The attraction of power, from one capital to another

Eric Lefebvre, Parm Gill and Mike de Jong. These three elected officials do not know each other. The first comes from Quebec, the second from Ontario and the third from British Columbia. But they have this in common: they recently confirmed their intention to leave the provincial scene in order to wear the colors of the Conservative Party in the next federal election.

18 months before the next election, Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives hold a large lead in the polls over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. They also raise record amounts in donations. Last year, they raised some $35 million, an unprecedented sum during a year without an election campaign, leaving far behind the Liberals, who obtained $15 million in donations from their supporters.

Another observation emerges: the Conservative Party is attracting more and more elected officials from provincial capitals. The attraction of power is clearly working on several fronts.

Eric Lefebvre’s decision to leave the CAQ boat and resign from his position as whip which gave him access to meetings of the Council of Ministers caused a commotion in Quebec. Especially since this decision comes barely 18 months after the provincial elections. There are now fears that others may follow suit. According to information obtained by The Press, this fear is well-founded. Other CAQ deputies have already expressed to Pierre Poilievre’s entourage their interest in pursuing their political careers in the federal arena.

However, it is far from certain that this discreetly expressed interest will have consequences. Because despite its significant lead in the national polls, the Conservative Party does not dominate in Quebec, where we can expect a tough three-way fight with the Bloc Québécois and the Liberal Party. Three-way struggles often result in surprise victories and unexpected defeats. Behind the scenes, conservative strategists believe it is highly possible to win around fifteen seats in Quebec, including that of Trois-Rivières, where former mayor Yves Lévesque is again a candidate, if their support in the polls continues.

Currently, the Conservative Party holds nine seats in the province, and it intends to make the necessary efforts to retain the riding of Richmond-Arthabaska, held by Alain Rayes, who left the Conservative boat after the election of Pierre Poilievre as leader. Éric Lefebvre’s candidacy is no coincidence.

Result: the Conservative Party could win a handful more seats in La Belle Province in the next election. But if there is a conservative wave, the count could reach 25 seats, we calculate behind the scenes.

In Toronto, Parm Gill’s decision in January to resign not only as Minister of Red Tape Reduction, but also as Member of Parliament for Milton, also sent shockwaves through Queen’s Park. His departure forced Prime Minister Doug Ford to reshuffle his cabinet in the middle of winter, before parliamentary proceedings resumed at Queen’s Park. In the case of Mr. Gill, it is still a return to his roots that he is hoping for, because he was a Conservative MP for the federal riding of Brampton – Springdale from 2011 to 2015.


Parm Gill in the House of Commons in 2014

In Doug Ford’s government, we also fear, as in Quebec, that other MPs will choose to make the jump to the federal scene to make common cause with Pierre Poilievre. Especially since the federal Conservative Party holds only 37 of the 121 seats that Ontario currently has in the House of Commons. According to the 338Canada site, he could get his hands on a total of 86 seats in the province in the next election if the trend in the polls continues.

“My message is for everyone […] : no one has handcuffs on anyone,” said Prime Minister Doug Ford about a week after the announcement of the resignation of his former minister.

In British Columbia, Mike de Jong, one of the longest-serving members of the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, ended several weeks of reflection on Wednesday by confirming that he wishes to continue his career in Ottawa. He will try to get elected in the new riding of Abbotsford – South Langley. He has been elected continuously since 1994.

Mr. de Jong headed several ministries (Finance, Public Security, Attorney General, Health, Forests) in the former governments of Gordon Campbell and that of Christy Clark. If he wins his bet and the Conservative Party forms the next government, he is almost guaranteed to be part of the cabinet given his long experience.


Mike de Jong in 2017

“I am joining Pierre Poilievre’s common sense movement to support the only leader who has the courage to speak about the need to restore responsible financial management in Canada,” Mr. de Jong said Wednesday, confirming his decision. “It’s time for Mr. Trudeau to stop using Canadian taxpayers as an ATM without worrying about the burden his tax increases and out-of-control spending are placing on Canadian families. »

In the conservative ranks, we are pleased to attract candidates of the caliber of Éric Lefebvre, Parm Gill and Mike de Jong. Discreet recruitment campaigns are underway in certain provinces led by conservative governments, such as Nova Scotia. And we suggest that other major candidates will come forward as we get closer to the electoral battle.

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