With polls to close in Manitoba shortly, here are my thoughts on the beginning of the federal campaign tomorrow. Some have criticized Trudeau for launching it on September 11th, which is the 18th anniversary of 9/11 and while maybe not this best idea, I don’t think its too big a deal. 9/11 while very tragic was an attack on the United States not Canada and so to avoid placing tragedies in some countries as higher than others we should as a rule of thumb limit this rule only to Canadian tragedies, but still at the same time mourn what happened. The polls suggest a tight race, but if there is one near certainty, the polls on October 20th and results on October 21st are almost certain to be different than what polls show today. I suspect there will be many embarrassments as with social media, no doubt parties will be combing through people’s twitter and facebook accounts looking for controversial statements or actions to use to paint the other party is unfit for office.
This will probably be one of the nastiest campaigns ever and that will happen for a few reasons. Trudeau doesn’t have a great approval rating so getting re-elected on his accomplishments will be challenging, but winning on being a safer choice than Scheer is very doable and in fact even likely. By the same token Scheer doesn’t inspire many and few are voting for him because they like him, rather most voting for him or those who want to see Trudeau defeated. Also the increased nastiness is due to greater polarization. The left unlike in past truly loathes the right and fear greatly what will happen if they win. Not totally unwarranted as right today is a lot further right than in past, but still a lot of their fears are overblown as Scheer will be like Harper who like him or not, was hardly radical and hardly made the country unrecognizable despite fears before he came to power. By the same token the right hates Trudeau with a passion as unlike Chretien who they could at least accept, Trudeau is the antithesis of everything they believe in. So with this in mind, its not a surprise this will be a nastier campaign than past ones. By the same token it is my hope on October 22nd, that whomever wins does their best to reach out to those who didn’t vote for them. If the Tories win, hopefully they show respect for left and don’t demonize them like Ford, Kenney, and Harper have, but instead respectfully disagree. Likewise if Trudeau is re-elected, hopefully he re-emphasizes his comments that Conservatives are our friends and neighbours and encourages his MPs to tone down their insults to those who take conservative views.
As for predictions, a lot can happen so way to early to tell, but here are what I think the odds are at the moment. 50% chance the Liberals are re-elected with another majority, 60% chance Liberals win the popular vote, 80% chance Liberals win most seats, 90% chance Trudeau remains PM, and only 5% chance Tories win a majority. All polls show Liberals ahead in Atlantic Canada and Quebec while range from tied to solid lead in Ontario so if they retain those leads and stay competitive in BC, majority looks quite likely. Likewise Tories are really running up the margins in Alberta and Saskatchewan so lots of wasted votes therefore Liberals only need 2-3 point lead to win another majority; Tories need a 2-3 point lead just to beat Liberals in seats and about a 7-8 point lead to win a majority. In fact, I have trouble finding 170 winneable seats for the Tories. 150 sure, and even 160 possible, but 170 is really stretching it. That being said, I’ve seen enough surprises and upsets in my life so I don’t want to rule anything out.