Pre­dic­tions hinge on mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION - JIM WAR­REN Jim War­ren is a Lib­eral strate­gist who worked for On­tario premier Dal­ton McGuinty and Toronto mayor Mel Last­man.

Mak­ing pre­dic­tions these days in pol­i­tics is like try­ing to pre­dict the weather in New­found­land. We know we will ex­pe­ri­ence fog, cold, wind, snow and rain, but when the sun and warmth will come is any­one’s guess.

So I don’t know how pre­dictable my pre­dic­tions will be, hav­ing clocked in at 3-for-5 with last year’s pre­dic­tions, but here goes:

• Con­ser­va­tives: An­drew Scheer will have cau­cus prob­lems in 2019.

The Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus is filled with for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ters. The say­ing goes “idle hands are the devil’s tools.” And Scheer is not giv­ing his cau­cus enough work to do, es­pe­cially the for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ters. These for­mer min­is­ters are used to be­ing im­por­tant and very in­volved. Scheer needs to in­volve more of his team and get them to buy in to the win­ning strat­egy.

He al­ready faces a threat from the right wing in Maxime Bernier and his Peo­ple’s Party of Canada. Scheer needs to do more to keep his cau­cus happy, en­gaged and fo­cused on the real tar­get — Justin Trudeau.

Pre­dic­tion: The fed­eral Tories will have more in­fight­ing in the early part of 2019, which will deny them a ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment in the elec­tion.

• New Demo­cratic Party: What if Jag­meet Singh loses his by­elec­tion slated for 2019 in Burn­aby South? That’s the next big ques­tion fac­ing fed­eral po­lit­i­cal strate­gists from all par­ties. Can he sur­vive as party leader? Will he still run in the fall gen­eral elec­tion?

Win or lose, Singh is un­der at­tack. Nor­mally no party would turf its leader on the eve of an elec­tion. But given what hap­pened in On­tario in 2018, any­thing is pos­si­ble. The NDP cau­cus will soon be in self­p­reser­va­tion mode.

My guess is Singh will sneak out a by­elec­tion win but the party turns on it­self and there is an at­tempt to re­place him as leader in spring 2019. It won’t be suc­cess­ful, but it will wound them for the elec­tion.

Pre­dic­tion: Singh runs un­der the party ban­ner as leader, does poorly, but wins in the long run by hold­ing the bal­ance of power to prop up a Trudeau mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment.

• Lib­er­als: With idle hands in the Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus, a vote split on the right and in­fight­ing within the NDP, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and the Lib­er­als have a path to vic­tory by pick­ing up seats in Que­bec and keep­ing their Bri­tish Columbia seats to off­set seat losses in Al­berta and On­tario.

This could re­sult in my main 2019 pre­dic­tion of a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment in Ot­tawa.

Like the un­pre­dictable New­found­land fog, cold, wind and snow, there is a slim chance that sunny ways could come back again and with all the right vote splits Trudeau wins a ma­jor­ity. But let’s go with a mi­nor­ity given ev­ery­thing we know to­day.

Trudeau will then be faced to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with Singh to re­main prime min­is­ter. Singh, wounded by his own party and failed cam­paign, will agree so as to stay in power.

Trudeau, Scheer and Singh will then all be un­der at­tack within their own par­ties and it will be duelling pianos to see who comes out on top to lead their par­ties into a 2021 elec­tion.

As they say in New­found­land, “Long may your big jib draw.”

Trans­la­tion: May you have good for­tune for a long time.

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