of the 44th General Election
Wasteful Pandemic Election Solves No Problem Whatsoever
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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