Canada 2019: 30 More Race Reviews and Election Forecasts

Some of the candidates we’re covering this time. Images from party candidate lists.

Here’s our next batch of race reviews – including a high-profile key race in Carleton, a low-profile key race in Kitchener South-Hespeler, the gaps created by retiring Atlantic Liberals in Cape Breton-Canso, Kings-Hants and Tobique-Mactaquac, a Bloc defence in Joliette, a bunch of vulnerable NDP seats, and more.

Nova Scotia

MP at Dissolution: Rodger Cuzner, Liberal (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Cape Breton-Canso covers the southern half of Cape Breton, with a small part of mainland Nova Scotia to add to it. Last time, it was one of the few ridings where a majority of all voters voted for one candidate – Liberal Rodger Cuzner, who had held the riding since 2000. The popular Cuzner is standing down, with Mike Kelloway as his replacement, MLA Alfie Macleod has left the provincial legislature to run here for the Conservatives. 

This riding wasn’t the easiest to pick a rating for, but we’ve gone with Solidly Liberal. There is reason to put this in the Likely Liberal column – Macleod running with an open seat, and the Conservatives gaining in Nova Scotia. Macleod arguably is still an unknown in much of the riding. Fundamentally however, the edge the Liberals have here is huge, especially given the demographics, which aren’t conducive to Liberal strength, but still stick by them. Cuzner’s popularity means his departture is a loss, but personal popularity wasn’t enough for some Liberals in their 2011 disaster, yet he still won comfortably. We think despite a good challenge, the new Liberal will win comfortably too. 

Kings-Hants

MP at Dissolution: Vacant (last MP was Scott Brison, Liberal)

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Kings-Hants covers most of the two counties in the riding’s name: Kings and Hants, with many smaller communities such as Wolfville, Windsor and New Minas providing most of the population. Having gone for Progressive Conservative Scott Brison, the riding’s voters followed him to the Liberals, and in 2015, 71% of those voters re-elected him. After serving as President of the Treasury Board, he left politics at the beginning of the year. With his retirement, the riding is far more competitive, and Liberal candidate Kody Blois will face Conservative Martha McQuarrie. 

It’s admittedly hard to tell how many of Brison’s former voters were voting Liberal for him personally, in a province where names and candidacies truly matter, but we expect the Liberals to still perform strongly. It was Liberal enough to stay that way in 2011, and we can’t say that’s all down to Brison. The Conservatives are also putting up a large fight, so therefore we don’t discount them at all. McQuarrie was selected early, and as the Conservatives rely more and more on the Maritimes, their thinking will lead them to campaign here. Overall, we think the riding falls under the Leans Liberal column. We don’t think the riding will suddenly swing to being in the Conservative-leaning categories, but we think it will be a race, something the riding has lacked in recent years.


New Brunswick

Tobique-Mactaquac

MP at Dissolution: TJ Harvey, Liberal (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Likely Conservative

Our Take: Tobique-Mactaquac covers the west of New Brunswick, and is often characterised as a having a socially conservative streak. It doesn’t always vote that way: even though the right-wing Canadian Alliance nearly won it in 2000, today’s Conservative Party still lost in 2004. The Liberals have done better in the northern parts of the riding towards Grand Falls; the area is represented by some provincial Liberals as well. It was an open seat in 2015, which TJ Harvey won by just under 10% with 46.6% of votes. Harvey isn’t running again, but 2015 Conservative candidate Richard Bragdon is hoping to take this back.

This riding is one we rate as Likely Conservative. Conservatives may be worried about some voters going PPC, but Bragdon is a candidate who would win them back given his own conservative streak. The party is gaining in NB, and Harvey, as well as not running again, and leaving the Liberals still without a candidate in September, hasn’t built up the Liberal brand here, with positive economic effects not felt either. With current polling numbers, we don’t discount a decent Liberal performance, but Bragdon has a clear edge, as he goes against the grain in line with the mood of the riding.

