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In today's Morning Brief, we look at some of the key things to watch for in the federal election results.

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Canada votes today — here are some key things to watch when results roll in

Millions of Canadians will vote today, casting their ballot to help decide which party will form the next government.

The first thing to watch is how long it actually takes for enough votes to be counted to get a sense of the result. The majority of anticipated votes in this election will be counted as they always are, by hand after polls close. Votes cast in advance polls will also be counted at this time, although returning offices can start that process an hour before polls close at the discretion of the returning officer.

Special ballots from Canadians outside of their ridings (including outside the country, such as members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas) are already being counted.

What's different about this election is that hundreds of thousands of Canadians are mailing ballots from within their ridings, and those ballots are subject to additional verification processes. So, Elections Canada won't be counting them until Tuesday.

If the election is as close as it seems, Canadians may not know the full results until Tuesday at the earliest.

As of Sunday, 1,262,617 special ballot kits had been issued by Elections Canada, and 923,832 had been returned. The high number of Canadians voting by mail from their own ridings is one sign of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed this election.

But it's unclear right now how much it will affect turnout on election day itself. In-person voting at advance polls was actually substantially higher than in 2019, with approximately 5,780,000 votes cast from Sept. 10-13, Elections Canada estimates.

Whether the roughly 18.5 per cent increase over 2019 is because Canadians were trying to avoid crowds on election day, or because of the long-standing trend in increased advance turnout, or some other reason related to the pandemic is unclear. Read more on this story here.

Homes destroyed after volcano erupts on Spanish island of La Palma

(Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images)

Lava flows approach houses as Mount Cumbre Vieja erupts on the Canary island of La Palma on Sunday. Read more about the eruption here.

In brief

Union leaders representing thousands of medical workers in Alberta have asked Premier Jason Kenney to deploy the military and Red Cross to shore up a health-care system they say is "collapsing right in front of our eyes," due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases. "It's time to call in the military to help our overwhelmed hospitals," says a letter issued Saturday and addressed to the premier, with a warning that hospitals have "run out of staff" to treat severe cases. It was signed by the presidents of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, United Nurses of Alberta, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, as well as the head of the Alberta Federation of Labour. The letter notes that military units were deployed in April to support Ontario's long-term care facilities. Also in April, the Canadian Armed Forces sent dozens of service members to help out at COVID-19 testing centres in Nova Scotia. Read more on COVID-19 developments here.

WATCH | Alberta health-care unions call on Kenney for military support: 

Alberta health-care unions call on Kenney for military support

10 months ago
Duration 2:54

A former Ontario bureaucrat accused by the provincial government of embezzling $11 million in COVID-19 relief funds now faces criminal charges. Sanjay Madan is facing two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of breach of trust, his lawyer says. Stephen Hebscher says Madan and his wife, Shalini Madan, are also charged with laundering the proceeds of crime over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime over $5,000. The province sued Madan, along with his wife and two sons, claiming they illegally issued and banked cheques under the Support for Families program, which aimed to offset the cost of kids learning at home. The government also accused Madan of taking millions more in kickbacks in an alleged fraud worth more than $30 million. He is due in court on Wednesday to face the criminal charges. Read more on this story here

Farmers in India's most-populous state, Uttar Pradesh, are hoping to use a forthcoming election to continue their months-long fight against controversial new farming laws passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last year. For nearly 10 months, the farmers have been fighting three laws passed without consultation. The farmers say the laws will destroy livelihoods and leave smaller farmers vulnerable to being squeezed out by large corporations. The Indian government insists farmers will be better off under the new legislation, which loosens rules around how they can sell their goods. Numerous rounds of talks between government officials and agricultural union leaders have failed to break the impasse and demonstrations are now entrenched, with quasi-permanent protest camps at three locations that ring the Delhi national capital region. The sustained protests have created a tricky situation for the Modi government. Farmers are an important voting bloc in the country, with slightly less than 60 per cent of Indians dependent on the agricultural sector to earn a living. Read more on the Indian farmers here

WATCH | India's farmers ramp up protests ahead of upcoming elections: 

