If I’m reading the polls correctly, Canadians are saying: “None of the above, thank you.” It looks like, nationally, the Conservatives are <35%, the Liberals are at 32%± the NDP are in the 15% to 20% range, the Greens are <10%. In Québec, the Liberals are <35% and falling, the BQ is 25%+ and rising and the Conservatives are >15%.
A few days ago I guessed that “Justin Trudeau might be able to hang on* with, say 130 to 135 seats of his own and the guaranteed support (almost a coalition) of Jagmeet Singh’s NDP with 40 to 45 seats, even allowing for one or two defections from each of those two parties.” I explained in the footnote that “Constitutionally, Justin Trudeau is not required to resign just because his party finished second. He gets to visit the Governor-General immediately after the election; he has a constitutional right to tell her that he intends to meet the House and he is confident (having already struck a deal with the NDP) that he can secure the House’s confidence; she has no choice but to allow that no matter how much Mr Scheer and some pundits will protest. The issue is not who has the most seats: it is who can command the confidence of Parliament.“
Constitutional niceties aside, it is vital, for Canada, that Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberals should not be reelected, should not form the next government, especially not a free-spending one allied, however informally with the NDP.
I say that because, as this article by freelance journalist Alex Binkley on the National Newswatch website says, “Canada has fallen behind more countries in terms of its international competitiveness and that should have been an issue in the federal election campaign, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce … [it says that because] … The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2019 Global Competitive Report released in mid October said Canada had fallen to 14th in the international ranking of national competitiveness … [and] … “Today, the world’s leading competitiveness index shows that Canada has dropped in the rankings for the second year in a row, proving what Canada’s business leaders have expressed over and over and over again: this country’s business and investment environment is weakening,” the Chamber said. “It is inconceivable that Canada’s competitiveness is not a central issue in this election.”” A few days ago I quoted the Globe and Mail‘s Konrad Yakbuski who opined that ““The next federal government could face a far darker fiscal situation than any politician on the campaign trail is willing to admit. Their silence may be the most frightening thing about this sleepy election campaign.””
Well, as the Globe and Mail journalists explained in the same article: “Voters have lost their taste for government austerity since our last serious Canadian debt and deficit problem. The last time things approached a crisis was a quarter century ago, now a distant memory. Nearly half of the current voting-age population was too young to vote then; 11 per cent hadn’t even been born yet … [but they add] … there could be another reason Canadians tolerate deficits now: a personal financial squeeze that has many feeling that they’re falling behind … [because] … Despite a job boom and an unemployment rate near 40-year lows, wage growth has barely kept up with inflation during the past several years. Meanwhile, rising real estate prices are making homes less affordable.”” Canadians, by and large, as asking the government to help them survive a stagnant wage situation.
““As a trade-dependent nation, Canada’s ability to compete is critical to our economic well-being and the financial security of every Canadian,” the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said in the National Newswatch story, adding that “Despite all of the geographical and resource advantages that Canada has, we will squander these remarkable assets if we continue to ignore the limiting and sometimes harmful policy climate that erodes our ability to compete” … [and while] … Fourteenth might not sound so bad but “other countries are leapfrogging us as they remain focused on growth and competitiveness. Only two short years ago we were in the top 10 … [but the Chamber added] … “Which is why it is so concerning that federal politicians have paid scant attention to competitiveness and productivity this election. Without leadership from Canada’s political parties on these critical issues, our ability to compete will continue to falter, and ultimately impact the standard of living of every Canadian” … [because] … The WEF report said that Canada’s “less favourable economic environment has been reflected in somewhat more negative business leaders’ views across several dimensions” … [and] … The Chamber said, “A cursory look at where and why our ranking is sinking like a stone demonstrates some trends that Canada’s federal parties do not appear intent on addressing.”“
With all possible respect for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, not all Canadian political parties are intent on ignoring Canada’s worsening fiscal situation. The Conservative platform, released on Friday, actually says (way down on p. 88) that “At present, there are worrisome signs that Canada’s economy is heading for a slowdown … [and] … In 2018, labour productivity growth in Canada was zero … [further] …There are strong topline numbers that mask economic weakness and vulnerability. Our domestic economy is weak, while our exports are driving us forward. Canadians are getting by, but they are not getting ahead … [and] … Geopolitical tensions have contributed to our economic uncertainty.” That may not be as much as the Chamber wants ~ it’s not as much as I want ~ but at least it presents (pps 91 to 93) a plan, one that includes much-needed spending cuts, to get Canada back on a sane fiscal track.
Many, many Canadians will not like much of the Conservative platform. But the former Parliamentary Budget Officer gave it a “triple-pass” “for realistic economic assumptions, fiscal responsibility and transparency.” Some people will, however, find it overly optimistic about the efficacity of tax cuts and it is, in many minds, weak on climate change. But the problem is that the Liberal and NDP platforms promise nothing but endless deficits, in the current “good” times, but some experts say that a recession is looming, and Canada is unprepared because our current overspending is on social programmes, not infrastructure and too much is promised abroad and not enough at home. I think that a fair look at the Liberal and NDP climate change proposals says that they, too, rest on a foundation of hope rather than on solid fiscal and scientific planning.
It is time for Canadians to think about their future and their children’s future and their grandchildren’s futures, too. We need to be a more productive country … we need to better exploit our resources ~ natural resources like Alberta’s oil, BC’s minerals and timber and those from Ontario and Québec, too, and grains from the prairies and fish from Atlantic Canada and our human resources (well educated, hard-working Canadians) ~ and get our economy ready for the challenges ahead.
Many Canadians don’t want to ever vote for a Conservative … but sometimes needs must overtake wants, and this is that time. Any vote for a Green, Liberal or NDP candidate is a vote for Canada’s failure, for your failure, for your children’s failure.
It is time for Canadians to be FOR Canada. It is time to vote Conservative …
… even if that means holding your nose while you do so.