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Having watched the election results roll in late into the night, I am sad to have to report that, ultimately I am left disappointed, but not surprised.
In the end, the results are practically identical to that of the 2019 election, something many of us political junkies silently predicted, but hoped wouldn’t come true.
While I certainly wouldn’t have been happy to see a Liberal majority or any type of conservative government for that matter, at the very least such a result would have warranted the election call. Now, we are stuck at the same supposed stalemate that existed prior to the election.
Obviously, the blame for this falls on none other than Justin Trudeau, the election mastermind himself. While I understand (and frankly, predicted) the fall election call to try and capitalize on the federal government’s strong pandemic response, ultimately, the early call left a nastier taste in people’s mouths than they, and many others (myself included) had predicted.
All in all though, I figure Trudeau easily survives this post-election period. The party base still loves him, and the fact that he didn’t lose any ground should keep him in their good graces. While it’s clear by the results that a majority is out of his reach (save for an unforeseen miracle in the next couple of years) the party is clearly still blinded enough by his star power to keep him where he’s at for the next little while.
On the other hand, I think all of the other leaders (save for Jagmeet Singh) are probably on the chopping block.
The most likely in my mind is Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party, who has overseen their slaughter in this election. The party lost well over half of their national vote share, lost two of their seats and Paul came fourth in her riding of Toronto Centre (where she spent the majority of the campaign). There really is no upside for the Green party coming out of 2021, save for their pickup in Ontario with Kitchener South, one that was slightly expected but also, certainly by some metrics, a bit of an upset. Paul’s days (or hours) are certainly numbered as leader.
Yves François-Blanchet certainly has some questions to answer as well, though maybe less pressing ones as Paul. While he began the campaign looking like he would lose the Bloc some seats, his fortunes changed after French Quebecers took a liking to his incessant whining during the English language debate for whatever reason. Since then, his party’s fortunes looked bright, but of course, being the loudmouth that he is, François-Blanchet had to put his pied dans sa bouche and say he hopes to secure 40 seats in Quebec. It looks like they may walk away with the same number of seats they came into this thing with which, for the Bloc, isn’t anything to shake a stick at, but should at least put him on resignation watch.
Then, there is the man of the hour, Erin O’Toole. While I certainly doubted his ability to perform for the Tories in the beginning, he did genuinely impress me during the campaign. If anyone had the ability to make it happen, I thought it would be him. Boy, was I mistaken.
Indeed, O’Toole is in serious risk of losing his job, and quickly. Having not made the suburban gains he promised the Conservative base by shifting to the centre, while also losing significant ground to the extreme right-wing People’s Party of Canada, O’Toole is left floundering in the middle, without the constituency that was all but handed to him given the extreme distaste for Trudeau and the early election call.
He ought to face review, if not massive internal pressure to resign in the near future, possibly even this week. I don’t see how there can be a path forward for him in this party that, seemingly, is desperately going to be looking to pivot to the right.
Speaking of the right, Maxime Bernier and his freak show, roadside attraction of a party did not ultimately deliver in electing their first ever Member of Parliament. It’s not necessarily a shock, but funnily enough, it’s clear from results that they certainly were responsible for costing O’Toole a good number of seats across the country.
Bernier, being the cult of personality that he is, certainly won’t be going anywhere, but I don’t expect that his party will be either (especially with the pandemic *hopefully* reaching a conclusion before the next election). The party of anti-masks and anti-vaccine passports likely will never reach this national vote share ever again, especially with the inevitable rightward pivot we’re about to see from the Conservatives.
Oh right, I almost forgot about the NDP (though could you necessarily blame me?). All jokes aside, as a New Democrat I am proud of the positive campaign that Singh and company ran this time around. However, as the results bear out, 2021 was not the time for a positive campaign, and so while they made modest gains, ultimately, they didn’t really move the needle that much. I say Singh gets to keep his job though, but who knows, the party has turned their noses at better election results before.
All in all, the 2021 election was a ho hum affair. Virtually nothing changed compared to the results we got in 2019, and so things will ultimately go back to the two-year election waiting game in short order. Am I happy that we maintained a minority government? As an avid support of electoral reform, yes, absolutely. However, with the dynamics left basically how they were following 2019, all I’m left asking is: what was the point?