Quebec

Abitibi-Temascimingue

MP at Dissolution: Christine Moore, NDP (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Abitibi-Temiscamingue is a large riding in the west of Quebec, with the main population centre of Rouyn-Noranda being the focal point of the riding. The riding contains sizeable rural and ex-mining communities, students and First Nations, all of whom contributed to the decent NDP win for Christine Moore last time; she received a 41.5% vote share with 29.6% for the Liberals, and the other parties . Moore, plagued by bad press and potential scandals, isn’t running again, leaving this Liberal target even more vulnerable. Claude Thibault will be the Liberal candidate in a repeat from last time.

The NDP are having an awful time in Quebec, as has been well documented. Whilst this should be one of their safer ridings, Moore’s problems and retirement haven’t helped them, and it’s hard to see the NDP not tanking. As for who is best placed to win? Clearly the Liberals. Whilst in this unique riding with a sovereigntist past, the Bloc may gain more of that NDP vote, they were 10 points behind the Liberals last time. We don’t discount the Bloc making it competitive, but we see the Liberals as far and away the frontrunners, given their strong Quebec polling. As for the NDP, they should sink to third or fourth. We’re rating this Likely Liberal. 

Alfred-Pellan

MP at Dissolution: Angelo Iacono, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Alfred-Pellan contains the ever-so-slightly less urban east of Laval Island, including areas around Chartrand. It does have a sizeable Italian-Canadian community, and has followed the path of many Quebec ridings, going Bloc in 2006 and 2008, NDP in 2011, before choosing a Liberal in 2015, and the Liberal incumbent here is Angelo Iacono, who also ran in 2011. The most notable other candidate, former hockey player Angelo Esposito, is running for the Conservatives, but they came a distant fourth last time, and they are unlikely to turn that around even with him. Iacono won with 44.5% and a 20% margin oq1o

There are many Quebec ridings that followed the same path, and with the Liberals holding a sizeable lead in Quebec, we expect this will remain Liberal. With a split opposition, Iacono’s voter base is comfortable, and he should perform well in most communities in the riding, not just Italian-Canadian areas. With no party really challenging him hard, we expect he’ll have another comfortable victory.

Becancour-Nicolet-Saurel

MP at Dissolution: Louis Plamondon

Our Rating: Solidly Bloc Québécois

Our Take: A riding on the shore of the St. Lawrence opposite Trois-Rivieres, Becancour-Nicolet-Saurel is home to Louis Plamondon, who has represented this riding since 1984, making him the longest continuously serving MP and Dean of the House of Commons, and is a popular local MP. This nationalist riding’s voters followed him to the Bloc, and in 2015, he won with a 15.7% margin of victory and the second highest vote share of any Bloc candidate. Plamondon is continuing his service and running for re-election.

We rate this as Solidly Bloc Québécois. Plamondon’s recipe for victory keeps producing, and although the Liberals are rising in  Quebec, this is not on their radar, and there is little chance of Plamondon losing, especially if he garners a few more votes than last time. If Plamondon had retired, the race would have been more interesting, as the Liberals have sought to gain in nationalist areas, but simply put, this is as close you’ll get to a truly reliable Bloc riding. 

Joliette

MP at Dissolution: Gabriel Ste-Marie, Bloc Québécois

Our Rating: Likely Bloc Québécois

Our Take: Joliette is a riding centred on the town of the same name, but also the rural Matawinie area. It had been a Bloc riding before that from 1993 to 2011, breaking for the NDP in the 2011 ‘Orange Wave’, before going back to the Bloc, this time for Gabriel Ste-Marie, who is running for re-election. Joining him in a rematch is Michel Bourgeois, the Liberal from last time. The riding, as the result show, is very much a sovereigntist/nationalist riding, emphasised by the good PQ win in Joliette itself in 2018 – one of only 10 PQ seats and the only in this part of the province.

33.3% of the vote and only a 5% margin of victory against over the Liberals isn’t the best position for Ste-Marie, so we can’t rate this as Solidly Bloc, it falls more into the Likely Bloc categoriy. For the Liberals to gain this, the votes would have to come from somewhere, and its the third placed NDP where the votes should be coming from. In a nationalist riding like this, we’d expect that a lot of them go to the Bloc. And for a backbench MP in a caucus without official party status, Ste-Marie has met expectations. Therefore, we don’t discount a competitive race, but we do think Ste-Marie should be victorious.

