Canada 2019: Our First Set of Race Reviews

The first 50 seats we decided to rate. Map made on mapchart.net

For our first 50 riding reviews, we have reviewed the following ridings, in the order listed below. Scroll down to find yours (or maybe read the whole thing!)

  • In Newfoundland and Labrador: Avalon, Labrador, St. John’s East
  • In Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
  • In Nova Scotia: Halifax, West Nova
  • In New Brunswick: Fundy Royal, Madawaska-Restigouche
  • In Quebec: Beauce, Beloeil-Chambly, Berthier-Maskinonge, Brome-Missisquoi, Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, Papineau, Pontiac, Rimouski-Neigette-Temiscouata-Les Basques, Saint-Laurent, Terrebonne, Vaudreuil-Soulanges
  • In Ontario: Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, Burlington, Don Valley East, Huron-Bruce, Kenora, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, London West, Markham-Stouffville, Mississauga-Malton, Ottawa Centre, Sudbury, Thornhill, Timmins-James Bay, Toronto Centre, Windsor-Tecumseh
  • In Manitoba: Elmwood-Transcona, Provencher, Winnipeg North
  • In Saskatchewan: Saskatoon-Grasswood, Yorkton-Melville
  • In Alberta: Calgary Centre, Calgary Forest Lawn, Edmonton Riverbend, Peace River-Westlock
  • In British Columbia: Abbotsford, Burnaby South, Delta, Kootenay-Columbia, Saanich-Gulf Islands, Vancouver Centre
  • In the Territories: Yukon

Avalon, Newfoundland and Labrador

MP at Dissolution: Ken McDonald, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: This rural riding takes in most of the Avalon peninsula, including the towns of Conception Bay South and Paradise, but excluding the remaining area around St. John’s. Having elected Conservative Fabian Manning for a single term in 2006, it has voted Liberal ever since, although on the current boundaries it would have elected a Conservative in 2011. At the last election, Ken McDonald handily defeated independent Liberal Scott Andrews with 55.9% of the vote and a 38.1% margin of victory, winning polls across the riding. McDonald is running for re-election, currently against Conservative Matthew Chapman and Green Greg Malone. 

We are rating this riding as Solidly Liberal. It is no question that this is a Liberal stronghold, as is most of the province. Whilst the Conservatives have shown strength here, this is a riding we would only expect them to take in a majority situation, and even at that point, it would come at a push. A lot of previous Conservative popularity can be attributed to the candidacy of Fabian Manning and its residual effect. They are the only challenging party; we do not expect the other parties to show strength here. Ken McDonald’s margin of victory is almost certain to shrink, a pattern we can see developing across Atlantic Canada. In terms of candidacies, McDonald was the strongest in 2015 as the Mayor of Conception Bay South, and now as the incumbent in the riding, that advantage holds up, in a province where personalities can make all the difference. Our forecast is that McDonald will be re-elected. 

Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador

MP at Dissolution: Yvonne Jones

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Labrador is a rural, remote riding covering the eponymous region, and has the distinction of being the least populous in Canada. Politically, it has elected Liberals for all elections this century bar the 2011 election of Peter Penashue, who became a cabinet minister. Penashue fought a by-election in 2013, having resigned after allegations of irregular election expenses; he lost the by-election to the incumbent Yvonne Jones, a former leader of the provincial Liberal Party. Jones was re-elected in 2015 with 71.8% of the vote; Penashue came third. Jones is running for re-election, with Conservative Larry Flemming being the only other candidate to have been nominated thus far.
We are rating this riding as Solidly Liberal. Labrador’s distinct geography and culture provides it with unique challenges, and voters here have strongly identified with the Liberals. The 2011 result was an anomaly, and with the Liberals polling better this time than they were in 2011, a Liberal victory looks near-certain. Jones is a well-known face in the riding, and although provincially well-known faces have lost before in Labrador ridings, she lacks credible challenges (and challengers to lead them) with only two months to go.

St. John’s East, Newfoundland and Labrador

MP at Dissolution: Nick Whalen, Liberal

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: St. John’s East, as the name suggest, covers half the city of St. John’s, in addition to whole of the Cape St. Francis area. At the last election, it provided the narrowest margin of victory for any of the 32 Liberals elected in Atlantic Canada, making it on paper the most marginal riding in the region. Jack Harris, the defeated NDP incumbent in 2015, is a former leader of the provincial NDP, and was first elected in 1987. His comeback in 2008 was a gain from the Conseratives, and a substantial one at that, winning 74.6% of the vote. In 2015, the NDP invested little into this riding, instead focusing on the neighbouring riding, and it proved costly, as current incumbent Nick Whalen bested Harris by little over 600 votes. The two are seeking a rematch.

Our rating in St. John’s East is Tossup. It’s easy to see the NDP as the frontrunner here, especially with Harris running again against Whalen, widely viewed as the weakest of all Liberal incumbents in the province (regardless of the seat.) The riding will provide a classic battle of Liberal national strength with a strong opposition challenger. Despite this, we are not confident in any rating that gives the NDP the upper hand. The NDP have posted dismal poll numbers in the region, and even if one gives Harris the definite upper hand and merely adjusts for the numbers, it still shouldn’t fill the NDP with confidence. We expect a scenario where both the Liberals and NDP could see a decline in vote share; the winner will be the candidate whose vote share holds up the most. 

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

MP at Dissolution: Sean Casey, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Charlottetown is a tiny urban riding, encompassing the capital of Prince Edward Island. It has consistently elected Liberals, and the current incumbent is Sean Casey, one of two Liberals who held an open Liberal seat in the party’s 2011 disaster. Casey is yet to be formally nominated but intends to run for re-election. At the last election, he won 56.3% of votes. He will face Conservative Robert Campbell, and Green Darcie Lanthier, the former leader of the provincial party, who are now the Official Opposition in the PEI Legislature and hold three of Charlottetown’s six provincial ridings. This seat is a top Green target.

We are rating this Likely Liberal. This is due to the Green presence, which we believe will be enough to put up a spirited challenge to Casey, but not enough to make this race truly competitive. Casey is a very visible presence, something that matters in the small ridings of Atlantic Canada, and they don’t get much smaller than in PEI’s four ridings (only Labrador has a smaller population.) We have confidence that the provincial result provides the Greens with some momentum to mount a challenge and a probable second place finish, unlike the Conservatives, who have trended downhill over recent elections. We don’t however believe the Greens will be able to overcome the Liberal strength here, especially with the nationalised campaign. Statistically, the 37% of the vote they gained across Charlottetown provincially would be enough to compete in 2011, where Sean Casey won 39%, but as an incumbent, he has a clear edge in a riding that is itching to be more competitive.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

MP at Dissolution: Andy Fillmore, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: The city of Halifax finds itself split across two ridings, with the historic centre and port in this riding. Although NDP heavyweights Alexa McDonough and Megan Leslie both represented this part of the city, Halifax City Planner Andy Fillmore gained the seat from Leslie last time, winning by 15%, and performing well all across the riding. He is running for re-election. The NDP have selected poverty expert Dr. Christine Saulnier as their candidate – a good candidate, but not with the profile Leslie had last time or Fillmore has at present. The Green candidate is Jo-Ann Davis, who was the party’s second placed candidate in Victoria last time, although the Greens admit this is not a top target for them relative to several other Atlantic ridings.

