CALGARY – It was the Conservatives’ race to win, according to a political science researcher with Janet Brown Opinion Research.
But with Tory leader Andrew Scheer being unable to claim 24 Sussex Drive there could be some changes in the horizon–most likely to be felt in western Canada.
Scheer’s leadership could be questioned by party
Scheer was vying to be the 24th Prime Minister but after his party was handed a loss on Monday night, political science researcher and data scientist John Santos says Scheer’s leadership might come into question.
“He might decide to announce he will step down,” said Santos. Scheer was named Stephen Harper’s successor in 2017.
“I don’t see how he can stay on. I mean this was his election to win. The Trudeau government entered this election very, very weak. And the fact that Scheer wasn’t able to capitalize on that, I think that a lot of Conservatives are very upset and very disappointed.”
Santos said with Scheer not shying away with from his socially-conservative views–even though he promised to not let that impact policymaking–Tory supporters began to question is he was a good fit as leader.
Should Scheer step back and the party need to find a new leader, Santos expects the party to look to the likes of former Conservative powerhouses James Moore or Rona Ambrose. But he says it’s still too early to tell.
Has TMX become a pipe dream?
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has seen its fair share of drama from protests and rallies to multiple reviews. With the Liberals forming a minority government, is the project on its last legs?
Santos is optimistic there’s still a future for the expansion and cautions concerned voters in oil-driven Alberta not to worry yet.
“I think it will be very difficult to kill the Trans Mountain pipeline legislatively,” said Santos. “We already have construction happening.”
He says the NDP could try its hand at tying the project up further, delaying it with orders in council. But he says the Liberals, which bought the project from Kinder Morgan in 2018, will likely have the upper hand in that battle.
“The Liberals could be looking at a 160-seat minority which is fairly strong. So, how much the NDP will be able to force [Liberal] hands is a big question.”
Coalition? More like No-alition! Idea was always remote says Santos
As the polls nationwide predicted a tight race between the Liberals and Conservatives, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh caught the country’s attention when he mentioned the idea of an NDP-Liberal coalition if Scheer were to claim victory.
But Santos says the idea has always been a stretch and with a clearer picture of how Canadian voted, a red-orange partnership is even less likely.
“[Coalitions don’t] happen in Canada very often. At this point, the Conservatives are most likely going to be entering a leadership race and we could see the Liberals governing propped up by Conservatives, at least for their first part of their term,” predicted Santos.
“I don’t know how much leverage the NDP is actually going to have in this next session.”
-with files from Whitney Deane