Longueuil-Charles LeMoyne

MP at Dissolution: Sherry Romanado, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: One of two ridings based in Longueuil on the South Shore, this one saw a victory for Liberal Sherry Romanado last time – it is another Bloc 2006 and 2008, NDP 2011, Liberal 2015 riding. Romanado won with a decent 35.4%, coming up between the Bloc, who ran up huge margins in the middle of the riding, and the NDP in second and third respectively. The PQ won in the overlapping Marie-Victorin riding, but this is a nationalist/sovereigntist area, and the Liberals are doing relatively well in such areas.

Our simple projection is that we think the same will happen, without the NDP. The NDP performed fairly evenly all over the riding, and it’s likely a lot of their votes go to the Bloc as well as the Liberals. The problem for the Bloc is there simply isn’t enough NDP vote to make that happen; if provincial polling is correct, it won’t all break their way. The Bloc themselves don’t appear to see it as a target, and are focusing on two neighbouring ridings instead. All of this amounts to a clear win for Romanado, and a rating of Solidly Liberal – we think only they can win here.

Outremont

MP at Dissolution: Rachel Bendayan, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Outremont, formerly held by Martin Cauchon, is the riding that shows how the NDP have been made, and now broken, in Quebec. Tom Mulcair won his by-election in 2007, won an easy victory in the 2011 ‘Orange Wave,’ was elected leader, narrowly held on in 2015, and then ended his career. The by-election to replace him saw a comfortable win for Liberal Rachel Bendayan. The riding itself covers the area of the same name, and is more evenly balanced between nationalists and federalists than other Montreal ridings.

We rate this as Solidly Liberal. With the problems for the NDP, even a better than expected perfomance here won’t see them return to win the seat. Bendayan’s margin of victory of 13% seems insurmountable for any party now – the riding is going back to its roots.

Shefford

MP at Dissolution: Pierre Breton, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Shefford, one of the oldest continuously existing ridings in Canada, covers Granby and the surrounding areas in the Eastern Townships. Like many Ontario ridings, it went Bloc in 2006 and 2008, then NDP in 2011, and Liberal in 2015; Liberal Pierre Breton won the open seat by a surprisingly large margin, doing particularly well in urban areas, including Granby. Breton is running for re-election against token opposition. 

These Quebec ridings may be understandable targets for some parties now, but in a good election for the Liberals, the margin is big enough here that they should hold it. Breton may not be the biggest name in the Liberal Party, but he is clearly the strongest candidate in the race, and the Liberals should hold most of the voters from last time, as well as gaining a few from the second placed NDP. We have no confidence any other party is able to put up a strong fight, let alone win, so we rate this as Solidly Liberal.

Trois-Rivieres

MP at Dissolution: Robert Aubin, NDP

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Trois-Rivieres is a large city in Central Quebec, with its own riding. Since 2011, that riding has been held by the NDP’s Robert Aubin, who is now one of their main Quebec figures. He won in 2015, but it was a closer race than expected, as Aubin received a low 31.8%, winning by less than a thousand votes over the second-placed Liberals. Aubin remains undaunted, with his main opposition being Valerie Renaud-Martin for the Liberals, but also Yves Levesque, a mayor of Trois-Rivieres, who is a star candidate for the Conservatives. Marie Duplessis will run for the Greens.

Aubin is likely finished. Whilst he’s certainly the best candidate his party could hope for, that won’t be enough, with the NDP tanking in the province, and particularly in these ridings which provincially voted for the CAQ or PQ. The question is, as it often is in the province, who stands to take advantage of that. Yves Levesque is a good candidate. As a local mayor, he makes the Conservatives palatable in a riding they would have struggled to win otherwise, and he can certainly put the riding in play for them. But the Liberals were 12% ahead of the Conservatives in 2015, and right now, their numbers are too strong for them for this to be anything other than Leans Liberal for them.