Despite the NDP’s hopes, we have seen no signs they will materialise. Polling showing them fourth in what 20 years ago was their ‘Maritime Breakthrough’ means that winning these seats they used to hold is increasingly a dream, not a reality. Fillmore has been a talented member of the Liberal caucus and without doubt is the favourite here, but because we see his chances of winning as being near-certain, not simply being the favourite, we have opted for a rating of Solidly Liberal. The main reason is that we have not seen any signs of an NDP resurgence in Nova Scotia – the opposite in fact. This gives us confidence that Fillmore should win re-election comfortably.

West Nova, Nova Scotia

MP at Dissolution: Colin Fraser, Liberal (not running for re-election) 

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: West Nova, as the name suggests, covers the western part of the province, on the south of the Bay of Fundy. The riding stretches from Kings County, through Stephen McNeil’s Annapolis base, and down to Yarmouth and Argyle; the riding could be described as consisting predominantly of towns in the countryside. Colin Fraser gained the open seat with a large swing to the Liberals last time, but has chosen to stand down. He has been replaced as the Liberal candidate by Jason Deveau, while the Conservatives have nominated the star candidate of Chris d’Entremont, a former provincial Minister of Finance, who resigned his Argyle-Barrington seat following his nomination. 

We have chosen to rate this as a Tossup. In a Liberal-aligned part of Nova Scotia, the incumbent Liberals cannot be ruled out. Nova Scotia is a province that we, based on polling, and on the ground expectations, expect to swing to the Conservatives. The candidacy of Chris d’Entremont is the best the Conservatives could hope for, and is certain to make this race competitive; in comparison Jason Deveau has a far lower profile and is essentially a generic Liberal, although the disparity between the two is smaller in the more strongly Liberal parts of the riding, such as those around Annapolis (d’Entremont represented the most southerly part of the riding). We however believe it is too early to give the Conservatives the edge, due to the lack of a clear leader in the national race and in Nova Scotia itself – which means this should be competitive.

Fundy Royal, New Brunswick

MP at Dissolution: Alaina Lockhart, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Conservative

Our Take: Fundy Royal is a rural New Brunswick riding stretching along the southern coast of the province from Saint John to Moncton, while not containing any large urban centres. It has been one of the strongest New Brunswick seats for the Conservatives and their predecessor in the Progressive Conservatives, going Liberal only twice, in 1993 and in 2015 – both major waves. Alaina Lockhart, a small business owner and now a Parliamentary Secretary is the incumbent in a rematch against Rob Moore, the Conservative junior Minister whom she unseated last time. This is the top Conservative target in New Brunswick.

We rate this as the one most likely gains for the Conservatives in Atlantic Canada, and one of the likeliest in the whole country. Our reasoning to rate this as Likely Conservative is simply the fact that the Liberal Atlantic high-tide of 2015 is further out (an appropriate metaphor for the riding!), and Rob Moore’s candidacy will ensure the Conservative vote holds up. It would take 1.9% swing to the Conservatives to take this, and polling shows a much higher swing. We would not be surprised to see a double digit win for Moore at all, and we are very confident in the Conservative’s chances here. A Liberal hold is by no means impossible but it would take an unbelievably strong Liberal campaign, locally and nationally, and we struggle to see such a scenario where the current Liberal showing is enough to secure this riding, even if it makes it less sure-fire.

Madawaska-Restigouche, New Brunswick

MP at Dissolution: René Arseneault

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Madawaska-Restigouche covers the New Brunswick side of the New Brunswick-Quebec border, and is a heavily Francophone riding. Whilst it has gone Conservative twice since its creation, it has trended Liberal, which led at the last election led to René Arseneault taking the seat with 55.7% of the voters, and the provincial Progressive Conservatives not winning a single seat here despite forming government in 2018. The bad news for the Conservatives was obvious in 2015; Bernard Valcourt, a cabinet minister and one of the highest-profile figures from New Brunswick politics, came third with only 16.5%. Now, they are running Nelson Fox against Arseneault. 
We rate this as Solidly Liberal. Whilst the Liberals are highly likely to lose seats in New Brunswick, and the Conservatives are likely to do better, the riding is no longer fertile ground for the Conservatives. They are increasingly unpopular in , and Scheer is right-wing enough that he can be tied to the provincial People’s Alliance, who are increasingly unpopular in the whole province, particularly so in the Francophone north. Any losses the Liberals make may also be shored up by losses from the NDP, who benefitted from the decline in Valcourt’s vote and the candidacy of well-known New Brunswick journalist Rosaire L’Italien. Ultimately, the Conservatives do have to overcome a 39% deficit, and these factors will mean they won’t get near to that. For this reason, we rate this as Solidly Liberal.

Beauce, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Maxime Bernier, People’s Party (elected as Conservative)

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: All eyes will be on Beauce – not because this is a traditional swing riding, but because of its MP. Although this riding used to alternate between the Liberals and Social Credit parties, Gilles Bernier won it for the Progressive Conservatives in 1984. Maxime Bernier gained it as an open Liberal seat for the Conservatives in 2006, and although he served as a Cabinet Minister under Stephen Harper, in 2018 he left the party following the direction new leader Andrew Scheer chose. Bernier had stood in the leadership election, losing narrowly to Scheer on the final ballot. 

Our rating is Tossup. Essentially, this is a contest between Bernier’s local popularity and his vision against the Conservative machine. Bernier’s policies meant that he didn’t win this riding in the final leadership election ballot – his stance on supply management in particular cost him the votes of dairy farmers in the Conservative membership, but he is still popular here. We don’t agree with the popular narrative that this is a ‘Bernier’ riding, and neither do the Conservatives who think they will hold this, but we still believe that Bernier has a fighting chance. Our sentiment is reinforced by a poll by Mainstreet for ipolitics.ca , which had Bernier and Conservative dairy farmer Jeff Lehoux statistically tied. The link to this poll’s publication (independent of us) is here. 

Beloeil-Chambly, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Matthew Dubé, NDP

Our Rating: Tossup (Bloc vs. Liberal)

Our Take: A largely urban and suburban seat in Southern Quebec, the Bloc held this with Yves Lessard, who lost in the 2011 Orange Wave and again in 2015. Both those elections saw a victory for the NDP, but the latter was a three way race, which incumbent MP Matthew Dubé narrowly came on top with the low total of 31.07%. Provincially this is a CAQ area, and home to the CAQ Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette. The heavyweights come federally too, as Dubé will be challenged by the Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Marie-Chantal Hamel for the Liberals.

This riding is rated by us as a Tossup between the Bloc Québécois and Liberals, but not one that involves the incumbent NDP. We believe despite his high profile and strength as an NDP MP, the fundamental challenge of the NDP in Quebec will be too much to overcome. With provincial polling in the single digits, a loss for Dubé seems certain. The beneficiary of that decline appears however to be less certain. The Liberal strength in Quebec is undeniable, and they will gain seats in the province. This could have been one of them, but the Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet will almost certainly give his party a strong chance. Until one of them can break out from the pack in what we expect will be a contentious fight, we will rate this a Tossup between the Bloc and Liberal Parties. We don’t think either of them have enough of an advantage yet.

Berthier-Maskinongé, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Ruth Ellen Brosseau, NDP

Our Rating: Leans Bloc Québécois

Our Take: Ruth Ellen Brosseau has been one of the real stories in Canadian politics this decade. Despite being derided as ‘Vegas Girl’ for going on holiday there during the 2011 campaign, and for speaking very little French while running in the heart of Francophone Quebec, the NDP’s ‘Orange Wave’ led to her unseating Guy André in a standout result. She increased her vote in 2015 after learning French and being widely praised for becoming an effective MP against all odds. The NDP vote here is therefore quite soft, unlike the Bloc, who still managed 25.8% here to Brosseau’s 42.2%. The Liberals also got a respectable 20.3%.

