After what seems like an eternity, the federal election is over, and the result was a decisive … minority government for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
It was what many pollsters had been predicting, but it still felt like an anticlimax, particularly in B.C. In so many federal elections, the result was a foregone conclusion while people were still voting here, with the Liberals or the Conservatives having already achieved a majority. This time, we were told, B.C. could be the deal-breaker, so hang on to your hats, British Columbians. Instead, by the time the B.C. votes began to be tallied, it was clear we were destined for a Liberal minority. Maybe next time.
It’s early days, but Trudeau seems likely to turn to a fellow left-of-centre party — Jagmeet Singh’s NDP — to help prop up the Liberals (the Bloc Québécois got a few more seats than the NDP, but Singh and his party seem more naturally allied to the Liberal cause). Whether or not this is a formal coalition (unlikely), a looser confidence and supply agreement — the same arrangement that the BC Green and NDP parties have — or seeking support from another party on a case-by-case basis remains to be seen.
As someone who remembers when all polls closed at the same local time — 8 p.m. — and there was a media blackout on finding out election results until the polls closed in your time zone, it was a bit odd to tune into the CBC at 5 p.m. on election day and hear about the results in the Maritime provinces while people were still voting here. The CBC had what seemed like dozens of pundits and talking heads on hand to pontificate about the results that were just starting to trickle in; honestly, I’ve been part of major theatrical productions that involved fewer people up on stage.
Even with so many people to throw to, copious briefing notes, teleprompters, and some fancy graphics to fall back on, there was an air of people desperate to fill time when nothing much was really happening. There was a palpable sense of relief when — at 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time — the polls closed in Québec, Ontario, and the Prairie provinces, and things started happening.
I had to leave the proceedings at that point, as I had been invited by the HUB Online Network to come on down and do some pontificating of my own. The HON had asked me to be part of their live broadcast on election night 2019, and while I’ve always been a print journalist, the opportunity to be a live TV political pundit has always been a bucket list item of mine.
Thus it was that, shortly before 8 p.m. on election night, I found myself in the HON studio at the Ashcroft HUB, where I joined Gareth Smart and Jessica Clement live. We were later joined by Grade 12 student Vivian Mclean, and it was interesting to hear her perspective on the election, the results, and the issues.
Although she is keenly interested in politics and knowledgeable about the issues, McLean (17) was too young to vote in this year’s election. I asked her how she felt about the fact that in the last election in 2015, only 68 per cent of eligible Canadian voters filled out a ballot.
“It’s really disappointing,” was her reply. “We’re lucky to be given so much say in what happens in our country. It’s disappointing when people [don’t vote], especially when people my age are so passionate about it. When people who care so much don’t have the ability to vote it’s frustrating.”
Had one party achieved a majority, McLean would probably have had to wait four years before her next opportunity to vote federally. With a minority government, however, all bets are off, and weary voters might be trudging back to the polls a lot sooner than they’d like. At least I know one person who — if the writ drops not long after she turns 18 — probably won’t mind one bit.