What Can We Figure Out from Election 2021?

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Critical Thinking

Thoughts on Election 2021…

Thunder Bay – EDITORIAL – The votes have been counted, and now it is going to be the political leaders and political parties who have to work with the decision that voters have made.

From the campaign… some of the things that are likely going to impact the coming months and years.

It is likely that the Green Party will certainly be seeing a new leader. Anamaie Paul had been battling within the party to to complete detrement of the Green Party. If she had won her seat that would likely have provided a base from which to continue her fight, she finished fourth.

Inside the Conservative Party, there is likely to be a challenge to Erin O’Toole. It is also very likely within the brainchild of the Liberal Party the start of discussions on the next leader.

Looking a little more indepth…

First off the People’s Party of Canada. Frankly put the party tripled its vote from 2019, they tapped into a vein of angst, frustration, and misunderstanding like a dog on a bone.

Maxine Bernier and his party will not form government.  They did not elect any MPs.

But over the course of the campaign, or perhaps better stated the PPC movement became a focal point of anger and frustration that many Canadians feel.

Most Canadians however likely never read the PPC platform, likely including many of those who voted for the party.

From a rock-tossing incident with the Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, to efforts that campaign workers, and candidates felt were efforts to intimidate them, the PPC has become Canada’s lightning rod for the frustrated and angry people.

It is likely however that the PPC movement won’t be going away anytime soon.

Now honestly, in a democracy there is a lot of room for a wide-ranging number of opinions.

That is what makes a democracy work. However, some of the tactics, in effect swarming candidates, causing campaign events to be cancelled, as happened to Justin Trudeau, and harassing the campaign workers from other parties has not shown the PPC supporters in a light that will likely bring any wide-spread long-term support to their causes.

Did the PPC have an impact in Thunder Bay-Rainy River? In Kenora, Thunder Bay-Superior North and Thunder Bay-Rainy River the PPC polled above the national party numbers. In Thunder Bay-Rainy River, the Conservative and PPC vote total would, if it were one vote totaled enough to have won the seat.

It is hard to figure out what the next steps the PPC will be doing are. Without a voice in parliament, and with a lot of the media simply not covering them, their voice likely will be via social media.

PPC leader Maxine Bernier spent election night in Saskatchewan, not his home riding where he lost by 16,000 votes to the Conservatives. Perhaps Bernier is seeing the political writing on the wall and will seek his next moves as a political future in Western Canada?

What About the Liberals?

Perhaps most telling in this campaign will be what happens with the Liberal Party of Canada. Two out of three Canadians voted against the Liberals. This is the second election nationally that the Liberals lost the popular vote.

When Justin Trudeau called the election, the Liberals held a 15-point lead in the polls.  The Liberal war room likely figured that this was the perfect opportunity to secure a majority government.

In the immediate afterglow of the minority win, it is likely that few will be speaking out publically. The Liberals under Justin Trudeau don’t appear to have the next leader in the wings ready to go hard campaigning against him. There is not a Paul Martin in the wings?

From the results, it appears that some of the weakest levels of support for Justin Trudeau came in the 18- to 35-year-old demographic. The party knows that is a problem for the long-term.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, younger people don’t have the attention span of older Canadians. It could be noted perhaps that after years of promise(s), and the semi-celebrity of the Liberal leader that has run their course faster than his fathers?

Over the past decades, the Liberals have chosen a leader with great expectations of legacy greatness.

John Turner was the Liberal leader selected who was surprisingly past his best before date. So too was Paul Martin, who while a great finance minister appeared once in the Prime Minister office to not know what’s next.

Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion as well showed that the Liberals wanted the sizzle rather than the steak.

The Conservatives

The main message at the start of the campaign, and at the end of the campaign was that the Conservatives were on the attack at Justin Trudeau over calling the election.

There were a lot of Canadians who felt that way for the first week or so of the campaign. However, to a great degree, the Conservative message on why to vote for them was drown out as the campaign continued.

Leadership wise, Erin O’Toole continued the path of working to move the Conservatives more to the middle ground of Canadian politics.  The Conservatives won the popular vote for the second election in a row. This of course is due to massive landslide wins in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Conservatives are not making major inroads into Toronto and the 905 belt of seat rich areas.

O’Toole is likely to face leadership questions over his perceived shift to the centre, or what hard-right Conservatives will call the left, during the campaign. Perhaps in the West people could be likely to see the PPC and the Maverick Party as offering a “West wants in” need again.

Those voices are always present in the west, and often don’t get much of a broad hearing. Likely few Canadians have heard of the Maverick Party, which seeks to take Alberta out of confederation.

Rural votes tend to the Conservatives. Urban vote trends Liberal.

For the Conservatives, basically the party has followed electing a banjo act, with another and another. There has not been a vibrant and inspiring leader for the Conservatives in a long time.

In Thunder Bay federally you must go back to the 1920s to list out an elected MP from the conservative side on the north side of the city. On the southside, this election the Conservative candidate couldn’t be bothered to attend either of the two debates. However, the Conservatives finished second. Again, if the PPC vote and Conservative vote were united, the Conservatives would have won.

The Conservative candidate in Thunder Bay-Rainy River in this election didn’t respond to any of the surveys, didn’t attend any of the election debates, likely something some within the local Conservative circles will go down as massive mistakes by the campaign’s decision maker(s).

The New Democrats

First, locally, election night was a bit of a nail-biter in Kenora and in Thunder Bay-Rainy River. The New Democrats were very hopeful in TBRR with their candidate Yuk-Sem Won. Janine Seymour jumped out to a lead in Kenora early that incumbent Conservative Eric Melillo chipped away at all night until he won.

The New Democrats were hopeful of at least one seat, they got none. There is disappointment.

Jagmeet Singh remains one of the most popular federal leaders.

The New Democrats effectively hold the balance of power in the new parliament.

Singh is likely safe for the foreseeable future.

The Green Party

The Greens elected two MPs. Former leader Elizabeth May held her seat. Anamaie Paul running in Toronto finished 4th.

Paul is likely to face the biggest challenge of all the leaders in retaining her role as party leader.

That she didn’t step down on election night is likely a sign that she won’t leave willingly. That means the Green Party members will be forced to take action.

It will likely be messy, but it is also likely needed.

Heading forward

The Prime Minister will be moving likely as fast as possible to form his new cabinet. There will be some changes as he lost a couple of Ministers.

Thunder Bay will likely remain with a cabinet minister, Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu came through the election with a convincing win.  She has been a solid supporter of the Prime Minister.

The only question will be does Hajdu maintain the health portfolio. If the message from the election that Justin Trudeau says he heard on election day is to “Get back to work”, then that is a strong possibility.

Election 2021 was a $610 million plus effort. Voters basically said they were alright with what had been happening.

Now it is up to the politicians to heed that message.

James Murray