Sudbury

Analysts predict northern Ontario will benefit from a Liberal minority government

Monday’s federal election resulted in an unchanged political landscape for northeastern Ontario.

Little changed federally in Monday’s election in the northeast

The federal election took place on Monday. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Monday's federal election resulted in an unchanged political landscape in northeastern Ontario.

Across the region, every incumbent was re-elected to his or her riding. Nationally, the Liberals stayed in power although they now have minority status instead of a majority government.

Nadia Verrelli, a political science professor at Laurentian University, says voters in northeastern Ontario are "on trend."

"We went with what the rest of the country was voting for," she said. "I think it also shows that we're progressive as an area."

The majority of ridings in northeastern Ontario remained Liberal, with the rest being NDP. Verrelli says it's a good fit politically for northern Ontario, adding the NDP and its leader, Jagmeet Singh, are "natural allies" for the Liberals.

"They can meet halfway," she said. "They can arrive at consensus. Their platforms are not far apart. It will be an interesting conversation."

Nipissing University political science professor David Tabachnick says he's not surprised by the results in the riding. He says the two NDP incumbents, Charlie Angus and Carol Hughes, won "rather handily."

"That was to be expected," he said. "The Liberals actually showed some surprising strength. I thought maybe [in] Nickel Belt you would see a fairly well-known NDP candidate might have done a little bit better but fell short."

David Tabachnick is a political science professor at Nipissing University in North Bay. (CBC)

In the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding, Tabachnick points out the People's Party candidate secured more than 5 per cent of the vote. Nationally, the party got 1.6 per cent.

"Even though 5.3 per cent is higher than the national popular vote from the People's Party, you could see there was a little bit of strength there," he said.

The Bloc Québécois Party got 32 seats, bumping it up to third party status.

Algoma University political science professor Trevor Tchir says he doesn't believe the resurgence of the Bloc Party will have any impact in an area like northeastern Ontario, which has a large French-speaking population.

"The rise of the Bloc Québécois is really interesting. They've gotten over 30 seats and we haven't seen them have this kind of success for at least 10 years," he said.

"This makes me feel like we're almost back in the 1990s. Back then, it was overtly about the push for sovereignty and separatism. Part of their movement is tied instead to this notion of secularism."

Bill 21 is a Quebec law that makes wearing of religious symbols by public servants illegal.

Traditionally, governments in a minority status tend to not last as long in power as those in a majority status.

Tchir says he anticipates another federal election will happen in the next two years. But Tabachnick says he anticipates the minority Liberals will last longer than that.

"The NDP do not anytime soon want to run another campaign," he said.

"To go back out on the stump and spend all of the money required to run a national campaign, I don't think it's something they're going to do anything soon. So it may last longer than two years depending on how [the NDP] fundraising goes."
 

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