The News Rundown
- LPC: 159
- CPC: 119
- BQ: 33
- NDP: 25
- GPC: 2
- PPC: 0
- Greens: Gained a seat in Ontario, Kitchener Centre, due to Raj Saini's suspension of his campaign, and lost Paul Manly's Vancouver Island seat of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Leader Annamie Paul lost in Toronto Centre, gaining only 8.5% of the vote (3921 as of recording). LPC candidate, former journalist Marci Ien won with 50.3% of the vote. Former leader Elizabeth May won her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, and on election night, criticized the party for not being able to run a full slate of candidates. The Greens dropped from 6.6% to 2.3% vote nationally from 2019-2021, and it can be now proven that Paul's leadership of the party has been a failure, despite holding onto two seats.
- PPC: Managed to gain 5% of the vote, an increase of 3.4% nationally from 2019-2021. PPC did not gain any seats. Leader Maxime Bernier was defeated by a large margin in his former riding of Beauce by about 17k votes to CPC MP Richard Lehoux. Bernier's party has attracted votes from all parties, but most notably from the Greens, but did not translate this to any seat gains.
- BQ: Held much of their Quebec base, with a couple flips back and forth between them and the Liberals. Gained one seat and 0.1% of the vote. Continue to halt attempts by both the Liberals and CPC to form majority governments.
- NDP: Gained 1 seat, 1.8% rise in vote nationally. Has only one MP in Quebec, 5 in Ontario and none in Atlantic Canada. Half of the seats are in BC. Singh's stronger leadership since 2019 has not resulted in gains for the NDP, and it remains western base. Singh should be on the hot seat after 2 failed elections, but low expectations for the NDP will mean that supporters will not see them form official opposition anytime soon.
- CPC: Did not lose any seats and dropped 0.7% of the vote nationally. Gained seats in Atlantic Canada and Ontario (1 in NFLD, 1 in NB, 2 in NS, and 3 in ON), but lost the same number of seats in BC and AB as those gained in the east. Notably lost 2 in Alberta to Liberals and 1 to NDP, and 3 in Greater Vancouver to Liberals and 1 to NDP. Defeated Cabinet Ministers Bernadette Jordan in NS, and Maryam Monsef and Deb Schulte in ON, but did not gain any ground in the 905 suburbs of Toronto, nor did they make any ground in Quebec.
- LIBS: Despite losing 3 cabinet ministers, gained 4 seats. Lost 0.5% of the vote nationally. Despite Trudeau calling the election in hopes of getting a majority, the results put them right about where they were before. 2nd time in a row winning most seats while losing the popular vote. Didn't gain ground in Quebec against BQ, lost ground in Atlantic Canada to Conservatives, but gained everywhere else at the expense of the NDP and CPC. Results teach a lesson about the dangers of snap election calls.
- Before the final result was known, questions were already swirling about Erin O’Toole’s leadership.
- The general consensus from the media was that if Erin O’Toole, a leader from the Toronto area himself, didn’t break into fortress Toronto, he should probably be replaced.
- It’s at this point I remind listeners that the only ones who can tell a leader to go are his caucus or in the case of the Conservative party, the membership of the party.
- The Conservative party has it written into its constitution that the leader will face a leadership review automatically following any election where they do not form government. That will happen sometime next year.
- Angered party members have already spoken anonymously to journalists at CBC and Global citing concern with various campaign promises.
- Their concern? What was in the platform wasn’t decided by the membership and really wasn’t run by the caucus either.
- Normally one should not trust anonymous sources but the same report went to two journalists on the same day at the same time, and given the stature of some of these journalists, it’s unlikely they are lying… this time.
- Following the election O’Toole has already received endorsements from the social-conservative wing of the party, notably from Dr. Leslyn Lewis who was elected as a first time MP in southern Ontario. Lewis herself came in third in the leadership race. Erin O’Toole was also endorsed following the election by Garnett Genuis, MP for Sherwood Park - Fort Saskatchewan who himself also comes from that wing of the party.
- Lewis said it would be unwise for the party to do what it did to Andrew Scheer since this sets the precedent of a revolving door of leaders after each defeat. It also isn’t a good idea to change leaders when the Prime Minister suggested we’ll likely be at this in 18 months again.
