Wright testimony having effect in Conservative Prairie bedrock
Published Tuesday, August 18, 2015 7:23PM EDT
The effect of Nigel Wright’s testimony at the Mike Duffy trial is hitting the Conservative Prairie bedrock hard, according to experts in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Former solicitor general of Alberta Jonathan Denis told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday that much of the current negativity surrounding the Conservatives in his province stems from the ongoing Duffy trial in Ottawa, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former right hand man Wright has been on the stand for nearly a week.
“There is a lot of negativity unfortunately around the Conservative Party these days. And a lot of that is just coming from the Nigel Wright testimony, the Mike Duffy trial. That seems to be a never-ending negative news story,” said Denis.
In neighbouring Saskatchewan, University of Regina political science professor Tom McIntosh says he is seeing a similar effect, even amidst a dead-of-summer election campaign.
“There’s still a lot of people still on vacation, but certainly it’s still a huge topic of conversation. One of our senators, Senator (David) Tkachuk, is in the centre of some of those conversations going around with Duffy,” said McIntosh.
“That’s also sort of dampened Conservative enthusiasm.”
Denis and McIntosh’s comments come as local polling shows a tight race between the Conservatives and NDP in Saskatchewan. While they agree the Duffy trial has not been good for Conservative numbers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, they added that the redrawn federal riding boundaries may also have an effect on the outcome of the Oct. 19 election.
“There are a couple of ridings in Calgary, and I’d say about four or five in Edmonton, that I think are up for grabs,” said Denis. “At the same time, I do see the rural areas and the donut around Calgary and Edmonton as … largely staying Conservative.”
And with more new urban ridings in Regina and Saskatoon, McIntosh said there will likely be changes coming to those areas that will benefit the New Democrats.
“Where the NDP still has strength in Saskatchewan is in the urban centers, and so by creating ridings that are strictly urban, it’s essentially concentrating that vote,” said McIntosh.
Many federal ridings were affected by the riding redistribution plans for the 2015 election. See how your riding is affected here.