The Greater Toronto Area will be “pivotal” for any political party that wants to rule Canada and whoever wins the Sept. 20 federal election will have to take either Ontario or Quebec, a University of Windsor professor said.
Lydia Miljan, who teaches political science, said the usual logic is that a party cannot win a federal election in Canada unless it takes Quebec. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper defied this logic, however, she said.
âWell, we saw that Stephen Harper was able to win the majority without Quebec. But he only did it because he had Ontario. You have to have one or the other,â he said. said Miljan on Sunday.
âClearly, vote-rich Ontario will always be an important part of any election victory for any major political party. “
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau launched an early federal election on Sunday, asking Governor General Mary Simon to dissolve Parliament in the morning.
Miljan said she believed it was a gamble on Trudeau’s part to try to get a majority government with the fourth wave of the pandemic underway. The timing, with an election called during the scorching summer days, could create some resentment among voters.
“There really is no reason for them to have elections. We know the opposition parties are ready to cooperate with the government,” she said.
Miljan added that much of the campaign could be carried out through online events due to persistent public health restrictions and noted that Conservative leader Erin O’Toole launched his campaign virtually on Sunday.
âHe’s going to use the pandemic as a way to reach the digital world. I think that sends an interesting signal. He says, ‘We’re going to be careful. We are going to be careful, “” she said.
Miljan said she believes the campaign will involve a mix of virtual and mostly outdoor events in person. There could be drive-in campaign events, as there has been in the United States, and there will likely be more digital awareness.
Image, however, will likely come before politics during campaign events, she said.
Knocking on the door during the pandemic will also pose a challenge, as Canadians can be hostile to politicians at the door, she added.
“There are a lot of different things that are going to make this campaign a lot more embarrassing than previous campaigns,” she said. “It’s not as usual.”
“Unknown variables” at play in the elections, according to a professor
Miljan said the campaign would involve a number of “unknown variables”. These include:
- How Canadians are reacting to new campaign leaders, including O’Toole and Green Party leader Annamie Paul, both of whom can be underestimated. O’Toole, an “easily fired and underestimated” politician, has dramatically improved his French skills, while Paul, “terribly hurt by his own party, can be a” formidable actor, “she said.
- The extent to which the Delta variant is taking hold and the number of hospitalizations as the country approaches election date.
- How well Paul does during debates as the only female and only black leader on stage.
Miljan noted that this is the first time since fixed-date election laws have been in place that a minority government has chosen to go to the polls. The next fixed election date in Canada was in October 2023.
âStephen Harper put these laws in place so that we cannot choose election dates like we are doing today,â she said.
The campaign will last 36 days, the minimum campaign duration allowed by law.
According to the CBC poll, the Liberals have a solid lead of over 35 percent. At the time of dissolution, they held 155 seats in the House of Commons.