What happens if Harper Conservatives and Mulcair New Democrats “win” same number of seats?

Aug 3rd, 2015 | By | Category: In Brief

Emerging August 2, 2015 storm as viewed on the 403 heading towards Oakville, Ontario. Photo by George Fadel.

The official 2015 “long form” Canadian federal election campaign has only just begun. And already I can understand what Rosemary Barton means when she says : “In this election campaign, the only constant is ‘change’ .”

I know it’s finally just because I am so much older and more tired than Ms Barton. But it still seems like only yesterday that we were looking at the latest permutation of Eric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker – based on data as of July 28.

It was suggesting “a very slender Conservative minority government (132 seats, where 170 seats is a bare majority), based on a share of the Canada-wide popular vote (31.6%) somewhat smaller than that won by the NDP (32.1%).”

Tree smashes a Volkswagen on Grace Street just north of College in Toronto. Photo by Neil Herland.

I feel we have just now caught our collective breaths on all this. And suddenly we are confronted with yet another and still more puzzling conundrum, posed by the very latest permutation of Eric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker – based on data as of August 2.

This has the New Democratic Party (NDP)  still a little further ahead of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in cross-Canada popular vote, but with both parties tied in number of seats! Or, to present the summary results in full :  NDP 33.2% pop vote, 127 seats ; CPC 30.9%, 127 seats ; LPC 25.9%, 82 seats ; BQ   4.7%, 1 seat ;  GPC 4.7%, 1 seat ; OTH 0.7%, 0 seats.

Tameera Mohamed speaks at the Bare With Us rally in Waterloo, Ont., on Saturday, August 1, 2015. Tameera Mohamed and her two sisters were stopped by police recently while cycling topless. HANNAH YOON / THE CANADIAN PRESS.

Treating the popular vote percentages as useful information for Governor General Johnston as he struggles to make sense of such a puzzle (if he ever actually does of course), the Mulcair New Democrats ought to be given the opportunity to form a minority government on these numbers.

The Conservatives have the same number of seats, and already are the government. But the New Democrats have the same number of seats too – and a bigger share of the popular vote. If they also have the support of the Trudeau Liberals, the age of the new Harper Conservatives from the not-so-wild Canadian West will have run its course.

(Until the next election at any rate, the timing of which, on this August 2 CBC Poll Tracker scenario, would almost certainly remain in the pocket of the eldest son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whose ghost is probably somehow smiling, no matter what happens in the end.)

How August 2, 2015 storm looked in Whitby, Ontario mall. Photo by Matthew.

So … who knows if any of this has anything to do with what will finally happen this fall? When all of us who are actually interested (still a clear majority in Canadian federal elections) cast our ballots on October 19 – which does seem a long way ahead at the moment. When you walk down to the beach and see the sailboats out on the water …

(And think to yourself : oh let Eric Grenier and his CBC Poll Tracker worry about the federal election for now … He seems to be in an unusually strategic position this time … and, as Ms Barton urges, his results are constantly changing too … stay tuned. )

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