Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Great Canadian Debates

Tonight's English debate, hot on the heels of last night's French debate, gave Canadians a chance to see the leaders in action and it looks as though not much will have changed. Bloc leaders Gilles Duceppe did relatively well in the French debate, probably cementing his party's lead in Quebec. Otherwise, things were pretty much as expected. Stephen Harper, often on the defensive, kept his cool and took no risks. This means he may not have convinced anyone to switch his or her vote, but it also means his party will most likely continue to hold its narrow lead over the Liberals in the polls. New Democrat leader Jack Layton did well enough, but once again, his performance won't change many votes.

The one who really needed to shine in these debates was Paul Martin. He needed a strong showing to bring voters back to the Liberals, and while he did fairly well, he didn't come across with anything spectacular.

Therefore, it looks as though the debates will have done little to change the outcome of the election, though we'll have to wait and see on that.

The only news I've heard about some movement in votes is coming from Atlantic Canada. The Liberals had a strong lead in the region, but the most recent reports are that the Conservatives are starting to come up in the local polls. This may not be enough to gain them any new seats, but it should be sufficient to allow them to keep the seats they already hold.

That said, I think we're headed for a Conservative minority government with the Tories taking somewhere around 126 to 132 seats. The Liberals will do well to break the 100 mark, while the Bloc should take about 53 to 58 seats and the New Democrats rounding out the picture with somewhere in the neighborhood of 23 to 27 seats.

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