Ontario

Bay of Quinte

MP at Dissolution: Neil Ellis, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Neil Ellis, a popular former mayor in the riding, won this open seat in 2015. The seat itself covers the Prince Edward and Quinte West districts around the Bay of Quinte. Ellis did well across the riding, including Belleville where he was mayor; Conservatives only did well in some rural areas. Ellis will be defending his 16.5% margin of victory from last time against the main challenge of Conservative Tim Durkin. 

We rate this as Likely Liberal. It does have a Conservative base, or at least one for its MPP, Todd Smith, who has held the provincial equivalent since 2011, but that’s not going to be enough for the easy elections Smith has had. Ellis is a strong incumbent, but not relying on any popularity either – he has a good ground game, and is far more well-known face than Durkin. In addition, even outside of the 905, his 10000 vote margin should be enough of a cushion. That being said, the Conservatives have justifiably chosen to target this. Ellis’ popularity could not be as big a help as last time given his association with the Trudeau Government, and if the Conservatives did well, we would see a competitive race here. But for now, we are confident Ellis has a strong edge.

Carleton

MP at Dissolution: Pierre Poilievre, Conservative

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: Carleton covers the southern suburbs of Ottawa, a city that is trending heavily to the Liberals, and demographically we can see such changes in Carleton, as commuters move in to the riding, and others move out. Pierre Poilievre became the riding’s MP here in 2015 after he moved over from Nepean – redistribution made this the best riding for the Conservatives in Ottawa, as they did well on the outer edges of the seat, but Poilievre still won by only 3% against Liberal candidate Chris Rodgers. The two will rematch.

Poilievre has a tough fight, and although he has a national presence, it’s not going to help him much in this changing riding. Rodgers is obviously less well-known – but he has come back fighting after last time, and has a very strong ground game, taking advantage of those demographic shifts. Granted, the provincial Progressive Conservatives still won 51.3% of the vote provincially, but it was a regression, despite gaining a majority of seats. The riding could easily buck the national trend as it did provincially. The Liberal lead in Ontario is not even across the province – in Toronto, the 905 and similar suburbs like here, it is better for the Liberals – that is only an average but Carleton will still be close, when it should be a Conservative hold. For all of those reasons, we believe this is a Tossup.

MP at Dissolution: Jamie Schmale, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: This rural riding covers a long stretch of communities, from the Kawartha areas towards the north, to the border with Durham county in the south. Most of the riding delivers for the Conservatives, who have held this since 2004, with Jamie Schmale the riding’s latest MP, although its MPP is arguably more high-profile, as this has delivered for Ford Cabinet Minister Laurie Scott too. Schmale faces Judith Forbes for the second-placed Liberals, who got 31.8% last time; Schmale won with 44.8%. 

This is a rural riding in Ontario, and despite their troubles in the province, the Conservatives still hope to put on votes in these ridings. Demographically and politically, that is quite feasible here. With that in mind, the Liberals have nominated a strong candidate to take on Schmale, whose profile is fairly low (despite being popular in parts of the riding), but Schmale isn’t a disastrous candidate either, and he should hold on to his 13% margin. We therefore rate this as Solidly Conservative.

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek

MP at Dissolution: Bob Bratina, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Hamilton East-Stoney Creek covers the east of the city proper, along with the Stoney Creek and Fruitland areas, with working-class and purely urban eastern Hamilton turning out for the NDP last time, while Stoney Creek went Liberal in big numbers. This equated to a win for former Liberal Mayor Bob Bratina with a decent 39% to NDP incumbent Wayne Marston’s 32.7%, who had gained it from the Liberals in 2006. The Conservatives came third, with 25.3%. Bratina is running for re-election against the NDP’s Nick Milanovic.

We rate this as Likely Liberal. With Marston gone, the NDP vote is almost certain to decline, and that’s not going to help the third placed Conservatives, who have nominated Gurdeep Kaur. That being said, this isn’t completely ‘natural Liberal territory,’ and with Bratina (despite obviously being a top-tier candidate last time) having some bad press throughout his term, it would seem as if he has a similar path to victory, running up margins in the Liberal-sympathising Stoney Creek portion. But with the state of the polls in Ontario, he should do it.

