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| ||15 10 13
|CTV's Robert Fife reported tonight that Conservative sources are saying that they expect to lose Bernard Valcourt in Madawaska-Restigouche: |
| ||15 10 08
|A few points:|
1. It's true that Valcourt achieved one of the highest Tory vote shares in the country in their 1993 wipeout - but in 2011, Valcourt only defeated the relatively low-profile Liberal incumbent here by about 2,000 votes. Remember that 2011 was simultaneously the most favourable national climate the Conservatives had seen since the 1980s AND the most disastrous national climate the Liberals had seen in their entire history - in that context, Valcourt's victory margin here doesn't suggest that he's retained his ability to rise above his party's fortunes to any great extent (note that, despite winning, he actually underperformed the Conservatives' province-wide vote share in NB in 2011).
2. Conservative numbers have remained in the toilet in Atlantic Canada throughout the campaign, and the collapse is likely more pronounced in a riding like Madawaska-Restigouche. Why? For a glimpse into the potential anatomy of a Tory collapse in New Brunswick, take a look at where the provincial Tories experienced their biggest decline the 2014 provincial election results vs. their 2010 provincial election results. While experiencing a slide of more than 14 points province-wide, the Tory vote remained surprisingly resilient in anglophone New Brunswick, while collapsing catastrophically in francophone ridings - including in the, until then, nearly-unbreachable enclave of Tory seats in Madawaska that Bernard Valcourt himself had forged as provincial PC leader in the 1990s. Provincial election results certainly aren't guaranteed to translate into federal votes, but the swing away from the Tories in this area at the provincial level was extreme compared to that of the province as a whole, and gives an idea of where the federal Conservatives might be bleeding most in the province.
3. In the Conservatives' favour, if there's one seat in New Brunswick with a Quebecois-style hyper-susceptibility to the race-baiting niqab politics that the Conservatives have doubled down on in the final stretch of the campaign, it's this one. The Conservatives are likely too far behind here for it to change the final result in their favour, but the niqab play and its effect on the campaign narrative in Quebec (a significant consideration, given the amount of Quebec media that permeates this riding) could ultimately mean that Valcourt finishes an underwhelming second here rather than a humiliating third (which might have been a strong possibility if the national numbers looked now as they did in early September).
The current reality, though, is that the Liberals are almost certainly the ones to beat here.
| ||15 10 05
|Calling this Liberal finally. The Trudeau surge is hitting New Brunswick hard and taking away NDP hopes in Saint John -- Rothesay and NB Southwest.|
Valcourt is now universally perceived as selling Harper Kool-Aid in this region, and to natives as minister. The majority and campaign have ruined any chance of him claiming to represent the old 'Progressive Conservative' wing of the party. He probably should have quit along with Peter MacKay, Gerald Keddy and others who realize that the Conservative brand is dead in this region, and not even provincial PCs can be elected if Harper remains.
Bernard Valcourt, Gail Shea and Scott Armstrong are all going down hard. None of them has the profile to survive the coming storm, I'm quite sure.
| ||15 09 10
|A couple posters asked why this riding is being called for the Liberals. I would assume it is because the riding is historically Liberal and was Liberal throughout the Harper era until 2011. It was only in the unusually bad year the Liberals had in 2011 that the Conservatives were able to win it. The Conservatives running Bernard Valcourt here was a smart move on their part.|
BUT, it is now 2015, and the Conservatives are down significantly, while the Liberals are up significantly. Seat projections like 308 are showing this as going Liberal with a 98% probability right now!
Now, I agree that some degree of caution is warranted when the incumbent is a cabinet minister and someone with a history in the riding. That's why in my own post below I chose not to call this for the Liberals yet, but to leave it as Too Close To Call, even though projections have had it in the Liberal column all this time. I also said it's possible that the solid NDP candidate may take some of the vote and that it's possible Valcourt could win again.
BUT, the numbers are very much working against Valcourt right now. As a sign of how bad things are for the Conservatives, 308 shows the Liberals winning Madawaska-Restigouche, Moncton, Miramichi, Fredericton, & even Tobique-Mactaquac! It also shows the NDP winning Saint John, and the Conservatives only narrowly hanging on in New Brunswick Southwest & Fundy Royal! It may not actually turn out that badly for the Conservatives on October 19, but it shows that the Conservatives are not in good shape right now.
| ||15 09 05
|This riding appears to have been called liberal on pure speculation or riding history ? I follow politics very closely and have yet to ever see a riding specific poll for this riding that indicated liberal candidate Rene Areseneault was ahead. He is also a much lower profile candidate than past liberal mp for the riding Jean D'Amours. Combine that with Bernard Valcourts profile in the riding as mp and cabinet minister, he is by far the most well known candidate in this riding and one of the higher profile mp's in New Brunswick . the race here at very least has to be too close to call , even when considering east coast polling numbers which generally favour the liberals but cannot really be used to predict individual ridings . this riding would only be a sure thing for the liberals if it was vacant and Bernard Valcourt had retired but he didn't and still running . |
| ||15 09 01
|Another close 1 but I think Valcourt's incumbency plus the fact he's a minister (Albeit) a weaker 1 will get him re-elected. To soon for a Liberal call here. |
| ||15 08 22
|I think it's possible Bernard Valcourt could hang on here, but I don't think it would be because he is 'personally very popular' as someone suggested below. Valcourt didn't win by that large of a margin in 2011 considering that the Harper Conservatives increased their support that year while the Ignatieff Liberals tanked. It was a relatively modest win.|
Valcourt has also been a controversial Aboriginal Affairs Minister and was criticized for remaining seated at the Aboriginal event earlier this year while everyone else stood for a standing ovation. The fact that the Conservatives are behind in the polls and are at risk of maybe even losing this year might also make people less likely to vote for him if they don't think he's going to be in government anymore.
The factor that I think might help him is if the Liberal & NDP vote splits and doesn't coalesce behind one party. The Liberal numbers have leveled off in New Brunswick and the NDP has gone up. However, at the moment, Eric Grenier's seat projection model shows Madawaska-Restigouche as having an 84% chance of a Liberal win. So, at the moment this seat is actually in the Liberal column, although I will say TCTC just to be on the cautious side.
| ||15 08 16
|Bernard Valcourt is personally very popular, remember in the Campbell disaster of '93, though he lost a close one, he had the second highest share of the popular vote for a PC in the country. Unless there's another Campbell style disaster, can't see him lose this one.|
| ||15 07 18
|Actually, the Valcourt of the 10s isn't the Valcourt of the 90s; there's something about him under Harper that seemed a cynically pale shadow of his King-Of-Madawaska heyday even *before* that emblematic image of his sulking sitdown (as Aboriginal Affairs minister, yet) at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing. So if you want to know *why* he might be toast, or at least toast-er than his political history suggests, refer to that toxic picture of Sulking Valcourt. And then you'll understand why the seat may be called 'prematurely' (or not).|
| ||15 07 16
|I find the prediction for the liberals rather shocking at this point considering Bernard Valcourt is a high profile cabinet minister and held this riding for a number of years going back into the 80's. the liberal candidate is new / low profile and not held the riding before unlike the liberal mp Jean D'amours who lost last time . its likely the liberal vote stayed that high in 2011 cause they still had an mp here if not they likely would of done worse. If Bernard Valcourt is still running here he will be still have a chance in this riding. |
| ||15 05 30
|Changing my prediction after the departure of Peter MacKay. Valcourt is the last old PC with any stature left that is running for Harper in 2015, and frankly now he may reconsider, especially after foolish statements about the federal government playing no role in preventing teen suicides among aboriginals.|
Invigorated Liberal focus on Maritime seats will certainly be felt here and Valcourt is the obvious target. MacKay leaving is being understood and interpreted by most ordinary people as meaning that the old PC Party no longer exists, no longer has any role or status in the Conservative Party, and that the thing to do if you ever want to moderate the Cons, or see a provincial PC government again, is sit on your hands for Harper. Valcourt you may recall only ran for Harper on the promise of moderating his policy and it's fair to say that Valcourt has utterly failed to deliver on that.
The scent of blood is in the air and the campaign here will be much fiercer than expected. We may be seeing a massive change in Maritime politics with the old PCs shifting their loyalties from Harper to Trudeau Liberals. Or at least not resisting the slide.
Valcourt personally has a choice to make: Remain identified as the prime Harper crony and apologist in Atlantic Canada, or get out now while the going's good, and preserve himself a role in post-Harper Atlantic Canada. MacKay made the choice, and I think correctly and just barely in time, so late in fact that it sent the clear signal that Harper's boat is sinking.
| ||15 03 28
|Bernard Valcourt is a strong MP and especially popular in Madawaska County but with the Tories doing so poorly in Atlantic Canada and Restigouche County being hard hit by the EI changes, I suspect the Liberals will take this. The Tories may finish ahead in Madawaska County, but will get slaughtered in Restigouche County thus preventing them from winning. In 1993 he almost held this as the riding was Madawaska-Victoria not Madawaska-Restigouche thus the boundaries then were far more favourable to the Tories than now.|
| ||15 03 28
|Like Moncton, this is another riding in NB that could return to the Liberals. However, the Conservatives may have a better chance of retaining this than Moncton. They have a cabinet minister (although a controversial one) and the riding voted PC in 1997 whereas Moncton did not. However, I don't think it will be as challenging for a Conservative cabinet minister to be beaten here as it was in Saanich-Gulf Islands. In that case, the riding had a longer Conservative history and the challenging party, (the Greens), had never won a seat before. So it took a large organization for Elizabeth May to take down Gary Lunn. In this riding, the challenging party, (the Liberals), have won most of the elections here for the past 2 decades, so there is an established history for the party that is challenging Minister Valcourt. We'll need to see what the numbers are for NB during the election to get a better idea of who will win.|
| ||15 03 24
|This very liberal riding was won by the tories in 2011 thanks to a perfect storm provided by the PLC worst performance in history and the popularity of their candidate back then: Bernard Valcourt. |
4 years later the grits got the best part of their strength back and Valcourt is now persona non grata in his own riding thanks to his role in the employment insurance reform who strike at the heart of this economically weak area.
Probably one of the easiest pick-up in the country for the grits. SOLID PLC
| ||15 03 22
|No way Valcourt gets re-elected after what a mess he's made of aboriginal affairs. The demographics here also don't favour a Conservative incumbent, as they are largely franco-New Brunswickers. His profile as a CabMin may help him some, but I definitely see the Conservatives losing here. And in New Brunswick, when a Conservative loses their seat, it only goes one way. Liberal pick-up|
| ||15 03 22
|Threehundredeight.com is currently predicting 59% for the Liberals and 25% for the CPC with a 95% certainty level. It seems Franco-New Brunswickers are running from the Conservatives. Certainly one to watch, to see if Valcourt can personally win the riding based on his own popular appeal.|
| ||15 03 18
|'Bernard Valcourt occupies one of the most sensitive positions in the federal government, but you wouldn't know it from listening to him. As minister for Aboriginal affairs and northern development, Valcourt is responsible for issues as emotionally charged as the persistent demands for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. He must deal with the fractious Assembly of First Nations (AFN), not to mention the diffuse, demanding grassroots Native leaders who rose to prominence in the Idle No More movement. Yet he is the most blunt-spoken minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.' http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/bernard-valcourt-a-street-fighter-heads-back-to-the-streets/|
Valcourt campaigned in 2011 on the promise to turn the Conservatives on at least the most sensitive issues into something more like the old federal PCs. Despite serving in the single most abusive Harper portfolio, he has managed to gain the respect of what can only be described as his diametric opponents. There is no way to reconcile the Stephen Harper / Chuck Strahl policy of refusing to sign the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) and refusing to let the Crown discuss treaties without the PMO present, with the positions of First Peoples or Nations on these.
This is an inherently adversarial position but Valcourt doesn't bear the blame. He's seen by many as a hedge against a continuing Harper regime getting 'too Conservative', especially as his crossing the floor would be taken across the Maritimes as a final acknowledgement that it was time to give up on the Conservative Party and wipe it out rather than reform it.
So due to his personal tenacity and fear in NB of not having him in a new Harper cabinet, possibly causing extraordinary conflict over Energy East, Valcourt is going to stay. Not based on numbers, but on risk management.
It's possible for First Peoples across the country to target Valcourt for defeat with vote-swapping, but René Arsenault (Liberal) doesn't have the profile to count as a star, and it usually takes a star challenger to get the organizing effort together (as it did for Elizabeth May to unseat Gary Lunn in 2011).
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