By: James Knight
Since the August 15th writ drop two weeks ago there has been a massive shift in the polls and therefore what the results from the election come to be a little more interesting. Coming into this election, it was increasingly likely that there would be some sort of Liberal government exiting it, now that is all up in the air. Let’s take a look at some possibilities.
What seemed like a near inevitability just weeks ago has quickly fallen from favour as a likely result of this federal election. This election was called by Justin Trudeau with the hope of being able to form a majority government but it seems without a near 180 that hope is lost.
As of September 2nd, the CBC predicted an 8% chance of a Liberal majority but based on other polling sources I would estimate that is closer to 3%. If the Liberal team is able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and secure a majority government, don't expect it to be a large one. Even when the Liberal were polling better they still only were estimated to hold a majority of 1 to 10 seats (at most). Now, a 1 to 5 seat majority would be the best case scenario for the Liberal. This scenario would see Justin Trudeau stay on as Liberal leader and Prime Minister.
A substantially more likely outcome of this election would be a Liberal minority government. While not the results Justin Trudeau had planned upon, a minority government would still see the Liberals in the government chairs at the end of the day. The big question from this result would be whether Mr. Trudeau keeps his job and that probably comes down to one factor. Did the Liberals win or lose seats?
The most likely of the two at the moment and the one Mr. Trudeau is dreading the most is the Liberals losing seats but retaining a minority government. If this is the result, questions will surely be raised within the party as to why the Prime Minister felt the need to have an election and why now? Elections are not cheap for parties and require huge amounts of money, time, and energy from candidates who would have preferred to enjoy the last few weeks of their summer breaks without the risk of losing their jobs. It is my belief and the belief of many others that Mr. Trudeau would be ousted as Party Leader and Prime Minister if this was to happen. He would likely be replaced by Deputy Leader Chrystia Freedland who would at least serve as Interim Leader.
To briefly touch on the other less likely options, if the Liberals do manage to gain seats yet not a majority, questions will definitely still be raised of the Prime Minister by his party but I believe the Prime Minister will likely be able to talk his way out of it.
A result which at the start of this election would have been a fairytale for Erin O’Toole and the Conservative party is shaping up to be a realistic yet unlikely result of this election. For this to happen there would have to be a complete collapse of the Liberal party which would likely have to stem from a big scandal against the Prime Minister. At this point, with NDP support on the rise it’s entirely possible that this scenario could lead to an NDP opposition with the support of potentially disenfranchised Liberal voters who are more to the left of the party. This scenario would obviously result in Mr. O’Toole becoming the first Conservative Prime Minister since Stephen Harper left office in late 2015. This would obviously be an utter disaster for Mr. Trudeau and the Liberal party who would have to effectively self combust for this result to occur.
Probably the most realistic result of this election (right now), a Conservative minority government would certainly lead to a fair amount of political turmoil post election. Who is sitting in the government seats once again comes down to one factor and that is the success of the Bloc Québécois.
The “Bloc”, as they are commonly referred to, have partnered up the Conservative party in the past to prop-up governments and are generally happy to go where they see the biggest benefit for Quebec. They would likely require that the Conservative government support legislation that would recognize Quebec as a nation within Canada or even allow for Quebec to have a third referendum of independence. These are demands that the Conservatives would probably accept if it meant government. Let’s take a look as to what the results would have to be to make this work.
As of today, 338Canada projects the Conservative party is ahead in 145 ridings and the Bloc is ahead in 29 which when combined comes out to a four seat majority of 174 which gives the government some wiggle room incase of rogue MPs, expulsion or resignation/death triggering a bi-election. This result would block the possibility of a Liberal-NDP coalition and would likely result in the resignation or removal of Mr. Trudeau as party leader.
The other possible outcome of a Conservative minority would be one in which the Conservatives and Bloc were unable to combine to a majority but the Liberals and NDP were. This would certainly be a sticky situation for the new Governor General, Mary Simon, to sort out. If this was the case the Conservatives would do everything in their power to block the coalition from forming as this coalition would have to advance the even further left-wing agenda of the NDP. In many ways this result is worse for the Conservatives as any hope of reducing spending or lowering taxes is completely out the window. If this is the case, Erin O’Toole’s leadership will certainly be in the hot seat as he will try to make the case that he won the Conservatives the election. This result would definitely keep us on our toes for weeks to come.
Elections are fast moving and ever changing so these are just a few of many possibilities as to how the 2021 Federal Election will end. Stay up to date with the federal election and other important political issues by subscribing to Youth in Politics and following us on social media.