Thursday, December 20, 2018

Quick look at the provinces

I celebrated by 34th birthday yesterday (the 19th) so I did not finish that 1995 blogpost; but it will be done by monday at the latest.

Just wanted to share some quick thoughts on the provinces, and share something I said to some friends in a discord chat.

I gave some basic guidelines on which provinces I follow politically and why. These are the guidelines.

Don't follow politics in provinces

A - not your own, or
B - does not have an election, or a potential election, in the next 365 days, or
C - has not just undergone a major change such as a party merger, premier or opposition leader change, or, for example, suddenly dismisses its clerk and serjeant-at-arms.

As such, I am not following politics in Nova Scotia whatsoever. I only know the NS NDP leader because I opened the wikipedia page to double check when the next election there is; its 2021.

Ontario has recently had an election, but I live here. Quebec also recently had one; but there is also speculation about some kind of merger of the PQ and QS; plus the PLQ is going to have to pick a new leader, so I'm sort of keeping an eye on things over there.

The Yukon will not have an election in 2019 likely, and will likely go in 2020 or 2021.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan both are scheduled to vote in 2020.

New Brunswick recently held an election but the result was a minority government. As such they could have an election at any time. Polls suggest the Greens are up since the election.

So who IS having an election this year for sure?

May 31st is the latest date for an Alberta election; but it could happen as early as March 1st. Wisely, the law for the fixed election date gives some flexibility as to adapt to changing situations such as holidays.

Polls continue to have the UCP in the lead; but the polling trend over the term has seen the NDP rebounding. In the end it's going to come down to what Calgary does as the more rural areas seem more strongly opposed to a lot of what the NDP is up to. The Alberta Party may also play a role in who wins by taking votes away from the stronger party; the NDP in Edmonton, and the Tories in rural areas.

In the end I don't think the NDP will be able to catch up to the UCP in Calgary, but the Alberta Party could well play enough of a spoiler to ensure a minority government; if that happens it is possible that the NDP could form a coalition government with the Alberta Party, or at least, secure some kind of deal from them that would allow them to continue governing.

On October 7th, PEI goes to the polls. The PC Party will still need to find a new leader between now and then but the big problem is the massive shift in PEI politics.

At one time, the two parties had very similar policies and were thought of as "Team Red" and "Team Blue" with the Liberals frequently having the more right-wing platform. While the two parties still present very moderate platforms, what seems to have changed is that a lot of PEIslanders are fed up with the old two party system. Beyond that, they seem to trust the Greens to be the new "team" in this equation. The Greens have lead 3 of the 4 most recent polls, and have been ahead of the tories in 9 of the past 11 polls. It may simply be that enough Islanders will switch to the Greens to oppose the Liberals that the PC Party wont be able to retake their traditional spot as the go-to "not liberal" party.

If this happens a Green government, especially a minority, is certainly possible. PEI has never had such a minority government before and it would be interesting to see how the Greens would navigate such a system; the internal party culture would likely mean they'd deal with it rather well and this could then lead to a Green party Majority government in that province in an election that happens a year or two later.

The very next day on October 8th, NL goes to the polls. This will be an interesting election to watch largely based on who the PC leader is.

Ches Crosby is the son of John and grandson of Chesley; his namesake. Chesley was a huge personality in the convention that lead to the two Referendums to join Newfoundland to Canada; in which he very heavily pushed for union with the United States. John was the finance minister under Joe Clark and was a key architect of the NAFTA while a cabinet minister to Brian Mulroney. It remains to be seen if Ches can fill the mukluks left behind by his father and grandfather. If so, he could well win this election.

After the election in 2015, the government had perhaps the worst first few months of any new government, making gigantic cuts to the budget, and dropping from the 57% of the vote they took in the election to 37% in the first post-election poll; 27% in a poll the following month. Since then they managed to rise again, dipping only during May of this year, days after Ches Crosbie election as leader of the PC Party. Crosbie won his seat in October and although the margin has opened back up to 10 points with the Liberals ahead; the PC Party could still win the election.

British Columbia's referendum on electoral reform will be interesting to watch.

The Northwest Territories also votes in October (or November?) but for the same reason I don't follow Presidential systems as closely as I do Parliamentary systems - personality vs political parties - I do not really follow politics here.

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