Note from the Editorial Board: This election cycle we decided to do something different. We compiled some of the key stories that have developed on and after election night. Monday night was dramatic, and the events that followed offered a look into the future of national unity in Canada, among other things. With the federal election finally coming to an end, here’s a few things we had our eye on this election cycle:
Less than 24 hours after the results came in and #Wexit is trending on Twitter, yikes. Matter of fact, #Wexit, #WexitAlberta, and #WexitSaskatchewan have been trending all day on Tuesday October 22nd, just one day after the federal election. Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, and Jason Kenney of Alberta, have both sent Trudeau letters demonstrating their frustration with Ottawa and the deep-rooted anxiety the provinces have felt as a result of not being able to adequately develop their energy. Western Canada has been singing this song for quite a while now, and with the Conservatives winning 14/14 seats in Saskatchewan, and 33/34 in Alberta, it’s no wonder why. The typical cast on Twitter, led by Brett Wilson, have sent a strong message that Western Canada’s patience may no longer be in abundance
“On veut un pays!” – we want a country. Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves Francois-Blanchet, was met with a very separatist crowd as he gave his speech ending a successful night which saw the Bloc picking up a total of 32 seats. Blanchet’s tone was consistent with his sovereigntist views. “The Bloc will also be a party one can talk to, unless were talking about putting more oil across Quebec”. His entire acceptance speech sought to undermine Canadian confederation, stating that it’s not his mission or mandate to advocate for confederation. With the regionalist divides in this country ever-growing, Blanchet’s speech provided no support in healing a divided nation.
The Conservative Problem:
The Conservatives were subpar at best on Monday night. Finishing the night with a modest 121 seats and winning the popular vote by around 250,000 votes (compared to the Liberal share). This begs the question, what’s next for Canada’s Conservatives? It’s pretty clear that the Liberal strategy of equating Doug Ford to Andrew Scheer in Ontario worked, seeing the tories only winning 36 seats in comparison to the Liberals 79 seats. Not only did they perform poorly in Ontario, but they also lost Conservative powerhouse and party thought leader Lisa Raitt in her Milton riding. Something has got to give next time around for the Conservatives, that is if they want to avoid humiliation in Ontario again. The Conservatives will look back and reflect on the fact that the balance of power in this country is overwhelmingly left-wing. 217/338 seats in the house of commons belong to explicitly left-wing parties: Liberals, Bloc, NDP, and Greens.
Is it finally time the Conservatives look for another leader? Jason Kenney? Peter MacKay? What’s clear is that being socially conservative in Canada is a non-starter. Andrew Scheer distinctly separated himself by not attending any pride parades, being personally opposed to same-sex marriage, and being pro-life. This could be the last election we see a socially conservative leader of a federal party, because last night was a clear rebuke of him and his leadership. Although she lost her seat on Monday night, the future of the Conservative party could be in “small c” Conservatives like Lisa Raitt.
A Liberal Success Story:
Eric Grenier said it best, Liberals lost support from coast to coast, except in the most decisive battlegrounds of Quebec and Ontario. It’s now clear why the Liberals didn’t pursue electoral reform in the last four years – it certainly wouldn’t work in their favour. Leading up to the election, the Liberals positioned themselves as the only real progressive option that stands a chance at getting elected. The latter half of that statement is the operative part, they went back to the old Liberal/Conservative ways of pushing for strategic voting. They wrote the NDP and Green’s off as unrealistic options that stand no chance of actually getting elected, in doing so they managed to come out of Monday night with 157 seats compared to the NDP’s 24 and Green’s 3 seats respectively. The Liberals started the night strong holding on to 26/32 seats in Atlantic Canada, considering they could only possibly lose seats in Atlantic Canada, 6 seats seem a modest and manageable loss. Gerald Butts, among others, have pointed out on social media that it might be near impossible to win federally in Canada without a serious environmental policy, taking a subtle dig at the Conservatives (he may be right).
Congratulations to Eric Melillo for being elected the youngest ever Conservative MP for the riding of Kenora (born 1998). Also, congratulations to Jody Wilson-Raybould for being re-elected as an Independent, it wasn’t so great a night for fellow Independent Jane Philpott. We can’t end things off without at least mentioning Lisa Raitt and Ralph Goodale, they both had extraordinary political careers for the books. And finally, one of the most captivating stories of the night, Maxime Bernier losing his seat in Beauce. As Dalhousie Professor Howard Ramos puts it, alt-right politics in Canada have failed once again.