Monday, August 8, 2011

Coming soon to a province near (many of) you...

For politics watchers here in Ottawa, the summer often offers slim pickings for those looking to satisfy their need for all things political. This is particularly true in an election year, when we move quickly from the pace and excitement of a federal election into the summer doldrums.

While the global financial crisis and the NDP have each done their best to satisfy our political cravings, it typically takes the imminent return of Parliament to really focus our attention. This time, however, things are different. Why? cue drum roll

Coming soon to a province near (many of) you...elections!

Yes politics watchers, five provincial elections are scheduled for this fall: Newfoundland & Labrador, PEI, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Candidates are being selected, ads are already airing, and messages are being sharpened in advance of what could prove to be a very interesting fall.

In a recent blog, I noted the following:

"The 2011 book on Canadian politics has two chapters. Chapter One was the May 2 federal election. Chapter Two will be the elections in those five provinces. Depending on the outcomes, Canada could look quite different by the end of the year."

After #elxn41, there was a lot of discussion about whether Canada was becoming more conservative; about whether the electorate may be shifting right in terms of its outlook and priorities. Here at A Guy Watching Politics, the view has been that we really won't know this until at least the end of 2011.

The upcoming elections will provide more insight as to how political views in Canada may be changing. With that in mind, over the coming few months we will take some time to look at each of these five elections individually - the key issues, the outlook and implications for the broader Canadian political narrative.

Some things to consider:

- will the global economic environment affect the outcome?

- will we see a consolidation of conservatism in Canada, or will voters decide to elect an off-set to a federal Conservative government?

- what will the key ballot box issues be in each province, and what will this tell us about Canadians' priorities?

The last point is an important one. Given the areas of provincial responsibility (see, provincial/local issues can play a big part in how these elections finish. While this offers an important degree of uniqueness, it can also limit the degree to which we tie a result into the broader Canadian narrative.

All to say, there will be a lot to consider and discuss. As always, your views and perspective are welcomed. Let's hear them!

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