We laughed, we cried, we drank, we survived

What Just Happened? | by Stephen Whitworth

Good news: Canada didn’t become a total Conservative hellhole again. On Monday, Oct. 21, Canadians elected a Liberal minority government, likely saving the country’s carbon tax and keeping the door open for additional sane, progressive legislation that benefits Canadians. National Pharmacare? It could actually happen now.

Man, was it close, though.

After four years in office marked by baffling, often offensive and usually unforced errors by a Prime Minister who too often appeared “Just Not Ready” for his job, the Conservatives, under Saskatchewan insurance office gopher Andrew Scheer, looked poised to return to government.

That’s a terrifying thought, given this is largely the same Stephen Harper wrecking crew that spent its decade in power serving the wealthy, demonizing the vulnerable, shitting on journalists and generally making Canada awful.

For those with short memories, the Harper government’s anti-environment, pro-oil, pro-wealth, anti-social ideology put them at odds with scientists, conservationists, social justice advocates, lawyers, professors, artists, writers, trade unionists, Indigenous people, the LGBTQ community and pretty much anyone daring to say anything other than “yes sir, thank you sir” to ol’ Helmet Head’s crummy, scummy, mean-spirited decrees.

It was a crap era. No repeat wanted.

We almost got one.

Between Trudeau pooping his pants every second week, a well-funded and effective Conservative propaganda machine that appealed to Canadians’ worst qualities and a vote split between four (!!!!) anti-Conservative political parties opposing but one united conservative party (and I guess Maxime Berner’s dumb, racist scout troop, fine), it almost happened.

Fortunately, it didn’t.

Ontario premier Doug Ford has been so unpleasant, even by modern Conservative standards, that Captain Aladdin’s Liberals were able to win enough seats in that province to keep them in government. Add to that a Conservative leader whose surprising clown-shoed missteps may have given voters pause. Andrew Scheer deserves “thank-you” cards from anyone who despises modern, populist conservatism. What kind of a politician brags about being an insurance broker when he wasn’t? If he’s going to misrepresent who he really is, wouldn’t it be better to lie about his anti-abortion beliefs or refusal to go to Pride parades?

The election wasn’t without pain. Saskatchewan voted 67 per cent Conservative, an ugly result that means our province has zero representation in government. It also confirms that Saskatchewan’s Liberal, NDP and Green supporters are trapped together in a hostage situation. Or maybe it’s more like a prisoner of war camp.

Hey, if we’re trapped here, at least we’re Hogan’s Heroes and not Col. Klink’s klutzes, right? Not so bad.

The Conservative sweep also cost us the voice of one of Canada’s best Parliamentarians: Ralph Goodale, who went down to a no-name anti-choice Conservative. Many voters in Goodale’s Wascana riding likely woke up Tuesday morning sickened by the result. Probably some of the people feeling most nauseous were those who got voted for Michael Kram.

The loss of Saskatoon West MP Sheri Benson will also be mourned.

There’s a lot left to say and write about our new government. What can it accomplish? How long can it last? How utterly miserable and vile will the Conservative Opposition be? How quickly can 150,000 people move away from Saskatchewan?

It’ll be an interesting four years. Or maybe two. Whatever. We look forward to covering it.

I think.