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Will the SNC-Lavalin scandal turn off voters?

Will the ethics commissioner's report matter in this election? Vassy Kapelos, host of Power and Politics Before you start yelling at me, the short answer is: I don't know!I'm not an expert, I'm just an observer — but a keenly interested one. And throughout the SNC-Lavalin affair, as it's often called, I've observed a few things.First, people are realllllly mad about it. On both "sides."  I have a very technical way of figuring this out. I take a look at my hate mail, see what people are mad at me about and voila , reach my conclusion. Pure science. Trust me when I say this controversy has generated more hate mail than anything I've ever seen before.  When tweeting details of the ethics commissioner's report, by way of example, I was called obnoxious, irrelevant, a "Libtard" and a Conservative mouthpiece. These are the pleasantries this issue brings out in people, but they are also why it's difficult to predict what kind of an impact the controversy will have on the election.A lot of people have decided what they believe; either former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould was standing up for the rule of law, or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was standing up for Canadian jobs. By the end of March, I'd guess, a lot of people had picked one or the other.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould in Ottawa, 2015. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)So I wonder if the ethics report, which concluded that Trudeau had contravened section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act, will convince anyone to change their mind?Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is an independent officer of Parliament, and he says the prime minister tried to unduly influence Wilson-Raybould to further the private interests of SNC-Lavalin. But Dion also tied any discussion of the public interest to the private interests of SNC-Lavalin, which is what the prime minister says he fundamentally disagrees with.  There's a lot more to it — but that's what the report essentially comes down to. I think where the story goes now will help dictate what kind of impact it has in October. There's an ethics committee meeting next week — the opposition wants to call witnesses, such as Dion, to testify about the report. But the Liberals hold the majority on the committee, so there's a big question mark hanging over that one. The opposition will talk about this a lot during the campaign and the lead-up to it, but as one Conservative told me shortly after the report was released; "If only this happened on Oct. 18." Besides the fact that this report dropped in the middle of the summer, timing in general matters in elections. We're still two months out from one, and the things people think about when voting can change many times. Not only on big picture items like affordability, climate change and the economy — but stuff that happens during campaigns. The refugee crisis and Alan Kurdi in the last election and the emergence of the niqab as an election issue in 2015 are both examples that come to mind. Both opposition parties tell me they're playing it a lot more careful than they did when the story first broke — they don't want to overplay their hand. The Conservatives will make it all about labelling Trudeau a "guy you can't trust" and the NDP will aim to lump both the Conservatives and Liberals together as parties that help corporations ahead of regular Canadians. If the ethics commissioner's conclusions are going to hurt the Liberals in this election, it will be around the prime minister's own brand. Because it was so central in the last election, it will be scrutinized in this one. The promise to do politics differently resonated because a lot of people were tired of the way it's always been done. The promise to hold himself to a higher ethical standard than those who came before him resonated because people want politicians to be ethical.Will Canadians who hadn't made up their mind on the SNC controversy be turned off if they feel the prime minister didn't live up to those promises? Even if they are turned off, will they turn to another leader? I'm not sure and the truth of it is: I won't be until election day.  In the meantime, I will continue my obnoxious and irrelevant existence. T-minus 64 days! Vassy Kapelos is host of Power & Politics, weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network. Power Lines The Power & Politics Power Panellists on where the big parties will be focused this week Amanda Alvaro    president and co-founder of Pomp & Circumstance Liberals will stay resolutely focused at events across Canada next week on a positive plan to invest in the middle class and contrast that plan with Conservative cuts. As the prime minister prepares to head to this month's G7 summit, they will also be highlighting the progress the government has made to stand up for Canadian jobs, secure progressive free trade agreements, and make life better and more affordable for Canadian families. Rachel Curran   senior associate at Harper & Associates Consulting Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will be focused next week on continuing calls for accountability following the ethics commissioner's bombshell finding that Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to influence Jody Wilson-Raybould to overrule a decision denying a deferred prosecution agreement to Quebec-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. As part of that effort, Conservatives will be calling for an emergency meeting of the ethics committee to hear directly from the commissioner. Kathleen Monk    principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group New Democrats will remind Canadians that, whether it's the Liberals or Conservatives in power, they both focus on making life easy for their insider friends. The ethics commissioner's report on the SNC-Lavalin affair proves that old-line parties consistently put corporate interests before people. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will show how the NDP will do things differently by putting people first. Poll Tracker takeaway  Éric Grenier's weekly look at key numbers in the political public opinion polls.  Back in February, the SNC-Lavalin affair robbed the Liberals of their lead in the polls — a lead they haven't yet recovered in the aggregate. But the controversy didn't hit the Liberals' polling numbers uniformly across the country.The Liberals hit a low of 29.6 per cent in the Poll Tracker on May 3. Compared to Feb. 5, the last update before the story was first reported by the Globe and Mail, that meant a loss of 7.9 percentage points. The biggest loss, however, took place in Atlantic Canada. The Liberals dropped nearly 17 points there. They also dropped nine points in Quebec, eight in the Prairies, six in Alberta, five in Ontario and just four in British Columbia.Since that low point, however, the Liberals have rebounded from coast to coast — or at least they had before this week. The Poll Tracker, which this week only includes data gathered before Wednesday's scathing report by the ethics commissioner, shows the Liberals now at 32.7 per cent.That's up 3.1 points from their lowest ebb, putting them just one point behind the Conservatives. The gap was 7.3 points on May 3. Just as the Liberals fell furthest in Atlantic Canada, that is also where they have had the biggest rebound. The party is up nearly seven points in the region since May 3. They are also up four points in Alberta, three in Ontario and the Prairies and two in B.C. and Quebec.So the Liberals have regained most of the support they lost only in Alberta and Ontario. While in Alberta that might put just two seats back into their column, in Ontario that number is around 20. For that reason, the Liberals are now favoured in the seat projection over the Conservatives. But this also means that in the Prairies, B.C., Quebec and Atlantic Canada the Liberals haven't yet managed to bring back into the fold most of the voters they lost over the last few months. Last week's news is unlikely to make that task any easier. (Eric Grenier/CBC) Tap here to go to the  Canada Votes Poll Tracker Ask us Samantha Grills emailed us this question:  I'd appreciate greater clarity on where each of the parties stand on firearm control and specifically t ...Read more

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