Editorial: Don’t sleepwalk through this summer’s election call

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The horses have left the gates on the 2021 Canadian federal election and, at 35 days, it will be one of the shortest election campaigns on the books. Bookies have set odds on a minority government result when everyone crosses the finish lines, with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals leading the pack as the best bet to come out on top of the ballot count—but it is very early days as of yet, and as not-so-distant polling fiascos demonstrate, elections do matter.

Whomever one may support going into this election, and especially if undecided, it is extremely important to not let any summer malaise set in. This election will determine the course our nation will steer to economic recovery and, hopefully, the pandemic endgame.

Despite what the federal opposition parties posit, Canadians have largely expressed satisfaction with the pandemic stickhandling of the governing Liberals, and that party, quite understandably, wants to make that the deciding question. The Conservatives allege the Liberal game has been slipshod, offside and spendthrift, with far too much largesse being laid upon the unworthy great unwashed. “Our grandchildren will pay for it,” they allege repeatedly, and that fiscal responsibility message plays well to their strong suit—even as the historical record has failed to support the Tories’ previous pronouncements of doom. But that is a narrative that will be for the voters to ultimately decide.

The NDP, on the left hand side, suggest the Liberals must not be granted their coveted majority. It is only the NDP’s constant prodding and threats of dissolution of the government mandate that has forced the stingy Liberals to toss enough into the public’s net sufficiently to stave off economic and social disaster. With the largest deficits in Canadian history already sitting on the scorecard it is difficult to imagine more generous social spending would be onside—but again, that is a decision for the electorate to decide. The NDP answer is to eat the uber rich, which is always a popular refrain, but even moreso given the steady litany of media reports of outrageous pandemic profiteering appearing on television (or computer/phone/tablet) screens and newspaper pages.

The Greens are currently imploding on the national scene, and complain bitterly that the Liberals have taken advantage of their party’s current disarray. This despite the environment and impending global doom of humanity (and most other of God’s creatures) becoming clearer with every published scientific analysis (that’s peer-reviewed, thank you kindly Facebook pundits). The Greens are embroiled in controversy over their foreign policy stances rather than their core issue. Hopefully for their supporters, the election will prove a rallying point for their offensive play—again, that will be for the voters to decide.

It would seem that the Liberals, despite their much heralded recent rush down the left side of the ice, remain the party of the centre (albeit far more left of centre than the days of Mackenzie King)—although that has more to do with the posturing of their electoral opponents than where they want to skate.

There is much to consider in this election for the Canadian electorate, whether it is to stay the course with their electoral choices of two years ago, to provide the Liberals with a majority that will free them from the shackles of depending on support from the NDP, the Conservatives (it could happen) or the Bloc Quebecois to lay out a successful game plan for the nation.

And that, at the end of the game, is for the voters to decide—let’s not all sleepwalk into that decision.