S. and Russia isn’t Trump or Vladimir Putin. It’s China. The New START treaty, the last major arms control accord between the world’s two nuclear superpowers, is set to expire in early 2021, and Trump administration officials say the agreement may not be worth extending if China isn’t included.Brazil infighting | President Jair Bolsonaro is losing allies in congress as he fights over control of his party and tries to distance himself from allegations of campaign finance irregularities at last year’s elections. In the past 24 hours, he’s cut ties with two key lawmakers. The intra-party tensions raise questions about the prospects for Bolsonaro’s ambitious reform agenda.Another term | Bolivian President Evo Morales heads into elections Sunday seeking a fourth term amid warning voter enthusiasm for South America’s longest-serving leader. The lone survivor of the continent’s so-called pink tide of leftist leaders from the 2000s, Morales has presided over more than a decade of strong growth, rising incomes and falling poverty, but faces growing accusations of authoritarianism.What to WatchProtesters flooded the streets of Hong Kong today, and police banned a large pro-democracy march planned for Sunday as the Asian financial hub prepared for yet another weekend of unrest. Trump’s Doral golf resort in Miami will be the site of next year’s Group of Seven summit, a decision that reignited claims the president’s violating a constitutional prohibition against profiting from his office. Thousands of protesters cut off roads and burned debris around Lebanon last night, as anger over plans to impose a levy on WhatsApp calls escalated into demands for the government to resign. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont surrendered to Belgian authorities after Spain issued a new warrant for his arrest following the sentencing of 12 of his former colleagues, El Pais reported. Pop quiz, readers (no cheating!). Which country is cashing in on prison security by planting industrial hemp on the grounds of the main penitentiary in its capital? Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.And finally ... The animated movie “Abominable” has landed in a controversy in Southeast Asia over its display of a map of China showing the Asian giant’s disputed maritime claims. A Philippines government official has backed a boycott of all movies from the production house, joining Vietnam and Malaysia in raising objections. At the center of the dispute is the film’s apparent endorsement of Beijing’s so-called “nine-dash line” that lays claims to 80% of the South China Sea. \--With assistance from Kathleen Hunter, Ruth Pollard and Bruce Douglas.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.