We are just three weeks away from electing a new government in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is the most important election since the Second World War. That’s hyperbolic nonsense, of course, but it is an important vote because if Canadians decide to give the Liberal Party another few years in power then I am convinced that they will set Canada on the road to ruin.
Three weeks from Election Day, the most recent polling looks encouraging. The Conservative Party is ahead by more than just a few points and it seems that in vote-rich and all-important Ontario the Conservatives and Liberals are neck-and-neck. But it is too early to break out the champagne; as I have said on social media, we all know that the Trudeau-Liberals are desperate to stay in power and they will tell any lie and sling as much mud as they can as they try to win at any costs.
Erin O’Toole has campaigned well in the first two weeks, as has Jagmeet Singh and both are being rewarded in the polls; Justin Trudeau, on the other hand has appeared ill-prepared and tentative and his support is slipping.
It is my hope that the current trend will continue and we will end up with either a strong Conservative minority government or, better yet, a Conservative majority government. My best hope is something like this:
Government: Conservatives ~ 170-175 seats
Opposition: New Democrats ~ 55 to 60 seats
Liberals ~ 48 to 53 seats
Bloc Québécois ~ 45 to 50 seats
All Others ~ 3 to 8 seats
That will be difficult for both the CPC and the NDP, but it is achievable if the Conservatives and New Democrats both improve, a lot, at the Liberals’ expense in BC and Ontario, especially.
One key point: I do not believe that Erin O’Toole will keep all the promises he has made on the campaign trail. But, I believe that the big difference between Mr O’Toole and Prime Minister Trudeau is that Mr O’Toole actually wants to keep his promises and he will try to keep his promises until “events” make that impossible.
I do NOT want to see the Liberal Party humiliated the way it was in 2011 and 1980 but I do want Canadians to repudiate its recent polices and attitudes in a clear, firm and exemplary manner. I want the Liberal Party to do a lot of humble soul-searching and some sincere navel-gazing, too, and decide to put aside much of 50+ years of its history (1968-1984, 1993 to 2004 and 2015 until today). I want Suzanne Cowan, the President of the Liberal Party of Canada to make some hard but needed decisions: after working the phones I want her to talk to the Party and the country and say something like: “Canadians have spoken and we, Liberals, are listening. It is clear that the policies and proposals we have offered are unacceptable to most Canadians and our performance in government has not inspired the confidence we hoped it would have. Justin Trudeau has agreed to stay on as our Party Leader in Parliament until we can have a combined policy and leadership convention in a few months. We Liberals still believe that we have better ideas and a better suite of polices and programmes for Canada, but it is clear that we need to reevaluate what we have done and how we have done things for the past few years. To that end I have decided to resign and I have asked a distinguished Liberal to take over as President of our Party and to form a “tiger team” to reevaluate our policies. Here is the new President and the policy team:*
These are all good Liberals representing the entire country. Some have been sidelined in recent years but we and all Canadians can have confidence in their judgement and patriotism. This is the team that will develop a new Liberal ethos which will lead us back on to the right path for Canada and Canadians. I look forward to seeing the new programme which our new policy team will propose at our forthcoming convention. Until then I know that our Liberal team in Parliament will be active and constructive in opposition. Finally, we wish our Conservative friends the best … until we are ready, again, to replace them as Canada’s government.“
I believe that Canada needs two strong, moderate, liberal political parties ~ one always ready to replace th other in government. Right now it has only one: the Conservative Party of Canada. The Liberal Party has to rediscover what being liberal really means. It seems pretty clear to me that neither Pierre Trudeau nor Justin Trudeau were ever liberals. It also has to rediscover its ethical and moral foundations. Again, it seems to me that they were weakened by Jean Chrétien and then shattered by Justin Trudeau.
This election matters. Canada has been zig-zagging, often on the wrong tack, since the late 1960s. We are still one of the world’s “top-ten” countries by almost every measure that matters but we have been slipping, steading, in all of them.mIt is time to stop slipping and put ourselves back on the right track. If Canadians re-elect Justin Trudeau’s Liberals then I fear that recovering will be impossible and we will continue to degrade, slowly and gracefully, perhaps but steadily until we are no longer compared to, say, Australia and Britain but, instead, to Albania and Bulgaria. To get back on track we need two liberal parties to share in governing, one replacing the other when needed. The Liberal Party of Canada needs to be one of them … after it has reformed itself.
* Not everyone will recognize everyone in that picture. There are former party leaders, former ministers and former MPs and one former premier of Ontario. What they all have in common is that none is an avid supporter of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. That makes them good Liberals , in my opinion.