After any federal election there is always speculation as to which leaders should stay and which should go. In that regard, this most recent election is more interesting than most because no party leader was completely successful.
Justin Trudeau failed to get his majority. His Liberal Party is no better off than it was before the election, which cost Canadians more than $600 million. But Trudeau did again win the most seats in that election, and he will form another minority government.
Will there be a move by people in his own party to push Justin Trudeau out before the next election? Probably. Liberals are far more subtle than the Conservatives in disposing of their leaders. They do it mostly behind closed doors but, nevertheless, the machinery behind those doors will begin to crank up.
Mark Carney, former head of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England saw the writing on the wall and wisely resisted pressure to run as a star candidate for the Liberals in this election. Nevertheless, he is standing in the wings and not burdened by any negative aspects of Trudeau’s record.
And then there is Chrystia Freeland, who also wisely stayed out of the election turmoil. As someone who enjoys profile and popped up on social media as soon as the election was over, she was conspicuous by her absence. She wants to be prime minister so badly she can taste it. There are others too, of course, and pressure will begin to mount as Liberal insiders begin to question whether Trudeau has reached his best-before date.
In my view, Justin Trudeau should stay the course. In our Canadian way, where we trust the electoral system, he has won the right to govern. He should not be removed before another election. But there are things he needs to do if he wants a government led by him to survive.
First and foremost, Justin Trudeau needs to respect Parliament. He has described it as a “place of obstructionism and toxicity.” If it is, he has made it so. Under our system, the prime minister is not a dictator. Parliament is the basis of our democracy and the place where government is held accountable. The prime minister needs to work with Parliament and not against it and he needs to stop suing the speaker of the house when he does not get his way.
Sound fiscal management has not been a strength of Prime Minister Trudeau or his government. To the astonishment of many, he has indicated that “monetary policy” is not a concern of his. It had better become one. As the pandemic recedes, Canadians will become more and more conscious of our almost uncontrollable debt and the serious effect this will have on our ability to remain a prosperous country to the detriment of our children and grandchildren.
As well, Justin Trudeau needs to act in the best interests of all Canadians, not just in the narrow interest of those that elected him. The more he governs in a “my way or the highway” fashion, the more likely he is to fail. He needs to protect free speech and freedom of expression, and actually work with Parliament to find ways to carry through on many of the commitments he has made. He needs to recognize that compromise and accommodation is the art of minority government. If he does, Justin Trudeau just might survive.
As for the Conservatives, there is nothing closed doors about them. They like to stab their leaders in the back right up front. The move by some, mostly dissenters from the recent leadership race, to get rid of their freshly minted leader, Erin O’Toole, started even before the election was over. Social media is all over it.
Erin O’Toole ran a solid campaign. There were mistakes, of course, but one should remember that at its start, the Trudeau Government was headed for a solid majority that they did not achieve, in part, because Canadians began to know Erin O’Toole. As important, O’Toole worked hard to reestablish the Conservative Party moderately to the right.
In my view, if Erin O’ Toole is to stay as leader, as I believe he should, he needs to continue that movement. It was hard to do during the election when he needed to win every seat he could get. But now he needs to be tough with his caucus. No more talk on social issues that were settled a long time ago. Get vaccinated or get out. Support the leader or get out.
Most members of the Conservative caucus will support tough leadership. Even if O’Toole loses two dozen members by laying down the law, they will never vote with the Liberals and he will still be leader of the Opposition. He has nothing to lose in the short term, and in bringing the Conservative Party back to the middle of the political spectrum he will earn the respect of many Canadians who believe in basic Conservative principles without the far-right activism. That will bode well for his party in the next election.
Erin O’Toole is by far the best bet to form the next government, whenever that occurs. If you have any doubt about that, just read the liberal Toronto Star. Every single edition since the election has contained material designed to either discredit the Conservative leader or encourage his removal. The reason is simple. Erin O’Toole has emerged from this election as prime minister material. The Star and its left-leaning, government-subsidized cohorts don’t want him around for the next election. Conservative back-stabbers should think about that.
As for the other party leaders, Jagmeet Singh may hang on by his fingernails, but he has failed in two elections to significantly improve his party’s standings. They may enjoy their ability to prop up the Liberals again, but without a new leader that is the most they can ever hope for.
Annamie Paul will not survive as leader of the Green Party. Either she will resign, as well she should, or they will throw her out in their continuing road to oblivion. Sad, though, because in my view Annamie Paul was one of the bright lights in this election, the kind of politician we need in Parliament. I hope she finds another home.
The other two leaders will, sadly, probably not go away soon. Bernier will be excited about the uptick in far-right zealots that voted for his party so he will stick around like a bad smell. As for Blanchet and the Bloc, in my view, they are little more than separatists and shouldn’t be in Parliament in the first place.
Many people believe that this election has not changed anything. It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be true.
Hugh Mackenzie has held elected office as a trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education, a Huntsville councillor, a District councillor, and mayor of Huntsville. He has also served as chairman of the District Muskoka and as chief of staff to former premier of Ontario, Frank Miller.
Hugh has served on a number of provincial, federal and local boards, including chair of the Ontario Health Disciplines Board, vice-chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, vice-chair of the Ontario Election Finance Commission, and board member of Roy Thomson Hall, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada. Locally, he has served as president of the Huntsville Rotary Club, chair of Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, chair of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, president of Huntsville Festival of the Arts, and board member of Community Living Huntsville.
In business, Hugh Mackenzie has a background in radio and newspaper publishing. He was also a founding partner and CEO of Enterprise Canada, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm established in 1986.
Currently Hugh is president of C3 Digital Media Inc., the parent company of Doppler Online, and he enjoys writing commentary for Huntsville Doppler.
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