- The polling during the election was largely within the margin of error by most firms nationally but we need to move to an understanding where we focus on regionals instead. Pollsters such as Leger, Ipsos, and Angus Reid came closest to the actual regional results.
- This of course raises the question that many Conservatives have been wondering about and some are using as a reason to toss O’Toole overboard: how much of an impact did the People’s Party of Canada have?
- As reported by Global a Conservative Party source said that the party’s internal polling suggested that as many as 25% of the current PPC supporters came from… The Green Party.
- Abacus Data also was in the field and polled that about 28% came from the Conservatives itself.
- Using that data we can estimate that in total the Conservatives lost 4-5 seats due to the People’s Party. If you extend this number outwards to 70, 80, 90, or even 100%. That number of seats shoots upwards to between 15 and 25 seats depending on what percentage you choose.
- Those who support the People’s Party will use this as a reason to say that their vote was cast and it didn’t change the government.
- But going forward, there needs to be a discussion had about where these voters go in the future. Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party came in a distant second in his own Beauce riding.
- Does the People’s Party get a charismatic leader and begin their Trumpian path through Canada? Or are they going to perpetually hover around 4-6% of the vote nationally?
- This brings up a question that no one on the Conservative side has asked yet. How does that party win going forward?
- Experts and traditional analysts will say it has to be through in-roads made into the suburban Toronto area, the 905 as it’s called.
- This exercise with the People’s Party and polling done earlier in the summer shows that there’s a large chunk of the Canadian population that feels politically homeless.
- The Conservative party has to seek these voters out and add them to the base. The party also needs to go into traditional non-Conservative communities and court their vote.
- This means continuing to make inroads in Atlantic Canada, replacing the Bloc Quebecois as the party of Quebec nationalism in Quebec (the platforms aren’t too different), going into other Ontario communities like Whitby, Ajax, Windsor, Brampton, Kitchener, and Sault. Ste. Marie. This combined with a handful of seats in the GTA, recovering losses in Alberta and BC, would be enough to put the Conservatives into majority territory without a sweep of the Toronto area.
- The demographics have changed since 2015. This strategy builds a beachhead and once in government the party can do more to reach out to those inside the GTA and continue to build the base.
- Brian Mulroney did this strategy best, winning massive majorities. Donald Trump also employed a similar strategy in 2016, going into states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan which no one thought would flip. The only stumbling block is the roadblock in one's mind that a party has to stick to a conventional path.
- In one final note, the party needs to utilize its assets in the provinces. That means campaigning with Stephen Harper in the west. Using the Ford people in Ontario. Using Brian Mulroney in Quebec. And using Peter MacKay in Atlantic Canada.
- I hope that this is a nugget of analysis you have not heard anywhere else because when it comes to analyzing the Conservative campaign, most have been too busy plotting the future of Erin O’Toole rather than what could have been.
- Every Canadian election that happens, federal or provincial, I always tune in to the CBC election night coverage to see what they are doing. As our publicly funded TV news station, I feel like more people need to watch them just to see how exactly they are covering the important stories and news surrounding the election.
- One thing about CBC's coverage is that they always try to cover elections from all angles. They try to put their best and brightest anchors on the screen to show the results from a variety of ways, no matter your political affiliation. They invited a number of political insiders, including Lisa Raitt, former CPC deputy leader and cabinet minister, Gerald Butts, Trudeau's former principal secretary, and Ontario NDP deputy leader Sara Singh, for coverage on what the results would mean for each party. It also allowed for a bit of back and forth on how each party would react to the results.
- What this meant however, is that each guest did not get to talk for very long, because there were so many of them. The other reason why they did not get much screentime is because the host, Rosemary Barton, would periodically interject with her own opinions on the matter. During the election night coverage, I noted several times that Barton was being either biased in her coverage, or deliberately making bad takes on how the night was going. I have copied several of the quotes verbatim from the television feed, and fact checked them with the CBC stream on Youtube, so you can be assured that I've transcribed them correctly.
- Overall the beginning of the coverage was fairly balanced. Each guest got to talk a bit about how each party approached the campaign, everyone got their takes in, and it was only when the first results started coming in that you could see Barton start to lose track of where the rails were.
- When talking about the Atlantic Canada preliminary results, Barton chimed in with "The Liberals appear to be up 3 seats right now, which is encouraging...i mean, err if you are a Liberal watching this it's encouraging".
