Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2021/ Early Federal Election Feelings

Late Federal Election Post-Blather

The election was two months ago. All of what can be said has been said, and a lot has changed since Sept 20. Procrastinating on this entry has been holding me back about blogging about other things (I am sure you are disappointed) so here are some brief notes about things that stood out to me.

The Result

I almost got what I wanted. The Liberals won re-election, but they did not lose power/seats the way I hoped. In many people's minds this was the "do-nothing" election because seat counts remained more-or-less the same, and in some sense people were right.

I wonder whether other people felt as strongly as I did that the Liberals are not to be trusted. There seemed to be some sentiment that Trudeau called an election to win a majority. Certainly both the CPC and the NDP hammered this talking point as hard as they could. But we live under first past the post. You cannot vote for a minority parliament.

My worry now is that Trudeau will pull the trigger again in another 18 months. I hope he is smarter than that, but Liberals really love power and feel they are entitled to majority governments.

According to The Agenda there is some scuttlebutt that this was Trudeau's last election, and that Chrystia Freeland will be the Liberal leader for the next election. I guess this is possible, and just as Kathleen Wynne squeaked out a majority government after three terms of Dalton McGuinty, Chrystia Freeland might win after Trudeau leaves. Or maybe Freeland will end up thrown under the bus as thoroughly as Kim Campbell. The glass cliff is real.

Fair Vote Canada Disaster

It was a great night for proportional representation talking points. The Conservatives got more votes than they did last election, but still got shafted in the seat count. The Bloc got way more than their proportion of seats compared to the NDP. The Greens got two seats with half the vote of the PPC, who won none. First Past the Post caused many juicy injustices this election. The Liberals won the election with a miniscule share of the popular vote.

However, it was a terrible night for Fair Vote Canada, because if they had their way and people voted the same (which is a big if) then right-wing parties would have done much better than they did, and we could be looking at a Conservative coalition with the PPC as one of its dance partners. Now FVC members are furiously backpedalling, trying to explain why we somehow would not end up with right-wing governments supported by nutjob parties under proportional representation. This is because Fair Vote Canada is a refugee camp for NDP and Green voters. It stopped being a multipartisan group that believed in the principles of proportional representation a long time ago.

Truth be told, many Fair Vote Canada members are probably relieved at the results. Even the ones who hate Justin Trudeau for betraying proportional representation in 2016 are probably relieved at the results compared to the alternatives.

I am probably one of those who is moderately relieved. It is possible that Erin O'Toole would have had sensible environmental policies, but probably not. We really cannot afford the policy lurch on climate policies now that we are starting to feel the real impacts of our fossil fuel addictions. Stephen Harper did an enormous amount of damage with his Alberta-first pro-oilsands policies. I am no longer an FVC member, but I am also quite angry at Trudeau, and even I recognise that the Liberals are the lesser of two evils on this.

Mike Morrice

Hooray, I guess. I have not heard much of Morrice for the last two months, but I guess it is nice that Kitchener Centre elected a Green MP. Having Saini drop out of the race helped, especially since a number of prominent local Liberals then endorsed Morrice instead. It also did not hurt that Beisan Zubi and the NDP imploded locally. I thought they would get a much bigger share of the votes than they did. They barely beat Raj Saini!

Now I want to see whether Morrice lives up to the hype. Will he be here for his constituents? Will he make a splash in parliament? I feel Laura Mae Lindo has been a nice surprise provincially; it remains to be seen how much impact Morrice will have on the national stage.

The Green Party

Man, the Greens are in trouble.

Firstly, Annamie Paul came in fourth in Toronto Centre. Secondly, E. May backtalked Paul on the night of the election -- May was clearly peeved that the Greens did not run a full slate of candidates this election. Sure enough, Annamie Paul has since resigned, and she was sure to blame the Green old guard, including Elizabeth May.

This is kind of a disaster. Electing the wokest person they could to be the Green leader backfired in a big way, especially since Annamie Paul did well in the leaders' debates. The Greens have reinforced their image as the party of white environmentalists who don't care about class or racial issues, and who don't stand up for diversity. No doubt the NDP party insiders are cackling.

Furthermore, the Greens have not shaken their brand as the Elizabeth May party. Other than Morrice May was the only Green to win a seat. Notably, Paul Manly (the other Green MP incumbent) lost his seat handily, coming in third. Nobody else came close to winning a seat. Other than May, Green members of parliament can sometimes get elected, but they have a tough time getting re-elected. We shall see whether Morrice bucks that trend. (We shall see whether Mike Schreiner bucks that trend provincially, in fact.)

If the Greens are going to be successful they cannot be the Elizabeth May party, which means that they need a new leader who is both dynamic and able to win the support of the grassroots. Will that new leader be another straight white man? It is plausible. Thank goodness Morrice declined the job. (Can you imagine? A rookie MP with no previous elected experience as federal party leader? Oy.)

