I am throwing caution to the wind and making a 2015 election outcome call.
I won’t go as far as naming our next Prime Minister, but I am confident in predicting that Canadian journos will be dusting off superlatives like “historic,” “unprecedented,” and “remarkable” for their election results headlines the day after we go to the polls. Let me tell you why.
First, let’s look at Mr. Harper (I’m “just not ready” to talk about Justin). He has been Prime Minister for three terms already (almost 10 years, which means he’s the second longest serving Conservative PM ever). He’s also staring down the barrel of a “technical recession,” a vanishing budget surplus, and one grade “A” scandal. All those factors, coupled with the predictable swing of the democratic pendulum towards a change vote, means the brightest news for the Conservative Leader right now is that you’d think he’d actually be doing a lot worse. Amazingly though, polls seem to indicate the Tories are still in it! The last Canadian Prime Minister to dust off this kind of funk and beat the odds to become Prime Minister again (though after a brief hiatus) was Sir John A. MacDonald himself back in 1873. So, any bets on whether history will repeat itself?
Next, there’s Mr. Mulcair, leader of the NDP. It’s pretty self-explanatory how electing the NDP could be historic and no, it’s not because Mulcair has a beard (the Mackenzies beat him to that a while ago). It’s because Canada’s federal government could soon have its first New Democrat at the helm. And if it does, Canada’s federal public service will hopefully have their sea legs ready for a turn towards the port side, likely with some recent Conservative policies and maybe the Senate getting tossed overboard in the process. Regardless of whether you feel that will be a trick or a treat, Ottawa may be awash in orange at the end of October, and not just because of Hallowe’en.
Finally, there’s Mr. Trudeau. What would make the Liberals, sometimes touted as “Canada’s naturally governing party,” unlikely winners? For starters, for a while they seemed to be headed the way of the British Liberal Party … “Wait, what? Britain has a Liberal Party?”… exactly. For Canada’s “natural governing party” to have almost as few seats as the number of independents sitting in the House of Commons, as was the case when the election was called, is not a good sign. If careening towards obsolescence wasn’t obstacle enough, no party in Canadian history has ever made the jump from third to first. Add to this some pretty effective Conservative Party advertising well before the writ dropped, should Justin form some kind of government in 2015, it will be the biggest political comeback Canada has seen … well, perhaps ever.
Added to all this hoopla, we’re living the longest modern election campaign in Canadian history, there’s an absence of any separatists parties strongly contending for seats for the first time in over 20 years, the frenzied impact of social media, two new party leaders untested in federal campaigns, undercurrents of shifting provincial politics, and a whole host of ballot box issues. So, if someone tells you they know how it’s all going to play out and are confident that so-and-so is going to win, don’t believe them. Election 2015 is starting to get pretty interesting and it will likely stay that way.
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