2014 will be no exception: New developments ahead in Canadian politics

Here we go again. A year behind us, a new one ahead. It’s an ideal time to try and read the tea leaves and see what’s in store for us in 2014. As usual, I will focus on politics.

But before I look ahead, I want to glance back at an item or two from the year just finished. It was, evidently, Christy Clark’s year, as she wrestled a win for her party, allowing for a fourth consecutive Liberal government in the province of British Columbia. As with Ceasar, she therefore deserves to receive a prize for having been able to execute a sudden reversal of a political situation as few have ever done.

2014 will reveal the name of Adrian Dix’s successor as NDP leader. Not many will be in the running for the leadership race and the names of the candidates should be announced within the next few weeks. I think Mike Farnworth, David Eby and George Heyman will be among those to throw their hats in the ring.

As for our federal government, 2013 must have been the hardest one for Harper and his Conservatives since their rise to power. He spent the better of the year

Mayor Gregor Robertson faces a difficult election this year. | Photo by Kris Krug, Flickr.

Mayor Gregor Robertson faces a difficult election this year. | Photo by Kris Krug, Flickr.

getting nowhere, unable to gain control of the political agenda. Still, he was able to keep on governing and he brought to the table bills that are important to him and his party. Events such as the Senate scandal have done nothing but keep him bogged down in the political equivalent of quicksand, but – lucky for him – he won’t have to face the electorate before 2015.

Still, it is clear that 2014 will be a crucial year for Harper if he is to regain control of the situation and dramatically curb the downward spiral of his popularity in polls and get a grip on the political agenda in Ottawa. In order to do so, I think he will take on initiatives that draw on his strengths, particularly in the area of economics and law and order. The next federal budget, to be released in February or March, should confirm a balanced budget by 2015.

One thing seems to me a certainty: the government won’t be relying exclusively on its own performance to regain the electorate’s confidence and ensure a victory come 2015. This is why we will see the Conservative party intensify their political attacks, particularly against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. We can therefore expect to see more of the type of ads that have worked so well for the party in the past. Two themes will dominate: the fragility of the economy and the need for the Conservative’s expertise, and Trudeau’s lack of competence to rule the country.

Back here in British Columbia, 2014 will be a year for municipal elections. All eyes will be on Vancouver, where Mayor Gregor Robertson will be vying for a third consecutive mandate. My prediction is that it will be the most difficult one for him and his Vision Vancouver team. 2013 marked a turning point in Vancouver and the dissatisfaction towards the municipal administration, even if it hasn’t reached insurmountable heights, is more palpable than ever.

Slowly, but surely, the cards being dealt favour change in the mayor’s office. Nonetheless, the Non-Partisan Association, Roberton’s main opponent, will have to choose its candidates very carefully. Its choice of flag-bearer for the position of mayor will be decisive. And, should Robertson fail in his bid for a third term, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him surface as a preferred candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in 2015. Time will tell.

That said, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Translation Monique Kroeger