India’s farmers ramp up protests ahead of upcoming elections

10 months ago
Duration 2:17

In a year crowded with impressive offerings, Ted Lasso and The Crown were among the Emmys' biggest winners on Sunday night, sweeping their categories despite strong competition. The wins provided recognition for both series, but more importantly the Emmy statues gave the platforms that carried Ted Lasso and The Crown a long-awaited artistic stamp of approval. The Crown, a Netflix production, won the best drama award, and Ted Lasso, an Apple TV+ production, won for best comedy series, marking the first time either streaming service has won an Emmy for top series. There was more. Netflix won not just for The Crown, but it secured an Emmy for best limited or anthology series for The Queen's Gambit. Altogether, the streaming giant won 44 Emmys in 2021. Read more from last night's Emmy Awards.

Three critically endangered killer whales that frequent B.C.'s waters are now pregnant. That's according to aerial drone research by scientists in Washington state, and it has researchers in B.C. hopeful that the three mothers-to-be will overcome tough odds and help bring their species back from the brink. There are currently only 74 southern resident orcas left, down from more than 90 in the 1970s. The three pregnancies are in what scientists call the "J-pod," a group of southern resident killer whales. Members of the pod are named starting with the letter "J" and a number; the three mothers-to-be are J19, J36 and J37. The three presumed pregnancies were discovered by two scientists in the U.S., Holly Fearnbach and John Durban, who collaborate often with B.C. experts, said the director of Ocean Wise's marine mammals research group. "It's pretty exciting and it's very significant," Lance Barrett-Lennard told CBC News. "The southern resident population of which [the] J-pod belongs to is critically endangered." Read more about the killer whale pod.

Now for some good news to start your Monday: David McDonald, 46, who's been intermittently homeless since 2016, was passing Kim Cormier's house in Kingston, Ont., on his e-scooter earlier this summer when he blew a tire. He asked Cormier, who was working outside, if she would watch his belongings while he went to get a new inner tube. When he returned, Cormier invited McDonald to stay for dinner with her and her partner, Andrew Embury. "We hit it off," McDonald said. "Every time we have a conversation, there's laughter." Earlier this month, Cormier and Embury invited McDonald to move into their backyard. His new tent, donated by a sister he hadn't seen in years, has a queen-sized mattress, a sofa, a fridge and carpeting. He cooks over Cormier's outdoor fireplace and knocks on the door to use the washroom or do his laundry. "She's done more than I can ever say thank you for," McDonald said. According to Cormier, McDonald gives back in his own way. "He has very good stories, and he's just friendly and respectful," she said. "It's kind of nice to have someone come in and out, and someone to talk to, and a friend to rely on." Read more on their story here.

Front Burner: Alberta's path to a state of emergency

The dark days of Alberta's COVID situation are still not over. The province is projecting its highest case numbers since the start of the pandemic and is seeing more people in ICUs than even Ontario. 

Last week, Premier Jason Kenney issued a state of emergency and brought in new COVID restrictions — even introducing a vaccine passport. 

It's a stark reversal of his position just two months ago when Kenney promised the "best Alberta summer ever" as he laid out a bold reopening plan. 

CBC's Carolyn Dunn on the path to Alberta's fourth wave: a province that resisted tough COVID measures for months, now paying the price.

Today in history: September 20

1867: The first general election in Canada, won by the Conservatives under Sir John A. Macdonald, is completed.

1917: The Income Tax War Act is enacted as a temporary measure to raise funds during the First World War. The tax rate for individuals was four per cent, with an additional two per cent on incomes between $6,000 and $10,000. Corporations also paid a four-per-cent rate on incomes over $3,000.

1972: Letter bombs intended for the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa and the Israeli Consulate in Montreal are discovered. In Montreal, a police bomb squad defused a letter bomb in a city park. In Ottawa, police found explosives in one of six envelopes arriving from Amsterdam. The  guerrilla group Black September was believed responsible for the bombs mailed to more than 20 cities around the world.

1987: Pope John Paul II visits Fort Simpson, N.W.T. — fulfilling a promise he made three years earlier when heavy fog prevented his plane from landing.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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