What can we learn from Election 2021?

So we can now say Election 2021 is done. The Liberals are returning to Ottawa with another minority government. In fact looking at the results, very little has changed from where we were prior to the election. So the question now is, how did we spend a month to come roughly full circle?

Well to answer that, we have to face facts that our political class in Ottawa should be waking up to the fact that they are very much out of touch with what Canadians want. I can’t identify a single party that got what they wanted in this election, even though many of them will spin it as a victory of sorts. Take a look through each party and what should be their lesson from this waste of time election.

Liberals should have read the writing on the wall

Back in the spring time, Conservatives and the NDP were tip toeing around triggering an election through a non-confidence vote. The central issue being apparently Justin Trudeau’s bungling of the vaccine roll out. Instead they read the writings on the wall and realized no one wanted a vote and backed down. To their detriment as Trudeau’s polling numbers apparently sky rocketed after obtaining enough vaccines for everyone in Canada and continued handling of COVID-19 supports. One would think that would have given him a carte blanche to govern as if he had a majority even though he did not. Instead, he triggered an election and in turn was refused a majority. Some Liberals lost their seats. And it’s abundantly clear that this is not a victory for the governing party. Instead the writing is on the wall for what is hoped to be a graceful exit for Trudeau at some point over the next two years, with him trying to secure a legacy for his time as Prime Minister all while navigating a minority parliament. Not an enviable position.

Conservatives need to step out side their bubble

When Erin O’Toole was elected as leader of the Conservative Party, it was thought of as an opportunity to bring the party closer to the centre. That was the narrative that was spun at least. In reality, it is clear that the party is still very much tied to social conservative values. At the start of the election it appeared that O’Toole might actually win over Canadians to change government. Unfortunately, the ties to the gun lobby proved to be the start of his undoing. Coupled with his murky response to questions about whether or not his party would introduce legislation affecting a woman’s right to choose, it appeared to Canadians that social conservatives still have a tight hold on the party. Furthermore, that Erin O’Toole did not have a tight hold on them. In addition, the lack of commitment from candidates to disclose their vaccination status, it showed that this party was out of step with a great many Canadians. The Conservatives need to step outside of their party and start talking with people in places like the 905, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to get a sense of what matters most to them and to forge a new path to victory.

NDP Needed a Plan

Jagmeet Singh continues to poll highly in favourability with Canadians. He’s a nice guy. And Canadians seem to think so. However that isn’t enough to get him more seats in the House of Commons. The NDP put forward a list of ideas this campaign. Not a plan to address the real issues of COVID-19 recovery, Climate Change and how to move Canada forward. Simply saying, aren’t you angry at Trudeau isn’t enough to win seats. Canadians want an alternative. They want to buy into a vision of Canada that reflects their values. Vague ideas aren’t a vision.

Greens showed no leadership

Annamie Paul showed much to be desired as a leader for the Green Party. Finishing in fourth in her home riding meant that she spent much of the campaign trying to fend for her own life. Canadians didn’t know her and didn’t have enough time to get to know her. The troubles with the Green Party leading up to the election, demonstrated that she had problems listening to her own party. Which gave Canadians no confidence in her ability to listen to them.

In the end this election was about the Canadian people sending a message to the political parties, we liked the way it looked before. We don’t want to change anything. YOU MAKE IT WORK. It would be in the party’s best interests to focus on listening to Canadians outside of Ottawa, and outside their bubbles. I suspect a party that shows conciliation towards their opponents, and a real effort to work to compromise on items that Canadians want to see done, will be rewarded during the next election. Whether or not they will follow through on that suggestion though, remains to be seen.

The Conservatives have Fallen into the Liberal’s Trap

At the start of this election, it looked like the Liberals’ arrogance would prove to be their undoing. While polls had them riding high with approvals prior to the election, it appears that it wasn’t a license to go call an election. The public seemed to be willing to punish the Liberals for pulling the trigger.

Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives released their platform and it appeared that they weren’t as bad of a boogeyman as some had feared. They were suddenly a reasonable alternative. Until the Liberals decided to throw out bait to trap them.

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What an underwhelming election…

Well, we’re in the thick of it now. Election 2021 is under way across the country. The fear of COVID-19 has seemingly fallen by the wayside and everyone has embraced this as our temporary reality for the next few weeks. It’s clear that Trudeau probably won’t be punished for calling an early election by the electorate over that alone.