Humber River-Black Creek

MP at Dissolution: Judy Sgro, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: Humber River-Black Creek, formerly York West, is a suburban, but less affluent riding in the North York part of Toronto. It has been consistently one of the strongest ridings for the Liberals in Ontario. The NDP win provincially reveals little about the riding’s true political colours – it gave longtime Liberal incumbent Judy Sgro a 67% vote share, the highest for any MP in Ontario. She is running for re-election against strong but ultimately token opposition, including former city councillor (not representing part of the riding) Maria Augimeri, and Conservative community member Iftikhar Chaudhry. The riding, like many others in the area, contains a sizeable Italian-Canadian community.

We rate this as Solidly Liberal. The demographics are conducive to a Liberal win, but no matter how well the Liberals do in Toronto, this will not be any bellwether. They simply aren’t reaching a point like they did provincially, with only seven Liberal MPPs, and unlike then this isn’t on any party’s target list. Sgro might not be as popular as she is long-serving, but she is popular enough, and more importantly, she’s on the right team for this riding.

Kitchener South-Hespeler

MP at Dissolution: Marwan Tabbara, Liberal

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Kitchener South-Hespeler was a new riding created for the 2015, which elected Marwan Tabbara as its MP. It covers the strongly Liberal southern suburbs of Kitchener with the more-Conservative friendly Cambridge exurbs of Hespeler and Silver Heights. When combined, the two halves amounted to a win for 42.3% for the Liberals, with the Conservatives behind on 36.7%. Tabbara is running for re-election against Alan Keeso for the Conservatives.

This is a top Conservative target, but we still believe the Liberals have a slight edge. We rate it as Leans Liberal. The Conservatives are reliant on running up big margins in Hespeler and Silver Heights, as the Kitchener suburbs look less friendly to them. Their 2018 provincial victory against the NDP was a similar race, and a close one. Otherwise, with no major local dynamics, the race should be a nationalised one. At the moment, that favours the Liberals who are polling well in the province.

Mississauga-Streetsville

MP at Dissolution: Gagan Sikand

Our Rating: Leans Liberal

Our Take: Mississauga-Streetsville contains the northwest of Mississauga, including Streetsville as they name suggests. Since 1993, the ridings covering the area have gone Liberal, with the exception of the 2011 election, where Brad Butt was elected as a Conservative. Butt’s term was marked by a few minor scandals, but he still held Gagan Sikand, the Liberal who unseated him, to a 7% margin of victory. Sikand is running for re-election against the Conservative Ghada Melek, who herself has carried controversy with accusations of Islamophobia – this is a diverse riding where that may hurt her.

We rate this race as Leans Liberal. It should have been a top chance for a Conservative gain, as their best riding in Peel, other than the riding of Dufferin-Caledon, which they already hold. But their poor performance in Ontario, particularly in the 905, makes a top target less winnable. Add Melek’s problems in to the mix, and it’s not looking as good for them as it should have. That being said, they are still viable here – an uptick in the polls would make this truly competitive. The Liberals however have an edge here.

Scarborough-Guildwood

MP at Dissolution: John McKay, Liberal

Our Rating: Solidly Liberal

Our Take: One of six Scarborough ridings, Guildwood has been the most Liberal in recent history, going big for the very popular John McKay. The riding went for him with 60% of votes last time, and was Liberal enough to re-elect another, Mitzie Hunter, one of only seven in their 2018 disaster. Guildwood has some of the highest Muslim and black populations for any riding, and they have supported McKay in large numbers over the years. Now, he’s trying to cross the 20 year mark with a seventh term.

That seventh term should be an easy win for McKay. The Liberal strength here was enough (when combined with his own popularity and local presence) to see him through the 2011 disaster, and to re-elect him by a big margin. With token opposition, he should cruise to victory, likely close to 60% again. 

