A Conservative Majority? Not So Fast

April 1st, 2019 | R. Rados
tory majority

The Liberals have been down in most polls since the SNC-Lavalin scandal, but it won't last—as I always try to remind everyone that Canada is an inherently liberal country. It's not easy for conservatives to win elections in Canada as conservatives. It's wishful thinking to believe that a scandal of such magnitude would make beating the Liberals easy for any party, even the NDP. It'll take a whole lot more than interference in a criminal case to take the Liberals down. It took Stephen Harper several tries to beat the Liberals after Adscam, so this go-around won't be any easier for the Conservative Party. However, the possibility of reducing the Trudeau government to a minority is very high and it could pave the way for an eventual repeat of 2006.

Despite what all of the professional, media-loved political prophets like Eric Grenier have been saying, my prediction is a lot different. In the height of the Lavscam scandal, Grenier predicted a Conservative minority in his CBC poll tracker. Now he is again predicting a significant edge for Conservatives, leaning more toward a minority. Even at the height of the Lavscam scandal, Poletical's 2019 seat projection held the same: a Liberal minority with Conservatives at 145 seats. Today, I'm keeping those numbers the same.

I can only see 145 seats across Canada where the Conservatives stand a chance, even after all the fallout and damage from Trudeau's incompetence and arrogance. I also don't see the Liberal Party in any position to win another majority, no matter how many polls show them within the 38% range of popular support. These numbers will slide as campaigning gets under way and Trudeau's permanently damaged popularity will have a major impact. If Liberals somehow manage to pull off a majority in October, it will be dangerously slim.

No matter what happens, Conservatives will pick up seats across Canada. The maximum seats at the moment are 145. Minus another massive Liberal scandal, I don't see those numbers improving.

Unless Jagmeet Singh improves his own personal numbers, there are only a few places in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where the NDP will threaten the Liberals. As of now, the NDP stands to lose seats or break even with the 2015 election.

The Liberals will lose at least one million national votes from the 2015 election. This will impact their regional numbers significantly, meaning that they'll need to do better than 38% in popular support across Canada. In rare cases, a 38% national win doesn't translate to a majority. This may be one of those rare cases. Regionally, Liberals will obliterate the NDP in Quebec, which—in my opinion—is what saves them from a Conservative minority.

A lot of people will disagree with me here, but these are my predictions for the Conservative Party in some of the key provinces, give or take one or two seats.  

British Columbia – 11 Seats

The NDP will do well in BC, but so will the Liberals and Conservatives. Of any province, British Columbia is the most unpredictable, close and colourful. As the Burnaby South by-election proved, Maxime Bernier's PPC may also do well enough to damage the Conservatives.

Conservatives recently lost South Surrey—White Rock to the Liberals in a by-election, but this seat is one of the 11 the Conservatives have a good chance of winning. Gord Hogg beat Kerry Lynn-Findlay by less than 2,000 votes and the seat once belonged to Conservative Dianne Watts, who resigned to unsuccessfully run for the provincial Liberal leadership.

If the PPC stays weak in rural BC, the Conservatives should win a maximum of 11 seats and a minimum of 7. We'll leave this open to big changes, given the PPC's growing popularity in BC. Even a slight skim from Conservative numbers could give potential Conservative seats to the NDP and Liberals.

Alberta – 32 Seats

Liberals are going to lose key seats in Alberta. The federal NDP will likely keep their one, single seat in Edmonton Strathcona, but won't make any gains anywhere in the province. It's likely that Edmonton Mill Woods will go to the Conservatives and that Calgary Centre may also fall from Kent Hehr. It's also possible that Darshan Kang's old Liberal seat in Calgary Skyview will go to the Conservatives.

Alberta is the Conservative Party's strongest province, but it offers nothing in terms of important, seismic national gains.

Ontario – 51 Seats

The most significant province for the Conservatives will be Ontario. Their maximum is 51 seats, with a bare minimum of 30. There will be a lot of Conservative holds in Ontario, with no real big chance of losses from 2015. Ontario will be where Conservatives make the most gains and where Liberals take the biggest losses.

Rural Ontario will be where Conservatives make the biggest gains, while urban areas like the GTA will stay Liberal or sway NDP (unlikely), despite what more recent polls say. Doug Ford's win could give clues to how strong the Conservative vote will be in Ontario. Although Ford is popular among conservatives, his appeal outside the conservative circles is minimal, if not negative. His campaigning for Scheer may have no impact on federal Conservative numbers, but his help could rally conservatives in key ridings.

Quebec – 13 Seats

Conservatives will likely lose Maxime Bernier's seat to the PPC, while holding many of their 2015 wins and possibly making a gain of one or two seats. The maximum for the CPC in Quebec is only 13, with a bare minimum of 7. Quebec has always been tough for Conservatives and 2019 won't be any different.

The best Conservatives can hope for in Quebec is to hold their wins from 2015. With the PPC lacking in popularity outside of Beauce, luckily Conservatives should have no real problem. The possibility of Maxime Bernier losing his seat to Conservatives is also fairly good.

Atlantic Canada – 4 Seats

Conservatives got walloped in Atlantic Canada in 2015, so even a gain of 4 would be considered significant. Other prognosticators and pundits probably see more hope for Conservatives in Atlantic Canada, but I don't. Liberals have been seeing historic slumps in Atlantic polling, but don't let that fool you. The numbers aren't significant enough to translate into Conservative gains.

Conservatives – 145 Seats

The ceiling for Conservatives in 2019 is 145 seats. The bottom is 100. No matter what pollsters and conservative pundits try to tell you, the likelihood of a Conservative majority is almost zero. The likelihood of a Conservative minority, however, is a bit higher. The likelihood of a Liberal minority is higher than the likelihood of a Liberal majority, so that's definitely promising.

You can pay attention to Poletical's seat projections here for any major changes, but don't expect the Conservatives to creep past 145. This could change if polls become worse and stay consistently terrible for Liberals, but I'm not optimistic. Unless something devastating happens to Liberals and Trudeau between now and October, aside from typical campaigning, don't expect Conservatives to edge into majority territory.

Also, don't expect a Liberal majority—but also don't rule it out.

As of now, here is my prediction of the government I think we will see in October, in order of likelihood:

Liberal Minority – 80% chance

Liberal Majority – 50% chance

Conservative Minority – 20% chance

Conservative Majority – 0% chance