We rate this as Leans Bloc Québécois. Brosseau’s tenure is the only reason why the NDP got their impressive total, so given how soft her support is, it’s hard to see her holding this. Both Jagmeet Singh’s visible faith (which will be seen as at odds with the values of Quebecers in this nationalist riding), and his urban progressivism will not go down well here like it would in Rosemont, making the NDP an unpalatable option even for Brosseau’s personal voters. Yves Perron, who stood for the Bloc last time, is running again and in a great position to capitalise on the declining NDP vote. What makes this only a ‘Lean’ for them is the two main parties. The Liberals only had a slight increase here, and will almost certainly take some of Brosseau’s vote. Trudeau’s Liberals may be more attractive than the Bloc with sovereignty issues out of the fray, and their regional numbers in Quebec are undoubtedly promising. The Conservatives have also pinned their hopes on penetrating nationalist areas, as they did in Chicoutimi (although they have nobody like Richard Martel here,) and the PPC may even make a play here. We do think despite the Bloc’s clear advantages, the Liberals cannot be ruled out here, given their province-wide position. We don’t see the Conservatives winning here, and we think it is unlikely the NDP win with everything against them. Our rating is therefore based on the Bloc having a slight upper hand over the Liberals, which we forecast as being likely to hold up.

Brome-Missisquoi

MP at Dissolution: Denis Paradis, Liberal (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Brome-Missisquoi, a riding on the US-Canada border and in the Eastern Townships, has been a bellwether all this century. The riding contains the towns of Magog and Cowansville and the rural areas surrounding them. Since the 1995 by-election win of Denis Paradis, he has won whenever the Liberals form government, but like many Quebec ridings, it went Bloc in 2006 and 2008 and NDP in 2011. Paradis regained the seat last time with 43.9% of the vote, but stood down this election. The Liberals’ likely candidate is cyclist Lyne Bessette, while Bruno Coté, Sylvie Jetté, Monique Allard and Francois Poulin will run for the Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and PPC respectively. 
This riding is rated as Solidly Liberal. Our reasoning is simple. With the Liberals performing strongly in Quebec, the retirement of the popular incumbent in Paradis won’t affect them into a position where they lose. We expect that the Liberal candidate will again win between 40-50% of the vote, with the opposition parties split in too many different ways to make this race remotely consequential.

Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Richard Martel, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: To call Chicoutimi-Le Fjord a unique riding is an understatement: it has voted Bloc, Liberal, NDP and Conservative since 2008. The Conservatives are the current holders of the seat. Their 2018 by-election win was thanks to a combination of the personal vote of Richard Martel, some canvassing led by former Bloc Leader Michel Gaulthier and a rebound after their disappointing 2015 performance in the region. At that by-election, Martel, a well-liked former ice hockey coach for the local team, increased the blue vote by 36%, with the Liberals declining slightly from their total despite good regional polling. In 2015, Denis Lemieux (who triggered the by-election by resigning in 2018) beat NDP incumbent Dany Morin by little over a percentage point.
Despite the riding’s erratic history, we don’t believe we are throwing caution to the wind with our rating of Solidly Conservative. Martel’s win did not come at a time when the Conservatives had a big national lead, but rather is a testament to his local popularity and connection. We believe that even if the margin of victory is much smaller as expected, Martel makes the riding an unenviable target – the Liberals haven’t made it a priority, and the Bloc’s Valerie Tremblay is not a bad candidate, but not a game-changer. We simply don’t see other parties challenging the Conservatives here.

Papineau, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Justin Trudeau, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: This riding’s incumbent holds the distinction of being the current Prime Minister. Justin Trudeau won this with 52% of votes cast in 2015, winning most of the riding, other than an NDP area around Rue St-Denis. Trudeau gained the seat in the 2008 election; the seat had gone Bloc in their 2006 strong year. They have yet to select their candidate, but Sophie Veilleux is the Conservative. 

Although Trudeau might look in a weaker position compared to some of his colleagues on the Island, in this bright year for the Liberals in Quebec, we have no hesitation in predicting this as Solidly Liberal. We see no other party in contention for Trudeau’s seat – even the once-victorious Bloc is too far behind, having got a meagre 12.2% last time.

Pontiac, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: William Amos, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Pontiac used to be a lot more of a swing riding than it appears to be now. It saw two narrow victories for Conservative Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon, before his defeat to the NDP’s Matthieu Ravignat in the 2011 ‘Orange Wave.’ Ravignat came 32 points behind in 2015 as his party regressed severely, the Conservatives coming third and Will Amos, then an environmental lawyer coming first with a stunningly good performance. The riding is large and has several rural communities in the Gatineau Valley, in addition to urban areas near Hull and Gatineau – it has more in common with those two than the Laurentides or Abitibi regions. All of these communities have a strong Liberal presence.

This riding used to be seen as a bellwether of national trends, but this time, it won’t be a competitive race. With the Liberals holding up in the province, and expecting to gain seats, Pontiac should be part of a bedrock of safe seats for them this time round – it could be a bellwether of Quebec even if it isn’t one nationally, as the Liberals are performing better in Quebec than elsewhere.. Nevertheless, we expect the strong Liberal presence to materialise in a sizeable victory for Amos once again.

Rimouski-Neigette-Temiscouata-Les Basques

MP at Dissolution: Guy Caron, NDP

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: This riding followed the path of all but one 2015 NDP ridings in Quebec, it went Bloc in 2008, before the NDP it gained in 2011 and held on in 2015 with an impressive 43.1% share. The riding is a cluster of areas in Eastern Quebec, from NDP-voting Rimouski in the north, the largest community in the riding, and the rural areas nearby, to the south of the riding around Lac Témiscouata. Caron, an economist and former leadership candidate is definitely one of the strongest of the NDP MPs in Quebec, and he was one of the only ones to increase their 2015 vote share. His main challenger is the Liberal Chantal Pilon. 
Caron should perform better than other NDP candidates and keeps this race from being a walk for either party. But his vote is certain to heavily decline – and highly likely to decline below the 28.0% the Liberals won last time. The NDP polling in single digits means that Caron’s personal vote is far less significant than it was last time, as it is easy to see much of his personal vote opting for another party. With the Liberals having the strongest chance of first place simply by being likely to improve on their share, we rate this as Likely Liberal. We don’t think it is a cinch as not all the NDP votes will go Liberal; we believe the Bloc will gain a strong performance, with a small total going to the Greens and other parties, but the Liberals simply have the biggest base this election. Caron could perform well and win about 25% on a great night, but despite his efforts, it’s unlikely to be enough.

Saint-Laurent, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Emmanuella Lambropoulos

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Saint-Laurent is an urban riding on the west of Montreal Island, and one that is traditionally in Liberal hands. The boundaries correspond exactly to the borough of Saint-Laurent. Before current MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos won her 2017 by-election with 59.1% of votes, former Liberal leader Stephane Dion was the MP here. He won with a similar 61.6% in 2015; only a handful of polls went for second-placed Conservative Jimmy Yu, who is replaced by Richard Serour at this election.

 Since its creation, this riding has comfortably remained in Liberal hands, even in the 2011 ‘Orange Wave’ where neighbouring ridings went NDP. Therefore, we rate this as Solidly Liberal – the point here is that we don’t see that changing this time with the Liberals performing well in Quebec.

