Saturday, August 01, 2015

Election: EKOS poll - Seniors will return Harper to power as Prime Minister

A key statistic is not who favours what party before election day, but how many voters actually cast a vote on that day.  Seniors vote. Younger voters don’t vote in the same proportions.

The latest EKOS poll explains why Stephen Harper will be Prime Minister on September 20, 2015, leading a minority government:



Neither the Liberal Party nor the NDP has managed to make big enough inroads into the senior vote in order to knock Harper’s Conservatives out of power.

This means the key to who will actually govern Canada will be settled in the months after the election, as Harper tries to stay in power with the support of either the NDP or the Liberals. He probably will need just over a dozen MP votes in the confidence votes to survive as a minority government.  The longer he can survive, the more likely it will be that the Governor General will agree to a request from Harper as PM to dissolve parliament again, and plunge us into another election.

If he can survive for roughly six months (say until the end of March 2016), the GG most likely will accede to a dissolution request and we will be off to the races again.

What does that mean for the governance of the country?


Firstly, Harper would try to delay the convening of the new parliament as long as possible, so as to gain time and run the 6-month clock out as much as possible.

Secondly, he will be constructing his first budget with the view to enticing either the NDP or the LPC to support the money vote in the confidence motion following the Throne Speech.

This means he will pull out all the stops to inject as many goodies attractive to Mulcair and/or Trudeau as possible.

We can expect him framing the Throne Speech as one that has as its primary purpose the holding of a referendum in the country on the abolition of the Senate, with goodies for individual provinces designed to encourage them to vote Yes to its abolition. This plum will be dangled before Mulcair, who might well find it irresistible.

However, Harper will not really care whether the required number of provinces sign on to abolition, nor whether the required number of voters agree in the referendum he will legislate. His objective will be to run the clock out, getting to the 6 month mark (April 1, 2016), and then proroguing parliament and asking the GG to allow him to go to the country again.

Because this plum of Senate abolition will be well-night irresistible to Mulcair, but perhaps not enough to make Mulcair prop up Harper’s minority government, we can expect Harper to dangle further plums before Mulcair.

These will be aimed at one or two of Mulcair’s main economic planks in his election campaign, plus – and this could be the key plum – some kind of deal with the province of Quebec that will be supported by 70% of voters in that province.

This dramatic shift to asymmetric federalism will be aimed at making Mulcair an offer he cannot refuse: if he does not keep Harper in power to implement the changes, he will be punished in the April 2016 election by the voters in Quebec who form the foundation of NDP strength there.

Mulcair will know that if he pulls the plug on Harper, it is unlikely that he will be able to take over as PM of a minority government and give Quebec the same rich deal that Harper might be offering. Why not? Because Harper would withhold his support (read Ibbitson about Harper’s behavior if he feels he is crossed by anyone), and Trudeau has locked himself into a position where he will not support such a deal for Quebec, whether proposed by Mulcair or by Harper.



So we could then face another election in April 2016, with Harper dealing from a position of strength; the Liberals pushed to the side if the ballot box question of that election is asymmetric federalism for Quebec; and Mulcair having to face a hornet’s nest of fury from his base in Quebec, and from voters in the rest of the country who want Harper out of power in October this year.


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