Following last week’s election, I can’t help but wonder why we held it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued when he called the election that Canadians deserved to give the government a “clear mandate” going forward – as if combating the threat of COVID-19 and managing the financial impacts of the pandemic wasn’t mandate enough. I hardly think we needed an election for Ottawa to take that issue seriously.
The cynic in me recognizes why he called the election of course. A clear mandate was code for a majority government that would allow the prime minister to more easily pursue his legislative agenda without negotiating with the New Democratic Party or being fouled by the Conservative Party.
It was a roll of the dice and one that could have easily gone his way. As I’m wont to observe around the office, Premier John Horgan made a similar gamble this time last year and emerged with a majority government. Trudeau no doubt hoped he had gained enough goodwill with its COVID-19 response to reclaim his 2015 popularity.
This election did make for an interesting race, at least here in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo. With former MP Cathy McLeod looking to retire from politics, it was anyone’s race.
The riding ultimately chose a continuation of Conservative representation with Frank Caputo but it wasn’t a runaway. The NDP’s Bill Sundhu wasn’t that far behind, while the People’s Party of Canada candidate Corally Delwo had a good showing in her political debut, even beating the Green Party’s Ian Currie. It means our riding remains diverse and that Caputo will do well to ensure he’s connected with the entire region, rather than just his home of Kamloops.
Nationally, the election proved that Canadians were, if not happy, then at least content with the current balance of power in Ottawa. A few seats changed hands but in the end, the Liberals were returned to power – with a minority government. Again.
It seems to me the “clear mandate” that Trudeau has been given is to work with the other parties to govern Canada. That will not always be easy or flashy, but it’s what needs to be done.
In the coming months, I hope that all parties work together to address the issues facing Canada and our region – including affordable housing, climate change and access to broadband Internet – rather than wasting our time and money with political grandstanding and cheap power grabs.
That mandate ought to be clear enough.