Leaving on a jet campaign plane

4 minute read

All their bags are packed, they’re ready to go, they’ll soon be standing outside your door.

The leaders’ travel to certain provinces has already offered a glimpse into the key battlegrounds for the parties for the next five weeks. Today, we break down which provinces we can expect to see regularly on the leaders’ daily itineraries and how the governing premiers could have an impact.

Team Trudeau:

From $10/day childcare announcements in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec and campaign stops to opposition held ridings in Quebec and in Ontario, the Liberals are intent on winning back seats that propelled them to victory in 2015. What makes their campaigning unique is the secondary tour being conducted by Deputy Leader Chrystia Freeland. Hailing from Alberta, Freeland was touted as a bridge between the Liberals and Western Canada when she was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in 2019. Her ability to bridge turbulent tides has been evident in the friendship struck with Ontario Premier Doug Ford after the 2019 campaign despite the Liberals using Ford as their punching bag. The Liberals hope she can make similar inroads in their search for seats in urban Alberta.

Team O’Toole

After a jaunt out to Alberta in July to try and shore up Conservative voters, Erin O’Toole has made stops in former Conservative ridings in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario attempting to reclaim seats lost in the 2015 election. With Trudeau outpolling O’Toole in many provinces, including 13 percent in his home province, the initial focus for the Conservative leader has to be maintaining their existing seats before seeking out potential gains. The Tories are prepared for any twists and turns on the campaign, building a media studio and hosting virtual rallies across the country. While a sign of the COVID times, O’Toole is not well-known and needs to be on the road connecting with voters in-person, in their communities.

Team Singh

Similar to the Liberals and Conservatives, the NDP have leader Jagmeet Singh on the road hoping that what once was old will soon be new again. The first few days on the campaign had Singh looking for support in orange crush ridings in Quebec, trying to flip back Jack Layton’s old seat in Toronto-Danforth, and returning to his roots in Brampton, Ontario. The 905-area code is a key battleground that the NDP will need to make inroads if they have hopes of winning the election. It is where Singh cut his teeth with the provincial party before making the jump to Ottawa.

With Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and BC being key provinces for the major party leaders, Premier François Legault, Premier Ford, Premier Jason Kenney, and Premier John Horgan could all have an impact, even inadvertently.

Premier Legault – Québec

It’s a fight between the Bloc Quebecois and Liberals in Quebec. Trudeau’s relationship with the popular premier should help nullify potential growth for Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet in the province. Earlier this month, Trudeau announced that they had agreed to a deal with Quebec for a $6 billion investment in the province’s childcare system over five-years. It was just the latest in a series of decisions by the Liberals in an attempt to sway Quebec voters. The alignment between Premier Legault and Trudeau will only help the Liberals hoping to turn votes from the Bloc.

Premier Ford – Ontario

The silence from Premier Ford is indicative of his willingness to work alongside the Liberals as opposed to an indictment of the federal Conservatives. Let’s not forget that only a few years have passed since former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer blacklisted Ford during the 2019 election due to his low approval rating. Ford’s team insists that their head-is-down because they are focused solely on the pandemic. The truth is that Ford needs a friendly federal partner after this campaign. He has recently boasted about his friendship with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and his cooperation with the Liberals in general. Ford’s team sees no reason why they need to risk that relationship – one that they hope will give them a bounce heading into next year’s provincial campaign.

Premier Kenney – Alberta

What is typically a Conservative stronghold in Alberta has faltered over the past 18-months. Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) has fallen ten points behind the NDP in provincial polls because of their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the splintering of “the right”. This should have the O’Toole team nervous, with the Maverick Party and People’s Party of Canada gaining some traction. If the toxicity of Kenney’s premiership continues to leak into the federal campaign, the Conservatives could lose support to the left and the right. The Liberals and NDP have a lot to gain with a swing in urban Edmonton and Calgary, while the Conservatives have the most to lose. Similar to Scheer and Ford in 2019, O’Toole may ask Kenney to take a seat in this campaign.

Premier Horgan – British Columbia

Team Trudeau knows that there is opportunity to court provincial NDP supporters in BC in what is shaping up to be a tight three way race this campaign. A strong relationship with Premier John Horgan can help bridge that gap and in an attempt to attract enough supporters from Jagmeet Singh and the NDP. A lunch date at iconic BC-restaurant White Spot and an announcement for $10/day childcare was an important first step. Look for the Liberals to leverage Horgan’s support for that agreement as the campaign moves forward.

Polls and insights could change the parties’ tactics as we get into the debates in September. For now, the leaders will be jet setting across Canada with Alberta, Ontario and Quebec anticipated to be regular stops on their daily itineraries.

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