Terrebonne, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Michel Boudrias, Bloc Quebecois

Our Rating: Likely Bloc Québécois

Our Take: Terrebonne is a large municipality, effectively a suburb of Montreal off the island. The riding of Terrebonne in its current form was created from Terrebonne-Blainville and Montcalm in 2015, but ridings containing the city have voted for the Bloc at all elections this century except in 2011’s NDP wave. The PQ has also shown strength here provincially. At the last election, NDP incumbent Charmaine Borg came third, with the Bloc’s Michel Boudrias winning with 33%. He is running for re-election. Bloc support was distributed fairly evenly across the riding.

We believe this riding to be Likely Bloc. The Bloc are enjoying a small rebound, and in a nationalist riding like this, they should peel a sizeable share of the 2015 NDP vote as that party sees a steep decline in the province. It is clear the Bloc wish to gain back Official Party Status, which is viewed by us and others as likely to happen, and this riding is must-win for them. The 5% margin over the Liberals is not completely comfortable, so we do not rate this as ‘solidly Bloc’, but we expect the gain in the Liberal vote to not be big enough to offset that and make this a top-tier competitive race.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec

MP at Dissolution: Peter Schiefke, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Vaudreuil-Soulanges is an off-island suburb of Montreal, with an affluent high commuter population. The riding extends from Vaudreuil itself to the border with Ontario. Whilst it has gone for both the Bloc and NDP this century, in 2015, Liberal Peter Schiefke handily ousted NDP incumbent Jamie Nicholls with 46.6% of votes to Nicholls 22.3%. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and is running for re-election. The Quebec Liberals also won the main overlapping riding provincially in their 2018 poor performance.
The high margin of victory last time means that in this good year for Liberals in Quebec, we don’t see any other party competing. Rather, we rate this as Solidly Liberal, and Schiefke has a strong base to increase his vote as the NDP declines. This will be typical of other ridings in the province, and therefore if the polls and trends mean anything, this should easily stay in the Liberal column.

Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Leona Alleslev, Conservative (elected as Liberal)

Our Rating: Leans Conservative

Our Take: This riding is a patchwork of communities in the middle of the York region, stretching from affluent to Aurora to fast-growing Richmond Hill. It was created for the last election, and at that election Leona Alleslev defeated first-term incumbent Costas Menegakis. Since then, Alleslev has switched from the Liberals to the Conservatives; Menegakis was instead nominated for Richmond Hill. Whereas a defection might be hugely consequential, it seems unlikely given Alleslev essentially running as a generic candidate for both parties in each election, and the equal support means that Alleslev might please and alienate different partisan voters, who would vote for that party anyway – in this case either for Alleslev or for Leah Taylor Roy, the Liberal candidate. 

Our rating is however Leans Conservative. In a York swing riding, a tossup wouldn’t be amiss, but this was one of the most marginal, and the Conservatives despite their Ontario troubles still look as if they will perform somewhat better than last time. That figure will be skewed by bigger increases in rural ridings (uniform swing doesn’t paint the right picture), but nevertheless, with Alleslev’s slight incumbency and ground advantage, and a close margin last time that the Liberals may struggle to hold in, we believe the chance this goes Conservative is enough to make this a lean for them rather than a tossup overall.

Burlington, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Karina Gould, Liberal

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: Burlington combines being a gentrified commuter area for Toronto with a home to workers in industry in Hamilton. Most of the city is in the riding of Burlington, which is currently represented by Karina Gould, the Minister of Democratic Institutions. Although the riding only showed a narrow win for the Liberals in 2015, it is still fertile for them based on those demographics, and provincial electoral history. In 2015, Gould beat incumbent Mike Wallace by 3.5% and with 46% of votes, and in 2014, the PCs finally lost after the riding trended away from them, although they did regain this in 2018.
We rate this as a Tossup. We can’t really say the Liberals have a strong advantage outside of Gould’s incumbency – although as a cabinet minister and a local representative, she definitely provides one. Conservative Jane Michael is the only realistic challenger, and in a 905 swing riding like Burlington, national and provincial issues and trends will always matter. In a largely affluent riding like this, if the Conservative troubles in Ontario do hurt them enough, Gould will win. But it would still only take a small swing to beat her, and that scenario isn’t out of the question. Because we are not confident that either party has an upper hand, more so that it will be a highly competitive race, a tossup is our rating for the moment.

Don Valley East, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Yasmin Ratansi, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Don Valley East is a Toronto riding which contains suburban areas like Don Mills and Sloane, providing high-density residential areas which voted Liberal in large numbers. Incumbent MP and Liberal candidate Yasmin Ratansi is a longtime Liberal politician, and although she lost in 2011, on the current boundaries, the Liberals would have won in that disaster year too. She can be seen as a strong fit for the diverse community of the riding; there is a sizeable Asian and Eastern European population. These voters powered the victory for Michael Coteau in 2018 against a popular city councillor; the provincial riding shares the exact same boundaries and was one of seven Liberal holds in that disaster year. Whilst that is not a direct comparison, it is indicative of the makeup and direction of the riding. Ratansi won with 57.8% of votes last time, with a nearly 30% margin of victory. She faces Michael Ma for the Conservatives.

This leads us to believe the riding should be rated as Solidly Liberal. A combination of diverse and affluent populations has proven to be increasingly tough for Conservatives here, and with the poor polling for the Conservatives in Ontario, this is wildly out of reach for them. It seems unlikely to have been on any reasonable target list at all regardless. The NDP, PPC and Greens are a non-factor as well – there is no ‘progressive split.’ We expect Ratansi to win convincingly again, whether the Liberals form government again or not.

Huron-Bruce, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Ben Lobb, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: After delivering victories for the socially conservative Liberal Paul Steckle until 2008, Huron-Bruce has voted for the Conservatives ever since. It has a more prominent representative in its MPP Lisa Thompson, the former Minister of Education under Doug Ford, but Ben Lobb has held this for eleven years and is running for re-election, in a rematch against the Liberal candidate Allan Thompson, who he beat 44.9% to 39.7%. The divide between the Conservative and Liberal areas is clearer here than in most other ridings – Liberals accumulate their votes mostly in the small municipalities dotted around the riding: Goderich, Southampton, Port Elgin and Walkerton, whilst the Conservatives won last time by scoring big margins in rural areas and holding their own in Wingham and Clinton.

Even though the margin was barely over five points last time, it’s hard to see the Liberals win here. The landscape is much different from the turn of the century when Steckle was winning, and we believe the Liberal ‘ceiling’ to be much lower than in previous years. This trend can be seen over much of Southwestern Ontario, where the Liberals have endured a gradual downward spiral. Based on this, we don’t see the Liberals taking this again, and Lobb, in spite of the Conservative trouble in Ontario, is in a good position to hold this.

Kenora, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Bob Nault, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Kenora is the Ontario riding with the smallest population in the province, but it is also the largest by area. It has a similar history to a standard swing riding, going for the Liberal Roger Valley until 2008, where now provincial Energy Minister Greg Rickford gained the seat until 2015, where Bob Nault reentered the House of Commons. Nault was an MP between 1988 and 2004, including serving as Indigenous Affairs Minister. The last election was a three way race with three high-profile candidates: Nault, the former provincial NDP Leader Howard Hampton, and Rickford who was then also a Cabinet Minister. Nault won by just over 500 votes, drawing votes from all over the riding.

