I have cast my vote in this federal election. I imagine most people who read this column have as well and those that have not, know who they are going to vote for. So, this article is not about getting out to vote or about who one should vote for. Rather, it is about the campaign itself and what the consequences may be from probably one of the most bitter, acrimonious and hypocritical election contests in Canada’s history. There are no real winners here.
When the writ was dropped almost six weeks ago, my prediction was for a Liberal minority government. In spite of all of the twists and turns since then, I stand by that prediction, even though I am not happy about it. It is pretty clear that no political party is going to get a majority on its own and when the dust settles, my guess is that the Liberal Party will marginally get the most seats.
That being the case, there has been much talk about a coalition government, for only the second time in our history, the first of which was during wartime. The Liberals and the New Democrats would have to win a combined total of 170 seats in order to have a majority and if that were to end in a coalition government, it would not be good for Canadians. Frankly if those turn out to be the only two choices, I would prefer a Liberal majority government.
Both the Liberals and the NDP believe in more government and more spending. Neither are particularly worried about deficits or debt. Combining the two parties and their base-line platforms will inevitably and dramatically, increase both.
Perhaps we can live with that for now. But the day will certainly come when we face another economic turndown and very likely a recession. Uncontrolled debt, at the level we are currently experiencing, never mind the next four years, will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to recover, as inflation and interest rates skyrocket and the housing market crashes. We will be in deep doo doo, long before climate change does away with us. It is a shame that most people do not appear to think about that.
There has also been speculation about what would happen if Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives were to squeak out the most seats. Would they be allowed to govern? Much of the main-stream media, left wing outlets like the Toronto Star and the CBC, are scared skinny about that. There are a number of articles rationalizing why Trudeau should remain in power, if he does not win the most seats. But not quite so fast.
In the likely event of a minority result on Monday night and if there are enough seats in a combined package, I will not be surprised if Mr. Trudeau calls upon his close friend and his predecessor as leader of the National Liberal Party, Bob Rae, to broker a deal with the NDP.
Remember Bob Rae? He also eventually became Premier of Ontario when he was leader of the provincial NDP, by cutting a deal to support a government headed by Liberal David Peterson, even though the Liberals finished second to Frank Miller’s Conservatives in 1985.
There was one catch though. The Rae/Peterson Accord did not result in their immediate rise to power. Frank Miller, having won the most seats in the 1985 Provincial election was, based on expert constitutional advice, entitled to form a government and meet the Legislature. If Andrew Scheer manages to win the most seats on Monday, he, in my view, will have the same right to meet Parliament. He may well get defeated very early in his term, but that too, is part of our democratic process.
But let’s face it. Whatever the results on Monday night, this has been a shitty election campaign and the outcome, almost whatever it is, will very likely result in political instability for quite some time. There have been a number of low points since the election writ was dropped. Here are just a few.
The worst for me, strangely enough, came recently, not from Mr. Trudeau, but from Mr. Singh. The NDP leader was plain about having no respect for people who happened to be Conservatives. I have many friends who are not Conservative and when it comes to politics, we often have trouble agreeing on almost anything. But, in all my years I have never encountered a visible lack of respect among reasonable people, for honest beliefs.
There is a big difference between lacking agreement on policy and showing contempt and disrespect to a huge percentage of Canadians. That is simply not our way. Mr. Singh has since apologized for what he said, but unless he was lying when he said it, it does not change how he feels. And he wants to be part of a national government? Shame.
I am also very concerned about Canadian Unity and believe that the results Monday night will not resolve serious issues in this regard. Quebec nationalism is once again on the rise, and western provinces, especially Alberta, feel alienated from the rest of Canada. Combined, this is a recipe for disaster, and it has been expedited by an acrimonious election campaign that has done nothing to address the serious and hugely important issues of Canadian unity. With an unstable national government, or with a government that isolates part of the country, this can only get worse.
Finally, there is the small matter of former U.S. President Barrack Obama endorsing Justin Trudeau during our election campaign. I was a fan of President Obama, but not so much anymore. It is plain and simple interference by an influential foreigner in our election process, something Mr. Trudeau has said time and time again, is not acceptable … except this time!
Hypocrisy at its best!
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