SAINT-SOUVEUR, Quebec – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have just sent a clear and clear message: “We do not believe what was hidden behind the background of conservative leader Erin O’Toole”.
All of Canada has reiterated a message sent loud and clear to Justin Trudeau two years ago: “We don’t trust you with the majority”.
Jagmeet Singh improved the performance of the NDP and not only would he live to fight another day, he would be instrumental in propelling Trudeau’s minority liberals. What he receives in return will determine how his members view this new marriage of convenience.
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In the heat of heat domes and uncontrolled wildfires, the ill-fated Green Party, instead of collapsing, saw its leader “lost his deposit” by voting under the required 10% in Toronto Center. Elizabeth May contemplates returning as party leader, eliminating any hope of renewal.
Block Québécois’ Yves-François Blanchett salvaged furniture. A misguided question from a “moderator” in the English debate was giving her much-needed oxygen. Trudeau performed admirably in the La Belle province under the circumstances, joining many in his heartfelt rant against Blanchett, whom he warned against claiming to be the only Quebecer in Ottawa.
Legault’s claim of being able to ask Quebecers not to vote for the Liberals became a lesson in humility for him. Now good luck with the conversation with Trudeau.
In an exchange with a former cabinet minister at Harper’s in the early hours after the election results came out, I simply asked: “What happens to O’Toole?”.
The answer was short: “no good”.
I know Erin O’Toole. I have had the opportunity to travel with him and learn a little bit about the person. he is a good person. His resolve to bring his party’s ideological right at the center was heartfelt.
O’Toole, in his early-morning speech, has 18 months on the horizon (no time to dump your leader, eh!?) to scare his soldiers about the election…
I’m not sure it’s going to work any better for him than Andrew Scheer, who used the same logic to try to hold on to his job after his defeat.
O’Toole had ignored his party’s pretense on climate and tried to manipulate his way on complex issues like gun control. As his reward, O’Toole sees many “true blue” Conservatives head to Maxim Bernier’s Looney Tunes Fringe.
When he pulled a full sheer and went into hiding while avoiding keynote interviews and refused to answer on his former support for Jason Kenny’s disastrous pandemic plan, the writing was on the wall. O’Toole won the first four weeks of the campaign, but could not find a way through the last one.
The NDP was firm on its base that it would pay salaries to the rich. As the campaign ended, Singh clarified that he was actually auditioning for the role of “Parliament’s conscience”. Bought a pipeline and broke his key promise on democratic reform.
The “don’t split the vote” argument saved the day for Trudeau and allowed him to snatch enough NDP votes in Canada’s largest cities to shut down the Conservatives. There will be a price they have to pay and it won’t be cheap. Trudeau will have to resolve to work with the NDP which will come with a long list of demands to stop supporting him.
Trudeau has to be wary of his own deep-seated reflection to try to steer things into areas of pure provincial jurisdiction. During the campaign, he was busy setting salaries for the orderlies and appointing doctors for the provinces! It’s not just with Premiere.
Singh goes even further and wants provinces to direct the ownership structure of daycare and long-term care systems. If the goal is to really have these systems, then conceptual preferences should be second. In Quebec, the only province with a full affordable childcare system, private centers were included from the start and this allowed the whole thing to be held fast and efficiently. It still works a generation later.
There’s no point in arguing about the color of the carpet in your new home when you haven’t bought the house yet, but it’s the type of fight for ideological purity that the NDP enjoys, which has never been in federal power yet. Has not been. There are going to be many heart to heart discussions between Singh and Trudeau.
“Vox Populi Vox Dei” … the voice of the people is the voice of God. This may sound a bit ludicrous today, but people have spoken again and sent Trudeau back on the job with a stern warning: Keep your promises and accept that you have to work with others. .
We will soon see if he got the message or not.
Tom Mulcair was the former leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada between 2012 and 2017.