Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Rubik's Cube Canadian Election of 2019 - Infinite Combinations and Extremely Frustrating!

Rubik's Cube - an appropriate metaphor for Election 2019!  
The Rubik's Cube Canadian Election of 2019 - With Infinite Combinations and Extremely Frustrating! 

By Bill Tieleman 

It's finally almost over!  This Rubik's Cube of a Canadian election 2019 has surely been one of the most frustrating and hardest to predict due to its infinite possible combinations of party results.

The results on Monday night appear likely to leave at least a few possible combinations for the two largest parties to form a temporary and shaky government.  

There is much negative and not much positive to be said for both possibilities in many ways but likely the one thing we can count on is another election within 18 months to two years.

Looking at the latest polls, it seems the two most likely possibilities are a Liberal minority  government backed by New Democratic Party support to get to the 170 seats needed for a majority vote on confidence matters -  or a Conservative minority, backed when crucial by the Bloc Québécois.

There still remains two outlier results: a Liberal or Conservative majority government that surprises all pollsters - but from the beginning of this desultory campaign that has seemed highly unlikely - and no polling even briefly indicated that was possible.

I have grave doubts about so-called "aggregator polls" that take all polling firms' results and combine them in an attempt to mitigate any rogue polls and get a much larger sample with presumably more accurate results.  The problem is that mixing pollsters with long track records with good accuracy and those who often can't hit the broad side of a barn door means the overall averages are misleading.

I prefer Ipsos results, along with the Angus Reid Institute and a few others.  The latest Ipsos Global News poll on Sunday October 20 shows these numbers: 

Ipsos polling results October 2019 for Global News
It's important to note that according to Ipsos, the Bloc Quebecois is at 29% in Quebec, the only province where it is contesting seats - all 78 of them.  That means it will send a large contingent of separatists to Parliament for the first time in many elections.  

And the Bloc Quebecois is an untouchable partner for any party to officially align with, though the Bloc and the Conservatives may work out a non-deal deal after the election.  The Liberals might also work that angle if necessary but they likely hope for a deal with the NDP - if their numbers add up.  

Lastly, British Columbia may - or may not - determine who will likely form the next government. Our 42 seats are tightly contested in mostly 3-way races between the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals, with the Greens trying to expand their two seats on Vancouver Island but not contending anywhere else in BC.

While our provincial ego always hopes the rest of the country stays up late watching our results roll in to find out who won, that usually hasn't happened.  But with a tight race in many BC ridings, hope springs eternal!  Let the easterners be sleepy Tuesday morning! 

The Biggest Losers and Winners?

The biggest loser has yet to be decided but both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer are also neck and neck for that unwelcome honour.

Trudeau should have had it in the bag from the start but bungled it.  

Unable to contain the self-inflicted damage of the SNC-Lavalin scandal and unwilling or unable to keep Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and Treasury Board President Jane Philpott in his cabinet and caucus when it was critical, Trudeau was already tarnished before the blackface incidents made him an international embarrassment as well.
Justin Trudeau at "Arabian Nights" event at private school event in 2001
Trudeau's future depends on his keeping the job of Prime Minister in a minority government - and even then it is clouded in the longer term.

The biggest winner appears clear - NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has run a phenomenal campaign and is the only national leader to have a wildly positive approval rating in poll after poll, while his party has steadily climbed in popularity. 

Singh's performance in two English language leaders debates was superb, coming across as the most genuine, relatable and relaxed of all of them - and Canadians reacted with increased support for the NDP.

Singh also dealt with a racist encounter on camera in Montreal with poise and true leadership in difficult circumstances, winning plaudits even from his political opponents. 
Jagmeet Singh on Tik Tok with over 2 million views!
And he has proven a social media phenomenon, getting followed by pop star Rihanna on Instagram and most recently mastering Tik Tok while other leaders are left in the dust by comparison!

But Singh also has to account for the two years since he became leader when the party's polling pancaked, it's finances fizzled and expectations dropped so precipitously low that at campaign start many speculated on whether or not the NDP could maintain official party status with 12 MPs elected. 

Things improved very dramatically after Singh won his Burnaby South seat in a by election and when the campaign drew national attention to his strong abilities.  But ironically, if the NDP gets 30 or more seats it may be regarded as a huge success for Singh - but that would be less than the 44 seats won in 2015 under the unlamented leadership of Tom Mulcair, who saw 51 seats disappear from the 2011 election tally under the late Jack Layton.  

However, it Singh meets or exceeds 44 seats he will be guaranteed a hero's welcome indefinitely by NDP troops. 

In the event of a Liberal minority with NDP support there will be no likelihood of either Trudeau or Singh losing their jobs as leaders, even if one or both parties lose seats. 

Scheer, on the other hand, is much more likely to lose his job unless he can form a minority government himself. For the Conservatives this has always been a "majority or bust" campaign, as they had little hope of winning the support of the NDP in a minority situation even before Singh publicly and repeatedly ruled that out.  

That only leaves the Bloc Quebecois as a likely possible partner of sorts - and that relationship would have the Facebook description of "It's complicated"!   But for Trudeau, should "Scheer Madness" prevail, his leadership may well be over. 

And of course the Bloc Quebec-wha? and leader Yves-Francois Blanchet are almost guaranteed to be big winners, having come back from the almost dead to likely win 20 to 30 or even more seats.  Blanchet will be laughing all the way to the separation referendum!

The other biggest loser could well be Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who for the third successive election in a row has predicted a "breakthrough" nationally for her party.  

After the by-election win of Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith earlier this year in a formerly NDP seat, May and her party were exuberant.  
Tieleman Twitter account exposed a few flaky Green candidates
But the campaign started badly and faded further in the stretch, with a string of flaky and offensive candidates exposed online by myself and others for everything from believing 9/11 was an "inside job" to that the 1969 moon landing was faked to Islamophobic comments found on social media by four Quebec candidates.  

Some of those Greens became non-candidates and others profusely apologized but the damage was done - the Greens were "not as advertised" to many voters and their polling numbers tanked.  Now they hold out hope to possibly pick up a few more seats on Vancouver Island but seem to have little chance anywhere else.

So one of the least interesting election campaigns in recent political history will end with possibly the most interesting results and consequences for Canada since the 1970s.

This is one Rubik's Cube election that will take a long time and a lot of aggravation to puzzle out.