The Weekly Writ for Feb. 8
Alarm bells, or false alarms, ring for Liberals; more byelections incoming; and a close race for a bad job.
Welcome to the Weekly Writ, a round-up of the latest federal and provincial polls, election news and political history that lands in your inbox every Wednesday morning.
These days feel like fraught ones for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
Part of that has been driven by a single poll, the reaction to which may have been a little exaggerated (more on that below), but there are lots of other signals that the Liberals are walking a tight rope at the moment.
Negotiations with the provinces over new health funding would be fraught in any context. The federal offer has the promise of being a good news story not only for the government but for Canadians in general, who would prefer improvements to their healthcare system over ideological sabre rattling on public vs. private delivery or provincial vs. federal jurisdiction.
The negotiations, of course, also have the potential to fall apart with serious political consequences.
Beyond that, there are other signs of malaise within the Liberal ranks, particularly in Quebec.
The Liberals’ nomination of Amira Elghawaby as the government’s special representative to combat Islamophobia has been widely panned in Quebec, from across the political spectrum, due to her past comments about Quebecers, catching Pablo Rodriguez, Trudeau’s Quebec lieutenant, and other Quebec Liberal MP by surprise. It poses serious political risk for the Liberals in the province.
Intra-caucus fighting over the Liberals’ changes to the Official Languages Act is now spilling into the public square between anglophone and francophone MPs, with Franco-Ontarian MP Francis Drouin calling out his West Island colleagues.
If there are two things that can sap the Liberals’ support in Quebec more than a clumsy approach to language and laïcité, I don’t know what they are.
And that’s a big problem for the Liberals, whose big advantage over the Conservatives is that they can win lots of seats in Quebec. If they lose that pillar in their electoral coalition, defeat will not be far behind.
Now, to what is in this week’s instalment of the Weekly Writ:
News on resignations in the House of Commons and the Saskatchewan legislature, an evaded election in Yukon, a byelection call in Quebec and a promised update on the NDP’s fundraising
Polls and lots of ‘em: federal, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario
Liberals still in minority territory if the election were held today
Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne riding profile and byelection setup
The 1991 Nova Scotia PC leadership in the #EveryElectionProject
Let’s get to it!