LIBERAL Leader Justin Trudeau thought he had it all in the bag. He had a good lead in the polls and so he did what other minority government leaders had done in the past – try and get a majority so they didn’t have to take any nonsense from any party or parties they had to rely on to get bills passed in the House of Commons. A $600-million election – but that’s democracy.
But in the end, the Liberals were leading or elected in 159 ridings as of 9a.m. on Friday – an increase of just two seats as compared to what they won in 2019. And they would still have to rely on the NDP – that won 25 seats (one more than in 2019) – to get their legislation through the House.
The Conservatives won 119 seats (though they got more votes than the Liberals – 5.7 million compared to the Liberals’ 5.5 million votes), the Bloc Quebecois garnered 34 seats and the Green Party got two seats. The People’s Party of Canada drew a blank though it won almost 850,000 votes across the country, while the Green Party bagged fewer than 400,000 votes.
The opposition whipped up resentment over the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic was still raging and there were some scandals that came to light besides the past ones.
But as we pointed out in our “Election Reaction” piece on our website voiceonline.com earlier this week: “The VOICE fully expected Trudeau to win (though we remained neutral, giving all parties an equal opportunity to present their point of view to Canadians). The main reason? We didn’t think Canadians would like to take the risk of having a new government while the pandemic was still raging with the Delta variant and some idiots still refusing to get vaccinated and spreading conspiracy theories – and we still don’t know how things are going to be six months from now or even a year from now. Trudeau has done a good job no doubt and it was better to let him keep on handling the situation.
“Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole came across as too negative and too desperate to appeal to progressive Canadians – and the future of Canada lies in the hands of the progressives. But Trudeau was humiliated as Canadians decided NOT to give him a majority and thus force him to listen to the NDP – and the other parties – on different issues. Maybe we will see a more mature Trudeau. Meanwhile, the knives will be out for O’Toole in his party.”
We also noted: “The NDP, of course, never had a chance to win more seats than the Liberals or the Conservatives, but their leader, Jagmeet Singh, won the hearts of millions of Canadians – especially the younger generation. His style and the policies he advocated with such fervour resonated with them. He also enhanced the image of Sikhs (and, indeed, all South Asians) tremendously. He will give Trudeau a tough time in the House of Commons for sure – and that will be good for all Canadians.”
You can read about all the successful South Asian candidates – from B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec – in this issue (and on our website, where you can read all the updates as well). The candidate that really impressed us is Liberal party candidate Iqwinder Singh Gaheer who got elected from the riding of Mississauga-Malton and who we believe will turn out to be a star in the Liberal Party. The 28-year-old lawyer, who grew up in the Peel Region, studied law at Harvard University and worked in commercial litigation in New York. “Born in a village, welcomed to Canada, raised by a plumber-turned-businessman & stay-at-home mom, and privileged to attend a top law school,” he introduced himself on his Twitter on August 15. In the past, he volunteered with former MP of Mississauga-Malton Navdeep Bains who earlier this year announced his retirement from politics. It will be interesting to see how he does in politics.
AS Trudeau forms his new cabinet, he has to figure out who he’s going to choose to replace four female cabinet ministers – three of whom lost in the election and one who decided not to run.
The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin in a very perceptive piece pointed out a very interesting fact of Canadian history.
He wrote: “Under the banner of the Trudeaus, Pierre and Justin, the Liberal Party has now won seven of eight elections. Trudeau the elder went four for five. … The track record makes the Trudeau name one of the most successful political brands ever seen in Western democracies. Even the record of the [former U.S. presidents] Roosevelts, Theodore and Franklin, doesn’t quite match up.”
He also noted: “In the summer, many of us in the media predicted – and not in a terribly disapproving way – that he would call the early election because it was the smart thing politically to do – just as it was for Stephen Harper when he forced an election in a bid for a majority in 2008. But as soon as Mr. Trudeau made the call, we denounced him for doing so.”
He pointed out that Harper fell 12 seats of a majority, about the same number as Trudeau.
Martin wrote that “had it not been for a question in the English debate deemed insulting to Quebeckers, which revived the Bloc Québécois, he may well have won his majority.”
That question was, of course, the one that Leaders’ Debate moderator Shachi Kurl asked Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet regarding the discrimination inherent in Quebec’s Bills 21 and 96.
The VOICE supports former federal minister Herb Dhailwal who spoke out in support of Kurl and slammed the leaders of the three main parties – O’Toole, Trudeau and Singh – for very cravenly tiptoeing around the issue of Quebec’s racist Bill 21 that bans the display of religious symbols in the workplace by public-sector employees. (See last week’s VOICE.)
However, what again helped Trudeau – as The VOICE had expected – was that many Canadians, fearing a Conservative government, held their noses and voted for Trudeau once again.
Indeed, we believe that many more would have voted for Trudeau and delivered him a majority if O’Toole had not advocated moderate policies.
As Martin so aptly put it: “[O’Toole’s] bid to broaden the tent by moving his party in a more moderate direction is a commendable course. It is more stabilizing for the country. It is how Tories of old – like Brian Mulroney, John Diefenbaker, and John A. Macdonald – won big victories.”
But times have changed and the fact is that the Conservative base has been steadily shrinking in the provinces that really matter when it comes to seats – Ontario and Quebec as well as B.C.
Back in the 1990s, The VOICE had predicted that both Canada and the U.S. would get increasingly multicultural and moderate whether anyone liked it or not, though we hadn’t expected the bitter divisiveness that has resulted because of rabid white supremacists who keep sowing fear in the minds and hearts of gullible people. Former U.S. president Donald Trump took full advantage of that and, in fact, is still exploiting those fears. His damaging ways have been soaked up by quite a few Canadians and they have become what I call the “screeching minority” that opposes the silent majority. And they are getting more and more desperate as they see their power steadily diminish. They know they cannot turn the tide in a democratic manner; so, expect them to get more and more violent both in the U.S. and here in Canada.