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2021 Federal Election Projections

With federal election day having arrived the campaigns are turning their attention to getting out the vote. The last poll results have been reported by the big survey firms and the final election results will not start showing up until the evening. Ultimately, it’s a slower day for those who love politics waiting for the election results. A day where many will spend it speculating about the results and making predictions on who will win.

While many of us like to predict what will happen on election day based on intuition, poll aggregating websites and individual polling firms use models to attempt to project which party will win every seat in Canada. The results from multiple Canadian prognosticators can provide a snapshot of what is predicted to happen tonight.

Results are shared here of seven websites that aggregate polls from the polling firms and then create a model to predict the election are examined (338Canada, Calculated Politics, CBC Poll Tracker, Lean Toss Up, Too Close to Call, and The Signal, @politicscan), three projection websites using their own models (Election Prediction Project, Election Atlas, and Advanced Symbolics) and four polling firms which use their own data to predict the election (Ekos, Forum, Innovative Research, and Mainstreet).

Every single projection predicts a Liberal minority government. However, the highest projection has the Liberals within a couple of seats of a majority. The average projection has the Liberal Party dropping a single seat to 154 from the numbers at dissolution. The Conservative Party projections have them on average at 120 seats, up one from dissolution. The NDP are predicted to make the most gains moving up eight seats. The Bloc are projected to remain the same . The Green Party is expected to have 2 seats. Note, one seat was vacant at dissolution.

Some of the differences in projections may be due to differences in how the poll aggregator websites averaged the polls. Similarly, the differences in the polling firms’ projections are due to both their models and what the firms’ final polls projected as the vote share of each party.

The table above provides an overview of the predicted vote share Canada-wide for the poll aggregators and the polling firms. Using the poll aggregators average the Liberal Party is expected to drop 1%, the Conservative Party 3%, the NDP are up 3%, the block down 1%, the Green Party is down 3%, and the PPC is up 5%.

After the election, a second post will provide a basic examination of how well the projections did at predicting the actual election results.

*Updated at 10:46 am to reflect changes to 338Canada‘s projections

*Updated at 2:30 pm to reflect changes to Ekos and The Signal‘s projections and to add @politicscan projections.

Death of a mutual

The following article by Anthony Piscitelli and Liam McHugh-Russell was published in Policy Options:

In the 1990s and 2000s, four major Canadian life insurance companies demutualized, ending their status as mutuals to become publicly traded corporations. Economical Mutual Insurance has spent much of the last decade laying the groundwork to be the first property and casual insurer in Canada to do the same. The stated purpose of this process has been to improve the competitive edge of these companies in economic and regulatory conditions that have changed since they were founded – although more direct financial interests certainly provided some impetus.

In May, Economical received final policy-holder approval to sell off ownership of the company via an initial public offering (IPO). All that remains to finalize the demutualization is approval from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. There is little doubt this approval will be received; the process has been overseen by the federal government, the regulator and the courts. Although demutualization will be a financial bonanza for a handful of policy holders, the sell-off is unfortunate. The loss of Economical’s mutual status will cause a further drift from the company’s values, to the detriment of broader Canadian society.

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Uncovering the Truth About the First-Past-The-Post Electoral System

By Jason Kalbfleisch

The Current System in Canada

Since its conception, Canada has modelled its electoral system after the British system of governance. Even though Canada’s system has deep historical roots, its blatant disregard for Canadian voters means that it needs to change.

Canada uses a first-past-the-post electoral system that sees candidates with the highest number of votes win an election. The system of ridings ensures that candidates are elected from across Canada and considers the wide variety within Canada’s unique political landscape. But the current electoral system encourages the creation of one ruling party and one opposition party by suppressing its citizens’ diversity of thought and diminishing the value of our vote.

Diminishing the Value of our Vote

By its nature, the first-past-the-post system encourages two-party dominance and suppresses smaller parties’ success. Through a phenomenon known as tactical voting, voters are often discouraged from voting with their true political beliefs and give their votes to a larger party with views most similar to theirs to prevent opposition parties’ from being elected.

Alarmingly, studies suggest that 42% of Ontarians’ votes cast in the 2018 Provincial Election were not cast to elect the candidate of their choice but to prevent a less desirable candidate’s election. Those who cast these “strategic” votes discard their political expression to compensate for the electoral system’s deficiencies.

Looking at Alternatives- Proportional Representation

To ensure accurate electoral representation and expression, Canada should look for an alternative electoral system. One proposed solution is Proportional Representation. Under a system of Proportional Representation, the proportion of the votes cast for a party in an election would directly translate into the representation of those parties in the House’s composition. An election that resulted in 30% of votes being cast for the Liberals would result in the Liberals making up 30% of the House.

Additionally, Proportional Representation would result in creating more political parties that would allow voters to vote according to their beliefs without the fear of having their vote wasted.

A System that Fits Canada’s Needs

Any alternative system needs to consider the unique factors that define Canada’s political system. For example, one of the challenges that Proportional Representation would need to overcome is how it would address Canada’s immense geography, political differences, and riding system.

The model that works best for Canada is the Single-Transferable Vote. Under a Single-Transferable Vote, voters would elect their representatives under a preferential ballot. In this system, voters would vote for multiple members from multiple ridings, under a preferential system, voting for as many or as few candidates they would like. Candidates must receive a predetermined number of votes to get elected, and votes cast for a candidate after going over this number will be given to the second choice listed on the ballot. This process continues until the required number of candidates is elected.

This way, every vote would impact an election, and Canada’s political differences would be accurately represented. This transition would provide an incentive for all voters to vote for candidates who genuinely represent their political opinions.

Weaknesses as Opportunities

Critics of Proportional Representation often note that the system’s biggest weakness is its creation of relatively unstable coalition governments. By enabling voters to vote for what they believe in, rather than the largest parties, there will inevitably be fewer majority governments, and more political parties will have a seat at the table.

Instead, this perceived weakness could provide Canada with a new opportunity. Coalition governments could become the new normal, and there could be increased collaboration between political parties. With the House truly representing an election’s outcome, policy coming out of these collaborative governments would consider multiple parties’ agendas, creating more conclusive and effective policy. Under this system, environmental concerns, social concerns, and economic concerns would have to meet and work towards Canada’s future.

What is the Next Step?

The topic of electoral reform is not new in Canada. Justin Trudeau ran an election with the promise of it being the last under the first-past-the-post electoral system. Yet when electoral reform is proposed with a formal vote, it fails. The next step for Canadians is to educate themselves on Proportional Representation to remove any fears that come with this change. The next time it comes to a referendum, Canadians need to take the opportunity to embrace an electoral system that restores their votes’ value.