It is beginning to look as if the upcoming federal election could be the most bizarre horse race in Canadian history since it now seems entirely possible, indeed even probable, that the first “horse” to cross the finish line will be far ahead of the next two “horses” but will still not win the race.
Though Stephen Harper’s Conservatives appear to have regained a lot of lost ground in recent months, it seems unlikely they will be able to win more than 155 to 160 seats in the new 338-seat House of Commons.
Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau seems to have lost a lot of the star-power momentum he had earlier, but his Liberals will still likely win at least 125 to 130 seats.
Even though Tom Mulcair doesn’t seem to be resonating well with voters in English-speaking Canada, he is still a formidable figure in Quebec and his NDP should be able to hang on to at least 45 to 50 seats.
And if the political gods smile on the Greens and Bloc Quebecois, they might be able to muster two or three seats each.
What these numbers clearly indicate is that none of the parties has much chance of obtaining the magic total of 170 seats required to form a majority government.
And this creates a huge dilemma for the anticipated first “horse” past the post, Stephen Harper, since it appears quite likely that the next two “horses”, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair, will have at least 170 to 180 seats between them and be in a position to form a coalition government.
Mulcair has already said he would be willing to enter such a coalition, and though Trudeau says now he wouldn’t be interested, I think it is quite safe to predict he will change his mind after the election if that would put him in 24 Sussex Drive for at least a few years.
I am expecting, and at least to some degree hoping, that before the end of this year we will have a coalition federal government headed by Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau with deputy prime minister and Justice Minister Tom Mulcair – and perhaps even including Environment Minister Elizabeth May.
Gordon Pollard, Victoria