Thursday, November 24 2022


It’s always an election year if you know where to look. This time it’s in the north: Canada goes to the polls today to decide whether to elect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for another term.

Think of this election as a presidential election and a United States congressional election combined into one: in the Canadian parliamentary system, each of Canada’s 338 electoral districts (known as “constituencies”) will elect a member by majority vote on a normal round. . rules. (Contrary to certain other parliamentary democracies, Canada does not use proportional representation.) And the leader of the party that gains control of Parliament will become the new prime minister.

Right now, the election looks like a close race between Trudeau’s center-left Liberal Party and the center-right Conservative Party. But Canada’s many small parties could also play a decisive role. Here are five questions we’ll look to get answered as the results roll in from tonight.

1. Did Trudeau end his own political career?

The bigger question, of course, is whether Trudeau will survive as prime minister. And if he is ousted, he could become one of the greatest self-owners in political history. This is because Canada was not originally scheduled to hold a vote this year; Trudeau selected To organize early elections in response to polls showing the Liberals a strong lead. (The Liberals held just 155 seats in the outgoing House of Commons, far from a majority of 170, which hard for Trudeau of governsThe good polls gave Trudeau hope the Liberals could win a majority in a snap election. But after the election was green lighted in August, the polls immediately tightened and the Conservatives even briefly took the lead, passing Trudeau’s decision off as a huge miscalculation.

Things are looking a little better for the Prime Minister now, however. Canada has two prominent FiveThirtyEight-style forecasters: Philippe J. Fournier of 338Canada and Éric Grenier, who writes the newsletter Writing and run the Poll monitoring for the Société Radio-Canada. And on Sunday night, they gave the Liberals a 68% and 75% chance of winning the most seats, respectively. However, it seems rather unlikely that Trudeau will get his coveted majority government: There is only a 15 to 17% chance that the Liberals will win 170 seats or more. In fact, Poll Tracker (154) and 338Canada (147) estimate that the Liberals will win fewer seats than the 155 they had before the election, although there is of course a large margin of error in these projections. Trudeau could therefore live to regret having called this election.

2. How will the Conservatives do under their new leader?

It is also a high-risk, high-return election for Erin O’Toole of the Conservative Party, who was chosen as leader of the Conservatives last year. While O’Toole was initially unpopular with the canadian public, his centrist character has helped make the party competitive (although he also had some stumble). These days, the Poll Tracker gives the Conservatives an average projection of 118 seats and a 25% chance of winning the most seats, while 338Canada is a little more optimistic for them (127 seats and 31% chances). So while the most likely outcome is that they will either stand firm or make only small gains (they ran for office with 119 seats), they are still just a normal polling error to become the biggest. party of the House of Commons. On the flip side, however, there is still a significant chance that they will lose seats, which could cost O’Toole his post as party leader.

3. How many seats will the New Democrats win?

Canada differs from the United States in that an analysis of its elections cannot be limited to the two dominant parties. The New Democratic Left Party is also a major player; in fact, he could be the biggest beneficiary of this election. The Poll Tracker and 338Canada predict that the NDP will win 34 and 32 seats, respectively, up from 24 in the previous legislature. This is in large part thanks to the charisma of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, the first person of color to lead a major Canadian party; he regularly wins the most favorable ratings of one of the party leaders. However, the NDP is still struggling to break into the first tier. It trails the Liberals and Conservatives by double digits in the polls, and forecasters are giving virtually no chance for the party to win the most seats.

4. Will emerging right-wing parties be a factor?

As in the United States, Canada’s right wing has become increasingly vocal in recent years (although it represents a much smaller segment of the population than in the United States). A new party called the Maverick party, which advocates secession conservative regions of Western Canada, leads candidates in 29 ridings, primarily in the rural interior provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. And former Conservative Minister Maxime Bernier recently split to form the People’s Party of Canada, who was originally known for her skepticism of climate change and her hard-line stance against immigration, but this year has grown into a ship for the opposition coronavirus blockades, mask warrants and vaccines. (Bernier himself is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and has been arrested in june for refusing to self-quarantine after traveling.) According to a recent survey by Research Forum, 62 percent of PPC supporters were unvaccinated and 70 percent were “very angry” with the policies of the Canadian government.

While the Maverick Party specifically presents candidates almost exclusively in firmly Tory seats, the PPC has a candidate in 312 of 338 constituencies and could very well spoil the Tories. While the PPC shouldn’t win any seats on its own, it averages around 6-7% in the polls, enough to cost the Conservatives a victory in some nearby constituencies. And even if it doesn’t, it will be interesting to see how deep anti-establishment grievances run in Trudeau’s Canada.

5. Will we have another counter-majority result?

In the previous Canadian election, in 2019, Trudeau was actually re-elected while losing the national popular vote: the Liberals won 33.1% of the vote against 34.3% of the Conservatives. But the Liberals won the most seats because, unlike the United States, Canadian geography puts the law disadvantaged. The places in Canada where a party gets the biggest margins (and thus wastes votes) aren’t liberal cities but conservative rural areas: in 2019, every candidate who got 70% or more of the vote was a Conservative.

The same could happen in 2021: The Liberals and Conservatives are virtually tied in the polls at around 31-32%. That said, the Liberals are still favored to win the most seats in this configuration due to the The ineffectiveness of the Conservative vote. Indeed, Grenier recently estimated that the conservatives will have to win the national popular vote by more than 3 points to be favored and win the most seats.

However, it should be noted that the combined vote of the Liberals and the NDP – whose voters generally prefer Trudeau to O’Toole as second choice – will surely overtake the Conservative vote by far (as he did in 2019). Thus, the Conservatives winning the most seats with only a plurality of votes could also be considered a counter-majority result. (The possibility of vote sharing led to lots of calls for electoral reform in Canada, but they did not gain popularity.)

But there’s a twist: Thanks to the quirks of the parliamentary system, the Conservatives may win the most seats and Trudeau would remain prime minister. Unlike an American president, Trudeau remain prime minister unless he resigns or is defeated in the House of Commons, and the NDP may side with the Liberals to keep Trudeau in power.

Coalition governments are rare in Canada, however, Trudeau would probably only attempt to cling to power in this way if the circumstances were right, namely if the Liberals ranked very close to the Conservatives in total seats. But that does mean Trudeau’s chances of remaining prime minister are likely higher than the 68-75 percent chance the Liberals have of winning the most seats. Then again, a re-election in this manner would hardly be a victory for Trudeau, as it would put him in a very precarious political situation – which could lead to more government dysfunction and therefore, perhaps, another premature election as early as the year. next.


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