Tomorrow, Nova Scotia will go to the polls. While I haven’t followed it too closely, it looks like it is going to be a photo finish and either Liberals or PCs could win. Personally I support the PCs. While platform imperfect, it is moderate and pragmatic and deals with serious issues. More importantly fact PCs can win in a province federal Tories face a real risk of being shut out of shows that moderate conservatism can win and if party wants to be competitive in more areas it needs to moderate. In terms of predictions, I am going to predict a PC minority but anything from Liberal majority to PC majority seems plausible. One thing is it won’t be a blowout whichever way it goes.
Erin O’Toole has now released his full platform just like NDP did a few days ago so now just waiting for Liberal one which hopefully comes soon, although since in government most of us unlike opposition parties probably have a pretty good idea what is in it. Tory platform can be found here https://cpcassets.conservative.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/16102359/f8279981721e07a.pdf . A lot to go through and chew on so not going to go through details, but just give overall high level thoughts. On balance, I was quite pleased with it. Not perfect by any means and some policies I disliked; but lets be real here: Anyone who agrees or disagrees with every single policy in a 162 page document is likely a blind partisan. Its more about do you agree with general direction or not that matters; not do you agree with every single point. It seems to be fairly moderate and so I think Liberals using hidden agenda attack ads or claiming O’Toole is a right wing extremists will have a tough time as the platform looks a lot like what you would have seen from the Liberal party pre-Trudeau when they were a truly centrist not left wing party. It suggests O’Toole has gotten message that Harper era is over and party must evolve or continue to lose. Real question is can he bring the rest of his party along with him. He seems to get party has to moderate, but much of base seem uninterested. As long as the Tories avoid any major screw ups, I would say there is a very high chance they will get my vote. Not perfect by any means, but Trudeau clearly does not deserve another term and I agree with Tories on enough issues that I am by and large comfortable voting for an O’Toole led one if no surprises come up during campaign. Off course that goes on assumption nothing else comes up to change my mind which still could happen.
As for impact, that is tough to know. If Trudeau was as unpopular as 2019, I think this would be a winning platform. Probably not a majority as realistically getting a Conservative majority is super difficult even in the best of times as more than half of the ridings in country never vote Tory or only do once in a blue moon. But I think it would have resulted in a better outcome than we got under Scheer. However, it is not 2019 and as the old saying goes, governments don’t get elected, governments defeat themselves. And right now Trudeau still has a decent approval rating meaning irrespective of what opposition does, he is going to be the heavy favourite. This might though at least avoid the party losing too badly and could work if Trudeau has a major campaign stumble, but I wouldn’t bank on that. Also reading the platform simply tells you what Tories would do, but asides political junkies, few read them. What really matters is how each side is able to spin it in the media and if Liberals are able to find a few holes and make those central theme and Tories cannot counter them, a good looking platform on surface may turn into a liability. My bigger worry longer term as that if party as I expect loses, membership will take wrong message from this. They will take message party needs to tack further right thus ensuring they lose next election and that is absolutely not what should happen. Instead message should be public was happy with Liberals and not interested in changing governments so no Tory leader or platform was going to win in those circumstances. Instead party set them up to be able to win when public finally fatigued of government rather than they lost because they were insufficiently right wing. At same time I feel a little better about Tories than I did pre-campaign. I still don’t expect them to win, but I do think O’Toole will run a good enough campaign that they won’t lose as badly as I feared earlier.