On August 15th, Justin Trudeau plunged this country into an unnecessary election campaign while blatantly neglecting several major national crises. Already facing the fourth wave of a global pandemic, raging forest fires in British Columbia, and an international humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the Liberal leader thought it best that his ambitions for a majority government should take precedence.
Almost immediately, Canadians made it known that they disagreed. As the campaign proceeded day by day, public opinion polling saw the Liberals’ overwhelming lead quickly collapse into a head to head race with Erin O’Toole’s new-look Conservative Party. From the outset, opposition parties quickly picked up steam at the expense of the flailing Liberals who were preoccupied with the various crises boiling over just as the campaign began.
When all was said and done and the new make up of the House of Commons was determined, at striking result, almost identical to the previous parliament, has had many Canadians question whether or not the election was necessary. With 159 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 33 Bloc Quebecois, 25 NDP, and 2 Green members elected, one would be hard pressed to believe that parliament would function any better than it had in its last sitting.
Over the course of the campaign, Liberal representatives have consistently reiterated their position to seek a mandate from the electorate to continue to move ‘Forward for Everyone’ during such unprecedented times. While that may be a fair course of action, there was extremely limited, if any evidence that either parliament had become dysfunctional or that public opinion had significantly soured on the then-Liberal administration. That said, Canadians quickly caught on to the self-serving agenda of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal team, returning them to Ottawa with a similar minority government and a not so hidden message that they don’t trust their judgement with a majority mandate but are not yet comfortable with Erin O’Toole’s seemingly modernized Conservatives.
Needless to say, after a national election costing well over $600 million, Canadians can expect very little change in the way that the country is governed or functions. The only real change that really took place was in regional representation, with the Liberals and NDP now having slightly expanded Western caucuses, while the Conservatives have a larger eastern caucus.
While something can be said for reaffirming a stable mandate in the middle of a crisis, this election was frankly a $650 million vanity project for the Prime Minister and his party that didn’t even pay off. The fact of the matter is that this government has run its natural course, and Canadians are now growing increasingly irate with its handling of various national and international issues.
Going forward, this re-elected Liberal government will be on a short leash, held not only by opposition Conservatives and New Democrats, but also by pragmatic Canadians who will inevitably look for something new in the next few years. With Justin Trudeau even suggesting that without a majority he would call another potentially unnecessary election in 18 months, it is important that government get back to work and have something to show for it. If they don’t, that next election in 18 months may be quite damning for incumbent Liberals.
That said, there is still growing turmoil in the wake of the election among opposition ranks. With the Greens having already forced the resignation of Annamie Paul, some prominent Conservatives calling to review Erin O’Toole’s leadership earlier than constitutionally required, and even some questions surrounding Jagmeet Singh’s future with the NDP, the newly re-elected Liberal government will likely have significant legislative runway to implement a national agenda for at least a few months.
A few weeks removed from the national election, very little has changed. As we await the $600 cabinet shuffle that will be announced this month, the Prime Minister has already been entrenched in yet another scandalous vacation when he visited Tofino, British Columbia to go surfing with his family on the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – having rejected several local invitations to meet with indigenous leaders, residential school survivors, and their communities.
Needless to say, the election this country was just put through was a vanity project, pure and simple, and evidently it failed on both fronts, resurrecting the Prime Minister’s scandalous image and obtaining a majority government. Whether Canadians go to the polls again in 18 months or in 4 years, it’s clear that this election was totally unnecessary and plunged our finances into further disarray.