Trinity-Spadina Changes Nothing
Liberals across Canada would like us to believe that Adam Vaughan's recent win in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina riding means that the rest of Canada is ready to accept the Liberal Party. Although the Liberal victory in Olivia Chow's old riding is a sign that Ontario has a growing preference for Liberals instead of New Democrats, the Trinity-Spadina results don't mean all Ontario ridings will be free grabs for the Liberals. Trinity-Spadina, in fact, doesn't represent most of Ontario. Up until 2006 and Jack Layton's rise in popularity, Trinity-Spadina was a Liberal riding for 13 years. This is a tiny little fact that most Liberals want Canadians to forget.
By blacking out the fact that Olivia Chow's victory was a temporary condition brought upon by her husband's likability and the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal, the Liberals want Canadians to believe that this Liberal victory is something more than just a natural return to old school Toronto politics.
Before the 13 year reign of Tony Ianno, the NDP only reigned in Trinity-Spadina for 5 years, until being obliterated by the Liberal candidate. After being elected in 1993, Tony Ianno beat Olivia Chow twice; once in 1997 and again in 2004. In 2006, Olivia Chow finally ended Ianno's reign, beating him by 6%. Chow's reign might have lasted another term had she not decided to run for mayor. Instead, Trinity-Spadina was returned to the Liberal Party with a 20% margin of victory.
Everything has gone back to normal in Trinity-Spadina.
Unlike Ontario's urban ridings, Conservative support is on the rise in the province's rural areas where any Liberal and NDP support is sure to split. Some of Ontario's not-Toronto urban ridings are strong NDP territory, making Liberal victories less easy to achieve. The Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding and Parkdale-High Park riding are good examples of NDP strongholds in Ontario, despite once belonging to the Liberals. Results from 2008 and 2011 show NDP support in the double digits ahead of the Liberal Party candidates. The Parkdale- High Park riding, in particular, lost its star candidate, Gerard Kennedy, in 2011. Now it's likely to belong to the NDP's star candidate, Peggy Nash, for a long time to come.
In two of the other four by-elections on June 30th, Conservatives held strong. In both Macleod and Fort McMurray-Athabasca, Conservative candidates won by their usual landslides. In Scarborough-Agincourt, the Liberal candidate won by an expected landslide without any real surprises.
If any of the four by-elections tell a story, it's Fort McMurray-Athabasca in Alberta. Liberal strategists and media pundits claimed that the Liberals had a shot. As the results rolled in, however, it turned out to be the opposite. Conservative candidate, David Yurdiga, beat the Liberal candidate with a double digit margin. As expected, the Liberals didn't stand a chance in Fort McMurray-Athabasca. The worst part for the Liberals is that both Justin Trudeau and Paul Martin spent a considerable amount of time campaigning in the riding.
The by-elections on June 30th do tell a story. The biggest loser in that story is the NDP. Come election time in 2015, however, the NDP are unlikely to be the BIG losers the Liberals are hoping for. The NDP will still have a strong showing, although not as strong as 2011. The NDP and Liberals will battle it out in some of the most important ridings in Ontario and BC, opening the door to possible Conservative gains. Those two provinces are bound to be the deciding factors in 2015 – not Alberta, not Saskatchewan, not Manitoba and not even Quebec. It's likely that Quebec could split between the NDP and Liberals, creating no significant game changing results. Given both Mulcair and Trudeau's Quebec heritage, the province is likely to remain deadlocked in 2015.
Just as Liberals are a write-off in Alberta, Conservatives are a write-off in Quebec. Neither party should expect any gains. But, as Fort McMurray-Athabasca proves, Liberals won't stop trying – so neither should Conservatives.
Despite the liberal media's wishful thinking, Canadians shouldn't expect a "Red Crush" in 2015. It won't happen. Justin Trudeau is simply not a convincing leader and Canada's economy will be front and centre, making Stephen Harper the father figure that Canadians look up to for strong guidance and leadership. Justin Trudeau will always be the loud, obnoxious brother Canadians wish they never had. Thomas Mulcair – he's the older brother that bullies all his younger siblings. Unfortunately, nobody likes a bully.