Author Archives: Jonathan Adcock

How do the Canadian Liberals win a majority next time?

It’s a case of ‘as you were’ in Canada as electors stick with the Liberals – as a minority government.

Having called a snap election in August, Justin Trudeau will be relieved to still be Prime Minister having seen his Liberal Party slump in the opinion polls earlier in the campaign.

When the election was called on 15th August, the Liberals had a strong 6-point lead over the Conservatives. However, by 5th September, the Tories had overtaken the Liberals for a 3-point lead. At this point, it looked as though Trudeau’s gamble was going to backfire. After some strong performances at the televised election debates and high-energy electioneering, the Liberals retook the lead over the final few days of the campaign. It’s also clear that the first-past-the-post electoral system has helped them win as the Tories won more votes but fewer seats than the ‘Grits’.

Opposition leader, Erin O’Toole, failed to make the most of voters’ disgruntlement over having to return to the polling booths during the pandemic. Having taken a more centrist position on areas such as covid-recovery, LGBTQ+ issues, abortion, and the environment, O’Toole had tried to make himself out as a credible, reliable alternative to Trudeau. However, the Conservatives ended losing two seats from the previous election. The Tories may feel that had they taken a more populist tone, they might have done better. This is because the right-wing People’s Party won more than 5% of the vote – enough to dent Tory hopes and to swing some seats to the Liberals.

It was also a disappointing night for Jagmeet Singh and the NDP. This should have been a breakthrough election for the left-leaning party, but they failed to attract more progressive voters who are tired of Trudeau’s Liberals after 6 years in power. However, they made only one gain this election.

Liberals need to focus on Atlantic Canada to win a majority again

In the 2015 Federal Election, where the Liberals soared from third party to majority government, they swept ‘Atlantic Canada’ completely. In the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick, the Liberals won all the ridings.

However, by 2021, the Liberals had lost ground in places like New Brunswick, where liberal Fredericton is now surrounded with a blue Tory doughnut. In some ridings in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are now as much as 10,000 votes off winning the seat.

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Liberals look for third successive election victory – and a majority

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Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has fired the starting gun on a snap federal election set for 20th September.

The election is the third time in six years that Canadians have gone to the polls to elect the government in Ottawa. Trudeau’s goal is obvious – to win a majority.

The timing is right for the Liberal government, as their response to the Covid pandemic has seen them surge ahead in the polls. At the 2019 federal election, Trudeau’s Liberals lost their majority, and governed from a position 13 seats short of the 170 needed for overall power. Over the summer, polls have consistently given the Liberals between a 50-70 seat advantage over the Conservatives – bordering on a majority.

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Canadian Liberals win Federal Election, but lose majority

The Liberal Party of Canada have beaten the Conservatives in the Federal Election but have lost their majority in ‘the Hill’.

The Liberals won 157 seats (down 20), with the Conservatives trailing behind on 121. It was a good night for the separatist Bloc Quebecois (BQ), who won 32 seats in the region (up from 10 in 2015), while the NDP were pushed into fourth after losing nearly half of their seats. The Green Party trebled their numbers in the house to three.

The real story is that the Liberals actually lost the popular vote to the Conservatives and shed nearly 1.3 million votes on 2015. By narrowly winning ‘ridings’ in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, the Liberals have just about squeezed their way on top.

It’s been a long 40-day campaign for the Liberals who have endured pressure from the Conservative machine, revelations about Trudeau’s ‘Blackface’ past, and a resurgent separatist movement in their Quebec heartlands.

After winning an outright majority in 2015, Trudeau had an easy ride in passing most of his manifesto (a credible 92% of his manifesto promises kept), but now needs to use all of his political skill to maintain power.

 So, what happens next?

Similar to what Johnson is facing in Westminster, its very difficult to pass any legislation as a minority, and so Trudeau will need to reach out across the House.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 22 Comments

Is Canada heading for a coalition?

