Jim Furlong: Oh My, Canada!

Jim Furlong: Oh My, Canada!

You know there are worse things that could have happened than electing a minority Liberal government. It is first of all a strong minority. Just a little help for the Liberals on individual policy issues from the New Democrats or elsewhere and they are fine. 

There will be of course a recognition of the goals of other parties. There had better be for the wounded Liberals or they won’t be the government. Justin Trudeau is today still Prime Minister and doesn’t look like he’s going out of office anytime soon; SNC-Lavelin, costumes for the PM, and other things notwithstanding. 

Ungracious in defeat

The Liberals can govern with some authority. As an aside a Liberal/NDP partnership might just get us national pharmacare. Minority governments can be marvelous.  

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer seems further away from the top job.  Faced with a Trudeau-led Liberal party wounded by various political reverses Scheer still couldn’t beat him and seemed ungracious in defeat talking  about being ready to take over when Justin Trudeau fell. Well don’t hold your breath, Andrew. 

He should be more careful about how he carries himself after a defeat. Speaking of defeat, I thought full marks went to Nick Whalen. 

He was most gracious in losing to Jack Harris just as Harris himself was gracious last time round when Whalen won.

This could be a long-complicated analysis here, but I’ll keep it simple and just tell you some things that are true from where I sit. The NDP didn’t win St. John’s East … Jack Harris did.  Joedy Wall  as a strong candidate for the Conservatives didn’t help Nick Whalen. Jack Harris polled approximately the same number of votes as in 2015. This time Wall took votes from Whalen. 

Broaden the footprint 

On the national scene the Conservatives did poorly in Atlantic Canada, in Quebec, and in Ontario. You can’t possibly be the government of Canada if you lose all those three areas. You can do okay, but you can’t win.  Another matter for them to consider is how big an issue climate change has become. They need to get that on their agenda and also start going to Gay Pride parades. If they just keep playing to their base they will never win. They must broaden their footprint.

The Liberals also had 30 odd seats more than the Conservatives. They didn’t win by one or two. We were told by the media coming up to election day that the Conservatives could win and the NDP was surging. In fact, the NDP tanked and are now a fourth-place party while the Conservatives stumbled in the last 72 hours, but it wasn’t the Conservatives or the NDP that kept the Liberals from a majority. It was the surge of nationalism in Quebec expressed through the Bloc Quebecois. 

Here’s the bad news though. Canada is fractured. It has become a nation of regional interests. Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Quebec, the  prairies and British Columbia all pulling in different directions. That is not good for us although six of our seven seats went Liberal. 

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: jfurlong@ntv.ca

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