Despite the close fight last time, we believe this riding should be rated as Likely Liberal. Last time, the closeness owes itself to three very strong candidates; Nault was arguably the weakest, but still very strong. Northern ridings often value the candidate considerably more, which explains the standout win for Rickford in an overlapping riding in the 2018 provincial election. Nault’s opposition is now quite low-key, and he has a very strong incumbency in comparison; this should help him. On top of that, his narrow win is also owes itself in part to the Liberal Party performance of 2015. We expect the NDP to be a somewhat smaller factor, so we rate this as Likely Liberal, as we believe Nault has a strong upper hand against Eric Melillo, the Conservative candidate. The NDP have nominated a strong candidate in Rudy Turtle, but he is still less favoured and less well-recognised compared to Hampton. In terms of the issues, concerns about the high remote cost of living and firearm regulations may help other parties. But with far weaker opposition, we think Nault should be re-elected, especially when you factor in the current performance of the parties in Ontario, where the Liberals enjoy a decent lead.

Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Scott Reid, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston is a large Eastern Ontario riding of two (unequal) halves: the Conservative voting Lanark and North Frontenac regions, which include the small municipalities of Smiths Falls and Perth, as well as the commuter area of Carleton Place, and the areas in and around north Kingston which gave the Liberals much of their tally. The Conservative regions easily overpower the Liberal areas however: the Conservatives won 47.9% of votes last time compared to 33.8% for the Liberals. Scott Reid has represented the seat and its predecessors since 2000 and has been a popular local presence, if a quiet one in the House of Commons. He is running for re-election against graduate Kayley Kennedy.

We rate this as solidly Conservative. Whilst there is a narrative about the Liberals gaining in the sprawl of Ottawa and Kingston – one that isn’t entirely misguided – this seat will not be affected by that, and Conservative margins in the rural areas would offset it anyway. This is a strong riding for the Conservatives and it would be hard to see them lose it even in a worse year than 2015. We expect they’ll hold this easily, Reid creeping around the 50% mark like last time.

London West, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Kate Young, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: London West is a predominantly suburban riding covering the west of the city as the name suggests, including the neighbourhoods of Byron and Westmount. The Liberals are generally stronger the nearer you get to the city’s centre, most notably in the eastern half of the riding. It has followed the path of many swing ridings, with Conservative former Minister Ed Holder gaining the seat in 2008, but losing to the Liberals in 2015. The victorious Liberal was Kate Young, who is running for re-election against Conservative Liz Snelgrove and the NDP’s Shawna Lewkowitz this time. She won against the popular Holder by a decent 10% margin.

We rate this as Likely Liberal. In terms of candidates, Young is the strongest as the incumbent, and won when she was very much seen as the underdog until the final few weeks of the campaign. It is clear therefore that there is a strong Liberal presence here, and with current numbers in Ontario, that’s likely to deliver. We don’t think this is Solidly Liberal given the Conservative presence and the margin of victory from last time. But we suspect this will be a harder fight than some of the Conservative’s other targets.

Markham-Stouffville, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Jane Philpott, Independent (elected as Liberal)

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Markham-Stouffville will be closely-watched this election. Normally it would just be a 905 swing riding: the Liberals perform best in and around Markham and where the riding borders Toronto, while the Conservatives do better in Whitchurch-Stouffville and surrounding rural areas. The elephant in the room is of course Jane Philpott. Philpott beat Paul Calandra (who beat the presumptive Liberal candidate Helena Jaczek to win the seat provincially) 49.2% to 42.8%, but after resigning from cabinet and being expelled from caucus after declaring she had no confidence in the Trudeau government, she is running as an independent. Jaczek is the best candidate the Liberals could get, with a high profile as the former provincial Minister of Health and much of the riding’s former MPP. Demographically, this is less diverse than other York ridings, which may actually help the Liberals here; there are a lot of affluent whites in the riding which provide support for the Liberals. 

We don’t expect Philpott to win despite the regard many locals have for her. A Mainstreet Poll commissioned for 338Canada and Macleans (independent of us) showed Philpott in third, with the Liberals holding a slight lead, and this was before Jaczek announced. You can find the link to that poll’s release here. That poll was one of several factors which indicated to us that rather than a Tossup, the riding Leans Liberal. Jaczek’s candidacy should keep the Liberals energised and strong on the ground, and the poll shows Philpott’s support draws from all parties anyway. We suspect some of Philpott’s votes will return to the two main parties as the campaign becomes more nationalised, and the seat more crucial, but out of those two, the Liberals appear to have an edge.

Mississauga-Malton, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Navdeep Bains, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Mississauga-Malton was a new riding created for 2015, but it saw old face Navdeep Bains return to Parliament, winning the open seat. Bains is now Minister of Economic Development in the Trudeau cabinet and widely seen as one of the strongest ministers. The riding is the safest for the Liberals in the Peel region. Indeed, Bains won every poll in the riding with a strong result in 2015, despite Mississauga and Malton being divided by Toronto-Pearson Airport, which is also in the riding; his support is not confined to either part. Bains came just short of the 60% mark, with the Conservatives coming a very distant second on 26.5%. The riding has a high Asian population, many of whom voted for Bains last time.

Bains is the strongest candidate in the race, but that isn’t the only reason why we rate this as Solidly Liberal. The main reason is the fact that this is a longtime safe Liberal riding, only going Conservative on the current boundaries in 2011 (and then narrowly), with the predecessor ridings going Liberal at most elections. We don’t see that changing this time on the current regional polling numbers, and we think that the 2018 provincial victory for Progressive Conservative Deepak Anand was a blip given the Liberals’ disaster. Therefore, we think Bains should cruise to re-election.

Ottawa Centre, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Catherine McKenna, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Ottawa Centre has provided election watchers with a lot of interest, having elected Ed Broadbent in 1988, and going for the late Paul Dewar in 2006 until his loss to Catherine McKenna, the incumbent Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. McKenna defied the polls to unseat Dewar in 2015, and faces former provincial candidate Emilie Taman for the NDP this time. There was no clear geographic divide between McKenna and Dewar in 2015.
In the most ‘civil servant’ of all ridings, we expect the Liberals to have a great performance. Even outside the Civil Servant population, there are plenty of educated voters. Against the odds, the NDP did win it in 2015 provincially, and we do think there is scope for it to be more competitive if the Liberals decline between now and the election. It was close last time, and we can’t ignore that. But we think McKenna is now best-placed to win. Her tenure as a Minister is unlikely to be an issue here, even if pundits from both sides of the spectrum can regularly criticise it. The NDP don’t have the same ground game as the Liberals, and Taman is still a large step down from Dewar in terms of profile and quality, in spite of her provincial campaign experience. In considering all of this, we rate this as Likely Liberal.

Sudbury, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Paul Lefebvre, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Sudbury is a large town surrounded by rural and remote areas, and that status makes it a focal point in Northern Ontario. It is a civil servant town (many branches of the provincial government are here), and a riding where Conservatives have performed poorly; it has been an NDP riding when the Liberals perform poorly as well, but generally the Liberals win this. Paul Lefebvre beat the NDP by just under 20% last time. 

We rate this as Solidly Liberal. At the moment, there are only two parties who have shown they can win this, and one of them, the NDP isn’t in contention this year. They are struggling to win other ridings in Northern Ontario which are far closer targets. In terms of candidates, Lefebvre is a rank and file Liberal, currently a Parliamentary Secretary, but still an incumbent who should be able to hold the ridings. The Liberals should therefore cruise to victory in a riding on no other party’s targest list, and we expect a similarly large margin of victory.