What isn’t clear is why exactly we’re in an election to begin with. Nate Erskine-Smith, Liberal candidate in Beaches East-York provided this explanation on Twitter:

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Okay, I was wrong about the Election

I made a bold prediction last spring. At the time hype was abound that Justin Trudeau would call an election. I thought it was all bluster by the media trying to drum up a story. Check out the link and listen to the episode of The 905er.

Clearly, I my analysis wasn’t sound. Well, let me clarify, its wasn’t shared by the Trudeau government. I think it’s safe to say, no one wants this election, save for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

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Words Matter, Actions Even More

The love affair between mainstream political parties on the right and the far right causes may finally be coming to an end. I say may be, because it has been a long standing relationship for sometime now. The attempted insurrection on Jan 6th, in Washington D.C. served as a wake up call to conservative political movements world wide. The attempt to foster a reliable base of hardcore right wing supporters seems to have backfired. This base is quickly being revealed to be comprised of conspiracy theorists, racist organizations and other ne’er do wells. Clearly the kind of company mainstream conservative political parties no longer wish to cozy up to.

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This Remembrance Day,…a chance for reflection

Remembrance Day is to me a solemn day. Alongside Canada Day, I’d argue it is one of the national holidays that is uniquely part of our collective identity. While Canada Day may be the one reserved for boisterous and outgoing national pride, Remembrance Day has always been it’s counterpoint. Meant for us to reflect on what makes our country great, and the sacrifices generations before us gave up, to give us our country today.

Young and old, new Canadians and multi generational Canadians, conservative and liberal, all come together on Remembrance Day to pay their respects. It’s contemplative about who we were and currently are as a country.

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The death of RBG has turned the American election into a battle for it’s soul

The news was shocking to many last night. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away. A judicial mind of eminent success, I believe I would do her memory injustice to attempt to categorize it here. Needless to say, her presence on the U.S. Supreme Court was a beacon for liberals and progressives. Helping to keep the progressive light alive in the face of overwhelming conservatism.

Progressives on both sides of the border are trembling in fear over what comes next. I started to wonder why. My only answer to that was that progressives in the United States took their eyes off the prize. Often too obsessed with winning the presidency, they forgot how their system of government worked. Republicans and conservatives did not. They have been playing the long game for decades, if not generations now. Institutionalizing a specific brand of conservatism in bodies around the country. Most relevant and poignant right now is the Federalist society. An organization which many probably are not aware of, and yet have probably more impact on their lives than they are aware of. The society is a group of conservative minded, and financially backed legal minds and judges with the goal of remaking the American judiciary in their image. Five of the judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are members. President Trump, doesn’t have the attention span or the stomach to have a meaningful opinion on this particular subject, so he has been essentially farming out the appointment process to the society to pick his judicial appointments. I’m hoping you can start to see where I am going with this.

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The best laid plans…and all that.

Try to remember the start of this pandemic. I know it feels like a lifetime ago, but really try to remember the start. The uncertainty and the sudden shift thrust upon our lives. From workplace to social structures. Especially our education system. Literally overnight, our school system went from a safe and reliable place to send our children to become better citizens, into incubators of this dreaded disease.

Many were optimistic that technology could help us through this uncertainty. Shifting to a new online distance learning could save the day. Possibly opening up new horizons in the ways our children are educated. However, three months into this grand experiment a new reality is setting in. The experience of online learning is leaving much to be desired. I’ve yet to hear from any parents or teachers who are entirely satisfied with the status quo.

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Conservatism isn’t going to get us out of this mess

I wanted to steer clear of political stuff for a while, but I didn’t predict a global pandemic shifting our zeitgeist so drastically in a month. Let me preface this article by emphasizing I mean small ‘c’ conservatism, not political parties.

In the matter of one month, what looked like a small regional outbreak of COVID-19, has turned into an unprecdented global emergency. To combat this emergency, governments are retooling and mobilizing our economies on a war footing. The likes of which has not been seen since world war 2. It’s becoming clear that large scale government intervention will be required to come out of this crisis whole.

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Changes are coming, whether we like it or not

Earlier, I wrote about how happy I was to live in Canada during this global pandemic. That hasn’t changed. The pandemic is changing almost at an hourly rate it seems. Our federal, provincial and municipal leaders are taking this seriously and addressing the crisis as I would expect them to.

Which brings me to today’s unique sitting of the federal government to pass legislation to tackle the economic downturn we are all facing. I’m pleased to see our legislative system still functions. The Liberals are smart to back down on taxation measures that go beyond the normal accountability process of parliament.

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