‘Lawn signs’ are being banged into front gardens across Canada with the 2019 Federal Election taking place on Monday (21st). With the polls close between the incumbent Liberals and the opposition Conservatives, and with neither looking likely to pull away, ‘The Hill’ could be a hung parliament. This would be truly historic as Canada has never previously had a formal coalition in Ottawa.

In recent weeks, the Liberals have pulled themselves level with the Conservatives after falling far behind the Tories in February. The polls suggest that the Liberals could win more seats than the Conservatives, but not enough to win an outright majority.

The role of the smaller parties will come to light here. The left-leaning New Democrats (NDP) are very much the third party but are closely followed by the regionalists in Quebec – the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens, who look set to pick up seats in the Liberal heartlands of the East, could also keep Trudeau in power. All of these parties have more in common with the Liberals than the Conservatives. If there is a hung parliament in Canada, it is more likely that Trudeau will remain at Sussex Drive, than Andrew Scheer.

Under Jagmeet Singh, the NDP have struggled to hit the heights of 2011, where under charismatic former leader Jack Layton, they pushed the Liberals into 3rd place. Singh won the Burnaby South by-election in February this year with an increased majority and will look to win similar ridings across British Columbia to advance from their 44 seats at the 2015 Federal Election. There is a lot of common ground between the NDP and the Liberals, and by winning in a similar number of seats (which is possible), they could help the Liberals over the line in October. With the election looking more and more like a two-horse race, it is entirely possible that the NDP will be squeezed even harder than in 2015. The election campaign hasn’t been easy for Singh, as several of his candidates have defected to the Green Party, believing they have a stronger chance of winning under the Green banner. Singh has said publicly that he could work with the Liberals in a coalition post-election.

The Green Party, under highly credible Elizabeth May, look set to gain seats in ‘Atlantic Canada’. They currently only hold 2 seats (out of 338), but in an election that is neck-and-neck, they could be kingmakers in Canada post-October 21st. Since 2015, the Greens have been on the march in regional elections, including in the April 2019 election in the province of Prince Edward Island, where the Greens beat the Liberals into third place. Like the NDP, there is common ground between the Liberals and Greens, and could work together in a coalition. One area of real opposition though, is the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, which the Liberals have ‘green lit’ for a new phase of construction. If scrapped, there are no hard barriers to a Liberal-Green deal.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 8 Comments

An Autumn election the Liberals should win

This autumn, there will be general election. It will pit liberalism against conservatism. It will dictate who will be in power for the next few years. No, I’m not talking about the UK (although it is highly likely too), I’m talking about Canada. 

Four years on from Trudeau’s barn-storming election result, Canadians will return to the polls to elect their new government. The polls see the Liberals neck-and-neck with the Conservatives, so the election in October should be an interesting one. 

The poster boy of progressive politics has had a difficult 2019, after enjoying a three-year honeymoon period. His Carbon Tax has fallen flat across many of the ‘Prairie’ provinces, and his plans for a Trans Mountain Pipeline have seen many critics question his promise to Indigenous people and the environment. He also appeared to throw two of his ministers, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, under the bus for the SNC-Lavalin affair. 

In spite of this, Canadians should focus on his enormous successes. One million new jobs since 2015, roll out of the Canadian Child Benefit, record investment in transit, banning single-use plastics, tax cuts for the middle class (paid for by the top 1%), legalising marijuana, a strengthened Canada Pension Plan, as well as trade agreements with trans-Pacific partners, Europe, and the US and Mexico (USMCA). Imagine we had had similar policies in the UK over the last 4 years!

While he’s still seen across the globe as a highly popular statesman, he has a struggle on his hands to get re-elected. Regional elections since then in Liberal strongholds, such as the Atlantic provinces, have seen the Liberals lose ground. However, when Canadians enter the poll stations for the Federal Election, they have the real question over who they think best represents them, Trudeau or Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer. 

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