Tag: bloc quebecois

How Canada’s Shifting Political Climate Will Impact its Parties

By Brennan Dubé | Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada

Result Last Election

After nine years in power in Canada, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were ousted from power and were relegated to second place with 99/338 seats (down from 166 in 2015).

Where They Stand Now

Party leader Andrew Scheer has taken steps towards speaking out against Trudeau’s Liberal government but many brand him as Harper 2.0. This has proven to hinder his ability to form his own identity within the mainstream realm of Canadian politics. The Conservatives are currently trailing Trudeau’s Liberal party in the polls, but only by single digits, and a lot can happen in the next 10 months.

How They Can Capitalize

All across Canada, Liberal provincial governments are collapsing and if this can translate, the federal Conservatives should see this as a positive. In June of this past year, the Ontario Liberals were decimated in Ontario and the Progressive Conservatives took power for the first time in 15 years. Not only did the provincial Liberals lose, but they also fell to third place in the provincial legislature as they now hold a mere 7 seats.

In comparison, the Progressive Conservatives won 76 seats, the New Democratic Party (more left-wing than the Liberals) won 40 seats and the Ontario Green party won their first ever seat in Ontario. In late September, the provincial Liberals in New Brunswick lost control of their previous majority government despite pollsters placing their odds to win at over 80%. The Conservatives beating the Liberals in New Brunswick was very eye-opening as it is commonly known as a Liberal stronghold when it comes to national elections.

Quebec is a place where Liberals have held power in the provincial government 13 of the last 15 years also, but in October the right-wing party, Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), which was only formed in 2011, ended up winning a landslide majority against the Liberals. The CAQ took 74 seats, surpassing the 63 needed for a majority. The Liberals only managed to secure 31 seats, and a far-left party named Quebec Solidaire more than doubled its support from the last election and took 10 seats, tying for third with Parti Quebecois. This win for a conservative party in Quebec meant that a province which has been known to lean Liberal may now be up for grabs in 2019.

The Quebecers are against mass-immigration and have shown much reluctance to be accepting towards the Syrian refugees the Trudeau government has brought in over the past few years. Quebec has been a place that has posed many challenges for Conservatives in the past. If they are able to be more successful there, as well as in other areas like Ontario and New Brunswick where they have seen recent provincial level success, they can surely be competitive with the Liberals come election time.

The Liberal Party of Canada

Result Last Election

Following decimation in the 2011 election and for the first time ever a relegation to third place, the Liberals rebuilt in record time and by the time 2015 rolled around Justin Trudeau led the Liberal party to a majority government securing 184/338 seats.

Where They Stand

Despite approval ratings hovering around 40% and people on the left and right criticizing Trudeau and the Liberal government, they still manage to look like favorites early on heading into next October’s election.

How They Can Capitalize

Despite circumstances looking so poor for the Liberals, they look great. But how could that possibly be? On the negative end of things, the Liberals now face opposition from almost every province in Canada. Since being elected and forming government federally in 2015, the Liberals have lost leadership provincial in four provinces (British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick). Currently, no province from British Columbia to Quebec holds a Liberal government.

Moreover, Trudeau and the party have faced much criticism from both the right and the left-wing parties in Canada. The far-left New Democratic party has come out very hard against Trudeau criticizing the government’s recent tax cuts for major corporations and their decision in overriding the Canada postal service agency and forcing them back to work following a major strike. On the right, however, Trudeau has seen constant attacks from the Conservatives who are often critical of the Liberals every decision on social matters and carbon tax policy.

So how, despite the hate from both flanks, is the Liberal party still leading by 5-7 percentage points in most polls? The New Democratic Party is completely falling apart and new leader Jagmeet Singh (who does not hold a seat in the House of Commons), has not been able to reignite the New Democratic party’s energy that they had when they became the official opposition party in 2011. Even he has doubts about next year and many party operatives expect the party to get rocked in 2019, some even predicting they will lose half of their seats.

The Green party may benefit from some lost NDP support, but the Liberals will certainly benefit. The elephant in the room on the right end of the spectrum is Maxime Bernier and the People’s Party of Canada. The party is only a few months old but already has signed up over 35,000 members and has formed electoral district associations in 260 of Canada’s 338 ridings. Bernier’s plan to run People’s Party candidates in all 338 ridings is well on pace. If Bernier is able to get on the debate stage then the People’s Party will definitely continue its boom in support and continue to siphon off Conservative voters. The Liberals will potentially continue to benefit from the growth of the party and can be hopeful about their chances for re-election in 2019.

Another factor for the Liberals is Trump. Whenever Trudeau and Trump had their back-and-forth regarding trade over the summer the Canadian people felt a little more unified than usual, and Trudeau saw his approval ratings tick up. The more Trudeau looks like the leader to take on Trump the better for the Liberals as it makes Scheer and the Conservatives seem completely irrelevant.

The New Democratic Party of Canada

Result Last Election

Following their first ever 100 seat performance in 2011 when they became the official opposition securing 103 seats, the tragic death of party leader Jack Layton put them in rebuild mode. Liberals took much of their support in 2015 and the New Democrats fell to third place, as they won 44/338 seats.

Where They Stand

Current leader Jagmeet Singh is facing dark times as a leader. The party sits 20-25% behind the Conservatives and Liberals in most polls and some analysts believe the party will lose half its seats in the fall election. If the party wants to turn itself around in time for October, they must return to relevancy and change the narrative.

