Canada's election another no-win scenario, but some no-wins are worse than others
Oct. 6, 2019

Canada's undemocratic first-past-the-post system (which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to reform but didn't) permits only four possible election results in this or any other federal election: a Liberal majority, a Conservative majority, a Liberal minority or a Conservative minority. (For "Conservative" read "neo-fascist.") The most that the New Democratic Party or Green Party can hope for is to become a junior partner in some sort of joint governing arrangement with the Liberals. Therefore, the result on Oct. 21 should be a foregone conclusion: a minority Liberal government propped up by the NDP and Greens.

I know it's dangerous to predict an election result with such confidence, but a look at the other scenarios shows them to be impossible or highly implausible.

Most obviously, a Conservative minority is out of the question because none of the other parties would work with Andrew Scheer and his cabal of corporatist drones. If somehow the so-called Conservatives did end up in a minority position on Oct. 21, it would not be able to form a stable government. A Liberal majority is similarly beyond the realm of reason. The reformist optimism that attended the Liberal's 2015 victory has been squandered. Trudeau's repeated displays of fecklessness and moral cowardice toward repealing Stephen Harper's subversive legislation and poor judgment concerning the SNC-Lavalin and the TransMountain Pipeline debacles guarantee that he will be punished at the polls.

A Conservative majority, the darkest timeline, is highly implausible. The 2015 election was a wholesale rejection of Harper's decade of neo-fascism and environmental destruction, so to believe that the electorate would rush to re-embrace Harperism strains credulity to the breaking point. Moreover, Scheer is roundly loathed by a substantial portion of the electorate, which explains why he has been unable to capitalize on Trudeau's self-inflicted political and moral crises.

As it stands, the public is almost evenly divided between the two leading losers, which means neither will have the support to form a majority government. After the votes are counted, Trudeau will still be prime minister because the electorate does not have a compelling, credible alternative. As Hamlet famously mused on the fear of the unknown: "[it] makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of." For most Canadians, Scheer is the greater ill, and, at any rate, the Liberal Party is larger than the leader, which means Trudeau can easily be replaced.

This is not the way elections should be conducted, of course. Voters should select the best candidate in each riding, not vote against the worst choice, but in the absence of a rational, representative voting system, this is the way things are and to pretend otherwise is dangerous folly.

Putting the "con" in Conservative

In addition to the rule of Canada's electoral probability, evidence for a Liberal minority comes from, of all places, Andrew Scheer. If his party really represented a credible government-in-waiting, the electorate could expect to see positive reasons to replace the Liberals. However, there are none, so the Conservative Party has to rely on dirty tricks, fraud and personal attacks to stampede the electorate into an anti-Trudeau mentality.

In mid-September, Ariane Eckardt, president of Burnaby North-Seymour electoral district association for the Conservative Party, admitted to posting a false endorsement from renowned comedian Ric Mercer. After Mercer complained to the electoral district and Scheer personally, Eckardt resorted to the excuse it was only a joke, but misrepresentation is no laughing matter.

In that same week, Scheer's chief mouthpiece Brock Harrison posted on Twitter that the RCMP were investigating Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin affair. It was an egregious non sequitur that misrepresented the RCMP Commissioner, who had commented on another matter. Nevertheless, Scheer saw fit to repeat the allegation. The Conservatives had to pull two Twitter posts of this false claim. A responsible Party would have asked for RCMP clarification before posting, not post and then backtrack saying the RCMP hadn't clarified.

A third act of dirty tricks concerns the unearthing of pictures of Trudeau in blackface 18 years ago when he was a teacher in B.C. Why he did it is not the least bit relevant, nor does it speak to Trudeau's attitude today. The obvious intent of dredging these up is to blacken Trudeau's character. Regrettably, Trudeau tucked his tail between his legs and grovelled for forgiveness much as Emperor Henry IV did before Pope Gregory VII. Instead, Trudeau should simply have regretted his past indiscretion, grown a spine and pummelled Scheer and his propaganda organs for such a transparent act of political cowardice.

Within a week of the "blackface scandal" the "Conservatives" could not make any significant gains against the Liberals, proving that the electorate has already made up its mind. (Sept. 24)

Tellingly, Scheer has not been able to capitalize on this latest scandal. In fact, it has had no effect other than to highlight the Conservatives' desperation and tacit acknowledgement of their lack of popular appeal. Just days after the "blackface scandal" broke, an Ipsos poll put Trudeau and Scheer near parity. Similarly, political analyst Phillip J. Fourier told CTV news that Liberals had been making gains at the expense of the Conservatives before the scandal and only slipped by about 1% because of it. In Ontario and Quebec, where Fournier said the election will be decided, the issue was shrugged off and a nation-wide Abacus poll showed an overwhelming yawn by 75% of voters.

With nothing to offer except corporate servitude, greater pollution and reactionary Christian moralism, Trudeau will survive his feeble record.