The Conservative Party moved ahead of the Liberals to take first place in terms of seat projection on Saturday, as the New Democratic Party rose to nearly 20 per cent in some polls — setting up the Tories for a likely minority government.
Jagmeet Singh and his NDP saw a boost following the official Leaders’ Debates on Tuesday and Thursday. Though the amalgamated Poll Tracker by the CBC finds the Tories and Liberals essentially tied near 32 per cent, the New Democrats have risen to an overall 15.8 per cent.
Reports across the country indicate the “#SinghUpSwing” is more than a hashtag, including right by Humber College’s North Campus in the riding of Brampton East, where The Hill Times reports there could be a significant breakthrough for the New Democrats.
The Liberals have suffered two major political affairs in the past year: the fallout of putting pressure put on the ex-attorney general to defer prosecution on SNC-Lavalin and the “brownface” scandal. Despite this, they were poised to snap a minority government.
This week, however, with gains by the Bloc Québécois threatening the Liberal strongholds in Quebec, the New Democrats building momentum in Ontario and the Tories shoring up support out west, Justin Trudeau’s chances of remaining prime minister are dropping.
The CBC finds that there is a 43 per cent probability of the Tories under Andrew Scheer forming a minority government, over 34 per cent for the Liberals. However, the pollster that manages the tracker, Eric Grenier, finds that if there is to be a majority, the Liberals are more likely to win it.
A “majority government” means that a party or coalition of governing parties hold an absolute majority of seats in the House of Commons and the leader of that party or coalition of parties is the prime minister. A coalition is when multiple parties team up to form a government.
If there is a minority government, then there could be a party or parties that hold what is known as the “balance of power”. This could mean a certain party joins in a coalition with another party or parties and votes with them or informally supports their government.
If the Conservatives win a minority, currently the most likely outcome of the Oct. 21 federal election, then the other parties could form a coalition to form a majority government and throw the Tories out of government. On the other hand, a party could join the Tories to create an absolute majority.
All these factors together with the unpredictability of the first-past-the-post parliamentary system, the tight race of the polls and the general uncertainty that comes with a federal election means that the result is essentially up in the air at this time.
Advanced polling has begun. Oct. 21 is election day.