Is there a serious prospect of a Conservative minority government supported by the NDP??

Aug 28th, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
Nicole Bogart : “Award winning journalist covering news/disinformation @CTVNews.”

CANADIAN ELECTION NOTEBOOK — RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO. AUGUST 28, 2021 [UPDATED AUGUST 31]. … So what’s happening in Campaign Canada 2021 now, with only 22 days left until the actual vote on Monday, September 20?

Writing from Edmonton this morning, the wily Nicole Bogart at CTV News reported : “The Conservatives have opened up an advantage as Liberal support declined over the past three days of the campaign, according to nightly tracking conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News and the Globe and Mail.”

In fact Conservative support is down somewhat from yesterday’s numbers (which were also down from the day before). The deeper truth according to “Nanos Daily Ballot Tracking” is that support for the New Democrats has risen steadily over the past three days. Or as Nik Nanos has also explained : “what we’re seeing is Liberal-New Democrat switchers right now. That can’t be good for Justin Trudeau, but it is good for Jagmeet Singh.”

Just to highlight the main Nanos numbers here, the Conservatives actually dropped from 34.4% on August 26 to 33.3% on August 28. The Liberals fell more precipitously from 33.6% to 30.8%. And the New Democrats rose dramatically enough from 18.9% to 21.7%

On being conflicted about the NDP surge

So far at least both the CBC Poll Tracker and 338Canada are still projecting that the Liberals will finish with more seats in the Canadian House of Commons. The Conservative vote is still too geographically concentrated in a few provinces. (Alberta and Saskatchewan, eg.)

On the other hand, the Conservative vote in Ontario and BC is also growing stronger in the opinion polls. Even Éric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker has the Liberals losing seats and Conservatives (and NDP) gaining over the past three days. On these calculations Liberals dropped from 151 seats August 26 to 145 August 28 (in a parliamentary democracy where 170 seats is a bare majority). Conservatives rose from 120 to 126, and New Democrats were up slightly from 39 to 40.

I find myself somewhat conflicted about these trends. (And I must be far from alone?) As long as the opinion polls were suggesting virtually no possibility that the Conservative Party of Canada would win anything other than the title of Official Opposition, I could see some point to voting NDP as a kind of progressive protest against excessive Liberal moderation or whatever else you may not like about Canada’s “natural governing party.”

At the same time, from my own point of view the Trudeau Liberals do get some things right about the role of government in the kind of “free and democratic society” alluded to in Article 1 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982.

As best as I can make out, We the North have arguably enough had one of the several best public policy responses to COVID-19 in the global village, mainstream media hysteria here as elsewhere notwithstanding.

(This public policy response has no doubt been very costly as well — to the point where the best even the Conservative leader can pointlessly and even absurdly promise in this 2021 election campaign is to balance the budget within 10 years. And Nik Nanos has also told us that many men like Conservatives, while many women like Liberals and New Democrats and even Greens.)

Understandable why NDP support rising

From my own point of view again, even the Justin Trudeau Liberals elected in 2015 and 2019 have also proved a little too calculating (in their grand old tradition), and a little too bereft of the courageous philosophical confidence about the country and its future that Pierre Trudeau was admired for long ago, even by more than a few who did not finally vote for him.

Thanks to Republic Now and CBC News!

To take just one small case in point the Canadian free and democratic ginger group, Republic Now, recently used the CBC online Vote Compass to probe party views on the proposition “Canada should end its ties to the British monarchy.”

This use of the CBC Vote Compass suggested that both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Liberal Party of Canada “Strongly disagree” with ending ties to the offshore monarchy. Meanwhile, both the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party “strongly agree.” (As do at least a bare majority of Canadians according to several recent opinion polls.)

On this and other such things I find myself with the BQ and NDP! A Liberal party that was true to the parts of its past I actually admire would be too!

I can certainly also see how younger people 18–34, struggling in our difficult pandemic (and beyond) economy, have their own bigger reasons for wanting to see the Canadian people at the centre of government, rather than the various out-of-touch old crypto-colonial establishments that both Conservatives and Liberals apparently worry too much about keeping alive and well.

For a time in Campaign Canada 2021 I felt that so long as there seemed no chance of even a Conservative minority government, the prospect of another Liberal minority government, somewhat more dependent on Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats than before, was something to look forward to — a way of keeping the Trudeau Liberals suitably progressive in challenging times.

Is there now a serious prospect of a Conservative minority government supported by NDP??

The continuing Conservative leadership in recent opinion polls at least raises the prospect that, with some growing support in Ontario and BC, a Conservative minority government just may be possible on September 20. Philippe Fournier’s August 28 seat projections already have the Liberals ahead by just one seat (140 Liberals, 139 Conservatives!). [UPDATE AUGUST 31 : The 338Canada update for August 30 now has the Conservatives with 146 seats, ahead of the Liberals at 134.]

Moreover, until recently even conservative-minded commentators were sceptical about the willingness of New Democrats to support a Conservative minority government.

(And on current polling numbers the BQ will likely not win enough seats in Quebec to sustain any minority government’s parliamentary majority all by itself. For the moment at any rate Jagmeet Singh’s NDP does seem to have that market cornered.)

This past Friday, however, the conservative-minded David Akin tweeted : “A reporter this morning twice asked @theJagmeetSingh to repeat what he told the Star six months ago, that he would not suppport a #CPC govt. he declined to do so. He’s been asked that question 6 times this week. Same answer each time.”

There is also a side of the NDP (a party I confess I voted for exclusively during my first few decades in the electorate) that likes the intermittent Red Tory side of Canadian Conservatism much better than any side of Canadian Liberalism. (And Jack Layton’s father, eg, served as a cabinet minister in Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government in the 1980s.)

It is also something much more like the old Red Tory flag that “Everyman” Erin O’Toole has been waving in this 2021 Campaign Canada, than it is the more right-wing rhetoric of Stephen Harper’s nowadays not-so-new Conservative Party of Canada.

Justin Trudeau’s reaction to “the anti-vaxxer protest that forced a Trudeau event to be cancelled on Friday” August 27

Wild and crazy Anti-vax protests against Trudeau in Bolton, ON, August 27, 2021.

There is virtually no doubt in my mind that, whatever else, I do not want to vote for a New Democratic Party that might actually support even a rhetorically Red-Tory-leaning Conservative minority government led by Everyman Erin O’Toole.

(One key problem, I think, is that there do not really seem many if any Red Tory Conservative political operatives extant nowadays to serve on the staffs of such Conservative cabinet ministers as Pierre Poilievre — to say nothing of a Prime Minister O’Toole himself.)

And whatever else, I watched Justin Trudeau finally respond on TV to the virulent anti-vaxxer protest that forced a campaign event of his in the Greater Toronto Area to be cancelled on Friday, August 27, 2021. He seemed to come alive in a way he hasn’t before in the campaign so far.

And what he said was the kind of thing I’m happy enough to hear a prime minister of Canada say : “We all had a difficult year. Those folks out protesting, they had a difficult year too, and I know and I hear the anger, the frustration, perhaps the fear … I know we have to work even harder to be there for each other, to support each other. We need to meet that anger with compassion.”

UPDATE AUGUST 31 : Unlike Fournier’s 338Canada, Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker update for August 31 still has the Liberals ahead in seats — 139 Liberals to 131 Conservatives. Liberal partisans may also take some heart from today’s Nanos Daily Tracking numbers — which have the Liberals in the lead at 33.2% with Conservatives close behind at 32.5%, and the NDP at 19.2%. Liberals and BQ have gone up over the past three days, while everyone else has gone down. More confusion to come, no doubt!

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