Election 2019 - Whither Canada?

While the parties have been positioning themselves for months for the October 21, 2019 election, the official writ probably won’t drop until this weekend, dissolving Parliament and starting the official race.

Polls currently give a slight edge to the Liberal Party, but that can break strangely where Canadians are voting for their individual Members of Parliament in first-past-the-post races, rather than for a single presidential leader: When the election is done, they count noses, and the leader of the party with the most noses gets to be Prime Minister, unless it’s a minority government where no one party has most of the noses. Then the hard-bargaining for more noses starts.

Most of the parties are battling their own problems.

  • The Liberals (center-leftish) are recovering from the SNC-Lavalin affair and coming down from a Trudeau-mania high.
  • The Conservatives (right of center) are fighting their two-faced stand on so many issues: Disavowing the far-right while playing footsie with them; promising the Christian Right anti-abortion bills while saying that they won’t; scrapping environmental laws while promising better environmental laws (while being in oil company pockets); Andrew Scheer saying that he’s better than Justin Trudeau, he’s not Doug Ford, while acting like Stephen Harper.
  • The New Democratic Party (left) are fighting the invisibility of their leader, Jagmeet Singh, compared to previous leaders Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair.
  • Conservative sore-loser Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada is fighting that their party is full of racists. Well, he says that he’s fighting it… Hopefully they’ll split the vote with the Conservatives in a few ridings, allowing someone else to squeak up the middle.
  • The Green Party is fine, and will probably increase seats, possibly at the expense of the NDP.

Stephen Harper took a break from teaching BoJo the foul art of proroguing to make a fund-raising pitch, for the Conservatives and Liberals! Jogging Canadians’ memories of The Harper Years might not have been a wise move. Good.


Well the debates should be interesting. So far Trudeau is skipping several of them. Poor Justin gets in trouble every time he goes off script and he will be on the defensive justifying his governments botching up just about everything.

Sheer will try every position to try to not alienate his base. I expect to see him squirm his way through the debates.

Unfortunately most of the country will be too distracted by Singh’s turban to listen to what he says and the Green’s will be summarily dismissed as wingnuts because May goes off the deep end semi regularly.

I do expect May to sweep the debates if she is even allowed to be behind the podium, but not win many seats because no one wants her in charge.


He hasn’t committed to the Maclean’s (Rogers Media) or the Munk debates. Those aren’t the “official” ones. The Munk debates would be Conservative home turf (presuming that they don’t favour the People’s Party, which isn’t unlikely).


While the Munk Debates presents itself as a forum of ideas, Peter Munk [dead] has a direct personal stake in Canadian foreign policy. Operating mines on six continents, Barrick Gold has benefited from Canadian aid money and diplomatic support. The company has aggressively opposed moves to withhold diplomatic and financial support to Canadian companies found responsible for significant abuses abroad. In 2008 it opposed the recommendations of a business/civil society mining roundtable launched by the previous Liberal government, and two years later the company successfully lobbied against Liberal MP John McKay’s private members bill C 300 (An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas Corporations in Developing Countries).


Canadian elections illustrate perfectly why FPTP is insane, and why it is unlikely for a country to shift away from it. With six or more parties being able to win seats, there are so many ridings where a three or four way race will develop and give horribly disproportional results.

Nevertheless, nobody has abolished it, because everyone likes the system that got them into power.


I’m looking forward to having both a provincial and federal election this year because voting lines are fun.

Trudeau did promise to reform the FPTP system, but when he piled all the people advocating change into the same room, none of them could agree on how they wanted to change it.

I think that was by design, so that he could bury it.


Sounds like BC which came up with the most ridiculous alternatives so the referendum would fail.

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Hmm. Their site, using NationBuilder software (popular on the right), was created by Hamish Marshall’s Torch Agency. Hamish Marshall is Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party campaign manager, and Rebel Media former director. (He didn’t cut his ties with Rebel Media until after Charlottesville, so I’d rank that as footsie posturing rather than any real moral stand.)

Oh what a big ball of dung we conceive, when we’re not very good at that deceive thing.

Hmph. So what’s Hamish Marshall’s connection with RightNow, and will that be awkward with Scheer’s current anti-abortion waffling?


Gee, and who could have been behind that?


Maxime Bernier may be far right, but he ain’t all right. What the heck?

I mean, even if he disagrees with Greta Thunberg, unloading on her with all that abuse is kind of odd. What pushed Max’s buttons like that, or did his mask finally slip? I’d laugh if his Twitter account was suspended.

eta: And now he tries to walk it back. I hope he splits a few ridings, loses his own seat and crawls back under a rock, which is then crushed by a larger rock.

Exactly the same tactic was used here by the conservatives in the last republic vote, exploiting differences in opinions about how a head of state would be chosen.

While there are plenty of alternatives to FPTP, there are very few that are worse, even though the choice of electoral system is choosing which compromise you’ll make.

We have preferential voting which is fundamentally designed not to deliver the most popular candidate, but the least unpopular candidate. Additional candidates don’t split the vote but can help the more popular candidates by gathering up “philosophically-adjacent voters”. It does lead to pre-election wheeling and dealing where minor parties are courted for putting a major party first in their preference list and publishing it “how to vote” cards. You might see the outcome, eg RWNJs putting Liberal/Nationals first, but you rarely understand what the costs of those deals are.

That’s becoming increasingly meaningless though as more people are making their own decision about who to preference rather than being told whom to by their party of choice.


It seems that there’s some dirty fighting going on between the Greens and NDP. The Greens claimed to have picked a bunch of Orange jumpers, but that doesn’t seem to be completely true.

For a while, before the last election, the NDP was favoured to form the government, but now they have a hard fight for third place.

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I wonder how proof that app is against false data collection? (Asking for a friend.)

I’m not even Canadian and I miss Jack Layton.


So much for civility…

Side note: Remember Doug Ford’s two-step on the Greenbelt, where he was talking to developers behind doors, and then stepped back and promised not to touch it? He lied.

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Still waiting for the writ drop. Wednesday morning, I think.

And they’re off!

Ha! I didn’t know that the Rhino Party was back in business. They quit back when they were in danger of being elected.

“We’re just making jokes that you don’t get!”

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Good news for Cory @doctorow