Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Can Greens breakthrough in the provinces?

On May 2nd, the Green Party of Canada made a historic breakthrough by electing its first MP, Leader Elizabeth May, to the House of Commons. Could a similar surprise occur this fall in the provinces?

Of the five provincial elections being held in October and November, the Ontario Greens stand the best chance of pulling off an upset, though they still have a long way to go.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

The buzz around a possible victory made Elizabeth May's breakthrough in Saanich - Gulf Islands a surprise, but an expected surprise (if such a thing exists). There does not seem to be that same kind of buzz in any of the provinces, and in truth only the Ontario Greens are a real factor in the five provincial elections this fall.

I have often wondered, though, why Green support in Ontario is so regional. Both at the provincial and federal levels, the Greens do best in the area stretching from Guelph to the Bruce Peninsula. Never having been to the area, I can't speak to its character. What is it about this part of the province (and country) that makes it more favourable to the Greens than elsewhere?

I imagine that the best shot of a provincial Green being elected is in British Columbia, thanks to Ms. May's breakthrough. The party ended up with 8.2% in the 2009 election, so there is a base of support in the province. However, when that next election will take place seems to be up in the air. It is supposed to take place in 2013, but when Christy Clark became leader of the BC Liberals this past spring talk was of a fall election. Depending on the media report, whether or not British Columbians will be going to the polls sooner rather than later changes each day.

I am presently working on the Manitoba projection model, and have run into the problem of the province's electoral re-districting. Unlike Elections Canada, Elections Manitoba does not breakdown the new ridings by their percentages of residents who lived in the old ridings. I am still puzzling over how to model for the new districts when so little information seems to be available.