[Where the Wheels Fell Off the Trudeau Dream]
Ten and one half weeks of hard fought local politics have played out in 121 Ontario ridings against a backdrop of assorted national issues ranging from international trade agreements to face coverings. At the end of the day politics usually works itself out at a local level when everything else is equal.
Polls since the earliest days of this marathon election had tracked the 3 major parties all within a few points of each other at about 30% each. Ontario represented the ground that Justin Trudeau needed most to capture if he and his Liberal advisors had any hope of moving a Trudeau back into 24 Sussex.
The Wynne Factor
Why would the Liberals not be confident about taking a commanding lead at the national level by simply pinning their hopes on the results of last year’s provincial election? Right? Not really.
As one who was hearing it at the doorsteps in the last election that delivered a majority government to Premier Kathleen Wynne, things were not exactly that straight forward in the Wynne election. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak fumbled badly on May 09, 2014 when he served a victory to the Wynne Liberals when he stated that if/when elected Premier he would see to it that 100,000 civil services jobs would be eliminated.
In so doing, Hudak had a much greater hand in the final results than Wynne could have accomplished. The Liberal party was deeply buried in public scorn at the time of the Ontario election and Hudak was sailing towards victory until that unfortunate gaffe. When the votes were all counted, Wynne had captured 58 of 107 available seats and became Premier in a majority government.
What better horse could there be for Justin Trudeau to ride to victory.
Things rarely remain the same in politics. Witness the Alberta election when NDP Rachel Notley rode the “orange wave” into power winning a (similar) majority by scooping up 53 of the 84 seats in Alberta. Thomas Mulcair and his national wing of the New Democratic Party had high hopes of riding that Orange wave into a similar sweep of Alberta seats in the current Federal election.
My tracking in the Alberta riding by riding shows Mulcair ahead (predictably) in Edmonton Strathcona and in a neck and neck battle in another Edmonton riding. The rest of the province of Alberta has turned blue again.
The recipe for Mulcair to ride the provincial Alberta NDP’s 2015 success into believing that simply by showing the “orange” flag failed badly for Mulcair. Massive layoffs in the oil patch followed a down turn in oil prices and were compounded by Notely’s stated plans to begin higher taxes for business. A second round of layoff and job losses followed as a result of Notely’s stated policy.
The Ontario Liberal Disaster
The scandals have not gone away in Ontario. Liberals, it seem have a predilection for two things: tax/spend and scandals. The scandals of gas plants helicopter deals and so on still smoulder. Immediately upon regaining office, Wynne was submersed in another one originating in Sudbury. In that case, one her inner-circle confidants is facing two counts of bribery.
Reaction prior to the election by Ontario’s teachers unions saw teachers in masse supporting Wynne and the Liberals because of Hudak’s lip-slip. What ensued was far from seeing the teachers and Wynne singing “kumbaya”. The accumulated financial mismanagement of Finance Minister Charles Sousa and his predecessor had amassed an unsustainable debt load soon to exceed $300 BILLION (yes BILLION with a “B”). The carrying cost of that massive debt is equal to $1 Billion per month. That drain on tax revenues bleeds the Ontario budget of $33 MILLION per day.
Thus, the teachers’ high expectations that were fostered and cultivated by their loyalty to Wynne during the election led to betrayal forcing the teachers to begin strike talks. Wynne had jettisoned the teachers and thereby left unhappy educators for Trudeau to court. He had lost a vital chunk of voters even before the Federal writ was dropped on August 02, 2015.
The Likely Outcome in Ontario
A riding by riding review of all 121 Ontario Ridings begins with a change. Fifteen new seats are at play in Ontario. In many cases, subtle changes have seen massive ridings divided. It makes “predicting” results a difficult task. If it were only to multiply the national trend numbers for each of the parties by 121 and extrapolate seat outcomes, it would be a very simple task.
Things do not work that way. Thos e poll numbers are based on a few thousand telephone calls and make no allowance for local candidates or local results. If it were as the polls say: each person in Canada would think exactly the same.
I was asked several times to look into the crystal ball and finally gave in when several of my buddies decided to conduct our own little lottery. My prediction is Conservatives will pin 58 seats in Ontario while the Liberals will likely collect 38 seats with the NDP winning in 22 ridings.
Trudeau’s avowed plan to run up a deficit resounds poorly in Ontario given Ontario’s debt service costs (above). For what it’s worth, Trudeau’s personal popularity numbers (around 28% in Ontario) are very similar to the present popularity number for Wynne.
If that number holds, I win a case of beer and Stephen Harper could end up with a thin majority government. Added to that, I see about 8 ridings in Quebec that conceivably could end up electing a Bloc member and a 5 seat pick up for the Conservatives in Quebec as a result of the niqab issue.
We will all be much wiser on October 20, 2015. However it appears that Justin Trudeau hopes should not be tied too closely to Kathleen Wynne nor should Thomas Mulcair pin much hope on Alberta Premier Notely.
Copyright © Thunderbird Rising 2015
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