Things are looking exceptionally good for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
According to the threehundredeight.com website, his party has opened up a large lead over the Conservatives and NDP in a weighted averaging of federal polls.
In B.C., the weighted average shows the federal Liberals in front with 34.1 percent, compared to 30.2 percent for the Conservatives and 24.4 percent for the NDP.
As Mark Leiren-Young reported in this week's Straight, Trudeau has deep roots in B.C. He's probably looking forward to electing many new Liberal MPs from B.C. in the 2015 election.
If the Liberals are going to form a majority government, they will have to elect members on the North Shore, in Richmond, Vancouver South, Vancouver Granville, and a couple of the new Surrey ridings, not to mention Victoria and possibly in the B.C. Interior.
Seasoned political observers know that the B.C. Liberals are a coalition of federal Liberals and federal Conservatives.
But the Liberal label is, nonetheless, a brand. And when three premiers—Gordon Campbell, Dalton McGuinty, and Jean Charest—damaged that brand, it had a negative repercussions on federal Liberals in the 2008 and 2011 elections.
Campbell, McGuinty, and Charest were not primarily responsible for the devastating defeats of the federal Liberals under Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. But the provincial Liberal parties' scandals reinforced suspicions about Liberals in general that they don't always pass ethical smell tests. This can have a corrosive effect on a national party.
Teachers dispute reinforces perceptions
Nowadays, B.C. premier Christy Clark has taken an exceptionally hardline stance against B.C. teachers.
The employers' negotiator appeared to offer nothing at a recent failed attempt at mediation. It's no wonder the public schools are closed.
Clark, leader of the B.C. Liberals, is being suspected in some quarters of harbouring a secret agenda to destabilize public education to clear the way for a voucher system and further privatization.
Her education minister, Peter Fassbender, sounds almost gleeful when he tells the media that the government won't legislate an end to the strike.
Meanwhile, federal Liberals are going to need the support of softer progressives, including many teachers, if they're going to boot Stephen Harper out of 24 Sussex Drive in 2015. The next federal election could be won or lost in B.C.
Everyone knows that Clark's ex-husband and political fixer, Mark Marissen, is deeply associated with the federal Liberals.
The same can be said for Clark's former deputy chief of staff, Kim Haakstad, who was one of her closest friends.
Clark herself once worked for former federal Liberal cabinet minister Doug Young in the 1990s.
It's not too much of a stretch to say that Liberals, both federal and provincial, support the premier's uncompromising stance.
There's an old saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The reverse is that the friend of my enemy is my enemy.
The teachers' enemy right now is Premier Clark. Trudeau can rightly be seen as a friend of Clark, given their similar political pedigrees and similar backers.
And in B.C. right now, the word "Liberal" is increasingly associated with "anti-teacher".
NDP could capitalize on this
That can only be good news for federal New Democrats in B.C.
It will become even more so if the court of public opinion concludes that the B.C. Liberal premier and her cronies wanted a teachers strike to try to bust the union.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has already ruled that the Clark government tried to provoke a strike in the past. The government has appealed and it's not going to look good if B.C.'s highest court echoes that sentiment in its decision.
If I were Justin Trudeau, a former teacher, I wouldn't be happy about this situation. The federal Liberals always fare better when they snare a higher percentage of women's votes—and there are a lot of female teachers and mothers across B.C. who are ticked off at the B.C. Liberals' take-no-prisoners' stance on this strike.
But there's not a lot that Trudeau can do about it when the premier is calling the shots.
If NDP Leader Tom Mulcair weren't so risk-averse, he'd be joining B.C. teachers on the picket lines to highlight his support for public education. It would create a bit of distance between him and Trudeau and remind voters what New Democrats stand for.