Pundits expect little political change on the Prairies
EDMONTON – Federal elections are not expected to produce much change in the Prairie provinces, but some political experts say that if there are ridings to watch, they are in urban areas.
The 2019 federal vote saw the Conservatives take over all of Saskatchewan’s 14 ridings. The Conservatives also won every seat except one in Alberta and half of the ridings in Manitoba.
One of the biggest upheavals was longtime Liberal Ralph Goodale, then Minister of Public Safety, who lost his seat in Regina-Wascana to the Conservatives.
Christopher Adams, assistant professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba, says he expects the big changes that happened in the West two years ago will mostly stay in place.
But he says the declining popularity of Progressive Conservative Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister due to his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic could work to the advantage of the Liberal Party.
“The provincial Progressive Conservative Party – its branding is somewhat tarnished right now, much like the United Conservative Party for (Premier) Jason Kenney in Alberta,” Adams said.
“It could have an impact on the Conservative vote in federal ridings in this election in Winnipeg in particular.”
He says the ridings to watch are in the provincial capital, particularly Winnipeg South and Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley.
“As Winnipeg South goes, the nation goes,” Adams said.
In the last election, Liberal Doug Eyolfson lost his riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley sits on curator Marty Morantz. The two face off again this year.
Howard Leeson, professor emeritus in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina, says the urban constituency Goodale lost in 2019 is worth watching, but he doesn’t think the Liberals can make it happen. to resume.
“Generally speaking, they have almost no organization in Saskatchewan,” Leeson says of the Liberals. “(The party) has been in serious decline here for several decades and they really haven’t done anything on the ground to recover it.”
He says that a non-urban riding in northern Saskatchewan is also interesting.
The Liberals recruited Buckley Bélanger to run in Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. Bélanger recently stepped down as the Saskatchewan NDP MP.
“The politics there is very, very local. It’s a very large constituency, which is very indigenous, and the politics are quite different from the south,” Leeson said.
Bélanger has a good chance of winning, he says, and could be part of a Liberal cabinet.
“I think it would be a good thing for indigenous people, in terms of the types of services they need there. ”
Although the NDP is the official opposition in every Prairie province, Leeson says it is a different party at the federal level.
“There has always been a gap between federal leadership and provincial leadership on natural resource issues in particular.
“But in Saskatchewan it’s even worse with the current leader (Jagmeet Singh), who hasn’t paid much attention to Saskatchewan at all.”
The divide also occurred in Alberta. In the last election, NDP leader and former Prime Minister Rachel Notley said she would not support Singh because of her opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Lisa Young, professor of political science at the University of Calgary, says she doesn’t expect major gains for the party in Alberta.
The only NDP riding is Edmonton Strathcona, a party stronghold for over a decade.
“The provincial NDP of Alberta is a fairly centrist party on many issues, especially when it comes to the environment and the development of energy resources,” she said.
“While people may say they are going to vote for the federal NDP in Alberta – with the exception of a few places in Edmonton – that might not happen once they take a closer look at the difference between the federal NDP and the provincial NDP. ”
Young says the ridings to watch are Calgary and Edmonton, where the Liberals could win seats.
The Liberals, including former Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, lost all the ridings they held in 2019 to the Conservatives.
Young says there could be a close race in Edmonton Center, where Liberal Randy Boissonnault is looking to cede his seat to Conservative James Cumming.
She also says the Liberals have a good chance in Calgary Skyview, Calgary Confederation and Calgary Center.
While the real battleground in Canada will be in Ontario and parts of Quebec, Young says the Liberals should use the unpopularity of the premier of Alberta outside the province against the Tories.
“We have seen signals that the Federal Liberals are going to come up against Prime Minister Jason Kenney in some ways, particularly in the way they have criticized the way the pandemic has been handled,” she said, referring to the Alberta which has lifted most of its COVID-19 Restrictions.
“They might be trying to say, ‘Look, Canada, you don’t want to be ruled the same way Alberta is ruled.'”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2021.