Today some explosive testimony was given at committee by Jody Wilson-Reyboud. This comes on the heels of Gerald Butt’s resignation. While too early to say the full fallout, I cannot see it as being good for the Liberals. Will it be fatal or not, tough to say. I am glad Gerald Butts is gone as he was a disaster in Ontario with the green energy debacle and seems to like to play wedge issues albeit coming from the left side of the spectrum rather than focus on moderate practical solutions that can unite rather than divide people. As for the Liberals from here, I am not yet asking for Justin Trudeau’s resignation, but I do think people like Chrystia Freeland and Marc Garneau should at least mentally prepare for this possibility so they can step in if it does come to this. Also a word of advice for my Liberal friends, after being beaten over adscam and the risk of a repeat with lavscam, maybe you should be more careful in Quebec where there is a long history of political graft and corruption. If you want to win Quebec, focus on the long term in terms of making life better for ordinary Quebecers and in return they will reward your party. Cutting shady deals with large firms is just going to backfire in the long term.
The by-elections had a little bit of something for every party to cheer about and a little bit to be disappointed about.
Liberals: gained Outremont which was a Liberal stronghold prior to 2007, but saw share of the popular vote fall by 7-8% in Burnaby South and York-Simcoe thus if this plays out in a general election, could cost them several close seats in the Lower Mainland suburbs and 905 belt.
Tories: Won the safe Tory riding of York-Simcoe by an enhanced margin while PPC flopped there and Outremont so bodes well in 905 and also suggests vote splits on the right may not be an issue which the Tories can ill afford. Saw share of popular vote fall in Burnaby South and Outremont while PPC got double digits in Burnaby South so risk if PPC can find well known candidates, it could cost Tories some close races.
NDP: Leader finally has a seat in the House of Commons and also won Burnaby South which was a very close race in 2015 by a decent margin so after nothing but bad news, finally the first good news. Lost Outremont thus suggesting their troubles in Quebec where they have 16 seats now will make holding the 44 total seats they have a challenge, although they still got 26% there meaning they may have a chance at holding onto a few seats in Quebec.
Green Party: Got an impressive 13% in Outremont so shows strong candidates have the potential to do well. Got under 3% in York-Simcoe so suggests there is no widespread Green support, it is more localized.
PPC: Got almost 11% in Burnaby South so suggests with the right candidate they might not be able to win any seats, but can cost the Tories several which will force the Tories rightward as they want. But got under 2% in the conservative riding of York-Simcoe and did even worse than the centrist Progressive Canadian party so if that is all they can get there, suggests they are a non-entity except in a few localized cases.
John Kasich and Moderate Conservatism
John Kasich recently came to UBC to give an hour and half speech and it was well attended. While I didn’t agree with everything, I very much agreed with most of what he said and it would be nice if the GOP and Conservatives here in Canada had more people like him. His talk about grassroots democracy and bottom up as well as bipartisanship and opposition to gerrymandering were bang on. I also found his comments on climate change quite intriguing and he even stated he supported a carbon tax and/or cap and trade (are you listening Doug Ford, Andrew Scheer, and Jason Kenney, here is another Republican along with James Baker, Jeff Flake and others who supports a revenue neutral carbon tax). On gun control he also favoured new laws such as banning bump stocks and red flag laws so this shows one can be a conservative and still favour tougher gun laws where it makes sense. Off course I doubt his stance on gun control is as stringent as mine, but the US has the 2nd amendment and a different gun culture than Canada so its probably not realistic for them to have the kind of gun laws I favour in Canada. But it does show one can be a conservative and not blindly oppose all new gun laws if they make sense. Health care I somewhat disagreed although as much I support a single payer system in Canada (I am fine with a small private system so long as it doesn’t undermine the public one), I don’t think a single payer one is feasible in the US now with their $21 trillion debt. But I do think the Dutch or Swiss health systems are ones that are doable in the US and would simply build upon Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid which already exist rather than starting from scratch. I think the market can work in health care in a limited way, but it needs to be greatly restricted as opposed to embraced. Still it was good to hear from a more sensible conservative and hopefully in the age of Trump and rise of right wing populism, we can see ones like him still play a role in conservative politics in North America as agree or disagree, a strong democracy requires both a moderate right and moderate left wing and working together where there is common ground instead of just blindly opposing your opponent gets more done. I should note that had I lived in the US during the 2016 primaries I would have registered as a Republican and voted for him since of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump, I felt he had the best platform, while Clinton would have been my second choice and Trump my last, while I would have put Rubio behind Clinton but ahead of Sanders while both Trump and Cruz behind both Sanders and Clinton. So this shows should look at the candidate and their policies not which party label they run under.