Don’t let deja vu deceive you.
The summary of the election results of the 44th Parliament of Canada is that nothing has changed.
Overall this is true. Each party ended up with roughly the same number of seats as they had before the election, which was called 37 days earlier. And the Liberal Party’s “victory is a victory” element will proceed as if it had actually happened.
To paraphrase BQ leader Yves-François Blanchett, the election seemed like a short interruption of Summer BBQ.
But beneath the surface, the election brought about some changes that could have significant and lasting consequences.
The first change is an even lesser position for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. What makes you strong in politics also makes you weak.
In 2015, Justin Trudeau could do no wrong. He was the strength of the Liberal Party. He was the prime minister of Sunny Ways who united Canada’s progressive electorate behind an agenda of meaningful change. There were no problems on the progressive agenda that the interventionist government led by Trudeau could not solve and there were no limits to the good they could do in the world.
By 2019, Trudeau’s prevailing public outlook had turned to despair. A combination of missteps and scandals reduced him to be just another prolific politician.
By the end of the 2021 election, despair had turned into genuine anger for many Canadians. Once anger enters the picture, it is nearly impossible to return to anything that looks like sunshine again. The Liberal’s greatest strength, the leadership of Justin Trudeau, has now become a significant weakness.
The next change is that of Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole. Was he made stronger or weaker by this campaign? His bold bet to reunite the winning Harper Coalition (western and rural Canada as well as the suburbs of major cities) did not pay off in an electoral victory.
But a closer examination of voting data shows he was close to a critical success. The Conservatives managed to reduce the Liberal margin of victory in Ontario by half since 2019. But this happened at the cost of narrowing the Conservative margin of victory in western Canada.
Will Conservative Party activists see O’Toole’s strategy as a step in the right direction or will it be seen as a breach of trust by moving forward with conservatism?
If this is seen as a breach of trust, O’Toole’s days as a conservative leader may be numbered. That means another leadership contest to find someone who can win again. If it was easy to do it would have already been done.
What it will do to be sure is turn conservatives inward and let weaker liberals off the hook.
One final change to note is the position of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. The NDP campaign was more victorious in the elections than the ballot box.
While Singh and the NDP will try to keep their electoral performance as a balance of power in a minority parliament, this is no more true today than it was before the election.
Liberals can pass laws with any of the three major opposition parties, not just the NDP.
Even if Singh did not make his party a power broker in the next parliament, he also proved himself as a very effective litigant against the Liberal Party’s record and Trudeau’s performance on progressive issues in particular.
It was clear in the election that Trudeau enjoyed the opportunity to crush the Conservatives, but he did not have an effective response to the NDP attacks. The general liberal trope that a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives did not last.
Poll data suggests that the late decline of the NDP had more to do with NDP voters than it did with them going with the Liberals to block the Conservatives. This shows that Singh has the power to stop the switch, but now he needs to find a way to bring in as many voters as possible, favoring the NDP.
where have all the voters gone
At the time of writing, voter turnout in this election was a historically low 58.44 percent of eligible voters. In 2019, the voter turnout was 66 per cent. In 2015 it was at a century high of 69%.
Given the decline in participation we have experienced in this election, I have heard many commentators lament that this indicates a declining interest in Canadian democracy. What it really shows is the impact of the pandemic on turnout for this specific election.
In our poll poll for Granthshala News, nearly a quarter of respondents said they were concerned about the health risks of voting in person on Election Day. That’s why there was an 18 percent increase in advance voting and a large increase in mail-in voting to avoid busy polling stations on September 20.
But the availability of advance voting and mail-in ballots was not enough to maintain previous participation rates. So instead of declaring our democracy to be in jeopardy, why don’t we wait for elections to be held when the pandemic is under control?
I expect participation rates for the 2019 election to return to the level they were at.
no purple wave
One theory that got some drama in this election was that the Canadian counterpart Donald Trump was missing voting on voters who had planned to vote for the People’s Party – who either refused to answer the polls or lost their true vote. lied about the intentions when they answered.
The incident undermined Trump’s support in both the 2016 and 202 elections. But this was not the case with PPC.
One of my favorite quotes is from an English botanist named Thomas Huxley. It is framed and sits on my bookcase.
“The great tragedy of science – the killing of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact,” said Huxley.
In this case, the facts show that there were very few shy PPC voters who didn’t talk or lie to pollsters. In our last poll, PPC is at four…