Toronto-Danforth

MP at Dissolution: Julie Dabrusin, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Toronto-Danforth is best known as the riding of Jack Layton, the NDP’s most successful leader – who gained this from Dennis Mills in 2004 and held it until his death. It is one of the most diverse ridings in Canada, with significant South Asian, East Asian and Greek communities. In 2015, the NDP incumbent Craig Scott, who succeeded Layton, was unseated by Liberal Julie Dabrusin. She won with 42.3% to Scott’s 40.1% – the victory was considered a major upset given the strength of the NDP here. She is running for re-election against the NDP candidate, filmmaker Min Sook Lee, as well as Zia Choudhary for the Conservatives. 

We rate this seat as Likely Liberal. Polls of the 416 (City of Toronto) show that things aren’t looking up for the NDP – and here, there is a bit of a climb down. Min Sook Lee may be a decent fit for the riding – but she simply isn’t Craig Scott, let alone anything like Layton at his peak. Dabrusin is doing well as an incumbent – and she has a clear edge as a candidate and as a Liberal, but we can’t discount some challenge from the NDP. If they want to get anything near their 44 seats from last time, they will need to win this. We don’t see that happening, but we do see the dynamics of a potentially competitive race – this is the sort of riding Jagmeet Singh should do well in. That isn’t happening, but we still believe the NDP will put up a decent challenge, and so we rate this as Likely Liberal. 

Whitby

MP at Dissolution: Celina Caesar-Chevannes, Independent (elected as Liberal, not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: Whitby is a suburban/commuter 905 riding on Lake Ontario’s shores, with the history of a swing riding. It’s best known MP was former Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, with his wife, current Ontario Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, also a former MPP for Whitby-Oshawa. After the late Flaherty left Parliament, the incumbent, then Liberal Celina Caesar-Chevannes, lost a by-election to replace him, but was successful in winning in 2015. Although she was seen as a rising star in the Liberals, and as a popular incumbent, she left the Liberal caucus and chose to stand down. New Liberal candidate Ryan Turnbull faces Conservative Todd McCarthy, as well as Brian Thomas Dias for the NDP, Mirko Pejic for the PPC and Paul Slavchenko for the Greens. 

As a brand, the Conservatives are weaker without Flaherty or Elliott, and the scope to gain may be troubled by the increasing affluent and minority populations here. To say everything is going the way of the Liberals is wrong, however. Caesar-Chavannes is also a loss to her party, and her statements about Justin Trudeau haven’t exactly helped local Liberals – all things be equal, they should however be a distant memory come election day. It is fundamentally a swing riding, and a 2.9% margin of victory isn’t something the Liberals can feel completely secure with; even with a poor Conservative performance, it is still within reach. Our sentiment is matched in polling, as a Mainstreet Poll of the riding for ipolitics.ca found the two main parties running very close. The link to the poll is here.  Overall, this should be a close fight, and that’s why we’ve picked our rating of Tossup.

Saskatchewan

Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River

MP at Dissolution: Georgina Jolibois, NDP

Our Rating: Leans Conservative

Our Take: This large riding covers most of Northern Saskatchewan by area, but it maintains a lower population than most other ridings due to the rural and remote nature of the riding. After Liberal Gary Merasty stood down, Conservative Rob Clarke won it in a 2008 by-election, but his loss in 2015 was a surprise, as he came third, making this the worst riding in Saskatchewan for the Conservatives on paper. Despite that, it was a close race, as current NDP MP Georgina Jolibois came a narrow first place, with 34% to the 33% won by the Liberals. Clarke’s 29% clearly wasn’t enough to make him run again, as the Conservatives have instead nominated local Mayor Gary Vidal, with Jolibois also running for re-election. The Liberals will be represented by Tammy Cook-Searson, an indigenous leader.

