Many commentators are suggesting that things are looking very rosy for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals while Conservatives (and conservatives) ought to be feeling rather blue. But I disagree. While I remain impressed with Team Trudeau’s ability to keep selling the “sizzle” even as we can all see that the steak is pretty clearly something far less than Grade A, I think that things are, in fact, changing: I believe that Canadians are, and will continue to be more and more disenchanted with broken Liberal promises, gross political and fiscal ineptitude and those all too familiar Liberal scandals and will wish for a return to fiscally responsible and socially moderate conservative governments in the provinces and in Ottawa. There are, in fact, already reports that the honeymoon may be over, and suggestions that the tide might be ready to turn.
The most recent polls from CBC News show that we are likely to see a conservative Saskatchewan Party government returned in tonight’s election and a Progressive Conservative one in Manitoba two weeks from now.
Things look good for the conservatives on the prairies, and we can expect to see two strong conservative premiers in Brad Wall and Brian Pallister leading the fight against Prime Minister Trudeau’s social and economic policies from a firm prairie base.
It’s till early days in Alberta, but the news looks bleak for Rachel Notley’s NDP government: she is piling up debt and her programmes are having no good effect on employment or prosperity. My guess is that she will be a “one-term wonder” (or blunder) and that either a rejuvenated Progressive Conservative Party or a strong conservative Wildrose Party will take Alberta back into the conservative fold.
In Ontario, where an election is still 2½ years away, a recent Forum Poll shows that “In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1225 Ontario voters, 4-in-10 will vote PC if the provincial election were held today (40%) … in turn, 3-in-10 will vote Liberal (30%) … one quarter will vote NDP (24%)… few will vote Green (5%) or for other parties (1%). If these results are projected up to the 107 seat Provincial legislature, the PCs would capture a 3 seat majority of 57 seats, to 26 for the Liberals and 24 for the NDP.“
In other words, despite the upset in Alberta, which is very likely, in my opinion, to be a very temporary aberration, the conservative prairie base is in good shape. Given the ongoing Liberal scandals in Ontario we must assume that the good voters of that province will give Patrick Brown’s PC Party a chance to govern. How things will transpire in Atlantic Canada, where all four provincial governments are in Liberals hands, is anyone’s guess but Atlantic Canadians do have some history of switching between Conservative and Liberal governments.
Now, there is a pattern between Canada and Ontario …
… which suggests that Ontarians are likely to vote to send Liberals to Ottawa while they send Conservatives to govern the province from Queen’s Park and vice versa. My sense is that this model can be broken in 2018 and 2019 as Ontarians become too tired of Kathleen Wynne and as Canadians get to take the full measure of Prime Minister Trudeau and his government.
What we Conservatives need to do now is:
- Keep hammering away at Liberal mistakes and corruption. That does not mean making nasty, personal attacks against Prime Minister Trudeau or his ministers. My sense is that Canadians still like Justin Trudeau and wish him well and we will not make gains by attacking him, personally, what we can and should attack is his ability to make the right choices and, of course, the consequences of the choices he does make;
- Develop and test a Conservative platform; and
- Pick a new leader for 2019.