I honestly think the Greens should take a page from their European and New Zealand counterparts and elect two party leaders who share the job.

The People's Party

The biggest question in my mind concerning the PPC has to do with money: why did they have so much? Somebody was paying protestors to follow Justin Trudeau around, and while I do not believe those protestors were actually the PPC there seemed to be some strong connections between the two. Somebody was paying for Maxime Bernier to fly all over the country holding anti-vax rallies. Who was it? Do they plan to keep funding the party, or was this a one-time thing?

Here is the ugly thing: I feel that the PPC probably did deserve some seats in parliament. I am glad they did not win any, but they deserved to. Furthermore, it was an injustice for Bernier not to be invited to the leader's debates the same way it was an injustice for E.May to get locked out of the debates for years and years. In many ways the PPC is the mirror image of the Greens, and just because I do not like the PPC or its policies does not mean it should not get fair treatment.

What a difference the leaders debates would have been if Bernier had been there. For one thing, O'Toole would not have been able to tack as far left as he did, because Bernier would have been at his flank. Then we could have seen where the CPC really was on issues.

It's too bad. I thought Bernier was a big libertarian. Canada could use a real libertarian party. Although the PPC holds some libertarian values, they are really the party of nutjobs who are too extreme for the CPC.

Is the PPC here to stay? I think it depends on the funding. If the funding dries up, then I do not think they stay as a party. I would be surprised if they have the grassroots support to survive, but I could be wrong. (I could be wrong that grassroots support did not in fact fund their entire election campaign.)

The Conservatives

I am dismayed but not surprised that the Conservatives are turning on Erin O'Toole. They might not even give the guy a second election. He took the strategy of trying to appeal to centrist Liberal voters, and apparently his party hates him for it.

I wrote in my pre-blather that the Conservatives were going to scrap the carbon tax. This was partially wrong (they were just going to slash it in half for no reason) but I think my impression that the Conservatives don't care one bit about the environment in general or climate change in particular is a big barrier to moderates and progressives voting for them. But if they can't win the centrist vote, then they can't win the GTA, and if they can't win the GTA they can't form government.

O'Toole reminds me of Kathleen Wynne in some ways. Both of them are great interviews on The Agenda -- they mostly come across as genuine (even though they are not), and they don't dodge questions as readily as other party leaders do (I'm looking at you, Jagmeet Singh). I would like to believe that the CPC could be a sensible party with a sensible leader. But I do not believe this for two reasons. The first is Stephen Harper. People in the CPC continue to idolize Harper, just as Republicans in the USA idolize Ronald Reagan. I happen to think Stephen Harper was a disaster for Canada -- not because he was incompetent, but because he was savvy and achieved an agenda I profoundly disagreed with. He set out to remake Canada, and I think he accomplished that goal.

Secondly, the CPC is still trying to woo the nutjobs. It cannot afford to lose too many voters to the PPC, so it cannot really be sensible, because nutjobs hate sensible policies. I do not think this would improve under proportional representation, by the way, since the CPC and PPC would be natural dance partners, and so the Conservatives could never afford to alienate the PPC that much.

We should never say never, but I do not think I will be a Conservative voter any time soon. That really sucks, because the Liberals know I will not be a Conservative voter and can therefore take me for granted. I really wish there was a sensible pragmatic party that was informed by science and data. The Conservatives could have been that party, but they aren't and I doubt they ever will be.

Elections Canada

When I went to vote there was no indication at Elections Canada that Saini had dropped out of the race. That made me plenty mad. I guess he was still officially running?


This was a mean election, and I saw glimpses of it in my personal life. I would cycle into the rural areas and people would yell at me to take off my mask. That was new. Usually people in rural areas are nice to me.


I hope we do not have another election in 18 months.

I hope the Liberals actually follow through on some of their longer-term plans: around drinking water for indigenous reserves, around some kind of climate action.

I have conflicting ideas around spending. I hope somebody starts to take the debt and deficit spending seriously -- we have a big bill to pay after COVID, and that bill will come due sooner or later. But I also hope we can avoid severe austerity measures.

I hope we have the resiliance and cash reserves to deal with the Calamity. The bills for that are coming in. As I write this BC is flooded out and roadways in BC have been destroyed. There have been forest fires raging all summer. There have been droughts. These shocks to the system are expensive, and they are going to keep happening. Furthermore I predict there will be catastrophes around the world, and Canada will be asked to take more and more climate refugees. None of this is cheap, but it still seems as if we are not taking the implications of global warming seriously. We are still going to pretend that we can be a petrostate, because otherwise Alberta will cause trouble.

I hope we don't get involved in another international war.

I hope I have a place to live that I can afford, and that my savings are not eaten up by inflation. Those are personal hopes, but because I only care about my own well-being, they influence my political hopes profoundly.