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.