Thursday, February 12, 2009

Premier Primer

With the economic bad news pilling on, Canadians have become more and more concerned about losing their jobs. And for no industry is that fear more real than in…politics.

I took a quick look at the historical trends before Christmas. Now, let’s gaze ahead to see just how worried the men and women who lead Canadian governments should be. As an added bonus, I’ve included the magic 8 ball answers to the all-important “will they be re-elected” question.

Danny Williams (Newfoundland)

Date with destiny: 2011
What he has going for him: Crushed the opposition, winning 43 of 47 seats last election
Why he should be worried: His anti-Ottawa schtick might grow tiresome
The 8 ball says: You can count on it

Robert Ghiz (PEI)

Date with destiny: 2011
What he has going for him: He’s young and just started his first term
Why he should be worried: Mike Duffy could become de-facto opposition leader
The 8 ball says: Focus and ask again. Like I have any clue about PEI politics…

Rodney MacDonald (Nova Scotia)

Date with destiny: Soon
What he has going for him: Wicked fiddle skills. And Nova Scotians have never elected an NDP government.
Why he should be worried: Deficit + government that has already won 3 elections.
The 8 ball says: Don’t bet on it

Shawn Graham (New Brunswick)

Date with destiny: Fall 2010
What he has going for him: Has been relatively bold as Premier
Why he should be worried: Has been relatively bold as Premier
The 8 ball says: Can’t say now

Jean Charest (Quebec)

Date with destiny: Fall 2012
What he has going for him: Time. Thanks to his majority gambit in the fall, the economy should be on the upswing by the time the next election rolls around.
Why he should be worried: Getting a third term was a rarity for a Quebec premier. Will he press his luck and try for a fourth?
The 8 ball says: Consult me Later. It’s debatable if he’ll even stay around until the next election.

Dalton McGuinty (Ontario)

Date with destiny: October 2011
What he has going for him: John Tory.
Why he should be worried: Ontario has been the hardest hit by the economic downturn.
The 8 ball says: Answer unclear ask later. A lot can happen in two and a half years.

Gary Doer (Manitoba)

Date with destiny: Spring 2011
What he has going for him: Canada's longest serving Premier
Why he should be worried: Canada's longest serving Premier
The 8 ball says: Cannot foretell now. There's a chance he may hang up his skates before the next election.

Brad Wall (Saskatchewan)

Date with destiny: Fall 2011
What he has going for him: It’s his first term in power, and he leads the one province whose economy actually appears to be on the upswing.
Why he should be worried: NDP roots run deep in Saskatchewan.
The 8 ball says: All signs point to yes

Ed Stelmach (Alberta)

Date with destiny: Early 2012
What he has going for him: A soon-to-be forty consecutive years in power.
Why he should be worried: Umm…because he’s not a very…err…good…uhh…politician.
The 8 ball says: No doubt about it.

Gordon Campbell (BC)

Date with destiny: May 12th
What he has going for him: Two scandal-free terms in power – a rarity in BC politics.
Why he should be worried: The carbon tax and BC’s first deficit in years.
The 8 ball says: Chances aren’t good

Stephen Harper (Canada)

Date with destiny: The hell if I know. It’s not like we have fixed election dates.
What he has going for him: A great political machine.
Why he should be worried: Tough times and a new Liberal leader
The 8 ball says: Outlook unclear


  • "Two scandal-free terms in power – a rarity in BC politics."


    Gordon Campbell has a typical record for a right-wing government. All that lying, hiding and bumbling.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:06 a.m.  

  • My prediction on Harper: the timing of the next election is essentially in the court of Ignatieff now. The two other parties have committed hard to voting down Harper on everything and Harper's position is precarious enough he isn't likely to risk an election himself.

    Ignatieff will wait a year and call an election when a recovery is beginning but unclear (that is slated to begin at the middle of 2009). He will attack the Tories for not getting enough infrastructure spending out the door (Tories bungled stimulus, cost you your jobs).

    Either Harper or Ignatieff will win a weak minority, although Ignatieff may get away with taking power if Harper's plurality is weak, and if he can get an accord with the NDP.

    We'll see how it all plays out.

    Provincial predictions:
    Campbell = FAIL
    McGuinty = FAIL
    Danny = WIN
    Stelmach = WIN
    Charest = WIN (collapse of the ADQ is good news for the Libs. The Bloc has only won ONCE - 1981 - in an election where either the ADQ or Unione Nationale did not win >10% of the vote).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:38 a.m.  

  • Gordon Campbell - What he has going for him: Carole James and the possibility of an NDP government. Most people in BC couldn't pick her out of a line-up, and the thought of another NDP government particularly at this time gives people nightmares.

    Also with the collapse of oil prices, the carbon tax has faded from people's minds.

    By Blogger jad, at 12:10 p.m.  

  • "What he has going for him: It’s his first term in power, and he leads the one province whose economy actually appears to be on the upswing."

    Except we have major layoffs in the natural resource sector and the majority of jobs gained last quarter were part-time jobs. Brad Wall is going down next election.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:42 p.m.  