- Certainly one could argue bias towards the Liberals on that answer, but it could be she just misspoke. After all, even people whose job is to talk can sometimes get it wrong, right?
- Soon after we started getting results in from Ontario, before the polls even closed in BC and we knew results from Western Canada, CBC decided to project a Liberal government, though as Barton said, "It's unclear whether they will form a minority or majority". It should be noted that minority governments only become as such when they test the confidence of the House of Commons.
- Later on, when it was clear that Trudeau was going to receive about the same support as in 2019, Barton asked Butts, "Does he [Trudeau] get to be leader as long as he wants now?" Even right after the election there were questions about whether Trudeau should stay on as leader.
- As the results started shaping up more, we would see that not much had changed with the electoral map. Or as Barton put it, "If you're a political nerd, you'll see that the colours on the map haven't changed very much"
- Barton even insinuated that Gerald Butts might even still have a hand in the campaign. It's unclear whether she was joking or if she actually believed what she was saying. She asked Butts, "What are the lessons for Trudeau right now? Pretend he's not listening to you [right now]." Butts replied: "Believe me, he's not listening..." Barton: "Oh he might be!"
- Lisa Raitt then mentioned that with the election not producing a great change of results, it would amount to nothing more than a 600M dollar cabinet shuffle: "this is still going to be an acrimonious, divided parliament" Barton replied to her: "is it naive of me to think they'll be chastened and work together now?" Raitt: "Yes...."
- After O'Toole gave his speech, Barton commented that it was "a very strong speech after losing the election".
- When we finally got to the West, there was some surprise when Alberta turned out to be not quite as blue as expected. Map guy David Cochrane was projecting Calgary Skyview for Liberal candidate George Chohal, and said that Trudeau has an MP in Alberta now. Barton replied: "Good! I mean..err...good that we finally have a result"
- Barton may have been a good host, bouncing back and forth between anchor, journalist and political insider, but there were little instances here and there where you could hint at the bias underneath that raised questions.
- It was enough that apparently she received hate mail after the election night for her biased and preferential coverage.
- The Globe and Mail's John Doyle even took it upon himself to white knight as Barton's champion, producing an entire article defending her abilities.
- Doyle says: "Barton generates the kind of intense attention and scrutiny that’s rare in broadcast TV these days. On Monday, Barton anchored CBC’s long election-night coverage with aplomb. That is, with good cheer, a command of the issues and command over a lively, sometimes grumpy panel of pundits. It’s not an easy job. During an election campaign that sometimes resembled an absurdist competition for best village idiot, and lacked both wit and signals of leadership, Barton was someone who appeared smart and in charge.
- Doyle also related people who don't like Barton to misogynists, who don't like her just because she's a woman: "If I understand the mail about Barton – some of it is typed in a confusing, deranged fury – she made the grave mistake of interrupting powerful men in order to get a straight answer from them. The nerve. Clearly, the woman doesn’t know her place. And, further, she gives this skeptical look at powerful men and that, obviously, is a sacking offense. Misogyny is at the heart of the hate. The amount of scrutiny aimed at Barton’s words during a long night of live coverage, when everybody is bound to say something unclear or unpolished, is absurd. And the attention to her personal appearance would make God herself weep."
- Doyle ends with an acknowledgment that whatever problems CBC has, it's not because of Barton: "It’s a fact that CBC TV news remains a mess and that The National is more likely to make you roll your eyes than feel informed. But Barton is the best of it as it exists now. She made CBC TV’s election coverage bearable, and on election night she was buoyant, funny and fully engaged. Enough with the sexist, partisan attacks already."
- I think that it's completely possible to dislike Barton's coverage of the election because of her partisan nature, despite how well she tries to hide it. In any of my examples did I mention that I disliked her because of her appearance or because she's a woman? No! Those things don't matter. One could look like a troll in a potato sack and if they had good political points and coverage I'd still rate them above most of the Canadian mainstream media.
- We deserve better from our national media broadcasters, especially the CBC who receives money from taxpayers to operate. It receives more scrutiny because it deserves it. And to boil down that criticism to simple misogyny, as does most of the time with our media, misses the point entirely.
- This Tuesday Alberta’s Health Minister was replaced. Tyler Shandro was shuffled out of Health into Labour and Immigration.
- Replacing him is Jason Copping who previously held the Labour and Immigration portfolio.
