Veteran politicians 'caught in a Liberal riptide'

The Liberal torrent that washed across Canada is going to force the NDP to take a long, hard look in the mirror today, says a Winnipeg political analyst.
Liberal Leader and incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at Liberal party headquarters in Montreal early Tuesday. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The Liberal torrent that washed across Canada is going to force the NDP to take a long, hard look in the mirror today, says a Winnipeg political analyst.

"If I was a New Democrat this morning I think I would be looking at this as a massively blown opportunity," said Curtis Brown, vice-president of Probe Research. "You think back to the beginning of the campaign, they had a slight lead in the polls and they were looking like they were in pretty good shape.

"I think they just failed to make any kind of persuasive case about why they should be government [and] I think there's going to be some discussion of Thomas Mulcair's leadership."

Tom Mulcair's NDP lost 59 seats in the 2015 federal election. (CBC)
In 2011, the NDP were the beneficiaries of disgruntled voters looking for an alternative but "this time they kind of just got caught in a Liberal riptide and many experienced and competent MPs across the country, including right here in Winnipeg, ended up getting sucked into it," Brown said.

One of those was the NDP's Pat Martin, who was ousted from the Winnipeg Centre riding that he held since 1997. Liberal Robert-Falcon Ouellette, a rookie candidate who came in third a year ago in Winnipeg's mayoral race, received 18,471 votes compared to Martin's 9,490.

The NDP went into Monday's general election as the Official Opposition to the governing Conservative Party, with 103 seats to 166 seats, respectively.

The Liberals were far behind with 34 seats. If any party was poised to challenge the Conservatives it was the NDP, but rather than moving forward, they fell far back.

Instead, the Liberals surged forward, winning 150 more seats.

"This has never happened in federal politics in Canada before, where the third party in Parliament goes and wins a majority government," said Brown. "That's remarkable, from where they were in 2011 to where they are now."

He believes the results would have been different for the NDP if the late Jack Layton was still leading the party.

"People connected with Jack Layton in the same way that I think they connected with Justin Trudeau," Brown said. "I think people never had that connection with Thomas Mulcair."

ON MOBILE? Compare the Winnipeg 2011 & 2015 results here


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