Aug. 22, 2019

We're in for a wild ride in the federal election

The Oct. 21 federal election is now less than 60 days away and the outcome of this national vote may be something we have not seen before. That’s what national polls seem to be indicating will be the picture when the final ballots are counted.

We always knew we were getting either a Conservative government or a Liberal government with a few so-called fringe parties sprinkled in. 

Over the years we have had the CCF/NDP and even the national Social Credit Party along with various Quebec local parties. We never really took the smaller parties seriously except for them to be the fly in the ointment when the government of the day got too comfortable. They were never really able to greatly influence any significant changes or legislation.

For the first time in living memory, voting for The NDP could see them in the driver’s seat, if the most recent polls are to be believed. Right now it appears nobody will be able to form a majority government, so will either of them have to rely on the “friendship” of one of those parties, or form a binding coalition? (We know all about that in B.C.)

Really all we can go on that this point, but less than two months from actually voting, is to look at the polls and try to determined which one is the most accurate. The Calculated Politics poll is an aggregation of all public polls in Canada. One thing they do show is that Ontario and Quebec basically determine who will be in charges of the country. It’s turning out to be a dead heat at the present time. The Liberals are holding onto Ontario and Quebec, putting them in the driver’s seat regardless of what the rest of Canada does. It has always been that way. That’s the way this country leans – the east is Liberal, the west tends toward the Conservatives.

Recent largesse, via the Liberal gravy train, has been going top speed and they are not finished yet, greasing Quebecers’ palms in fine style. Within the past two weeks there was $1.3 billion for transit in Montreal plus another $50 million for a grand park in Montreal. Oh, there was also the $1.2 billion for Quebec City transit. They also announced a big chunk for helicopters at Comox, but that was actually a dressed up re-announcement of something they had promised earlier.

Based on the latest polling figures from today, the Conservatives have a miniscule lead over the Liberals in popularity, but within the margin or error it would be a tie or could switch either way. However, when those figures are transosed into how many seats that would be, the Liberals have the lead at 163 seats compared to the Conservatives’ 135.

Here’s where it gets interesting. With about 14 per cent support nationally, the NDP could call the shots with the 26 seats they could get. They could prop up the Liberals with enough seats to form a majority coalition. It requires 170 seats to have a majority, and the projected 163 Liberals and 26 NDP would give them that. And there’s always the unknown factor with the Bloc Quebecois sitting at an expected 10 seats. The Green Party, with a projected four seats, is still a regional party based on Vancouver Island, still living in the comfort of knowing that Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, those four seats would double the number of Green MPs, a 100-per-cent increase.

When looked at from that angle, either the NDP or Bloc could play kingmaker by supporting the party with the largest number of seats. Or they could reject a formal coalition and remain on the outside, being the tail that wags the dog. There’s much greater independence in living up to your principles by taking this approach. That would put NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his MPs firmly in the spotlight.

The good part for pundits is that these figures will change from week to week, providing fresh grist for the mill.