That much of a three way race last time actually helps us pick a leaning party, rather than this being the Tossup it appears to be. Because the Conservatives are performing well in Saskatchewan, they stand to gain votes in the riding, particularly in the southern part which is more sympathetic to them. The NDP and Liberals may equally hold their vote up better than elsewhere. Both have candidates who have made indigenous issues the centre of their candidacies, but they are still on the defensive, and their candidates aren’t prominent enough (even with Jolibois’ incumbency) to create the huge personal votes that can be garnered. This means that despite the different dynamics of the riding compared to others in Saskatchewan, the provincial and national trends and shares are still important here. We think the Conservatives have the best chance to take advantage of that and gain votes, so although it is not quite so easy for them as other ridings in the province, they should win. We rate this as Leans Conservative.  

Manitoba

Winnipeg South

MP at Dissolution: Terry Duguid, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Winnipeg South covers the area of the city around its southern edge, and areas near to the university. Last time, Duguid gained what was seen to be a competitive seat with a high 58.3% of votes, and is running for re-election against Melanie Maher for the Conservatives. He did well all over the riding, winning most polls.

Duguid is a popular incumbent and a Parliamentary Secretary, but we think that shouldn’t matter. Whilst this might be seen as the most vulnerable of all the proper Winnipeg seats (i.e. excluding exurban Kildonan and Charleswood) for the Liberals, Duguid should still win in most circumstances. A loss for him would be down to one thing, which is the Conservatives doing especially well in Manitoba in the wake of the provincial election. Right now, we don’t see that making this a competitive race, but we do think the small chance of a loss for Duguid is enough to make it Likely Liberal. But that’s arguably being generous to the Conservatives.

Alberta

Battle River-Crowfoot

MP at Dissolution: Kevin Sorenson, Conservative (not running for re-election)

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Every major party in a country with Canada’s FPTP Electoral System has a number one riding, and Crowfoot is the Conservative’s riding. Even by rural Alberta standards, this is Conservative with small and big cs – it went over 80% for the Conservative Party in 2015, and the overlapping provincial riding of Drumheller-Stettler was the only one where two firm right-wing candidates came first and second. It is a rural riding where most of the polls go Conservative, and where areas going 90% for that party is not uncommon. After 19 years in Parliament, Kevin Sorenson is standing down. In the race to succeed him, his constituency assistant Damian Kurek defeated educator Jefferson McClung and former Conservative MP for Essex Jeff Watson.

This is a true blue rural Alberta riding, which we rate as Solidly Conservative. If you can honestly see Kurek losing, let us know. Because we can’t. 

Calgary Midnapore

MP at Dissolution: Stephanie Kusie, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Calgary Midnapore is a riding in the south of the city, around the Fish Creek provincial park and Sundance neighbourhoods. Like most of the Calgary suburbs, it has a strongly Conservative history, and was previously held by Jason Kenney. His resignation led to a by-election, which Stephanie Kusie won with nearly 80% of votes cast, and she has now been promoted to Scheer’s shadow cabinet. She is running fro re-election.

Like most Calgary suburbs, we see this staying in the Conservative column, and therefore rate it Solidly Conservative. There’s little indication of any other outcome here, and the fundamentals of the race point to another strong victory for the Conservatives this time – an easy race for Kusie.

Sturgeon River-Parkland

MP at Dissolution: Dane Lloyd, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: This riding, to the north and west of Edmonton, is a riding of two halves, the urban area of Spruce Grove and Stony Plain and the rural Parkland areas around Morinville. It is far enough from Edmonton that it has a lot in common with the other rural Alberta ridings that surround it. It was previously held by interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, but is now represented by Dane Lloyd, who is running for re-election. He easily won a by-election after Ambrose stood down, cementing the ridings status as one of the safest in the country for the Conservatives.

The seat was a battleground provincially, with Searle Turton and Dale Nally gaining the overlapping provincial ridings. Like many provincial battlegrounds however, the riding is Solidly Conservative. We don’t see any other party coming close to winning this safe Conservative riding.

British Columbia

Chilliwack-Hope

MP at Dissolution: Mark Strahl, Conservative

Our Rating: Solidly Conservative

Our Take: Chilliwack-Hope is part of the ‘Fraser Valley/Bible Belt’ contingent of ridings in Southern BC, and is a Conservative stronghold, going for Mark Strahl and his father Chuck before him. Mark Strahl won with a decent 42.3% last time with the Liberals in second place; the latter’s 33.8% of votes came mostly from urban areas, while the Conservatives fared well everywhere else. Strahl is running for re-election, and is the current Opposition Whip.

