Results of the 44th General Election

Wasteful Pandemic Election Solves No Problem Whatsoever

Confirming the majority consensus of the people of Canada, the $610 million 44th federal election was an expensive waste of time that changed nothing. The Liberal government called the election during the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far killed 28,000 Canadians (after promising not to), hoping to change their minority government into a majority. But their campaign backfired. The representation of the different parties in Parliament remains essentially the same following the election and many are angry that the election was held.

There are 338 seats in Parliament. Prior to the election the Liberals occupied 155 seats, Conservatives 119, Bloc Québécois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 2, and Independents 5, with one seat vacant. Results of the 2021 election as of October 8, with recounts still underway in two ridings, reveal that the Liberals won 160 seats, Conservatives 119, Bloc Québécois 32, NDP 25, Green Party 2, and Independents 0. In other words, another minority Liberal government and a distribution of seats very similar to the previous election. One wit called the election a $610 million cabinet shuffle.

The election reinforced that democratic renewal is a critical need. The lack of democracy was shameful. For example, as has been the case for many years, an arbitrary "official" decision was enforced that treated the political parties who participated in the election as either "major" or "fringe." This meant that although 22 registered political parties ran candidates in the election, only five were invited to take part in "official" debates and forums organized by the "Leaders' Debate Commission" that Trudeau created in 2018. The other 17 small parties were ignored or belittled. All this goes totally against the notion of an informed public participating in a fair election.

The 44th general election also continued the "first-past-the-post" election system where voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice, and the candidate receiving the most votes wins the seat. But the percentage of the popular vote that any Party gets is not reflected in the percentage of seats it gets. In addition, those who do not support the winning candidate are not represented in government.

In June 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau vowed that the 2015 federal election would be the last conducted under the first-past-the-post system, implying that a new system of proportional representation (PR) would replace it. PR means that seats are allocated to parties based on the proportion of votes received, which would be an improvement. In February 2017, Trudeau walked away from his June 2015 commitment.

During the recent election, the working people were as usual treated as spectators and voting cattle. Their only role was to "pick a side." So "democracy" means that everyone makes their one vote once every few years and then exercises no control whatsoever over what the cartel parties do, say or decide.

Even the members of the cartel parties are thoroughly disenfranchised and have no say whatsoever as concerns candidate selection or decision-making. Their candidates and MPs are similarly powerless. Disinformation pervades the media. The sum total is that the people concerned have no say whatsoever over what is happening.

Some of the nonsense which the cartel party leaders have spoken "on the campaign trail" is mind-boggling. They concoct "issues" according to what their campaign handlers think will get them votes and declare the huge sums of money they will spend "fixing" things, as if the real world and real people do not exist. They launch personal attacks on opponents which accomplish nothing. Meanwhile self-appointed pundits and pollsters tell everybody what to think, both before and after the election. All this underscores once again the importance of the working people speaking in their own name to make sure things are turned around in their favour in the coming period.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney played a negative role throughout the election. His negligence in handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed it to overwhelm Alberta's health care system undermined the Conservative campaign. Support for the Conservatives in Alberta was down about 14 per cent. The Liberals regained a seat in Calgary and one in Edmonton, and the NDP won a second seat in Edmonton. It is very likely that Kenney, who literally disappeared during the campaign, will be the target of pointing fingers as the Conservatives look for someone to blame for their lack of political gains. Not only is Kenney Canada's least popular premier but the knives are out for him within his own party. 

The idea that working people have a real choice between one party and another through elections has been repeatedly debunked. Many have pointed out that since Confederation only two parties have ever formed the government and that their policies serve and are bankrolled by private corporate interests. The people want the power to solve real problems, not to just keep electing governments that pay the rich.

It is important that post-election we do not become passive but constantly affirm the right to speak in our own name, empowering ourselves at every step by taking stands which are to our advantage within the situation. This is how we can fight for our right to actively participate in making the important decisions affecting our lives.

Now that the election is over and the Liberals remain in a minority position, stepping up our own work in our own collectives such as our workplaces, educational institutions, and seniors' residences is a very good place to start turning things around.

During the phony insolvency proceedings at Stelco from 2003 to 2006, and for many years following, the workers of United Steelworkers Local 1005 in Hamilton held two-to-three-hour weekly "Thursday meetings" where they informed themselves and then discussed the issues facing them and what to do about them. That is the kind of democracy where people can speak in their own names, participate in arriving at decisions and exercise control over their implementation and the results achieved. The workers were able to stand as one and feel confident in the bold path they had chosen.

Another example of democracy worthy of the name is for citizens and residents, not political parties, to choose their candidates from among those who are already actively solving the people's problems.

In sum, our overall aim now must be to actively participate in building a new Canada that is run by the working people and their allies and serves the people's interests. It can be done. It must be done.

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 10 - October 10, 2021

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