Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How soon till we seen election in Ontario or Quebec?

In both Ontario and Quebec the governments do not have majorities which means a vote of confidence in either house would force an election.    It does matter to people in the rest of the country if there are new elections in the two largest provinces of Canada.

Dalton McGuinty will step down as Ontario premier and Liberal leader as soon as the party has a new leader which will be in January.    The legislature is prorogued so there can be no vote of confidence which means the Liberals will remain in power into the new year but after than who knows.

The polling in Ontario has been limited but what polling that has occurred does not indicate there is a strong support for the Liberals.  Eric Grenier has made his projection of likely support for the parties at this time and has the PCs at 36.5%, the NDP at 32.3%, the Liberals at 23.6% and the Greens at 6.8%.

I can not see any reason that the NDP and PCs will not force an election in the spring of 2013.   The only wildcard is a new leader for the Ontario Liberals that dramatically raises the polling numbers.

For all three national parties the results of the next Ontario election is very important.

The Ontario Liberals are really the last major bastion of a provincial wing of the party with significant ties to the Federal Liberals even if they are not formally connected any longer.   If the Ontario Liberals wither the number of potential future Liberal MPs will be further lowered

For the Conservatives there is a clear benefit in having a new premier in Ontario that will be friendlier to them in Ottawa, though the way Stephen Harper has been governing, I am not sure that the Ontario PCs will be as strong allies as one would have thought in the past.

For the NDP winning more seats and becoming the official opposition or government would solidify their position as one of the two major parties in Canada.

In Quebec the PQ has to deal with the reality that not only do they have a minority, they were elected with one of the lowest popular vote percentages in Canadian history.    The only thing they have going for them is that I doubt the Liberals want an election until well after they have chosen a new leader in March.

There have only been two polls in Quebec this fall since the election which means there is little data to indicate any trends other than to say on a broad level the 2012 election results seem to still be the mood of the public in Quebec.   Eric Grenier is estimating support at PQ 32.8%, Liberals 29.6%, CAQ 24.6%, and QS 9.2%.

I suspect a 2013 election in Quebec will have a significant impact on the relationship between the province and the federal government.   I think there are reasonable odds that a new election could see CAQ doing better and bringing a party in power in the province that is effectively agnostic on the role of Quebec within Canada.    What would it mean for Canada to have a government in Quebec that is neither federalist nor sovereigntist but honestly really does not care one way or the other?

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