- Pressure has been building for the provincial government to make some kind of move to address the COVID situation.
- As we’ve talked about many times before on the podcast, our COVID situation here is largely being influenced by cases in the unvaccinated.
- Those on the left, in the health industry, and in the media have been pushing for something to be done that has always been more than what the UCP has done.
- Those in rural Alberta and those representing rural constituencies are generally in the camp of wanting to see less COVID restrictions.
- This has led to a situation with Jason Kenney taking the middle of the road approach and pleasing no one.
- After our recording last week it was announced on Saturday that retail establishments and other essential businesses would be exempted from the restriction exemption program.
- What this means is that restaurants, pubs, museums, movie theatres, and gyms are among the businesses that can use the program.
- The million dollar question we asked last week, why is it that our healthcare system can’t handle the surge in COVID cases? We compared numbers with Kentucky, a state with private health care implementation and roughly the same population. In total they have about an 1800 ICU bed capacity.
- But as with all things, perspective is needed. Alberta was recently passed by Saskatchewan for most cases in the last 7 days. But the Northwest Territories and First Nation reserves still massively surpass the case rate in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
- On the note of deaths and ICU occupancy, all but about 20 of the cases currently in Alberta ICU are unvaccinated and since the start of the pandemic Quebec leads the death rate Canada wide at 132 deaths per 100,000 population.
- The death rate today in Alberta and Saskatchewan? 2.4 per 100,000 population over the last week.
- The healthcare system is being strained but we haven’t seen the death rate per capita since the start of the pandemic that provinces like Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec have seen.
- The mandate for Jason Copping includes three priorities.
- 1.) Increasing baseline hospital capacity permanently (this may include private or chartered options)
- 2.) Educating vaccine hesitant Albertans
- 3.) Preparing the health system to more adequately respond to future waves of COVID-19.
- On point 1 this has to be done. Our healthcare system has received increases in funding year over year going back to the Ed Stelmach government. Funding does not equal quality. When the UCP was elected, Alberta was paying 20% more per capita than BC for health services.
- Healthcare premiums were also eliminated by the Stelmach government and since then the solution until the UCP has been to throw more money at the problem without tackling needed structural reforms.
- For point 2, we need to be incredibly careful. An “I told you so” or fear based approach will not work. Instead, each vaccine hesitant Albertan needs to be reached by someone they know with a personal story and surrounding civil discussion. It’s unlikely any education program will convince the most hesitant.
- And for point 3, this ties into point 1 requiring an increase in hospital capacity but also anticipating how large the waves will be and if we’ll be surprised by any new variants as we move into an endemic rather than a pandemic.
- Many felt as though we’d see some sort of move by Jason Kenney in terms of resignation this week. Kenney is one of the most tactically focused politicians in the country and has never lost an election.
- The general sentiment of the so-called political experts is that those province wide are up in arms about the pandemic and that would be true, but not for the reasons they think.
- As such, parts of the UCP caucus are also concerned about the future in terms of the 2023 election and just how long the regime of restrictions will continue.
- And this is the problem, for many Albertans and UCP caucus members it’s not the pandemic itself that’s concerning them, it’s the continual reliance on restrictions with Jason Kenney’s middle of the road approach.
- Jason Kenney will face a leadership review in early 2022 instead of late 2022. This was a compromise made to put aside the concerns of many UCP members and MLAs.
- Many thought this would happen now but it appears as though it won’t happen until the spring.
- It’s at this point we remind our listeners that it is up to those UCP members to decide what happens with the party. The public at large, the media, and experts don’t decide. The media are framing it as though a wider group than actually does have a say, and they don’t. That’s why this is a big story this week. If you think you have an idea of what should happen, buy a membership in your chosen political party.
Word of the Week
Inconsequential - not important or significant
Quote of the Week
“Five weeks ago, Mr. Trudeau asked for a majority. He said the minority parliament was ‘unworkable.’ But tonight Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted. In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of $600 million and deeper divisions in our great country.” - Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, in his post-election speech.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Election to Nowhere
Teaser: Monday’s federal election doesn’t produce much change in party standings, calls for party leaders to be changed should be weighed carefully, and criticism of CBC’s Rosemary Barton may not be just misogyny. Also, Alberta changed its Health Minister.
Recorded Date: September 24, 2021
Release Date: September 26, 2021
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes