The conservatives lost the 2019 federal elections in Canada, and Prime Minister Trudeau formed a minority government. In the view of experts, the party’s agenda failed to mobilize enough voters to win. The rise of the Bloc Québécois also resulted in a drop of seats for the Conservatives.
Conservative Party Platform
The Conservatives promised to balance the budget, cut GST from home energy and heating bills, and lower taxes for persons in the lowest income bracket. Scheer’s team also announced plans to implement the Children’s Arts and Learning Tax Credit and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit so that families can claim up to $5,000 per child for learning and arts activities and up to $1,000 per child for fitness and sports activities. The Conservatives also promised to introduce taxes for technology companies with a focus on Internet marketplaces, search engines, and social media platforms and to cut some business subsidies. When it comes to jobs and economic growth, the Conservative platform focused on infrastructural investments and projects aiming to reduce commuting times. In the field of technology, the party promised to create a new cabinet committee on data privacy and cyber security and to introduce a Canada Cyber Safe brand. In the housing sector, the party proposed changes to the mortgage stress tests and introduction of insured mortgages with longer amortization periods, available to first-time buyers.
With so much on their party platform, why did the Conservatives lose the elections?
How the Conservatives Lost
During the election campaign, the Conservatives monitored the enthusiasm gap or how willing Canadians were to support different parties. Just before the Election Day, Liberal enthusiasm skyrocketed while Conservative enthusiasm stayed unchanged. This was a red flag for the Conservative Party which relied on abstention among frustrated Liberal supporters. During the campaign, the party sought to win 6 to 10 seats in Atlantic Canada and to gain supporters in central Quebec and Quebec City. Scheer’s team was also counting on the Conservative vote in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. In fact, 6 out of 10 provinces currently have conservative governments, including New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Alberta.
At the same time, the Conservatives were very well aware that without a strong showing in the Greater Toronto Area, they were likely to lose the elections. The surge of the Bloc Québécois also turned to be an obstacle and an unexpected twist that Conservative Party strategists were unprepared for. Instead of deliberating on how to win seats, strategists were forced to focus on saving ridings. While many believed that the Bloc Québécois has gone into political history, it successfully expanded its support base mainly because of the need for affirmation and recognition of Quebecers.
Why CPC lost in Ontario and Quebec can also be explained with Scheer’s opinion on abortion access and same-sex marriages for which he lost the socially progressive vote in both provinces. Finally, the party’s vote share went up by 2.5 percent from 2015 to 2019 but not where the Conservatives most needed it. They lost in 60 districts with high population density while the Liberals won 50 of them.