Or did it?
Lots of pundits this morning are complaining the ‘$600 million’ election, that gave a mirror image result of the 2019 election, a waste of time. That begs the question of what result justifies the cost of an election?
I suspect those who constantly toss out the $600 million ‘waste of time’ feel that way because their candidate and/or party didn’t win and wouldn’t be complaining had the results been different.
Granted, there was no real reason for Justin Trudeau to trigger the election. However, in a democracy, real democracy, the more times the electorate gets to flex its muscle, the better. That’s not to say we need elections every six months, but more opportunities for us to vote should be welcomed, not chastised. Just because an election didn’t result in a massive change doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile.
This election was worthwhile in that it told the Liberals we’re not ready to give them carte blanche to rule unimpeded by those nasty little things called collaboration, conciliation and compromise; it told the Conservatives we’re not ready to take a chance on them yet after the Harper years (it’s a trust thing); it told the New Democrats that we’re comfortable with them holding the Liberals to account, but not much more, and comfortable with them giving the Liberals progressive ideas to steal; it told the Bloc Quebecois that they’re handy place-holders until we decide to reward one of the actual national parties; it told the Greens to get their act together.
This election wasn’t worthwhile in that it told the People’s Party of Canada (aka the Angry Party) that they can have an impact.
Given those messages, it was rich to hear Trudeau talk about having a mandate. Does he? The Liberals secured 32.2 per cent of the vote (the Conservatives 34 per cent, so that says something right there). Across the country, 15.9 million Canadians voted out of 27.3 million registered voters … 58.44 per cent.
The Liberals’ 32.2 per cent of the 15.9 million who voted equates to 5.1 million people. That 5.1 million equates to 18.6 per cent of the 27.3 million registered voters.
I’m sorry, but 18 per cent doesn’t equate to a mandate in my book. Trudeau shouldn’t be talking about having a mandate because he doesn’t have one.
Once again, the election wasn’t a waste of time because it told Trudeau that he and his government has to be better … a lot better … if they ever want a majority.
Numbers Nerd: The last time we had such a low voter turnout was in 2008 when, ironically or coincidentally, Stephen Harper called an election in hopes of turning a minority government into a majority and only 58 per cent of Canadians votes. Harper had about the same success at Trudeau.
So maybe the real message is: Don’t take the electorate for granted.