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Op-Ed: 2015 Canadian election could see big changes

Predicting an election winner is like picking the World Series or Stanley Cup winner at the beginning of the season. It’s almost impossible to accurately predict. However, early polls are indicating significant electoral changes in October.

For almost 10 years, the Conservative party has been in power. Over the last four years they have held a secure majority in Canada’s parliament. Canadians may now be gearing for change.

The latest numbers are suggesting that the upstart left leaning New Democratic Party may form a minority government in a few months.The NDP is set to gain over 20 new seats while the Conservatives could lose almost 50. The Liberals are trying to bounce back and win some new seats but will likely remain the third party.

This election could be a more interesting battle than in the past because of the clear ideological differences between the two front runners. The Conservatives under prime minister Stephen Harper are campaigning on keeping taxes low, supporting businesses, being tougher on crime and security, and having a principled foreign policy. The New Democrats led by Tom Mulcair want to work on fixing economic weaknesses, tackling climate change, a fair and balanced justice system, and a less forceful foreign policy. The NDP has also suggested eliminating the corrupt and controversial Senate if it forms the next government. Meanwhile, the Liberals are desperately trying to become a relevant party again. It is interesting that the Conservatives have been attacking Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in most of their election ads, while the NDP increases its lead.

A few months ago the economy seemed to be improving, and I would have predicted a Conservative government returning to power with a minority. However, the threat of a new economic slowdown has made me rethink the outcome. Canadians seem to be ready and willing to change course and for the first time a New Democrat minority government is a real possibility. Tom Mulcair has helped increase his party’s popularity, I believe. Although not the most eloquent speaker, Mulcair has been a steady politician and kept the party mainstream, enough for it to be considered a legitimate choice among the population.

There is still a long way to go and many things can happen. But barring a major controversy or scandal, Canada will likely have a new government in the fall.

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