Sep 22nd, 2021, 11:15 AM

Snap Canadian Election Yields Little Change

By Seamus Malekafzali
Justin Trudeau at an election rally in 2015. Source: Alex Guibord
Federal election called by Justin Trudeau in order to secure a Liberal majority fails to produce much shift either way.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau had called a snap election last month in a move widely seen as a move to secure a majority for his party after working for years as a minority government. A bet that the government's coronavirus response would yield dividends, as New Zealand's Labour had seen it work for them, did not pay off, only leading to the gain of approximately three seats and still 12 seats short of a majority in the Canadian House of Commons.

A lack of demonstrable change was seen across the board across virtually every party. The Conservatives, who had bet new leadership and a move toward the center would pull potential Liberal voters ended up with even less success than the Liberals, starting and ending the election with the exact same number of seats. The New Democratic Party, which had hedged its bets on reversing the losses they had suffered in 2019, only gained back a single seat. Only the Greens seemed to lose considerably, retaining their number of seats but seeing their new leader, Annamie Paul, lose her own seat following a disastrous leadership tenure that led to MPs leaving over pro-Israel directives and a recall attempt. The People's Party of Canada, a relatively new far-right party led by Maxime Bernier, gained a substantial amount of votes after coming out strong against vaccine mandates but despite fielding more candidates than the Greens, elected no one, with many criticizing the absurd candidates the PPC fielded.

The cost of the election, the most expensive in Canadian history exceeding $612 million Canadian dollars (408.1 million euros), made others question the point of such an election to begin with, especially when it seems to not have moved the needle any. Mila Ghorayeb, a columnist at Passage, a left-wing Canadian publication, said simply after the announcement of the election results, "Literally what was the point of this election[.]" Dan Boeckner, Canadian indie rock artist and political activist, said of the usefulness of the election, "600 plus million spent to get to exactly where we started. Totally useless." Boeckner also mentioned that ultimately the election would be a victory for "Liberal Democracy" as a concept, referring to the supposed ideological homogeneity of the major parties of Canadian politics.

Despite this, Trudeau has claimed he has a "clear mandate" from an election that has seen his vote count continue to shrink with very few seats gained and his pre-election polling dip to go neck-and-neck with the Conservatives. It remains to be seen as to whether Trudeau's mandate may be as clear as he believes it to be.