Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an election campaign stop in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Sabrina Almeida

Justin Trudeau is back in Ottawa with another minority government. At the time of writing this column, the Liberals have gained just two more seats (157 + 1 independent) than the 2019 election (155). Not the majority (170) the Liberal party leader was confident he’d secure.

So, after a 36-day government shut down, we’re back at square one! What a waste of time, effort and above all, millions of dollars that we don’t really have.

Can Canadians forgive Trudeau for racking up a humongous bill of $610 million amidst a pandemic that has torn our health care system and economy to shreds? Let’s just say he will have to work extremely hard to get back into our good books.

In his acceptance (I don’t see it as a victory) speech on Tuesday, Trudeau promised to have our backs during the pandemic and beyond, but experience has taught us otherwise. This pandemic election was about securing his back not saving ours and he’d be wise to realize that Monday’s outcome was not really a win for him and his party.

Canadians have put him back in the prime minister’s seat but with the checks and balances that they thought was necessary. He’s been put on notice! We’re watching you closely Mr. Trudeau!!!

Trudeau called it a “clear mandate” and I hope he got the right message! Canadians didn’t reward him with a majority for securing vaccines or keeping the country afloat with emergency benefits because that was his job… and he quickly fell from grace when he tried to cash in on the goodwill it might have earned him!

The results of Monday’s snap election indicate we don’t trust him fully and so Trudeau got a plurality not majority. Canadians have smartly ensured that he will have to negotiate his way through policies with the support of other major parties just as he was doing before.  If he had waited two more years, his election dreams might have come true. But his arrogance (or stupidity) got in the way.

If the Liberals are celebrating now, it’s because towards the end of the election campaign it looked like they could lose. Trudeau’s selfishness and poor judgement caused all the uncertainty. Keeping that in mind, another snap election might result in the Liberals being shown the door.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was perhaps done in by his party’s poor image in the immigrant-dominated GTA which was largely responsible for bringing Trudeau back. Nothing changed here despite the growing dissatisfaction with Trudeau or O’Toole’s attempt to take a moderate approach. Social discussions suggest that the Conservative party has been unable to shake off its racist image or Stephen Harper’s anti-immigration policies.  O’Toole’s apparent pandering to the anti-vaxxers didn’t help. Political pundits also say that Maxime Bernier put a spoke in the Conservative wheel even though his breakaway People’s Party didn’t win any seat. He split the Conservative vote which helped the Liberals get back into power.

In his first major speech after winning party leadership last year, O’Toole urged the Conservatives to change in order to appeal to more voters. “We are never going to win over Canadians just by relying on Justin Trudeau to continue to disappoint. His scandals, as outrageous as they often are, will never be enough to defeat him,” he said.

He was right and although he did appear to give Trudeau the “fight of his life” it was not enough to bring about that change in Ottawa. And so, it remains to be seen whether he will continue his leadership role or be forced out like Andrew Scheer and those before him. The toughest task before any Tory leader is earning the trust of voters who’ve never voted Conservative before. And breakthroughs must happen in the Liberal stronghold in 121-seat rich Ontario.

Despite public opinion rising significantly in Jagmeet Singh’s favour, the NDP’s seat count remains almost unchanged. Some political analysts believe that Singh had a chance to make a breakthrough for the party but failed. However, reports suggest that his leadership position is secure at least in the short term. Besides, Singh and his NDP still play an important role in keeping the balance of power by supporting Trudeau’s Liberals and holding them accountable.

“We used our position (in the previous minority Parliament) successfully to win really big victories for people, for Canadians. They were better off because we were there,” Singh said. “We will do the same thing.” We believe you Mr. Singh!

As it stands Trudeau has been handed another chance to redeem himself and I hope he uses it wisely. Many Canadians were unhappy about the snap election and could have voted him back because they were not ready for change but that situation could quickly change.

 

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