Jagmeet Singh won a critical byelection in Burnaby South
The province could be up for grabs
If you’re finding it hard to follow the narratives that have emerged prior to the next federal election, you’re not alone.
A brief list of some of the trials and tribulations the federal parties have had to wrestle with over the past year:
- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and his cronies interfered with the decision-making of the supposedly non-partisan attorney general. So far, two high-profile ministers have left cabinet.
- Conservative boss Andrew Scheer witnessed former leadership candidate Maxime Bernier leave what he called a “morally corrupt” Conservative group to start his own party. Less than six months ago, Scheer’s chances of winning the election appeared to be miniscule.
- Jagmeet Singh of the NDP was parachuted into Burnaby South to win a by-election just to get into Parliament. He’s had to deal with multiple MPs declaring they won’t seek re-election and at least one former party leader has cast doubt on his aspirations
- Maxime Bernier of the People's Party of Canada was generally himself.
So yeah, it’s been a bit of a seesaw. But until the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal, it was generally accepted that Trudeau’s Liberal party would be able to sneak up the middle of the political spectrum to victory once again.
That sentiment is taking a beating in recent days; the SNC-Lavalin debacle has made a mockery of a prime minister who campaigned on transparency. Plus, Trudeau’s insistence on getting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion approved hasn’t exactly made him many friends on the West Coast.
On the other side of the spectrum, conservative parties in general are taking a bit of a beating in B.C., with the overspending by two important figures in the legislature pinned squarely on the BC Liberals.
That party’s leader, Andrew Wilkinson, isn’t doing much to endear himself to the province's renters.
And while Singh’s by-election victory was a sigh of relief for the embattled NDP, losing veteran B.C. MPs like Nathan Cullen and Murray Rankin will surely hurt the party’s credibility in the province.
Here’s how things currently stand right now, in terms of federal seats in B.C.:
Liberal Party: 17
While the Conservatives will likely hold onto most of their seats in the rural areas of the province and could make some gains in suburbia, the NDP stand to make significant moves in urban centres.
According to a recent poll from Vancouver-based Angus Reid Institute, B.C. residents were more likely to vote for both the NDP and the Green Party than any other province.
Of course, the poll only dealt with a handful of respondents. But it does give us a bit of a picture as to where we can expect voters’ allegiances to lie. In another Angus Reid poll, B.C. residents gave the lowest percentage of “no” answers when asked whether they thought the SNC-Lavalin scandal was overblown.
It sure seems at this point like B.C. (and the rest of the country) will be headed toward a conservative government of some kind, but it could also mean the rise of the NDP in the urban parts of B.C.
After all, Singh is the only leader of the major political parties to represent a B.C. riding. Eventually, one has to think that starts to pay off for him in the province.
If we had to make one prediction for an election that is still a long way away, it would be this: vote splitting will be there, but not where you’d expect.
Those that desperately don’t want a right-wing government in place will be much more inclined to look to the NDP than the Liberals this time around, at least in B.C. As a result, the Green Party, which will likely see an increase in vote percentage, at least in B.C., won’t see the increase in seats they might have under different circumstances.
The Liberals have 16 seats in the Lower Mainland. How many of those can they hold onto? More than eight or so would seem incredibly optimistic. Expect B.C. to run orange and blue in the next federal election.