Canada Canada election 2021: What are the Alberta ridings to watch for a possible political flip?
Election preview: Many unknowns locally and across Canada as voters head to polls
After being cooped up at home for much of the past 18 months, at least one reason to leave house has been tossed at Canadians — a call to get out and vote on Sept. 20 to decide the political leadership of our nation. The decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce a federal election has caught many across the country off guard — particularly with a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic emerging. Exactly what impact that will have on the ballot box “is the big question,” says University of Windsor political science professor Lydia Miljan, who questions whether the campaigning tainted by protests over the last couple weeks should be a “concern” to Liberals intent on reta
It's widely known that politically, Alberta is a conservative province, and a place with many guaranteed seats for federal Conservatives at election time.
However, experts say the entire province isn't necessarily a slam dunk forand his team , with other front-runner parties, as well as fringe parties, gaining popularity.
According to Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt, nearly every riding in Alberta "is going to be won by the Conservatives with lopsided margins."
The GTA's toss-up ridings could tell the story of the election
According to the most recent polling data, races in nine GTA ridings are toss-ups — eight of them in the critical 905, where Conservatives and Liberals are finding themselves in a dead heat. Those tight races matter because the region, which sends more MP's to Ottawa than Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined, is "a critical part of any winning formula for any of the parties," says political strategist Jaskaran Sandhu. "The density and the population obviously plays a significant impact on the seat counts that you need to form government," he told CBC Toronto.
"It's the demographics that are different in those ridings (that are likely to flip)."
"If you look at where Liberals -- progressives -- do well, they're in urban centres, but specific types of urban centres: either downtown course --, -- or university campuses like , where the University of Calgary is, , where the University of Alberta is, or large visible minority communities like , , ."
MRU associate professor of policy studies Lori Williams said issues like affordable childcare and a strong environmental plan could be deal breakers for front-runner parties among voters in ridings in play.
Political strategist Zain Velji said while the other ridings in Alberta are unlikely to flip, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll vote in favour of O'Toole's Conservatives.
Tories try again to crack vote-rich Toronto-area ridings
For the Conservatives to win this election, analysts say they'll have to make significant inroads in the Greater Toronto Area, a vote-rich ring of suburban communities surrounding Toronto that the party was largely shut out of in the last federal election. Oakville is one of a handful of ridings in the region where polling suggests a dead heat between the Liberals and Conservatives, and where the Tories could rise or fall on election night. © Mark Gollom/CBC Oakville is one of a handful of ridings in the Greater Toronto Area where polling suggests a dead heat between the Liberals and Conservatives.
"Erin O'Toole... has been running a much more centrist, almost PC-style campaign. Very much pandering to Quebec, very much getting in the soup with the other leaders regarding some of the more progressive issues," he said.
"He's going to pay a price for that in Alberta and that price is going to be a reduction, maybe not in seats, but certainly percentage."
Analysts also believe that while voters are casting their ballots in a federal election, the state of the province's politics will be a big factor in their decisions.
'"You might see whatever happens on Monday as being a bit of a litmus test on Jason Kenney and a bit of a proxy war on Jason Kenney, because I think he's on the ballot," Velji said.
ANALYSIS: How the ‘905’ earns its outsize influence on national politics
The 3.8 million people who live in the 30 ridings that form a horseshoe around the city of Toronto are exactly the kind of persuadable voters that can sway Canada's election.Voters in the 30-odd seats in Durham, York, Peel and Halton regions -- the horseshoe-shaped region that borders Toronto and which has been given the nickname the "905" for the area code many there have -- have mostly picked Liberals in the last two elections and, sure enough, Liberals have formed the government in Ottawa. But when those same voters start electing Conservatives, then Conservatives can usually count on claiming the government benches.
All three political experts said it's notable that front-runner federal leaders have spent little time in Alberta through the course of the campaign, signalling that the province is "flyover country," and not a priority in the battle for seats.
"They haven't spent a lot of time here because there's just not a lot of votes that are in play," Williams said, adding that could hurt all party leaders when it comes to gaining ground.
"There is particularly the possibility of the People's Party of Canada -- that's polling somewhere around 13 per cent in Alberta -- there's a possibility of it drawing votes away from the Conservatives and in some ridings that could make the difference between a win or a loss for the Conservatives."