Despite the hopes of Liberals in the BC Interior, a nearly 10% margin for Mark Strahl should hold up. It’s simply too hard to see the Liberals taking these sorts of ridings where they don’t have the resources to invest or the gap to take advantage of. Strahl is the strongest candidate in the race, given his name and his incumbency. The Liberals may have hopes based on the strong urban results last time, but Conservative strength is too much to overcome.

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

MP at Dissolution: Alistair MacGregor, NDP

Our Rating: Tossup

Our Take: This riding is hard to describe – it is southern Vancouver Island, but it is not that similar to Victoria or Esquimalt. One thing they do have in common is that the NDP won last time, but like all the NDP ridings on Vancouver Island, the incumbent party should find themselves challenged. Incumbent NDP MP Alistair MacGregor performed well all across the riding, with the other parties having their own pockets of support. The Conservatives did well in the northeastern polls, while the Liberals did better in Langford. The central part of the riding notably went Green provincially, a counter to John Horgan’s seat of Langford. Horgan campaigning will actually help the NDP here. MacGregor is running again, against three main challengers: former provincial MLA for Calgary Bow Alana DeLong, who has also ran for the BC Liberals in an overlapping riding while the Greens have nominated a lesser-known local, Lydia Hwitsum. 

This riding should see a very competitive race. MacGregor is better-placed than a lot of his challengers as a candidate, but he might still struggle under NDP struggles, as they siphon votes to other parties. The Greens will be worried about underperformance especially, although they have the benefit of some presence locally. The main beneficiary should be the Greens, and we rate this a Tossup between them and the NDP, with the Liberals and Conservatives close behind and still definitely in contention – we don’t discount them if voting intention in BC (erratic lately) swings their way, although they have more of a challenge, and are reliant on tactical voting. It’s certainly one to watch.

Fleetwood-Port Kells

MP at Dissolution: Ken Hardie, Liberal

Our Rating: Likely Liberal

Our Take: Fleetwood-Port Kells was a new riding created in 2003 after the previous Surrey Central riding was carved up. That riding’s MP was the high-profile Gurmant Grewal, and his wife, Nina Grewal, was the first MP for this riding, until her 2015 defeat by former broadcaster Ken Hardie. The Liberals did best in some parts of the riding near Surrey.

We rate this as Likely Liberal. The Conservatives are hoping British Columbia can keep them afloat, but in terms of target ridings, this one seems to be rather out of reach. With Surrey becoming more of a stronghold for non-conservative parties, (provincially the ridings here swung hard to the NDP), it makes puts this riding harder to win that some others even if the Liberals got higher vote shares there. They do have a reasonable candidate named Shinder Purewal, but Hardie has equally been one of the better backbench Liberals. If the Conservatives do get what they’re looking for in BC, which is one of the provinces they have a better chance in, there could be a competitive race here. But for now, the Liberals have the clearest edge in our view.

Vancouver Kingsway

MP at Dissolution: Don Davies, NDP

Our Rating: Likely NDP

Our Take: Vancouver Kingsway covers some less affluent parts of the city, in the east of the riding. After going Liberal several times, notably for David Emerson, a Harper minister, Don Davies gained the seat and has held it ever since with decent victories. Last time he won with 45.7% of votes, and although this time he faces a tougher opponent (the Liberal candidate is a former Vancouver-area journalist, Tamara Taggart), she still has to overcome his 18% margin of victory last time.

We rate this riding as Likely NDP. Taggart is a better candidate than Steven Kou was in 2015, thanks to name recognition alone. That isn’t to say Davies is lesser-known, however, and we believe he’s in decent shape. The NDP, as of late relying more and more on local standard bearers, have their man in Davies. We’ve gone with the rating of Likely NDP, because in an NDP seat, we think he’s got the best chance, but Taggart will certainly put up a strong fight, and may make it more competitive.

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