Here we are onto Day 20 of our 40 day 43rd General Election campaign and wow, what a campaign it has been. It’s felt like so much longer than the 20 days that it’s been and it feels like ages since we saw that first leaders’ debate. Given the timing of where we’re at in this campaign, this feels like a good time to check in to see where we’re at going ahead.
If I was to describe this campaign so far, I’d say that it’s been a campaign where so much has happened and changed, yet nothing has happened nor changed. We’ve seen some major developments, like the Trudeau Brownface scandal, questions about Andrew Scheer’s actual professional past, the implosion of the Green campaign under new pressure and the resurrection of Jagmeet Singh’s leadership. Add to that the slow burning return of the Bloc Quebecois and the presence of Maxime Bernier’s PPC, there has been a lot that has happened over 20 days.
Yet nothing has changed in that the polls remain stubbornly stuck in place. The overall poll numbers have barely moved for everyone, as all of the parties are oscillating within the margin of error and seem stuck in place. They move slightly up, then slightly down as they all bob around in the waters of this campaign. Normally any one of those big things mentioned above would have shaken something loose and either sunk one party or propelled another one upwards in the polls. Instead after nearly three weeks we haven’t seen anything shake up the actually horse race numbers so far.
So what we’ve had is a lot of action, a ramping up of the pressure for all parties and all with little to no movement. That means that if anything is ever going to shake loose in this campaign, the last three weeks of this race promises to be huge. That will make every event count all that more as more and more people pay attention and the undecided out there make up their minds. Therefore this week will be crucial, with the TVA debate taking place Wednesday night being the first big event with potential to shake things up. It will be the first time we’ll see Trudeau and Scheer on the same stage together and understandably the confrontations between the two front runners will take on added importance.
On top of that it will be a big night for both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP. With no Elizabeth May of the Green Party on the stage, this will give Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet his first chance to speak to the whole province of Quebec and to try to keep building momentum. Personally I will be interested to see how much Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer go after him. Also this will give Singh a chance to prove himself against the front runners and to prove that he can defend the interests of Quebeckers. He has the biggest hill to climb, but with no Elizabeth May on that stage, he will be able to focus on the other leaders and will likely have to play little defense. This will be Singh’s chance to prove that he is the alternative for those who won’t vote Conservative and can’t hold their noses to vote Liberal. For this campaign to be a good one for the NDP and to hopefully move the polls more in their favour, a strong performance in this debate is a must.
And really folks, the way this race has gone the remaining debates have all taken on increased importance. It’s a truism in Canadian politics that debates don’t tend to be hugely important in the horse race numbers but given the way this campaign has gone so far with so little movement in the polls, something has to break this logjam. It seems most likely that if anything is going to do that, one of these debates to come will be it. As we go ahead over the next 21 days, there is still a lot of campaign to go and a lot that could happen. We’ll see what that brings but so far this campaign feels like one that is running in place.