Thornhill, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Peter Kent, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Whilst Thornhill has remained a largely similar riding, containing the suburbs between the centres of Vaughan and Markham, it has changed politically. The seat is purely urban and contains a high Russian population and a Jewish plurality, which have been beneficial to the Conservatives in recent years. Kent has increased his vote significantly, and the riding still went Conservative with 58.6% of votes cast, by far their best performance in the Greater Toronto Area, and for an affluent, highly educated, suburban seat, the vote totals are nearer to similar Albertan ridings than others in Ontario.

Our rating is Solidly Conservative. In the midst of Vaughan’s swing ridings, this has become solidly Conservative – partly a Peter Kent effect but also the demographics being favourable to the Conservatives. Whatever creates the exact vote shares, both are beneficial to the Conservatives who now face comparatively weak Liberal opposition (the NDP like in the other affluent 905 ridings are a non-factor here.) A riding where the Conservatives got nearly 60% is almost certain to stay in their hands; regardless of any problems in Ontario, it would be a shock if they couldn’t win here.

Timmins-James Bay, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Charlie Angus, NDP

Our Rating: Solidly NDP

Our Take: Timmins-James Bay is a riding of two geographic halves: the city of Timmins and the rural areas as the name suggests, and although Timmins is a stronghold for provincial NDP stalwart Gilles Bisson, it was the main base for the Liberals last time. The NDP run up massive vote totals in the Cochrane and James Bay areas, reaching the 80-90% mark in the latter, and it was those polls that propelled former NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus to victory last time. Angus won with 42.9% of votes cast in 2015, and is running against Michelle Boileau for the Liberals, who holds a city council seat in Timmins.
The number of ridings we could rate as Solidly NDP is tiny, but this is one of them. Although we don’t rate ridings based on statements like this, we would suspect if the NDP lost this they would be winning fewer than 5 seats. Some estimates do have the NDP in single-digits, but it is hard to see them losing here for a few reasons. Angus is clearly the NDP’s greatest asset, as an advocate for the significant indigenous population of the riding, as well as rural and working class voters in the riding’s south, where he also has a large personal vote. Boileau is reliant on running up huge Liberal margins in Timmins to win – and she needs to offset potential Liberal losses in the rural areas to the Conservatives. Evaluating that, we see the Liberals incurring some losses in the rural areas that will prevent Boileau from winning. Because of the strength of Angus preventing the NDP vote from crashing, plus the number of pitfalls for the opposition Liberals, we don’t think the Liberals can win this, and that sentiment is perhaps shared; they don’t appear to be investing resources early, while Angus is very much out in the riding. Whilst it may be hard to see any NDP seat as Solid, given their erratic but largely low national number, we do believe our rating for this riding should be that.

Toronto Centre, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Bill Morneau, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Toronto Centre, currently the smallest sized riding in Canada, covers the downtown core of Toronto to the east of Yonge Street. Having been Liberal since 1993, it went for the now-Minister of Finance Bill Morneau who held the seat with 57.9% of votes. It combines the wealthy residences of the downtown core with social housing on the edge of the riding, but there is a sizeable Liberal presence amongst both of these demographics here. 

Our rating is Solidly Liberal. The Liberal base here is substantial – and there’s no other party that can truly penetrate it, not even the NDP, whose provincial performance here in 2018 should not carry over in these different circumstances. Morneau isn’t really a constituency MP so much as a party figure (certainly compared to other Toronto MPs, like Freeland, Vaughan, McKay and Erskine-Smith), and will probably not want to be a backbencher – but he is a Liberal, which should be good enough to win in this solidly Liberal riding.

Windsor-Tecumseh, Ontario

MP at Dissolution: Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: Windsor-Tecumseh covers the eastern half of Windsor, and was a strong NDP seat when Joe Comartin was its MP. Now, Cheryl Hardcastle is its MP, having held the open seat in 2015. The riding has a strong union presence and has been particularly affected by problems in the Canadian auto industry. 

Estimates for the NDP’s national total vary, with some even below the Official Party Status Mark of 12 seats. With that in mind, it would be hard to see this seat as safe, but there are other factors which we used to come to our rating of Tossup. The riding may decide to vote for the NDP again, due to the union vote for the party (not all voters will trust either of the two main parties on the auto issue), and in cases where everything is against the traditional party they can win – the NDP have been on the bad side of that in several seats like Edmonton-Griesbach in 2015 and in Parkdale-High Park in 2008. That doesn’t mean they won’t be on the good side this time. But there are factors that make this vulnerable for them. The incumbent Cheryl Hardcastle does not have the strength of Comartin; she is felt to be invisible in the riding outside of partisan events by many voters; political activists in the riding are banking on criticising her performance to win. On top of that, we have the NDP’s dismal nationwide performance to add to any local hiccups. For this reason, whilst the NDP should be favoured, we have no confidence they can make it, or have any advantage. As for the party that could best take advantage? It would have to be the second-placed Conservatives, but the Liberals may well have a go too.

Elmwood-Transcona, Manitoba

MP at Dissolution: Daniel Blaikie, NDP

Our Rating: Leans Conservative

Our Take: Elmwood-Transcona is the most unique of Winnipeg’s ridings politically: whereas the other ridings were all strong Liberal performances in 2015, the NDP’s Daniel Blaikie edged out the Conservative Lawrence Toet here by 61 votes to provide the closest result in the whole of Canada (34.1% to 34.0%). The NDP did this by winning in both the Elmwood and Transcona portions of the riding, whilst the Conservatives did best in the areas around the edge of Winnipeg. The Liberals also scored a strong performance with 29.5% of votes. The NDP do have history here, being held by their heavyweight Bill Blaikie (Daniel’s father) and current Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway, whom Toet unseated in 2011. Toet isn’t finished; there will be a rematch between him and Blaikie, with Liberal Jen Malabar also running. 

We rate this as Leans Conservative. Fundamentally, the Conservatives are doing better in Manitoba, including Winnipeg, than in 2015, whereas the NDP are not. It says a lot that Toet only lost by 61 votes, a solid performance given he was an underdog for much of the campaign, and the bad year for his party generally. This isn’t going to be a blowout for Toet – Blaikie may not have the incumbency effect his father had, but he may peel off some Liberal votes tactically. We also see scope in the more affluent parts of the riding for the reverse to happen. Toet as the Conservative gives them a well-known face, and stands to gain the most votes (and it would only take a few!) But this is not a rural riding like Kootenay-Columbia where the current Liberals and NDP are bad fits.

Provencher, Manitoba

MP at Dissolution: Ted Falk, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: This rural riding on the US-Border has always voted for right-wing parties. The riding’s largest community is Conservative-voting Steinbach, the safest of all ridings for the governing provincial PCs in 2016. After former President of the Treasury Board under Stephen Harper Vic Toews stood down, Ted Falk won the by-election to succeed him, and was re-elected with 56.1% of votes in 2015, when the Liberals won a plurality of votes in Manitoba. Falk faces only token opposition this time.

We rate this as Solidly Conservative. It is undoubtedly a stronghold for the Conservatives; rural ridings in Western Canada nearly always are, and the sizeable margin here is greater than similar ridings in Ontario and British Columbia, even if it looks small compared to ridings in rural Alberta. Falk is the strongest candidate, and we expect that he will cruise to victory in what should be a low-key race; don’t be surprised by a stronger performance for the Conservatives than last time as they make gains in Manitoba, and Conservatives try to bring issues like the carbon tax front and centre.

