If the headline has not already caught your attention, please bare with me. The statement is a counter-narrative for sure, but after Monday’s election results, I truly think it is time for the Canadian Political Left to become seriously reflective on its future.
What was most interesting to me was not the election results themselves, they pretty much mirrored whatever poll, pundit and general measure of the mood would indicate. What was most interesting were the post-result concession and victory speeches…at least that is what they were supposed to be. It started with Singh. He reiterated every single talking point of the hip, progressive social wokeness he campaigned on. Then it was Scheer’s turn. Instead of congratulating Trudeau then pledging to hold the government to high account as the leader of an even stronger Official Opposition, he immediately ‘put Trudeau on notice’ that his government would fall as soon as possible. This is utterly contemptuous and rather unprecedented considering that Canadians voted for a minority government, and anybody with any respect for democracy would at least pledge to give compromise a chance. Then it was Trudeau’s turn. Actually, it was not his turn, but he was never raised to wait for or earn anything he wants. Ignoring over a century of radio and television broadcast tradition, he cut Scheer off, certainly on purpose, and delivered his own victory speech. The networks of course cut Scheer off one minute in, then played his speech entirely after. Trudeau, gloating as ever, spoke as if he had just won outright. Every commentator and pundit in the country agreed that the entire display was unprecedented, and certainly worrisome.
What caught my ear were the omissions. The only victors of the night were the Bloc Quebecois. Few of the pundits spent much time on this analysis. But for the Left in general, the shallow victory of persevering as a minority should have landed with a thud. Where did the so-called ‘young progressive’ vote go? All those Millennials and Gen Z’ers who promised to punish Trudeau for his sins of approving one pipeline (while cancelling two others), or not ‘acting fast enough’ on First Nations issue? It was supposed to be the night where Singh’s new version of the NDP and the Green Party finally made the huge breakthrough the political Left has been fantasizing about for decades. But it just did not happen. Actually, quite the contrary. The Greens picked up two more seats than in 2015 which is not nothing. But the NDP lost. And they did not just lose a bit, they lost half their seats. And this did not come at the gain of the Liberals, they too shed seats of course. As for that ‘Far-Right Party of Racists’ called the PPC? Well it turns out that Canadians are not nearly as systematically racist or xenophobic as the Mainstream Media and political Left wants us to be. This is the myth. The so-called dark matter every mainstream media outlet has been hammering on ever since Civil Rights dominated votes of the 1960’s. The problem is that instead of pounding the pavement and trying to persuade and convince everyday Canadians that they should vote Left, the Left has sat back just waiting for ‘the next generation of voters’. They are often young, too young to vote currently, or not yet arrived in Canada, but make no mistake, once those high school kids turn eighteen, or that immigrant finally gets his or her citizenship, the political Left will gain one more important vote right? Right. 50 years later. Just one more election, right?
Right is right……that is to say, when the political Left refuses to engage existing voters instead pinning its hopes on the phantom promises of the future you get exactly what we got. The Conservative Party did not win as many seats as Centre Right voters hoped for, but they certainly did win the popular vote. This despite having chosen anything but a Centrist figure to replace Harper. And then of course, there is the biggest victor of the night, the Bloc. And herein lies the real problem with the political Left today: Instead of facing reality right now, the future is always more promising. All of those so-called young and immigrant voters apparently voted Bloc or… dare I say, Conservative? That is right. It turns out that as Millennials mature, buy houses, try to hold a job, and take care of ageing parents, suddenly a Conservative or Bloc Party promising a good job and lower taxes tomorrow is not the demon portrayed at universities. Further, if you actually look at policies, the only thing you could call “Right” or “Conservative” about the Bloc is its nationalism and distaste for overt religious symbols worn by minority public servants. In reality what does the Bloc Stand for? No pipelines through Quebec, low tuition and free universal daycare. Sounds pretty Social-democracy to me. And why not if Alberta is paying for that tab sending oil the other direction?
At the end of the day, Ex-Premier of Alberta Rachel Notley delivered the message everyone else on the political Left has dared not utter this past week. She publicly called out Singh for his opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion calling it a very important project for “Canadian Workers.” That was the glaring error by omission anybody with any political history could not have possibly missed if they watched Singh’s election night speech. He acknowledged the territory of the First Nation he was occupying. He acknowledged Canadian immigrants and people of colour. He acknowledged women. He acknowledged every single digit of the LGBT… including a few more most Canadians did not know exist yet. But the one voting bloc he did not acknowledge once in his entire 30 minute speech were… Canadian workers. Has anybody ever told Singh that the NDP is Canada’s Labour Party? But he is not alone. In BC, during the last election the Ironworkers Union publicly endorsed the Liberal Party over the NDP. Why? Pipelines and other major infrastructure promises. Building an election platform to win must naturally attempt to cover Canadian values. Canadians have elected Turban-wearing MP’s from both the Liberal and Conservative Parties since the early 1990’s. Values of tolerance and inclusivity have been well-adopted by all of the major political parties including the Conservatives. But you know what is a very universal Canadian value that Singh never once even gave lip service? The desire for well-paid, often blue collar, work.
But that is fine right? I mean who needs Canadian workers when you have another batch of young rabidly Left-wing students about to turn 18 and 300,000 immigrants a year? You would think that after half a century of predicting the end of Conservatism forever due to ‘demographics’, the Left would have finally woken up. At some point, young adults stop blaming the economy or the government for their student loans and utterly dismal employment prospects with their Arts degrees. At some point immigrants gain an economic foothold and speak the local language without concern. And when this happens, suddenly in the real world we find that most immigrants have very socially-conservative values and favour lower taxes. And most 30-year-olds suddenly care about paying off debts with whatever job or career they have settled for. And when this happens, Conservatism pops out from the prescription of death the entire political Left from the Media to the Universities to the political parties assume will be its fate. And with that smug Machiavellian grin its leaders emerge again saying “Remember me? We were supposed to be dead decades ago but we just stole all of your Blue Collar labour and settled immigrant vote. I’ve seen a hundred kids like you boy. I’m still here.” Then the real world comes crashing down, and it takes an ex-premier of Alberta, burned only by her own party’s members in other Provinces, to remind the Left; “forsake the Canadian Worker, and you will achieve your own irrelevance.”