The Weekly Writ for July 13
Conservative leadership standings, youth turnout in 2021 and a look at a few Atlantic leadership races, past and present
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.
Election speculation season has started, and we’re not even a year into this minority parliament!
While the press gallery and politicos in the parliamentary precinct can work themselves up into a self-fulfilling prophesy when it comes to snap election calls, this latest round looks a little flimsy. It seems to be largely centred on peripheral Liberals stating they’ll be ready for anything and Conservative strategists musing about how clever it would be for Justin Trudeau to go to the polls in the fall.
Don’t listen to them, Liberals — they might not have your best interests at heart!
There’s two assumptions that, to me, don’t make much sense. One is that the Liberals would be wise to get ahead of an economic downturn. Well, too late. A majority of Canadians already feel we’re in a recession. Odds are that as we get further away from pandemic-induced supply chain bottlenecks and wars in Eastern Europe, our economic prospects might improve. Is the economy (or, more importantly, perceptions of the economy) likely to be worse in October 2022 or October 2025?
The second is that the Liberals would be good to go to the polls before Pierre Poilievre establishes himself as the PM-in-waiting. I’m not sure I get the logic there. If you’re a swing voter who is easily spooked by less-than-centrist Conservatives, it seems to me that Poilievre is going to be spookier than Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole were. The Liberals will have an easier time casting Poilievre as a villain than those two, and time will be on their side. Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff were taken down by years of Conservative attacks. Their chances of survival might have been better in a snap call.
Finally, the Liberals and the New Democrats have a deal that takes them to 2025 that seems to be working more-or-less fine. Why sign it, when the Liberals didn’t need it anyway, if they intended on an early call? Three more guaranteed years in government are tough to beat — especially when the alternative is trying to white-knuckle their way through another election after the party nearly lost the last two (and, just maybe after 2021, there were some lessons drawn about the risks of an early call).
Colour me unconvinced that the Liberals will pull the plug this year. But, we can never rule out the possibility that people will make bad decisions.
This week’s Weekly Writ kicks off with an update to the Conservative Leadership Index (sans Brown) and a look at Elections Canada’s estimates of turnout in the 2021 federal vote, before heading to Atlantic Canada and the Prairies for some some provincial political news.
Plus there’s lots more this week. Let’s get to it!