But Liberals seem stuck in third position
BY RATTAN MALL
WITH an 11-week-long election campaign, it would be rash to predict the outcome of the October 19 federal election, but I am going to look at several possibilities.
The first poll after last Sunday’s announcement of the election date by Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed that the NDP would have formed what the Forum Poll called a “strong minority government” if the election had been held right away.
In a 338-seat house, the NDP would have captured 160 seats (with 39 per cent of the total vote), just 10 short of a majority, while the Conservatives would have won 118 (with 28 per cent). The Liberals would have got only 58 seats (with 25 per cent). The Green’s would have bagged their leader’s seat and the Bloc Quebecois would have got one seat.
Of course, any number of things could happen between now and Election Day, but looking at the trend over the past couple of months, it seems the Liberals are doomed to the third position. Being part of a coalition government with the NDP as the major partner appears to be their brightest prospect. Of course, they will swear right till the end that they will not be part of any coalition government for strategic reasons.
The interesting thing about that Forum Poll is that 28 percent of voters said they would vote for a party they thought could defeat the government. So you can expect many Liberal supporters to end up backing the NDP candidate in ridings where they feel the Liberal candidate is not strong enough or where they don’t like the Liberal candidate.
(Any effect of the Maclean’s leaders’ debate on Thursday evening – in which Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May participated – is expected to be limited as it was not carried on any major TV network. But Trudeau did seem to benefit from it as he handled himself well and made the Conservatives’ cheap attack ad on him as not being ready yet for the prime minister’s position look ineffective.)
AS the campaign progresses, any number of situations could develop in Canada or abroad that could possibly end up in either an NDP wave or a Conservative wave.
It could develop or start developing in the middle of the campaign or it could be spurred on by a number of factors towards the end of the campaign.
Once that wave develops, nothing will stop it.
But then again, it could end up being a close race, with either the NDP or the Conservatives landing up with a minority government.
Of course, there will be poll after poll – after each debate of the party leaders, after some minor or major controversy and so on.
It could be a seesaw situation between the NDP and the Conservatives.
Even if either of the two parties maintains a lead right until the end, it would not guarantee anything.
But if one of the two parties takes the lead and that lead steadily keeps increasing, that itself will create a momentum that will lead to a wave.
And if that wave builds up, then many incumbents who would normally have won, will end up as losers.
LET’S take the example of Surrey.
If there is an NDP wave, incumbent NDP MPs Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North) and Jinny Sims (Surrey Newton) will in all probability be re-elected.
Incumbent Conservative MP Nina Grewal (Fleetwood-Port Kells) would in all probability lose to the NDP’s Garry Begg. Indeed, after a long time, there could be no Grewal family member in Parliament. (Another famous Grewal family record? Just kidding!)
As it is, according to the Forum Poll, even at this stage the NDP is in a solid lead in B.C. with 44 per cent support with the Liberals (26 per cent) and the Conservatives (24 per cent) tied for second place.
If a Conservative wave develops, then Grewal would be secure for sure, and even Conservative candidate Harpreet Singh could in all probability defeat Jinny Sims and former MP Sukh Dhaliwal (Liberal) because Sims and Dhaliwal, who are fierce rivals, would split each others’ votes in any case, while many constituents would see sense in electing an MP who would represent the government, not the opposition.
In that case, Sandhu would in all probability lose to Conservative candidate Sucha Thind.
So, as you can see, there are a whole lot of possibilities – and that is what is going to make this election pretty interesting, to put it mildly.