Bratt agreed that fringe parties like the PPC and Maverick Party could make some gains percentage wise in Alberta this election, but said it's unlikely those votes would be make-it-or-break-it for the Conservative Party of Canada.
Video: Political scientist Duane Bratt says Alberta’s new ‘convoluted’ rules are several weeks too late, calls for Kenney to resign (Global News)
Battle for Quebec ends with Legault front and centre
QUEBEC – It started as the election about nothing until the premier of Quebec waded in hip deep. If in the 2019 federal election François Legault took a few well-placed jabs at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau over Quebec’s secularism law, Bill 21, in this campaign a Scud missile was his weapon of choice for the attack. As a result, the uneasy truce between Legault and Trudeau on display in the early part of the federal election campaign went down in flames as Legault, donning his father-to-the-nation cap, offered free advice to Quebecers on how they might want to vote Monday. His suggestion was that the vote not be Liberal, New Democratic Party or Green.
"Even if the Mavericks worked with the People's Party, with some of the independents, they still weren't going to win. What they were going to do is take (a Conservative candidate's) support from 80 per cent, drop it to 55 per cent."
Here are the Alberta ridings to watch as the votes start rolling in on Monday night:
Williams said while Liberal candidate Sabrina Grover isn't as well-known inas incumbent Greg McLean, recent news that those on the campaign trail with her were subject to threats and attacks have raised her profile.
"And I think she's been campaigning pretty well on the ground, quite effectively. Certainly in interviews, she's shown herself to be very, very knowledgeable and competent, not just on issues that she has expertise in, but on what the Liberal Party stands for, what (Justin Trudeau's) platform is, what its advantages are," Williams said.
"She's able to defend it against criticism quite effectively."
Political watchers are also keeping their eye on, with Liberal candidate Murray Sigler running with a strong chance at a win.
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"Murray Siegler, I think is incredibly high profile, really well-known," Williams said.
"Looks like he's that best sort of combination of Liberal and Conservative, is running for the Liberals against a candidate that did OK in the last election."
Sitting Calgary Councillor George Chahal is a front-runner in the campaign forw, and if he wins his seat, all three experts believe he'll likely be appointed a cabinet position.
Along with a strong track record of representing his constituents on a municipal level, Chahal comes from a strong political family background, and watchers say he's executed a strong campaign that makes Calgary Skyview "the one to watch to see how good of a night the Liberals will be having."
"Because George Chahal is basically a current city councillor and has extensive experience representing at least part of that constituency, and has been campaigning quite hard in that in that riding, I think he's considered to be a pretty strong contender," Williams said.
According to Velji,is almost guaranteed to flip, but the big question at play in the riding is: how strong is support for NDP, and will that work in favour of the incumbent?
"That is a progressive place, no question about it," he said.
"But the issue always is the vote split between the NDP and the Liberals. I think the fact that it still is a toss up between the Liberals and the NDP in terms of who could win, there is probably really good news for the Conservatives because it gives them the pathway."
"It looks likemight be in play for the New Democrats, interestingly," Williams explained."
"And you'll notice that Jagmeet Singh visited Edmonton, but not Calgary -- just shows you there's a lot more for him to work with there."
Velji added to that, saying candidate Blake Desjarlais has also had Janis Irwin and Brian Mason join his campaign. He also pointed out that sitting incumbent Conservative MP Keith Diotte is a somewhat divisive candidate.
Political watchers agree that incumbent NDP candidate Heather McPherson is all but guaranteed to secure her seat in Edmonton Strathcona for another term.
"If that one, for whatever reason, does not stay orange, it could be kind of a bellwether in terms of how progressive parties might be doing and Alberta overall," Velji said.
Canadian Press NewsAlert: PPC Leader Maxime Bernier loses in Beauce .
OTTAWA — The latest on developments and results in the federal election. All times are eastern. 10:45 p.m. The Canadian Press is projecting that People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has lost his bid to get elected in the Quebec riding of Beauce. Bernier previously represented the riding south of Quebec City from 2006 to 2019. He was a cabinet minister in the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper, where his portfolios included industry and foreign affairs. He ran for the Conservative leadership in 2017, placing second to former leader Andrew Scheer.