How They Can Capitalize

It was not even 8 years ago that Jack Layton led an orange wave across Canada that resulted in the Liberals falling out of the top two for the first time in Canadian history and it saw the New Democrats form official opposition for the first time in the parties 50-year history. A lot has changed in those 8 years, but not all hope is lost for the New Democrats.

Jagmeet Singh is youthful and when he was first elected as leader many thought he could rejuvenate the New Democrats, and he still can. Firstly, Singh must win his by-election which is taking place early in the new year. After this, he must lead the party back into the national discussion. He should take on Bernier, take on Scheer, take on Trudeau and take staunch stances against the Liberals to prove that his party is truly for progressives and hard leftists.

The People’s Party of Canada

Result Last Election

The party was announced by its leader and only elected official, Maxime Bernier, on September 14th, 2018.

Where They Stand

Former Conservative party leadership candidate Maxime Bernier decided to part ways with the Conservatives in August, citing the party was too ‘intellectually and morally corrupt’ to be reformed. Since September, the People’s Party has signed up a significant 35,000 members (15% of total Conservative party membership) and so far, have set up electoral district associations in 260 ridings. Bernier plans to have the party run candidates in all 338 ridings in 2019.

How They Can Capitalize

Bernier, the libertarian-leaning conservative who has sat in the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament since 2006, decided to start this party on the basis of forming a true conservative alternative to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. Since its formation, the People’s party has not seen any other sitting elected officials join in, but this could be a good thing for what Bernier is trying to do. He stated that the party will use smart populism, and the rise of populist parties all across the globe as of late may give way for Bernier to pick up considerable support next fall.

Without any other elected officials joining the party Bernier truly looks like an outsider, and outsiders are becoming more and more successful in the age of anti-elitist election politics. While it is very unlikely that Bernier will win in 2019, the party has the potential to do some damage and become mainstream in Canada. To actually win a considerable amount of seats, Bernier must target more than disenfranchised Conservatives. The party needs to target independents and uninspired New Democrats if it wants to broaden its base and survive past 2019. The potential is there, the execution is what will await us.

The Green Party of Canada

Result Last Election

The federal Green party won a single seat last election marking the second time they ever did that. Elizabeth May and the Green party hope to win more seats in 2019.

Where They Stand

The Green party has always been significant in Canada, but never have they been so significant that they dictate hot topics during elections or challenge other parties for the government. They constantly get 3-4% of the popular vote federally while winning one seat each of the last two elections. Things may be changing: in 2017 the British Columbia Green party won 3/87 seats, which was good enough for third place.

They also managed to garner 16.8% of the popular vote in their provincial election. The 3 seats proved to be pivotal as the B.C NDP’s formed a coalition government with the Greens as they needed the Greens 3 seats added with their own to topple the Liberal government. This was huge for the Greens as they demanded hefty policy proposals before agreeing with the B.C New Democrats to merge to oust the Liberals.

In other provinces, the Greens have made major advances as well. In the Ontario election in June, the Greens won their first seat in provincial history in Ontario. In New Brunswick’s election in September, the Greens managed to win 3/49 seats and tally up 12% of the popular vote. Those 3 seats were the most they have ever gotten in New Brunswick history and it is important as it ended up resulting in the Liberals losing the election to the New Brunswick Conservatives. Also, in the province of Prince Edward Island (which is due for a provincial election next fall), the provincial Green party is leading the pack in the polls. While their lead in the polls is slim and still well within the margin of error with the Liberals, this is incredibly significant.

How They Can Capitalize

If the Green party of Canada can copy success from its provincial parties it can definitely make a splash and party history in 2019. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have been criticized by many progressives for not sticking to his hardcore liberal promises he made on the trail in 2015. If some of these progressives decide to throw their vote to the Greens as a protest then the Green party will see significant boosts.

The party is seemingly getting smarter with how it campaigns as well, and the Greens will be very regionally focused in 2019. To ensure winning more than just one seat the party will focus much of its advertising and campaigning in areas where provincial parties have done well. If this strategy pays off then the Greens can surely win a handful of seats and stun the Canadian political establishment come October next year.

The Bloc Quebecois Party of Canada

Result Last Election

The Quebec separatist party managed to win 10 seats in 2015, which is one of its lowest ever since formation in 1991. Quebec has a total of 75 seats, and the Bloc Quebecois famously only fields candidates in these 75 ridings.

Where They Stand

Currently, the party is in a state of destruction. In 2015, the party won 10 seats and its leader Gilles Duceppe stepped down. Since the 2015 election, the party has gone through massive turmoil. In February of this year, 7 of the 10 Bloc Quebecois MPs quit the party, citing disagreements with the leadership style of new party leader, Martine Ouellet.

Following this, those 7 MPs formed a new party, the Quebec Debout. Since then, party leader Ouellet has stepped down and the short-lived Quebec Debout dissolved as the MP’s all rejoined the Bloc Quebecois. As things stand right now, the Bloc Quebecois do not know who their leader will be for the election in October, they are set to decide upon a new leader in February. This will be their fifth leader since 2011.

How They Can Capitalize

The odds are against the Bloc Quebecois, and if the leader that gets elected in February is divisive, this party will be in danger of potentially losing every single seat they currently have come election day. The first step will be to unify the party in October. The next step needs to be taking strong stances against the Liberals and Conservatives. If the Bloc Quebecois can translate an image to its base that no other major party is listening to Quebecers, then they can broaden their base and bounce back in October.


71 Republic prides itself on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon. We appreciate your support.

Advertisements