Scoreless Draw

21 September 2021


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Canada Re-Elects Trudeau Without Commons Majority


Justin Trudeau called a snap election, holding a vote 2 years early. He had hoped to convince Canadians that he needed a solid mandate to tackle the corona virus and rebuild the economy. They were not buying it. After 36 days of campaigning and C$600 million spent on the election, the next House of Commons is going to look a lot like the one that was just dissolved. Still, it represents a third election win for Mr. Trudeau, just one short of his father's record. This parliament will sit for up to 5 years, and only a fool would wager against Mr. Trudeau leading the Liberal Party in the next election.

The final votes will be tallied over the next few days; the mail-in votes will take a while. The opposition Conservatives have a 280,000 vote lead in the popular vote, but thanks to first-past-the-post election rules, they will not be the largest party in Commons.

As things stand the morning after, the Liberals have won 146 seat and lead in another 12 for a total of 158. A majority is 170. The Conservatives have won 116 and lead in 3 more for a total of 119. Bloc Quebecois secured 32 seats and lead in 2 more for a total of 34. The New Democrats have won two dozen seats and lead in a 25th. Bringing up the rear are the Greens who have elected 2 MPs.

These results are almost exactly what the parties had in the last parliament. When the writ dropped to call the election, the Liberals had 155 seats; the Conservatives 119; BQ had 32; the NDP had 24; the Greens had 2 and there were 5 independents. One seat was vacant.

Mr. Trudeau failed in his attempt to win an outright majority, so the result was disappointing from his perspective. At the same time, he has renewed his lease at the PM's official residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa (the house his father lived in when he was born). Given that he has a minority government, the odds on him lasting out the full term are not great. He may lose support and be forced out, or he may like his chances in another early election. Neither is imminent.

The Conservatives entered the election under a moderate leader, Erin O'Toole. His result was a good one in that the party held onto what it had, but he could not oust Mr. Trudeau. The tone from party headquarters this morning was a defiant one, "If Justin Trudeau thinks he can threaten Canadians with another election in 18 months, the Conservative Party will be ready. Whenever that day comes, I will be ready to lead Canada's Conservatives. We worked hard, we made progress, but the job is not done yet."

The NDP under Jagmeet Singh also woke up disappointed as well as relieved. The party picked up a couple of seats, and because of the arithmetic, the Liberals will need NDP votes to get things done. At the same time, there was no real break through for a party running to the left of the Liberals. Taxing the ultra-rich to pay for more social programs resonated somewhat, but clearly not enough. Mr. Singh is not giving up his leadership post despite the outcome. "Friends, I want you to know that our fight will continue. I also want you to know that we are going to keep on fighting to make sure that the super wealthy pay their fair share," he promised supporters in a post-election speech.

There were some big defeats. Greens' leader Annamie Paul lost her seat, as did Party Leader Maxime Bernier of the People's Party of Canada, a libertarian right-wing party. Bernadette Jordan, the fisheries minister, and Maryam Monsef, who held a couple of cabinet positions a couple years ago, both lost their seats. Some reshuffling of responsibilities will follow.

In reviewing the outcome, this election was a scoreless draw, not exactly the kind of hockey game anyone wants to watch, or even play in. Perhaps next time.

© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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