Or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the election

Election 2021 | Stephen Whitworth | September 24, 2021

The ballots are mostly counted, the dust has mostly settled and Canada has its second straight Liberal minority. Team Trudeau added two MPs while the Conservatives lost a pair. Overall, the House of Commons looks much as it did before the Sept. 20 vote.

Was the whole thing a waste of time?

In a word: nope.

In more words:

It’s weird hearing Canadians complain about an opportunity to hold politicians accountable, especially in crazy Covid times when just about every part of our lives has changed including what we need and expect from government. And with new programs (national daycare!) coming online after a hostile sitting of Parliament, we should have been stoked to vote on our country’s direction for the first time in two years. It’s a shame many of us weren’t.

If someone wants to be offended about this election that’s certainly their right. But it’s a rotten way to look at it.

It might come from unrealistic expectations.

Minority federal governments — the norm in Canada’s increasingly diverse politics — aren’t built to last four or five years. Without enough seats to pass legislation on its own, a minority eventually gets ganged-up on by the other political parties and punted.* Obviously, that’s an incentive for these governments to call elections when they’re strong in the polls, like Trudeau’s Liberals were this summer.

Sadly (for him), Justin didn’t get the majority he wanted. Maybe don’t run a shitty campaign next time, dude?

But for us? We had our say.

That’s democracy. It’s something to celebrate, not denigrate. And if someone doesn’t like voting more than twice a decade they should move to Hong Kong. So there.

Mad Money

Like Paul Dechene said about conservatives when we were rage-texting earlier this week: “I’m convinced they don’t know how economies work.”

Case in point: a certain Sask. premier is pretending he’s vexed over the election’s $600 million price tag. I mean, come on. You’d think Trudeau raked an acre of bills into an autumn bonfire. Hardly. That money went to election labour, suppliers and services. No one’s arguing elections are an economic action plan but they do have economic impact. One small example: local poll workers pulled $17.72/hour from federal payrolls. That’s nothing Saskatchewan should sneeze at in this ongoing pandemic.

As for arguments that $600 mil could’ve been better spent elsewhere? No. Wrong. It doesn’t work that way. Government spending is not personal finances. It’s not sitting at kitchen tables looking at bank statements and putting cheques into different stamped envelopes. That’s how grandparents budget, not countries.

We can revisit this topic when Canadian households acquire taxation powers and print their own currency.

Self-Inflicted Alienation

On Monday, Justin Trudeau was voted back in as prime minister. On Tuesday, Premier Scott Moe indignantly squawked about how 90 per cent of Saskatchewan doesn’t want Trudeau leading Canada.

Yes, we all know Moe said it to distract from the smoldering Covid craters he’s blasted into our health care system but let’s take a closer look anyway.

It’s true Liberals only got 10 per cent (10.6%, to be precise) of the vote in this province. What’s more important — and what Scott Moe ignores — is that a full third of Sask. voters DON’T like Conservatives. Together we cast 168,710 ballots for the NDP, Liberals and Greens. But while that works out to 32.8% of the Saskatchewan vote, anti-conservatives are spread out. We didn’t elect so much as a single MP to bring our anti-conservative interests to Parliament Hill. Conservative supporters pissed the polls blue and diluted our votes.

We’re pretty fucking irked, thanks for asking.

Progressives (and even centrists) also (legitimately!) worry that our premier’s constant, unprofessional, bad-faith, gravel-flinging, anti-Liberal rhetoric is just flat-out bad for Saskatchewan. We’re concerned it will inspire the Trudeau government to ignore us, obviously problematic for a small province locked into sunset resource economies.

Premier “Sask Strong” should stop poking everyone who dislikes his dumb politics in the eye. Doesn’t he have better things to do, like, oh, dealing with the pandemic trash fire he let burn out of control?

Then again, that’s kind of a moot point. There were 528 new cases and five more deaths today. A record 276 people are in hospital with 61 (another record) in ICUs. Scott Moe is toast.

Moe will outlast Jason Kenney, sure — that Alberta turd’s getting flushed before Christmas, leadership review or not — but there is no way the Saskatchewan Party lets this bungling oaf lead them into the next election. We’re surely at the point where Sask. Party advisors are quietly drawing up comms strategies for when unvaccinated schoolchildren start dying of Covid. Only the lunkiest of lunkheads will support the premier when that horror gets rolling.

One last thing: Liberals and New Democrats together accounted for 49 per cent of votes nationally. If you add Green and Bloc Quebecois support, centre-left and left-wing political parties accounted for slightly more than 60 per cent of votes Canada-wide. It’s not Scott Moe’s 90 per cent but a strong majority of Canadians decisively reject the Erin O’Toole team.

Saskatchewan’s anti-conservatives aren’t the ones who are out of touch. Painting ourselves blue and throwing tantrums is not doing good things for this province’s reputation.

* That could be addressed with coalition governments but too many Canadians brainlessly complain those are somehow “undemocratic” so that’s out.