Vancouver Granville might be the only competitive riding within the City Vancouver. It may also be symbolic of the entire Canadian federal election.
The City of Vancouver has six federal electoral districts. Currently, five of those ridings are safe seats for their incumbent Member of Parliament:
- Vancouver Centre (Liberal MP Hedy Fry since 1993)
- Vancouver South (Liberal MP Harjit Sajjan since 2015)
- Vancouver East (NDP MP Jenny Kwan since 2015)
- Vancouver Quadra (Liberal MP Joyce Murray since 2008)
- Vancouver Kingsway (NDP MP Don Davies since 2008)
The remaining sixth riding, Vancouver Granville, does not have an incumbent MP in the campaign, as Jody Wilson Raybould is not seeking re-election.
The Vancouver Granville electoral district was created in 2012 and first contested in 2015. Wilson-Raybould won it twice, first in 2015 as a Liberal and then in 2019 as an independent. Her departure casts uncertainty on how her 2019 voters will vote this time.
The NDP have declared that their Vancouver Granville candidate, Anjali Appadurai, will continue Wilson-Raybould’s “fight” to hold power accountable. Wilson-Raybould acknowledged this, wished Appadurai “all the best,” and referred to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh as her “friend” — maybe as close to an endorsement as she might give.
But, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s influence may reach beyond her home riding. Her book, Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, is on sale after advanced polls close, but six days before election day. The book will reflect on her time in Cabinet and it probably won’t reflect well on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or his party.
Trudeau was already forced to answer questions about the book, while a former Liberal cabinet minister seemed to refer to the book as “droppings.” This was two days after Green Party leader Annamie Paul and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole name-dropped Wilson-Raybould in order to scold the Prime Minister during the English-language party leaders’ debate.
Clearly, Wilson-Raybould’s experience in the Trudeau cabinet continues to hound the Liberals just as her decision to not seek re-election hangs over Vancouver Granville.
Based on polls, Vancouver Granville also seems to be a close microcosm of the federal election.
338Canada currently projects Vancouver Granville as 35% for the Liberals, 29% for the Conservatives, 25% for the NDP, 6% for the Greens, and 4.5% for the PPC. While not perfect, it loosely mirrors national polling within the margin of error.
At the start of the campaign, Vancouver Granville Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed was favoured to win, much like the Liberals were favoured to win a majority government. However, just like Prime Minister Trudeau lost favourability during the first few weeks of the campaign, Noormohamed also struggled with questions about his own credibility and trustworthiness. In national polls and polls for Vancouver Granville, the Conservatives have surged to make the election more competitive. Although, also in both cases, the Liberals seem to be rebounding.
The Conservatives, notably, have not won a riding in the City of Vancouver since Wai Young defeated Vancouver South Liberal incumbent Ujjal Dosanjh in 2011 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper won his only majority government. In fact, with the exception of Young’s one win, Conservatives have been shut out of Vancouver since the 1980s. A victory for Vancouver Granville Conservative candidate Kailin Che would presumably reflect a big national win for the Conservatives.
Similarly, if the NDP’s Anjali Appadurai takes the riding, it will probably reflect the party achieving its most optimistic national seat projection of about 40 seats.
Of course, the vote tally of this one riding could be completely discordant with the overall election results. But based on the campaign so far, expect Vancouver Granville to be a bellwether riding for the entire country.
Mo Amir is the host of This is VANCOLOUR, a politics and culture podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and www.thisisvancolour.com