A Depressing election

To say this has been one of the most depressing elections ever is putting it mildly.  No one seems to have a bold vision or those that do have a very unrealistic one and its more about cheap vote buying and mud slinging attacks.  This is unfortunate and I must say I do not feel very optimistic about the near future.  It is my sincere hope that the next Liberal or Tory leader does better.  Liberals in past used to be the party with big ideas and thinking long term and while I may have not always agreed with them, I think we would be better served if we returned to this.  Likewise many past Conservative leaders be it Brian Mulroney, BC Liberal leader Gordon Campbell (BC Liberals are more conservative than liberal), and Mike Harris all had bold long term plans.  In the case of the latter, probably a little too right wing for Canada today but nonetheless we need more debate on the challenges we face and how to tackle them, not cheap vote buying.

Canada has a lot of challenges we face in the next four years and decade and I worry no one wants to talk about them due to risk of alienating some voters.  We have a rapidly aging population and by 2030, 25% of Canadians will be over 65 which will mean a smaller labour force and more costly health care.  That is not to say seniors due to experience cannot have a major role to play in moving Canada forward, they can, but no one wants to talk about this.  Ironically all the way back in 2006 in the Liberal platform they were discussing this, but unfortunately today we seem to be sleep walking into this.  Japan has similar demographics and 1% growth a year so we need to learn from mistakes elsewhere and best practices.  Our productivity is stubbornly low yet no one wants to talk about how to improve that and make us more competitive globally.  Likewise on national unity, things are getting worse.  With BQ rise and a nationalist but not separatist premier in Quebec; Quebec nationalism is on the rise although threat of separation is minimal.  Even worse alienation in Alberta and Saskatchewan is near boiling point and whomever wins on Monday is going to have to deal with this.  Likewise on climate change, no one really has great plans.  Its either go big, but this will reduce people’s standards of living and when you push too far as we saw in France with Yellow Vest protests, there is a public backlash and nothing gets done.  But do nothing like many conservatives want and we don’t do our part.  Likewise on foreign affairs, an unpredictable president, Brexit, China becoming more assertive and many other things means we need experienced leaders who understand the challenges and can deal with them.  So far we are clearly lacking this.

Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau are probably two of the most inexperienced leaders we have ever had.  Trudeau won on his famous last name and while all first term governments make some rookie mistakes, the number he has made is staggering and shows he is not ready to govern.  But Scheer has a very weak resume and is not the leader we need to move Canada forward.  I always vote thus I will cast my vote on Monday, but let me say flat out, I think all choices suck and there are none I feel happy about.  I joined the Conservative party back in 2017 and supported Michael Chong as my first choice, Lisa Raitt second (she might even lose her seat, that is how bad things are), and Erin O’Toole third.  Scheer was my seventh choice while Bernier was my eighth.  Since then I have let my membership lapse, have not donated a single cent to the party, nor have I assisted in any way during the campaign.  Nonetheless I still will probably vote Conservative as since there are no good choices, it is about who will be the least damaging.  The Tories at least won’t spent like crazy so if any unexpected events happen, we will have the money available to deal with it so unless some bomb shell emerges in next 48 hours, I will probably vote that way, but with my nose plugged and hope no matter what happens, one or both of the two main parties change leaders.  If Scheer loses, I may rejoin for the sole purpose of voting to have him removed at next leadership review.  Otherwise if he doesn’t win most seats, he needs to resign as leader or I will do my part to see he is pushed out.  With Trudeau it is pretty obvious he will go if he loses, but if he wins and it is either a majority or a coalition or supply and confidence, he needs to find a way to exit sometime in 2022 so the Liberals can get a new leader and fresh blood.

As for predictions, when I post my final thoughts tomorrow I will give that, but right now looking at polls, leadership tours and demeanour of the leaders, I feel pretty confident the Liberals will win the most seats.  Most likely a minority, but a majority is possible if there are strong late breaks.  Tories have negative momentum so while an energized base and poor turnout may help, there would have to be a massive polling error similar to BC 2013 for them to win a majority, although a plurality of seats is possible but not most likely outcome.  Contrary to what Scheer states, I believe in such case, Liberals have the right to test the confidence and Scheer only gets to become PM if either Trudeau resigns or loses a vote of confidence.  Fact that 2/3 of Canadians want left wing parties means as much as many of us on right may dislike this, we are losing on ideas.  Good news is that can change, but we need to adjust and better sell conservative ideas before taking power.  7 out of 10 provinces have small c conservative governments, in all provinces the centre-right vote exceeded 35% provincially (it will likely only do this in the three Prairie provinces on Monday) and was above 40% in 7 out of 10 (again likely only Prairie ones as well here and maybe only Saskatchewan and Alberta), but only over 50% in Saskatchewan and Alberta which are the two provinces I expect the Tories to top 50% in.  As such party needs to focus on those voting centre-right provincially but centre-left federally and find ways to better connect with them.  So there is a path long term for Tories to win a majority (If federal ridings voted the same way they did provincially, there would be a Tory majority and note I include CAQ and BC Liberal votes going Tory even though a bit of a stretch especially in former), but so far under Scheer the party has been unable to expand beyond its base.

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