Susan Delacourt has written an interesting column on iPolitics suggesting that we should watch what just happened in BC ~ a tilt to the left, and what seems to be happening in Ontario ~ a smiling Conservative leader who has shed his social-conservative roots, in order to see what’s in store for Canada in 2019.
British Columbian voted left (NDP: 795,000+ plus Green: 330,00+ = 1.127 million) by a substantial margin (Libs: 796,000+), but that might not be surprising. The Liberals ~ who are, in many respects more like federal Conservatives than federal Liberals ~ have been in office since 2001. There are, essentially only two parties in BC: the loonies, who are currently divided between the NDP and the Greens, and the sensible folks who are called Liberals. In a healthy democracy people, fairly regularly, “throw the rascals out.” I suspect that policy may not have mattered as much as BC voters being too familiar with the Liberals (familiarity breeds contempt, and all that) and being tired of them.
In Ontario, the Liberals (under Dalton McGuinty and, now, Kathleen Wynne) have been in power since 2003. The Conservative leader, Patrick Brown, has, indeed, done an about face on some social issues but he, too, may benefit from Ontarians being, simply, tired of the Liberals.
But I think Ms Delacourt is right about two things:
- A BC NDP/Green coalition is going to promote policies that, while idiotic, will remind many, many, many progressive (usually young and urban) Canadian voters that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has backed away from too many of the promises he made to them. Justin Trudeau is following in an old, old Liberal tradition: he campaigned on the left and he is governing from the right. The right NDP leader, in Ottawa, (aided, I hope, by the CPC) will remind those progressive Canadians that they were sold the sizzle and there is no steak; and
- Ontario voters might (current polling says will ~ but it’s a long time until June of 2018 and things can and will change, more than once) ~ forget that Patrick Brown has strong social-conservative roots and focus, instead, on what he and the Ontario PCs are saying and doing right now … and he, and they, are saying and doing the smart things to take votes in, especially, the socially and fiscally moderate suburbs.
So, did BC “turn left,” of was it just tired of the Liberals, after 16 years? Will Ontario “turn right,” or is it, too, just tired of the Liberals after 14 years? My guess is that it is more the latter, in each case, than the former. I think the bell curve applies and the vast majority of Canadians are moderate … in the mushy middle. But what about the 1` million or so voters who switched from the NDP to the Liberals (some pundits say accounting for as many as 25 CPC losses) and the other 1 million or so new, young voters who came out in 2015? Will the NDP be able to remind the “strategic voters” who abandoned Thomas Mulcair and the young people who believed Justin Trudeau that they were cheated?
I think that both the Ontario and federal Liberals are vulnerable in 2018 and 2019 ~ not because voters have changed their ideas but, mainly, because the Wynne Liberals in Ontario are stale and are just the sort of rascals that need to be thrown out every decade or so, and the Trudeau Liberals because they are inept bunglers who shouldn’t have been elected in the first place … except that Canadian were tired of Stephen Harper … Andrew Scheer should be able to capitalize on that.
Ms Delacourt’s looking glass is, I think, a bit murky in the centre (attitudes haven’t really changed, much), but clear on the edges (Justin Trudeau has failed the progressive voters).