The federal politics fall-out
author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief
Those left of centre seem to be readying themselves, if social media is any indication, for an Andrew Scheer-led government come next election. The problem, however, goes deeper than that.
For one, the Liberals’ support is slipping provincially. Saskatchewan, outside of the ever-consistent Ralph Goodale, was never going to be a red stronghold come November. The NDP’s grip is slipping further and further away as Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party continues to gain traction both fiscally and socially, albeit on controversial and (sometimes) downright inept policy positions.
The Ford government of Ontario seems to be as woeful as most opponents expected it to be and yet, through it all, it looks like the Conservatives are going to latch onto the SNC-Lavelin affair much the same way a parasite does to its host. Voting public (host), meet parasite, complete with a blue suit and some Saskatchewan charm.
The Trudeau government certainly has a lot to answer for. The cries of “because it’s 2015” have been replaced with the regular groans reserved for politicians who inevitably say one thing and then do another. I would argue, somewhat paradoxically, that the Liberals actually have a lot to thank the Trump Administration for. One example: doing such an awful job of their own governance that Canada’s barely bears repeating outside of our borders. Our two largest allies, the US and Britain, are drowning in their own political filth, and so the public perception is that ours is a little cleaner.
Here’s the thing, though: it isn’t. The UCP’s apparent campaigning for a private health sector system in Alberta (courtesy, by the way, of University of Regina graduate Miranda Rosin) is as a much a danger to Canadians as the Conservative government. I’m not particularly enamored with the Liberals; the SNC issue is part of a larger systemic obsession with fence–sitting and self–preservation that has kept this government from changing anything substantially. Scheer’s party has resorted to shouting for Trudeau’s resignation, a hollow tactic if ever there was one. Rather than supporting Jody Wilson-Raybould, as is most recently evident in a CBC article written by The Canadian Press, Scheer has chosen to focus on Trudeau’s possible guilt. While this is a credible line of inquiry – someone without anything to hide, undoubtedly, would be more forthcoming – Scheer’s issue seems not to be with Trudeau’s treatment of the Minister, nor the affair, but rather the fact that he still has power. So ingrained is the jealousy of federal politics.
Sadly, we are currently being forced into a de–facto, two–party system because the NDP are as out of sorts as they’ve ever been. We can take Erin Weir as an example: we’ve covered his non-apology previously, but his virtual removal by NDP lead Jagmeet Singh, followed by his supporters voicing their support – for no other reason than the fact that he will continue the status quo and hold onto the seat – really points to a party in disarray. That Singh has only just gained a seat in parliament is of less concern, to me, than the party’s inability to stand on party principles. The fact that Canada’s (supposedly) progressive party is moving further and further to the centre in order to gain some form of vote share is disheartening. Once again, party colours are put before morality and sense.
So where do we go from here? Well, Scheer’s Mar. 7 press release gives us some idea of where he would like to go.
“I also repeat my calls for an RCMP investigation into this matter and for Mr. Trudeau to step down as Prime Minister. He is too consumed with damage control to continue to govern… Above all else, Canadians today witnessed even more evidence of a scandal-plagued government in chaos. It shouldn’t be this way and it doesn’t have to be…”
The fact that the Regina-Quapelle MP tacked on a note about the Conservative’s commitment to GST changes on home heating does more to prove that the opposition seems more interested in scoring political points than governing.
However, it’s not like the Liberals aren’t engaged in the same selfish tactics. On Mar. 11, a story written by Global’s Rahul Kalvapalle reported Trudeau and Scheer trading what was described in the article as “jab[s]” in relation to Scheer’s answers at a town hall, where a supporter levied questions about a debunked conspiracy theory. One only had to go to Trudeau’s Regina town hall to see that an event of this type does much more to rile up adversarial tendencies than it does to improve political discourse.
Because this is an opinion section, here’s what I will end with: neither side is proving themselves fit to govern. The ideological stand off we have seen south of the border for decades has intensified to the point where we have to look at our elected officials with the same critical eye (particularly on social policies) that we send toward our neighbours in the U.S. Any political discourse not built on morality and ethics, but on political point–scoring that would seem petty even in a university debate setting, is not one that I want to associate myself with as a Canadian. That said, it’s not like those holding my other passport (the British) are doing any better.
One reminder of the turbulent times we find ourselves in is the dogged reappearance of Western separatists. Their billboard does nothing more than remind us that the loud, extreme, political minority are gaining traction, and that blame for it is to be laid at the feet of those wearing red as much as at those across the aisle in blue. This is the political environment we find ourselves in, and with those on the left as dissatisfied (albeit for different reasons) as those on the right, we have a situation that could see the Conservatives come to power with their only alternative policy being, “Well, at least we’re not the Liberals.”