First it was the Duffy trial, then it was the niqab. And now, it’s the Montreal sewage dumping controversy. It’s safe to say that the federal election campaign was marked by more than one major distraction.
Ironically enough, by firmly criticizing the city of Montreal’s intention to dump sewage water in the river, Stephen Harper’s team is now presenting itself as true environmental advocate. In a matter of hours, it turned one of its biggest weaknesses into a strategic weapon.
“It’s obviously a big environmental problem, but the biggest problem is a communications one,” said NATIONAL’s Luc Ouellet, Managing Partner of the Quebec City office, in a radio interview with CJMF’s Gilles Parent. “It’s simply baffling that the city of Montreal had not addressed the situation earlier.”
His advice to party leaders on this issue his clear: to take a position quickly, as nobody can afford to be ambiguous on such a polarising topic. “Everyone is against the sewage dumping,” says Luc. “Parties must take a firm position, especially considering that about 30% of voters still haven’t decided who to vote for and could well make their decision based on this specific issue.”
Our expert’s take on electoral trends
Great progression and possibility of important gains in the Greater Montreal, the Western part of Quebec, Ontario and other provinces;
Possibility to “steal” many districts from the NDP in Montreal;
Justin Trudeau energized by the latest results, more dynamic and confident than ever, and ready to fight until the end.
Stephen Harper still in control after 10 years in power;
Possibility to take a few districts from the NDP in the Quebec City area;
Canadians’ “need for change” not reflected in the polls.
Difficulty to stop the fall, but also difficulty to dissociate itself from the public’s perception of the party’s fall;
The niqab issue was a real blow.
Small gains recently, but not enough to win districts.
The last few days of the campaign will be anything but boring. And although polls show trends, Luc is adamant about one thing. “At this stage of the campaign, the most important for party leaders is to gather their troops and make sure that they understand that a voting intention is not a real vote. Everyone must fight until the very last second of the race.”
Click here to listen to Luc’s complete analysis (in French).