Analysis: Winds of political change begin to stir across Canada

A voter cast their ballot at a polling station in Edmonton in this May 2, 2011 file photo. (DAVID...

A voter cast their ballot at a polling station in Edmonton in this May 2, 2011 file photo. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

David Akin, National Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 3:10 PM ET

OTTAWA -- The results of the two most recent provincial elections - in Nova Scotia and in Quebec - may be the start of a trend that incumbents like Stephen Harper, Kathleen Wynne, and Rob Ford ought to be worried about.

Voters in Canada, long happy with the political status quo, appear prepared to vote for change.

Starting with the federal election three years ago, one incumbent leader after another won re-election, almost always with the same pitch Harper and the Conservatives used in that 2011 general election: The economy is fragile. Things may not be great but they sure could be worse. Why risk the change?

Harper won his first majority with that pitch.

Nine provincial elections followed within two years of that federal vote and in each one, the incumbent government followed a variation of Harper's lead and each found remarkable success.

In 2011, voters in five provinces - PEI, Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan -- were asked to pass judgement on their premiers. All were re-elected.

And it didn't matter the political stripe. The same basic message worked for Dalton McGuinty's Liberals in Ontario, Greg Selinger's New Democrats in Manitoba and Brad Wall's conservative Saskatchewan Party.

In Alberta in 2012 and in B.C. in 2013, the incumbents -- Alison Redford's Progressive Conservatives and Christy Clark's Liberals -- appeared headed for a fall. Both campaigned vigorously warning of the dangerous risk their opponents represented to their province's economic growth. Both won huge majorities.


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