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Three things to watch in the final election week

Aaron Wherry on decision-making time, uniting the left and awkward silences


 
Nathan Denette/CP

Nathan Denette/CP

Was this campaign settled over Thanksgiving dinner?

Thanksgiving weekend was a time for family, turkey and arguing with your family about contemporary issues in between bites of turkey. In this case, those spirited discussions took place a little more than a week ahead of a final vote in an incredibly tight and competitive federal election. It’s therefore tempting to wonder whether a hashing out of things around the dining-room table might significantly settle this campaign. The New Democrats and Conservatives both presented their campaign platforms before the weekend, while the Liberals made a show of reminding everyone about their promise to benefit middle-class families—all potential fodder for family discussion.

Will the left unite itself?

From the start, one significant possibility has loomed over the NDP and Liberal campaigns: that the anti-Conservative vote would ultimately coalesce around whichever non-Conservative party seemed most likely to form government. That has held the promise of boosting whichever of the two parties was ahead of the other in the closing days of the campaign, but will it come to pass? Before the Thanksgiving weekend, public polling gave the Liberals a lead over the New Democrats, but with the NDP vote seeming somewhat resilient. Can the NDP close that gap enough to discourage a rush to the Liberals? Or could a more nuanced approach to strategic voting—based on the seemingly likely contenders in each riding—take hold?

What’s left to say?

Setting aside a certain allowance for the possibility of unexpected news, unfortunate mistakes or surprise scandals, the parties have now exhausted their potential promises. But there are still closing arguments to be made. However much we’ve already heard and however many television ads we’ve seen, the parties have no doubt scripted final appeals to be made in the last days of the campaign. Those closing words might still swing matters by a few percentage points. And with an election this close, with numerous ridings seeming to feature competitive races, swinging even a fraction of the electorate at the last minute could be pivotal.


 

Three things to watch in the final election week

  1. If you want to know what state the campaigns are in, watch where they are campaigning. That’s why there can’t be anything good in Harper furiously trying to hold on to the seats he has instead of trying to expand his voter pool. I told a friend on the weekend to watch Alberta because if either Harper or Trudeau are campaigning there in the final week, it means that the Conservatives are in trouble.

    • Where would Harper be campaigning to try and pick up seats?

      The Conservatives aren’t in trouble here in Alberta. They might lost two or three of the new seats. Worst case they’ll have the same number of seats here as they came into the election with.

      Harper is in Toronto today which makes sense. The Conservatives will most likely lose a few seats there.

      The real battle to watch is between the NDP and the Liberals. How nasty this final week gets will determine their ability to work together if needed in the next parliament.

  2. Do you trust the two guys with the same austerity budgets and same F-35 fighter plane contracts, with the very similar plans and attitudes, one man shows, or do you trust the guy with a team of new experienced electable candidates who want to stimulate our economy with new cash, redistribute some of our wealth to the working class and people who need it, with a whole new attitude and vision for the country? Actually Tom and Steve are really starting to get desperate, by Harper and Mulcair trying to debase Trudeau image throughout the election, they made him an underdog, along with their stupid pig headed austerity budgets in a time of recession.

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