Winnipeg North, Manitoba

MP at Dissolution: Kevin Lamoureux

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Winnipeg North is a lower-income urban riding, as the name suggests, covering the north of the city. Whilst going solidly NDP when Judy Wascylycia-Leis was the MP, since former provincial MLA Kevin Lamoureux’s by-election win ten years ago, this has remained in his hands ever since, against the odds in 2011, and with nearly 70% of votes. Kevin and Cindy Lamoureux have become Liberal standard bearers in this part of Winnipeg, and his name is almost synonymous with the Liberal Party here. This is undoubtedly part of the reason why his win was as sizeable as it was in 2015.

We expect these trends to continue, and we don’t see any opposing party will make a play for this. Therefore, Solidly Liberal is the rating we have chosen. There are issues affecting poorer Canadians where the Liberal platform may not resonate with Lamoureux’s voters here, but it’s still hard to see Lamoureux losing after his impressive result from last time.

Saskatoon-Grasswood, Saskatchewan

MP at Dissolution: Kevin Waugh, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Saskatoon Grasswood was a new riding created for the 2015 Election. Previously ridings in Saskatoon were ‘rurban’ – they contained both parts of the city and rural areas miles out. The riding contains suburbs of Saskatoon like Wildwood and Stonebridge, as well as the Grasswood area near the Saskatchewan River. The Conservative performance generally improves the further away you get from downtown Saskatoon. When some ridings became fully urbanised at the last election they became high on the NDP target list, but former sportscaster Kevin Waugh won the open seat (he defeated the incumbent Lynne Yelich in the nomination race) by an 11.4% margin. He is running again, against the Liberal Tracy Muggli who came third last time, and Mark Friesen, one of the more active and well-known PPC candidates. 

Last election’s result proved that despite forecasts of a close race, this is ultimately Conservative territory. Waugh had two tough races – the nomination and the general – both of which he won convincingly, and despite the efforts of his opponents he is by far the strongest candidate in the race. This only helps cement his position in a riding that has proven to deliver for the Conservatives – with the polling consensus that the Liberals and NDP are not in good shape in Saskatchewan, and with the Greens and PPC simply too far behind to impact the race, we believe this is a riding that is Solidly Conservative.

Yorkton-Melville, Conservative

MP at Dissolution: Cathay Wagantall, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: This riding covers the towns and rural areas of East-Central Saskatchewan, including Yorkton and Melville. It was not always a Conservative stronghold; Garry Breitkreuz gained it for Reform in 1997 from the NDP’s Lorne Nystrom (who also lost his new seat to a certain Andrew Scheer in 2004), not the PCs in their meltdown. Since then, it has gone reliably Conservative, and Cathay Wagantall won this as an open seat in 2015 with 59.2% of the vote – still a decent total. Wagantall is running for re-election.
Like nearly all of these sorts of ridings, we have reason to rate it as Solidly Conservative. We don’t see how Wagantall could not hold on to enough of her total to make this remotely competitive, be that due to her own party’s picture or any others. Andrew Scheer should definitely be able to rely on his neighbouring seat this October.

Calgary Centre, Alberta

MP at Dissolution: Kent Hehr, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Conservative

Our Take: Calgary Centre going Liberal in 2015 was forecast by some, but was still a standout result in Canada’s most Conservative major city. The riding had elected right-wing candidates since it was formed in 1968, with Hehr, a former ALP MLA gaining the seat by a 1.2% margin. The riding has one of the youngest and most educated electorates in Alberta. Liberal strength increases the nearer you get to the Bow River, with the riding containing the downtown Calgary neighbourhoods to the South. Hehr, in spite of sexual harassment allegations which led to his resignation as Minister of Sport, as well as other criticisms of his tenure, is running again, with businessman Greg McLean challening for the Conservatives.
This is Calgary however, and even in a riding like this, we still forecast the riding to be Likely Conservative. Alberta’s dissatisfaction with the Liberals is well-known, and Scheer’s Conservatives are a better fit for the riding, as is their candidate Greg McLean. Hehr will be hurt by his own allegations, but it would have been a tough ask to hold the riding without them due to the general dissatisfaction with the Trudeau Liberals and the Liberal tide being lower as a result. Whilst this is still an educated and more diverse riding than most others in Alberta, we believe the Conservatives have the upper hand, and could easily win by at least a 10% margin.

Calgary Forest Lawn, Alberta

MP at Dissolution: Deepak Obhrai, Conservative (was running, died August 2 2019)

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: The death of Deepak Obhrai was a shock to us. Obhrai was the longest-serving Conservative MP, having been elected continuously from 1997. He had been running for re-election in this seat at the time of his death. The seat has been reliably Conservative, and in a tough year for Conservatives in Calgary (tough being that they didn’t sweep the city), Obhrai won with 48% of the vote and a 12% margin of victory. 

This riding we rate as Solidly Conservative. Although the riding is more diverse than other Alberta ridings, it doesn’t always translate into Conservative weakness, and it certainly does not in Calgary. The riding still went comfortably Conservative when the Trudeau Liberals did best in 2015, and so when they are less popular in the West, particularly Alberta, it’s hard to see them taking this. We don’t see them or any other party to be in contention at this stage.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the Obhrai family and the residents of Calgary-Forest Lawn.

Edmonton Riverbend, Alberta

MP at Dissolution: Matt Jeneroux, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Edmonton Riverbend is a suburban Edmonton riding in the southwest of the city. Until 2015, it contained some conservative-voting Edmonton exurbs, but even then, it still went for former MLA Matt Jeneroux with just under a majority of votes cast. Jeneroux had mounted a swift return to politics, losing his provincial seat as the Notley NDP swept Edmonton. He has however opted to remain in federal politics and is running for re-election. 
With nearly 50% of votes, a percentage that could yet rise in 2019, we simply don’t see the Conservatives losing here. The only viable alternative would be the Liberals… Trudeau may be more popular in Edmonton than other parts of Alberta, but we are confident that the Liberals have no chance of overcoming the margin of last time. We therefore rate this as Solidly Conservative.

Peace River-Westlock, Alberta

MP at Dissolution: Arnold Viersen, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Peace River-Westlock was a new riding in 2015, a patchwork from other ridings made possible by the increase in Alberta’s seat total. It is largely rural and contains many indigenous reserves, although the votes of that population can be easily offset by those of small towns such as Westlock. Nevertheless, it followed the path of those other ridings; it is a Conservative stronghold which went 69.4% for Arnold Viersen in 2015. Viersen is a good fit for the riding and is definitely on the right of the party.

We rate this as Solidly Conservative. It is a Conservative stronghold, and looking at polls of Alberta, and national polls, we don’t think the Conservatives will be losing any ridings like this, and there will not be a competitive race. Viersen faces token opposition as he did in 2015, and should cruise to a big win once again.

Abbotsford, British Columbia

MP at Dissolution: Ed Fast, Conservatives

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Abbotsford is an urban riding in the heart of the Bible Belt, and although demographics are changing, the change between the last election and now is nothing drastic. Last time, incumbent Conservative, then a Cabinet minister scored the second best performance for the Conservatives in British Columbia with 48.3% of the vote. This time, Fast is running for re-election and is a strong candidate against Seamus Heffernan for the Liberals. 
We rate this as Solidly Conservative. Polling shows a strong performance for the Conservatives in British Columbia, which should easily offset the consequences of slight demographic change. Fast has remained high-profile enough, running again in the wake of previous health concerns. As the Conservatives look to gain seats in BC this is simply Conservative enough that they shouldn’t have to worry about this.

