It seems that Canadians are not a happy lot. They are unhappy with their political parties and their leaders. The October 21st federal election reflects this intense dissatisfaction. Nobody really won the election.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau acquired 157 seats, down from 184 seats in the 2015 election. The Conservative Party under Andrew Scheer captured 121 seats, up from 99 in the last election, winning the popular vote, but not sufficient seats to form a government. The much lauded NDP, which, according to pollsters, supposedly gained momentum during the latter part of the 40 day election campaign, took only 24 seats, down from 44 seats it held in 2015. Quebec’s Bloc Quebecois took 32 seats up from 10 in the previous federal election. The Green Party acquired 3 seats in this new Parliament, which was an increase of one seat.
Justin Trudeau, the least knowledgeable and perhaps most incompetent leader, must now deal with this mess, for which he is largely responsible. His legacy is a highly polarized nation that consists of mutually hostile regions, such as Quebec and Alberta. None of the minority parties, upon which Trudeau must rely to get legislation passed, supports a national pipeline, which would triple the flow of Alberta’s oil sands crude to the British Columbia coast. The minority parties have also pledged to tackle climate change, at the expense of developing Alberta’s oil sands, which is home to the world’s 3rd largest crude reserves and accounts for 11% of Canada’s GDP. This has now created an intractable problem.
Western Canadians strongly believe that this election confirms that they have been ignored by the elites in Eastern Canada and the Atlantic Provinces. This notion will inevitably lead to greater support in the West for Wexit (a term that combines Western Canada with exit from the rest of Canada). The eastern elites may have experienced relief when Max Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada was defeated at the polls, including the loss of Bernier’s own Quebec seat, believing that populism is now dead in Canada. They are wrong. We will soon see the rise of populism in the West.
Trudeau’s preference for “identity” politics, pursuant to which special interest groups have been provided social and economic entitlements and privileges, has been destructive and is fracturing society. Can we all not just be Canadians, regardless of our skin colour or religious beliefs?
Will our indigenous brothers and sisters ever acquire clean water on their reserves, proper housing, or the elimination of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows Reserve, under such a disunited Parliament? Will we ever find out where the billions of dollars given to correct such problems have gone? It seems that it has been thrown into a bottomless well with no benefits going to the indigenous people.
In 2019 Trudeau had a deficit of $27 billion. With pressure from the socialist NDP to create grandiose programs, and also pressure from the delusional Green Party, demanding impractical policies to achieve climate change, one can only shudder that Canada’s economy is in the hands of Trudeau’s minority Parliament.
Will Canadian foreign policy cease to make us a laughing stock internationally with Trudeau’s insistence that “progressive” policies be included in treaties, even if they don’t relate to the negotiated issues, thus offending the other parties to the treaties?
The Future of a Minority Parliament
Instead of creating a formal coalition in which minority parties will demand a direct say, which would result in restricting Trudeau’s plans, he will probably find the votes he needs to pass legislation on a case by case basis from whichever minority party gives him the necessary votes.
One thing we know for certain from the complications created by this federal election is that this minority Liberal government will not last long.
Historically, minority governments in Canada have lasted approximately 1 1/2 years. The only exception was the coalition put together by Conservative leader Sir Robert Borden in 1917 during WW1, and which only held together for 3 years, in desperation to manage the vast complications of the war.
The extraordinary problems in managing a minority government, which has now occurred, requires a leader with expert skills, knowledge and an understanding of Parliament. Even supporters of Trudeau are obliged to acknowledge that this description does not apply to him.
Whither Canada? It is in a dark place.