Less than two weeks into a federal campaign seems like a great time to start making too early predictions about the Sept. 20 vote. Since our local race promises to be unexciting, how about we have some fun and make some wild prognostications about the national stage. From least wild to most wild we will go on this ride:
Erin O’Toole Fires the Moving Company
It is no secret that the base of the Conservative Party loathes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just as it is no surprise that once again the largest impediment to Conservatives forming government is an insistence on bowing to the minority of social Conservatives in the party.
Formerly a Red Tory, O’Toole courted the people who want to tell you who you can and can not marry, damaging his moderate credibility by cozying up with SoCons in a pursuit of power. The Liberals are adept at blowing these issues up come campaign time to galvanize progressive votes into action.
Secondly, the decision to depart from the LPC and the NDP on the childcare front will cost the CPC in important suburban and urban battleground ridings across the country. Families are spending more than $2,000 monthly per child in many urban areas so anything that shows a clear path to relief for young families is popular. Sadly, the decision to use a tax credit system shows an inability to understand the very people that need these services the most; you need the cash to pay for the care and a tax credit doesn’t come back around until next year.
The O’Toole family can take back the boxes and stop packing because they will be at Stornoway for another election cycle.
Justin Trudeau Exits Stage Left
This election was unnecessary, is happening entirely because of cynical politics, and Canadians are sick and tired of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The 43rd Canadian Parliament was having no issue passing important legislation throughout the entire pandemic, making the claim of needing a new mandate a bald-faced lie. Only the most rabid Liberal partisans are still clinging to the claim that this was a necessary vote and over the coming weeks the stress of another COVID fall will bring anger at the Liberals to a boil.
Trudeau came to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2015 with an opportunity to remake Canada by ditching the first-past-the-post electoral system, bringing real change to our Indigenous people, and reinstill national pride that has been lacking since the Chretien days when Canada almost broke apart and we had to fight to keep it. On all three, this Prime Minister has failed spectacularly: we still use a system that can provide a powerful majority with less than 40 per cent of the country’s votes; according to a February 2021 Auditor General report there are still 41 First Nations communities without safe drinking water; and our country is more divided today than it was in 2015.
All of this is going to line up for a Liberal collapse to third place and an election night resignation as Liberal party leader for Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister.
A Singh Surprise
If Trudeau is gone and O’Toole isn’t moving that leaves us with only one more option to be Prime Minister.
Last general election, Jagmeet Singh impressed many outside of NDP circles with his response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s blackface scandal, expressing empathy and using it as a teaching moment for the nation instead of making political hay. This election the party has money to run a proper national campaign, the Green Party is defunct, and progressive voters don’t believe in Justin Trudeau anymore. When the Liberal vote starts to collapse after Labour Day the GTA, Prairie cities, Northern Canada, and the Lower Mainland represent a window of opportunity for a trip to the PMO without significant ground being made in Quebec.
There isn’t a scenario where an NDP government is anything beyond a minority, likely a very weak minority that will require support from the Bloc as well as one of the two major parties.
Stewart Skinner is a local business owner, former political candidate, and has worked at Queen’s Park as a Policy Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @modernfarmer.