COLUMN: New tenants for the mansions of power?

If you think the cost of housing in Vancouver is ridiculously high, there are two “rental” homes in Ottawa that ...

On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton

If you think the cost of housing in Vancouver is ridiculously high, there are two “rental” homes in Ottawa that carry the price tag of a nation.

24 Sussex Drive is the residence of the Prime Minister; Stornoway home to the Leader of the Official Opposition.

If current polls hold, both will be getting new tenants following Monday’s federal election.

Then again, as Christy Clark demonstrated rather ably in 2013, polls – including those right up to election day – can be neither definitive nor accurate.

The day before the provincial election, the Vancouver Province ran a full-page picture of Adrian Dix with the headline “This man could kick a dog and still win!” He didn’t.

On Monday, roughly two-thirds of Canadians will cast a ballot to determine who will occupy our official national residences, and my guess is that at least one will see a change.

Currently, Tom Mulcair lives in Stornoway, while Justin Trudeau’s family occupies a rather classy rental just down the street. 24 Sussex Drive, also in the neighbourhood, was the childhood home of Justin for 12 years and I’m certain he, and the Liberal Party, is salivating over the distinct possibility that he could be its new resident in the very near future.

From the looks of it, Mr. Mulcair and family will be moving residences regardless, for even though the polls may be deceptive, the game is between the Conservatives and the Liberals with one or the other forming government after Oct. 19.

That means both Harper and Trudeau will be sitting at the head of the dining table in our nation’s residences of power, and until Monday night, no one has a true handle on which one it will be.

Change, however, could be in the wind if the advance poll voting turnout is any indication. From what I have heard, the numbers casting ballots over the past weekend far outstrip previous turnouts. Either the Conservatives rallied their troops early, or the Anyone But Harper camp was successful.

Needless to say, the possibility of a majority government for any party is slim to none, although, as British Columbia demonstrated in 2013, it is not an impossibility, and our province, the last to vote thanks to geography and time zones in this great nation of ours, could be the game-changer.

In fact, Stephen Harper may be betting on it because on Sunday he will be spending time not in Quebec or Ontario, but right here in B.C. and, for all those sporting Tory Blue, at a special event in Abbotsford.

I’m not sure of the reason for Abbotsford to be one of his last campaign stops, since the main riding here is about as unlikely to change its political stripe as Elizabeth May is to form government. However, we do have the new riding of Mission-Matsqui etc. that may need some propping up.

I also have to think that a riding or two on Vancouver Island and a whack of them throughout Metro Vancouver require some “prime ministerial rah-rahing” as well to change what otherwise might become a major swing to the Liberals.

Regardless of the end result of our national ballot on Monday, I have to believe the mansions of power in Ottawa will see some new guests.

Don’t be among those who can’t be bothered to determine what happens. Tens of thousands of men and women gave their lives to preserve your privilege to vote in a democracy.

If nothing else, observe and repay their sacrifice by voting on Monday.

markrushton@abbynews.com