  • Do you know that Campbell & the BC Liberals are 16 points ahead in the polls and this lead keeps increasing month over month ? Do you follow BC politics ?

    You need better meds if you want to keep believing Carol James & the BC NDP have a hope in hell of winning an election when the ballot issue is the economy.

    It is going to be a Massive BC Liberal victory on May 12th.

    And this will spare us the embarrassment of welcoming the world to the 2010 Olympics with the socialist horde running the show.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 p.m.  

  • Well, the two parties were tied before Christmas, although you are right the BC Libs have pulled ahead of late - I think the electoral map favours them, right?

    Still, I'd peg it as a 50/50 shot. But, yeah, I don't follow BC politics overly closely so that's my outsiders take.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:05 p.m.  

  • the "tied before Christmas" was just backlash over the carbon tax. Short term and now gone. Take away that oddity and the NDP have never been close in the Campbell years.

    The trend line is a growing BC Liberals lead, not shrinking.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:54 p.m.  

  • Sure sure, that's all well and good. But where's "This week in Alberta"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 p.m.  

  • "You need better meds if you want to keep believing Carol James & the BC NDP have a hope in hell of winning an election when the ballot issue is the economy."

    1. Whatever negatives the NDP has, they still managed to come within 4 points of Gordo in the 2005 election.

    2. Your argument is that the increased salience of the economy hurts the NDP. Actually it depends - if the economy is the ballot issue BECAUSE IT IS TANKING, it also decreases the edge of the incumbent. Which effect is larger? Hard to say. However, present economic projections suggest that the May election will come at the exact peak of the recession.

    3. Mustel's latest poll demonstrates this graphically. The economy became the top issue (>40% of respondents) in November, when their poll showed a dead heat. The NDP can absolutely win, or at least be competitive when the issue is the economy.

    Nov '08
    economy biggest issue: 40%
    NDP: 42
    LIB: 44

    Jan '09
    economy biggest issue ~42%
    NDP: 33%
    LIB: 47%

    4. Greens are over-polled, NDP under-polled. In 2005 polls had the Greens at 12-15%. They won 9%. The NDP polled at 34-40%, they won 42. This probably reflects good NDP organizational strength and late-switching by Greens (who poll at 16% in the recent Mustel poll).

    5. Conservative government: voters in most Canadian provinces have some tendency to balance the provincial government with a federal government of the opposite political persuasion. This may be reinforced by the fact that the Conservative victory in October deprives Gordo of a lot of political talent that might otherwise be part of his team.

    I actually moderately like Gordon Campbell, but I would not consider his re-election to be a slam dunk.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 9:47 p.m.  

  • Interesting topic and comments. I'd be interested to hear thoughts on what you think some of the variables are at play in Alberta. Especially the depth and length of downturn and what kind of (small) opening that provides to opposition parties to recover or make some modest gains. As you say, Stelmach and his front bench aren't exactly geniuses, but lots of money papers over lots of problems. Then there's the growing disarray in the opposition Liberals under Swann. Who knows where that will end up. Such topics are what pass for political debate in Alberta.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:10 p.m.  

  • Although it's far away, I'd say Ghiz will most likely be awarded a second term in PEI unless a major scandal hits or something else goes really wrong. But the election is still two years away.

    I would also be inclined to say that Graham gets a second term in NB if I had to bet on it. He has been very bold; I think he's upset some people but according to the last polls I saw, there seemed to still be a general sense of approval of his government. Also, I don't think the Tories picked the greatest new leader.

    Rodney (whom some have taken to calling Rob-Me) is in a lot of trouble. I think people are really tired of the PCs in NS and want something different. Hell, they only won two more seats than the NDP in 2006. I think their biggest advantage is that a fairly big contingent of voters are still nervous about the heir apparent NDP (as you mentioned, they've never been in government in NS before) and may rather go with the devil they know. An increasing number of those voters, though, could go from the PCs to the mildly reinvigorated Liberals led by Stephen McNeil, a likable and trustworthy guy who won't have to spend half of the election trying to win his own seat, unlike the last two leaders Danny Graham and Francis MacKenzie. We'll see what happens...right now I'm predicting an NDP government, not sure if it will be majority or minority, but a lot can happen in the next few months.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Babar, at 9:58 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Babar, at 9:59 a.m.  

  • Others also seem to be giving the BC Libs the edge.

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:42 p.m.  

  • Thanks for the insights from out east and west. It's easy to overlook those areas...

    As for Alberta - it's a bit of a mess. I guess you could wind up in another Getty situation, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:02 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Babar, at 6:32 p.m.  

  • Uh, wouldn't Brad Wall's name be in green and yellow, the colors of his party?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 p.m.  

  • "Why he should be worried: Mike Duffy could become de-facto opposition leader"

    Would be the best thing to happen to Ghiz; a big loudmouth in Ottawa who most people don't regard as especially legitimate will be an easy way to score points.

    Ghiz will most likely get a second term; there's been a persistent little controversy the last few months over the provincial nominee program (a mess), but it's nothing too serious.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 3:36 p.m.  

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