Well that could’ve been worse.
Election times, crisis averted, I guess we can move along. It wasn’t the outcome most of my bubble were looking for, but it was an outcome. The Cons did not get their minority government. That’s worth celebrating. Aside from that, mediocrity won on the day. I think most people have been happy enough to accept a better than bad result, but disappointment abounds once more for the NDP. I know in my riding, we had high hopes that our NDP candidate would win over the Liberal incumbent. It didn’t happen. There are a lot of early theories as to NDP’s performance, and they typically revolve around three things: Fear, money, and racism.
First the fear, that’s easy. We still operate in a FPTP system. The reigning notion in mainstream progressive circles was we have to vote Liberal to prevent a Con minority. I’m no pundit, but I’m pretty sure it’s the horse Trudeau rode to victory. It’s exactly how I would’ve voted, if I hadn’t had a bunch of discussions with friends to better understand the (admittedly limited) nuances of our parliamentary system. Our riding was between Liberal/NDP. That seat was not going to a Con, so I was free to vote with my heart. I did, and while I didn’t get the result I was hoping for, I have no regrets over doing so. I want to live in a society where we’re free to vote for the representation we want, not against the representation we fear.
Secondly, money. Singh’s popularity really rose through the leaders’ debates. He was eloquent, clever, and frequently rose above the muck and mire that marred this election cycle. I think he impressed a bunch of people who’d previously dismissed him as an option. The party was hampered financially in comparison to the other parties. The Cons, of course, had all that sweet sweet back channel International Democratic Union propping up his puppet campaign. I guess we have to be kind of thankful that Scheer was such a limp, robotic option, and was unable to inspire most anyone outside of Alberta. Trudeau also had a lot of supportive structure surrounding him. Singh less so. It was hard for them to mount a successful advertising campaign with the limited reach their finances could achieve. They did a comparatively great job on social media, courting younger voters, but it clearly wasn’t enough to leverage into solid votes.
Thirdly, racism. I’m not gonna speak to the ins and outs of this, because I have only a base knowledge. From what I do understand, NDP really struggled in Quebec. Quebec is all in on Bill c-21. It’s a secularism bill, which has become particularly contentious for its clause that would ban public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols. Jagmeet wears a turban. It’s obviously against what c-21 stands for. NDP got shut the fuck out in Quebec. They lost 15 seats in Quebec, which is a ton when they previously held 44 seats countrywide. It seems like most of those losses went to Le Bloc Québécois, a party devoted to Quebec sovereignty and nationalism. I mean, if you want an example of how an average, everyday person thinks it’s okay to act, here’s Singh talking to a Québécois after the dude tells him he should cut off his turban. Singh through and through has been a class act. It’s more than a little disappointing that didn’t translate into actionable support.
Who knows what happens from here on out. It does seem like Trudeau’s Liberals are going to have to lean on the NDP for support. Le Bloc Québécois are likely going to ignore most things that aren’t about Quebec. Fingers crossed that NDP in a position of kingmaker help actual progressive policy shine through. There’s potential here, and for the sake of the vulnerable here in Canada, I hope they tap into it.
Also Alberta, if you want to fuck off so badly with your #wexit bullshit, go ahead. See how far that gets you.