Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Random Canadian Election Thoughts, 2019 edition

Of course, the title assumes that there will not be another one this year.  I am guessing that no one wants another election anytime soon.  So, Trudeau can probably navigate being a minority government for a while.  I missed being a citizen in the last election by a few days AND I used to study the ethnic politics of elections as a side gig, so I have thoughts:
  • Lots of wonderful schadenfreude that Maxim Bernier and the People's Party of Canada lost in a big, big way.  Bernier didn't manage to win his seat, one that was easy in the old days when he was a Conservative.  Can we learn that Canadians are not as xenophobic as feared?  Um.... no.  What we learned is that just as the left has strategic voters, I am pretty sure that the xenophobes on the right decided not to waste their vote on this incompetent party.  Instead, they voted for the Conservatives, who did stuff along the way to appeal to them, and to the Bloc Quebecois, which did very well.  The latter party did far better than the Parti Quebecois has done lately in Quebec.  Pourquoi (why)?  Perhaps because in provincial elections, the xenophobes could choose the Coalition Avenir Québec or even the Liberals since all major parties pandered via how best to exclude religious minorities.  Which means the Bloc is more a party of xenophobia than of sovereignty/independence.... Just a guess.  Anyhow, the key thing here is: let's not get to smug.  There is xenophobia and white supremacy and populism in Canada--but first past the post helped to keep it out of power (except for that whole brownface thing, which didn't keep Trudeau from getting enough votes to rule again).
  • I was surprised by the performance of Jangmeet Singh and the New Democrat Party.  Sure, the Liberals made it easier on them by not going through with electoral reform (my leftie friends on facebook have been super bitter about this since this promise went un-met).  But given the aforementioned xenophobia in Quebec and QC being the base of the NDP, I didn't think the NDP would be able to gain so much elsewhere .  I was right about the former--not a single orange seat in Quebec (I am sorry to see former McGill undergrad Matthew Dubé lose his seat, but lifetime pension for two terms is not bad compensation).  So, the NDP lost bigly but not as bad as I had expected.
  • The Bloc is back.  Lovely.  Ewwwwww.  Not a fan.  Again, I don't think this means separatism is on the rise.  It will be interesting to see how Trudeau manages this--how do you get Bloc support (or at least Bloc lack of opposition) without selling out too much?  
  • Scheer was not ready apparently.  Trudeau was determined to hand over the election--absolutely flailing over support for a corrupt Quebec company (see my fear of pandering), firing two female cabinet ministers including one who managed to keep her seat.  Nice comeuppance there.  Anyhow, back to the CPC, the base strategy failed.  The next CPC leader will be more charismatic than Scheer and might try to get some disaffected Liberal voters.  We shall see, but the lesson the CPC could learn (despite my quibbles above) is that they probably lost more seats to the Liberals than the PPC cost them.  So, go middle rather than go right?
  • The winner?  Maybe those concerned with climate change.  Already the premier of New Brunswick has read the majority support for parties that are concerned with climate change.... but then again, Trudeauis going ahead with pipelines, so who knows.
  • Another winner? Me.  Voting took a minute, was simple, and entirely lacking in electronics.  
  • Also: fans of legislative oversight.  With the opposition in control of parliamentary committees, these bodies will not be used to protect the government.  See the Phil and Steve paper.
  • Also: Phil Lagassé who not only can stop correcting people about getting election stuff wrong, but can talk about PM's laundering responsibility through parliament.  
  • One more: the Canadian Armed Forces.  Because this government does not really care about deficits, and because they will not want to produce too much upset, I expect most of the stuff from the Defence Policy Review, aka Strong, Secure, Engaged, will continue to flow.  This is, of course, a bit of self-interest since it means more money for research on defence stuff.  Woot! 
Oh and one update:   Ben Forrest, McGill geographer and friend, whipped up this figure to illustrate the fact that the Liberals got more votes than the Conservatives despite losing the popular vote.  This is not unlike the US outcome in some ways, but the big difference for mandate/legitimacy purposes is that Trudeau could identify things that got 2/3's of the vote--Liberal + NDP + Green--such as climate change policy.  Last night, Phil Lagassé yelled into the twitterverse that there should be no discussion of a mandate for the Liberals.... but there is a mandate for center-left policies if the Liberals are brave enough to embrace some of them.

I am glad the Liberals got punished for the SNC-Lavalin disaster.  Since Liberal governments fall because of corruption and smug abuse of power, how about don't?  I am glad they won because, well, I am not a fan of the Conservatives especially given Scheer's dancing with Faith Goldy, with Rebel Media, and their icky ilk.

And, yes, I still have 3.5 more hours at Dulles Airport.  So, there you have my reactions.

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