Burnaby South, British Columbia

MP at Dissolution: Jagmeet Singh, NDP

Our Rating: Likely NDP

Our Take: Burnaby South was a riding created for the 2015 election – it was notionally NDP, and it stayed NDP, with Kennedy Stewart, who has now moved over to Vancouver and is the city’s mayor, winning by just under 600 votes and with 35.1% of votes. After Stewart resigned, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh won the by-election, with a slight increase in his votes. The by-election also saw the former Liberal MLA Richard Lee come second, and the PPC score an impressive total of 10.7% – we don’t expect that to hold up as the by-election star candidate, Laura-Lynn Tyler-Thompson is not running again. Her votes largely came from Conservative areas, so we expect that’s where they’ll go, while Singh and Stewart both did better in areas nearer to New Westminster, and somewhat weaker in the north and west of the riding.

Although the consensus is that Singh should win again, we don’t rule out a competitive race given the poor and erratic NDP performance, so we rate this as Likely NDP. Singh should hold his seat. This is still NDP territory, and as leader he should get a boost here even if his leadership hurts the NDP elsewhere, as he did in the by-election. The Liberal former MLA was a strong candidate; this seat doesn’t cover his old provincial riding but he was a step up from previous candidates, (candidate selection being a huge problem for the Liberals last time), and Singh actually increased his vote, something that bodes well. The local issue of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline serves to benefit Singh here too. We believe Singh is the favourite, but we don’t believe this is a safe enough NDP seat to put him in the ‘Solidly NDP’ category. There remains a strong Liberal base here, and the combined Conservative and PPC vote is also substantial. But these factors are largely offset by the NDP leader, whose profile and ground game, as well as some of his policies, put him in pole position.

Delta, British Columbia

MP at Dissolution: Carla Qualtrough, Liberal

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Delta was finally united into one riding at the last redistribution, with former Paralympic swimmer and now Minister of Public Services winning the riding with a surpisingly large  49.1%, defeating another minister, an associate Defence Minister, Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay. Findlay isn’t running in this riding – she’s jumped over to South Surrey-White Rock, but Qualtrough is running for re-election, against Tanya Corbet for the Conservatives, the Greens’ Craig DeCraene, and former Conservative nomination candidate Angelina Ireland, who chose the PPC. Despite being not far from Vancouver, the riding has a strong rural element in Lander in the western half of the riding, where much of the Conservative vote lies. The Liberals perform more strongly in North Delta, effectively a suburb of the now Liberal-voting Surrey.

We’ve gone for a rating of Leans Liberal. Qualtrough has done what some star candidates fail to do, and that is become an effective MP; she is widely viewed as a competent minister. Yet the polls have been showing erratic numbers in British Columbia. We believe Qualtrough has an advantage, but she could easily lose some of her high 2015 votes, and with good candidates from the other parties, she isn’t as big a shoo-in as some of her colleagues. That isn’t to say she is not the strongest candidate in the race, because she is, but we are confident Delta will see a competitive race on the current numbers.

Kootenay-Columbia, British Columbia

MP at Dissolution: Wayne Stetski, NDP

Our Rating: Likely Conservative

Our Take: Kootenay-Columbia was one of the most marginal ridings at the last election, with Wayne Stetski winning by one percentage point. The riding is predominantly rural, with small communities such as Nelson and Revelstoke, and dominated by traditional rural industries. Although the riding has generally favoured the Conservatives, notably moderate incumbent David Wilks lost to Stetski after just one term in a surprise result, and this time Rob Morrison, a star candidate with a national security background, will be the Conservative standard bearer.
We rate this as Likely Conservative. Stetski has spent the last four years pitching himself as a strong voice for the area, and he hasn’t failed to do so. But it will take more than his incumbency to make this competitive for him again. We expect the Greens to do well in the Nelson and Creston areas, where they have shown provincial strength, taking a few votes of the NDP. With Jagmeet Singh and the NDP aiming themselves more at New Westminster and Vancouver, in line with their changing base and membership, ridings like Kootenay-Columbia see the other side of that. The Conservatives should increase their vote here, whereas we have no confidence in the NDP doing the same. We see the Conservatives as having the upper hand in a race where NDP incumbency ultimately is not the game-changer they hope for.

Saanich-Gulf Islands

MP at Dissolution: Elizabeth May, Green

Our Rating: Solidly Green

Our Take: Ten years ago, the idea of a riding going for the Greens by a wide margin would seem unlikely, but after ousting Conservative Minister Gary Lunn, Elizabeth May won a majority of votes here. She was the only Green MP elected in 2015, although Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith joined her, having won a 2019 by-election, and she also had the defection of Pierre Nantel this month to boost her (although he’s not in the position May and Manly are.) The seat consists of two halves: urban Saanich and the less densely populated north, including the Gulf Islands. Rather than divide the riding in two, this has provided a strong base for the Greens who perform consistently well across the whole riding. 
We rate this Solidly Green. It would be a struggle to see May losing this year anyway, but the Greens are gaining this election – pundits disagree over the extent to which they will gain votes, not whether they will. If May was able to win a 35.1% margin of victory last time, it is safe to say in a good year for her party, she should win. We too are confident that she will.

MP at Dissolution: Hedy Fry, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Hedy Fry made headlines in 1993 when she unseated then Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and despite controversy she has remained very popular locally. The riding itself is purely urban, containing the Downtown Vancouver and the commercial and residential areas surrounding it, and is home to people from a wide variety of ethnic groups. Fry has won all her races since she unseated Campbell, her 2015 win being her largest with 56.1% of votes cast. She is running for re-election, against David Cavey for the Conservatives, Breen Ouellette for the NDP, Louise Kierans for the PPC and Jesse Brown for the Greens.

We rate this as Solidly Liberal. Fry’s electoral record is unmatched by current federal politicians in British Columbia, and when the Liberals are competing to win government, we struggle to see any party challenging in a riding that has rejected them time and time again. The Conservatives and NDP have not taken this at the best of times, so we expect that this will be an easy win for Hedy Fry.

Yukon

MP at Dissolution: Larry Bagnell

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: After voting in NDP Leader Audrey McLaughlin in 1993, Louise Hardy held this for the NDP until the current MP Larry Bagnell gained it. Since then, he has only lost in the 2011 Election, where he faced Conservative MP Ryan Leef whom he defeated in 2015, and two very strong third-party candidates who have since been elected to the Yukon Legislature. The riding covers the whole territory, although most of its population lives in Whitehorse. The indigenous population is lower than in the other two territories, at around 24%. 

It is often said that the three territorial ridings tend to vote largely in line with the rest of the country, but to get our rating we need to apply that to the partisan makeup of the riding. Of these three ridings, this is the strongest for the Liberals, and we believe that Larry Bagnell, a well-liked incumbent, who is unquestionably a ‘Yukon man,’ should hold this. Although this riding can go for another party, the likeliest this time being the Conservative Jonas Smith (a former President of the Yukon Party and community activist), there is very little indication of a competitive race here this time, despite the strength of Smith – it’s still a riding with a popular Liberal incumbent in a year the Liberals could win government. Therefore we’re inclined to give a rating of Solidly Liberal.


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