Late night and a likely minority: Manitoba experts weigh in on election-night possibilities

Click to play video: 'Election Day 2021 in Manitoba' Election Day 2021 in Manitoba
"Nationally too close to call.... a whole bunch of ridings across the country, too close to call." Pollster Mary Agnes Welch talks about the ground game in the federal election, and the ridings she's watching in Manitoba. – Sep 20, 2021

According to the polls, Monday’s federal election looks like it’s going to be a close one, and according to a partner at Probe Research, that could mean a long night for election-watchers.

“I’m pretty much prepared to have to go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake up and see where things are at in the morning,” Mary Agnes Welch told 680 CJOB.

“I think there’s just so many close races… I think it will be a really late night. The mail-in ballots — the bulk of them really get counted on Tuesday, over the next day, and I think there will be, in theory, quite a number of seats that do come down to those mail-in ballots.

“So get yourself some snacks, get a beer. It’s going to be a long night… I think.”


Story continues below advertisement

Welch said the possibility remains that Canadians could make an unexpected move and coalesce in the same direction at the last minute, but there will likely be a decent turnout regardless of result.

“The fact that this is a really close race — and people know that in their own riding it’s a close race, nationally, it’s a close race — some of the political science knowledge suggests that Canadians tend to vote when they know their vote really, really matters.

“Even though we’re not totally geeked up about this election, I think a tight race tends to propel people to the polls a little more than usual.”

Read more: Will Trudeau’s election gamble pay off? Polls now closed except to those still in line

Christopher Adams, political science prof at the University of Manitoba, told 680 CJOB that whenever the election wraps up, a close race means Canadians are likely to be looking at yet another minority government — something we’ve become accustomed to.

“We are used to having minority governments,” he said.

“You look at the past 60 years and seven minority governments have been formed and nine majority governments have been formed if my count is correct.”

Adams said despite that, it’s unlikely Canadians will see a true coalition government formed.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s fairly unusual. Canada had a coalition government in the First World War and Manitoba had coalition governments during the 1940s,” he said.

“A coalition government is where you actually invite another party — or two parties — to provide some cabinet ministers into your government, so that’s quite unusual in Canada.

“A minority government of the Stephen Harper kind, of the Lester Pearson kind… or Justin Trudeau just recently, where you operate with your own cabinet ministers, but the vote is supported by another party of two (is more likely).”

Adams said he thinks we’ll have enough numbers in by the end of Monday night to know which party will be in power going forward, but that some ridings will be decided by “a whisker” and in those cases, mail-in ballots could prove to be the deciding factor.

Click to play video: 'Voters should prepare to wait longer at polls this election: expert' Voters should prepare to wait longer at polls this election: expert
Voters should prepare to wait longer at polls this election: expert – Sep 17, 2021

Sponsored content