On October 21st, Canadians from coast to coast to coast headed to the polls. The results came in with Trudeau gaining an all-time low that turned into a victory.
Not only was his majority government reduced to a minority government, but he was also defeated by the Conservative Party in the popular vote. He will go into office as Prime Minister, but as a humiliated leader who has clearly lost his appeal and barely has a mandate.
Ordinarily this would be dismissed as one of the dangers of our functioning democracy. Using the first past the post system, however, Trudeau’s central campaign promise was to eliminate this to usher in a form of democracy more reflective of the will of the people. Trudeau breaking his central promise saved his government.
We saw the rise of the Green Party, with their first member of Parliament elected outside of British Columbia, in my home district of Fredericton. Congratulations to Jenica Atwin, my friend and political opponent. Fredericton has been hit with three disastrous, record-setting, floods over the last 11 years, unprecedented in modern memory, causing climate concerns to be at the forefront of our minds. My attempts at free-market environmental solutions didn’t have much sway.
Our alt-right People’s Party was soundly defeated. Maxime Bernier initially labeled himself a libertarian when running for the leadership of the Conservative Party. After a narrow defeat — with potential fraud — he started a populist movement, focused on the reduction of immigration and eliminating refugee programs. It was an odd move, given that Canada isn’t suffering from the same immigration issues as the U.S. or Britain, where these movements were popular. The People’s Party failed to capture a single seat, with Bernier himself being defeated in his district.
Canada’s most famous whistleblower, Jodi Wilson-Raybould, who sounded the alarm on Trudeau’s unethical dealings with SNC Lavalin, was subsequently kicked out of the Liberal Party, but regained her seat running as an independent. Her political future is uncertain, but it doesn’t appear as if she’s going away anytime soon.
The Quebec separatist party — the Bloc Quebecois — has returned. There are various factors at play here. None of the other party leaders captured the people of Quebec’s attention. And English Canada talking down to Quebec didn’t help either. The province has banned religious symbols, especially hijabs, for government employees, drawing heavy criticism from Canadians who respect religious freedoms, which are guaranteed by our Charter. This has been a national embarrassment for Canada, but a source of pride for Quebec, stimulating separatist sentiments.
The minority government promises to offer excitement for political pundits. Andrew Scheer will be in waiting to dethrone Trudeau, but he has to find an issue that the Bloc, Singh, and May agree to vote Trudeau down on, as any one party won’t suffice.
None of the major party leaders have given any indication they plan to step down. Which is problematic, given how scandal-ridden Trudeau has been. The U.S. is considering impeachment for what Trump did to another country’s justice system while Trudeau did much the same, to a higher degree, to our own justice system. If this, combined with his poor economic record and international miscalculations, weren’t enough for the current slate of leaders to unseat him, it indicates we require new leaders.
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