Close polls mean Atlantic Canada could get ''a lot more'' campaign attention

Polls showing a close result ahead of Canada’s federal election may prompt party leaders to sharpen their focus in Atlantic Canada.

“That’s when a part of the country, like Atlantic Canada with its 32 seats, gets a lot more attention,” says J.P. Lewis, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick.

Seat-rich Ontario and Quebec are key to any federal election victory, but the suggestion of Atlantic Canadian voters being taken for granted could to the detriment of any campaign.

Lewis says three New Brunswick ridings in particular - Fredericton, Miramichi, and Saint John-Rothesay- could be "a barometer of what is to come the rest of election night.”

With two weeks until the Sept. 20 vote, Lewis says there’s still time for an issue, aside from the pandemic, to take hold nationally.

“The campaign still seems to be trying to figure out what this election is exactly about,” says Lewis. “We kind of go from day-to-day. One day the issue is guns, one day the issue is access to abortion, one day the issue is affordability. There hasn’t been many unifying themes.”

“The question of whether or not there should’ve been a campaign I don’t think has ever left, which normally leaves.”

The Liberals swept every Atlantic Canadian riding in the 2015 election. The Liberals lost six ridings in the 2019 election; four to the Conservatives, one to the Green Party, and one to the New Democrats.