Ekos released a recent poll which has some interesting numbers Previously Frozen Political Landscape Now Moving in Favour of Liberals « EKOS Politics with Tories not only tanking, but NDP closing gap and NDP first amongst millennials. Its one poll and obviously we have to see what next election holds, but my view to my dismay has been Canada is about to undergo a big shift left and will emerge as without question as the most left wing country in the developed world. I believe Canada will be the first and only democracy where in the future the battle is between left and further left. Harper’s goal may have been to make the Conservatives the natural governing party but I believe opposite will happen. I see Tories going the way of the Union Nationale in Quebec and Alberta Social Credit. Below I will explain why I think this will happen and why it will be unique to Canada. Note this is depressing to write as not what I want, but sometimes you have to recognize what is happening even if not to your liking.
Pandemic created circumstances that made big government more popular as many happy government supported those out of work, but also restrictions quite popular to try to reduce cases and deaths. Right talking about smaller government just doesn’t sell as well as this compounds on other issues such as income inequality and climate change which are pushing country leftward. Often people’s views are influenced by those around them and there is always to some degree a group think mentality. As such success of any ideology requires a critical mass to stay relevant and you lack that critical mass it withers away. Tories still have that critical mass but trend is going to point where they won’t and thus will become unelectable. If everyone around you is left wing and you don’t live and breathe politics; you are naturally going to probably share similar views. Left is getting very close to point where people only hear left wing viewpoints and everything they hear about right is all negative and bad thus people assume left good and right bad. As such my brutal harsh predictions which I hope I am wrong on but have a gut feeling will be right are as follows:
- BC NDP emerge as natural governing party and take on role BC Liberals/Social Credit did in past century
- Alberta NDP not only wins next election but emerges as the natural governing party governing for long periods
- Manitoba NDP also elected
- Ontario stays competitive, but long term Liberals and NDP come to dominate with PCs withering away like they will nationally
- Quebec might be the one good news story for centre-right, but its Quebec and with language barrier, often what happens there doesn’t spread elsewhere. Never mind federally Tories still weak and likely to stay weak.
- Atlantic Canada becomes a liberal monolith and the 2015 sweep was no anomaly, it is new normal. PCs still win some provincial due to Red Toryism but federally are finished there.
- Liberals remain in government until at least 2030 and after that NDP not Tories emerge as main alternative. Liberals don’t become like BC Liberals they remain a centre-left party and future elections are battles on the left with Conservatives being a perennial third place party.
On policy front, I think you are going to see a combination of a super woke country on cultural issues, but economically very left wing with government being bigger than we’ve ever seen. While some may say woke politics are divisive and that is true in other countries, Canadians aren’t like other people. We are by far the most compassionate people on earth and very much a country about the little guy. As such woke politics sells well here as it is who we are. Likewise on economic policies, Canadians are upset about gap between rich and poor despite ours being smaller than many. As such I think you will see government play a much bigger role in economy. Yes we will be poorer for it, but more equal and Canadians care about latter not former.
Now these are just my gut instinct and maybe I will be proven wrong. People say things go in cycles, but I feel this is a permanent shift but obviously only time will tell.
4 thoughts on “Is Canada about to go through a big shift left?”
I think the Conservatives are trapped right now in an unenviable position. If they try to move to the centre (as they are), they will lose more and more support to the PPC and the Maverick Party (which showed up quite well on that EKOS poll). That will annihilate them as they will gain nothing in urban and suburban Canada, lose seats on vote splits in Prairie cities to the Liberals, and lose the rural Prairies to those parties (probably Maverick). If they move back to the right to protect that flank, they’ll be limited to rural areas and the Prairies, which have together less than 100 seats.
It seems that voters under age 30 are the most left-wing, yet even if the breakout becomes 30 to 44, the Conservatives at least rise to a close second (in line with the population as a whole). There also seems to be an enormous gender gap. Among young women, the Conservatives are likely in 4th place below the Greens, with the NDP having a solid lead. Meanwhile, among young men, they all seem to be close together.
If I were to align the population in Canada:
Far left: 5% of the voters. They are basically your communists. Most of them are in downtown areas of cities like Toronto and Montreal.
Left: 25% of the voters. This would be the median voter, however, in many downtown ridings and among those under age 30. Represents today’s NDP and left fringe of the Liberals.
Centre-left: 25% of the voters. In most suburban ridings especially in Ontario and BC, this is the median voter. Most Liberals fall here today, along with some NDP members.
Centre: 10% of the voters. This is a fast shrinking group due to polarization – most are now centre-left in urban, some have gone centre-right in rural. This is the small right flank of the Liberals and the Red Tories.
Centre-right: 10% of the voters. Another group that is shrinking. Stephen Harper would land here, as would the bulk of the Conservatives. Median voter in Calgary, rural Ontario and most of rural British Columbia lies here.
Right: 20% of the voters. This would be where the right wing of the Conservatives lies and most of their membership, even if not all their MP’s. Median voter in the rural Prairies.
Far right: 5% of the voters. Basically, your western separatists and Trump wannabes – beyond the traditional social conservatives and economic types. Other than perhaps Derek Sloan and Randy Hillier, no elected figures lie here.
For the Conservatives to win in the future, they will need pretty much everything (or a solid majority of the votes) from centre to far right. That seems like a lot to ask for without losing ground somewhere.
Re: Alberta, if WIPA does not catch on, I could actually see the UCP getting the most votes while the NDP still gets a majority government (if WIPA does catch on and the UCP can move back to the centre to hold Calgary, a minority government is most likely – and a nearly impossible one for anyone to govern). That would be because of running up rural votes. As for Ontario, I think a minority government of some form is most likely in 2022, although that assumes the rural vote holds with the PC’s which is not a given right now (there’s a lot of anger there) and neither the Liberals nor NDP can consolidate support.
Sounds about right although I think right going further right is pushing those on centre to make choice and more falling on left side. For Tories, really they need to hope Liberals become so unpopular they can unite all those against Liberals under one banner, sort of like BC Liberals until recently did, but not sure how feasible such big tent coalition is today like it was in past. British Tories have done this, but UK is quite different in many respects so not easily replicable here. CAQ has sort of but Quebec also different and Legault is personally popular so whether this continues after him or not remains to be seen.
The UK definitely has more at Centre and Centre-right (plus a weakened Lib Dems who could otherwise grab votes there) and fewer to the left of centre (that seems to be heavily concentrated in London and Scotland now). Canada and the UK seem to have about the same farther right (around 25% of the voters) but the UK lacks an area like the rural Prairies where they run up the numbers – rural areas would be like, say, rural Ontario or BC but they represent a much larger proportion of the country.
In the case of BC, I could see future elections where the BC Liberals win the popular vote but lose the election since they should run up numbers in the Interior and North (barring a party to their right emerging). That actually happened in 1996 as well.
I’ve heard there is internal disarray with the Ontario PC’s. Their rural caucus is not too happy right now with the lockdowns and especially their strictness. That said, the only way to avoid lockdowns there are by imposing travel restrictions (only feasible really in northern Ontario as there are only 2 main highways going north). That could be a challenge the party faces if the party is divided into an election. At the same time, the party can’t afford to fracture or they will never be competitive again.
Only benefit they do have is anti-lockdown types have nowhere else to go as Liberals and NDP would have had even stricter ones. At same time I think lockdown issue has been devastating to Conservatives. Liberals and NDP largely united on issue, while conservatives divided so whatever they do anger some side. Still locking down probably better than not since if not things would get really bad. Only problem is lockdown was too late thus wouldn’t get benefit had they locked down sooner.