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Notes on a thoroughly disappointing election

This week's Market Squared is a stream of consciousness about why this election solved nothing, especially our grievances
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There was an election this week and in terms of the big picture it really didn’t change anything.

I saw a prime minister who started an election two years early with the intention of claiming a majority mandate declare victory even though he only won two more seats.

One federal leader is in trouble because he tried to grow his party’s base beyond the people who always vote for his colours, while another party leader is in trouble for doing her best despite repeated acts of self-sabotage from within her own house.

But on top of politics as usual, there’s now a spoiler, a far-right party that covers a gamut of political beliefs from classic libertarianism to something called the “semen retention army.”

Mostly, it’s a party of people that hate the pandemic, and also hate all the proposed actions to fight it. One candidate exercised his right to be a pain in the butt at Tim Hortons by not wearing a mask just two days after the election. He called it a “sit-in against segregation” and a “Rosa Parks moment.” Durham Regional Police called it trespassing and failure to leave a premises.

Reaching across massive misinformation channels to people who believe in a “plandemic” more than a pandemic is one of the big issues that was part of the election almost every day during all 36 days of campaigning, and more than four days after election day, there are still no real solutions.  

Housing was another big issue in the campaign, and all the major parties had a platform to deal with it, but we don’t seriously think that our local housing picture is going to improve, do we? Is fiddling with mortgage rules, or cutting red tape really going to help a family with a household income smaller than the Guelph median of $81,000 buy that three-bedroom detached home priced at nearly $1 million?

One might recall that in 2015 Justin Trudeau repeatedly promised that the 42nd Federal Election would be the last under first-past-the-post. The federal election system is something that’s entirely under the control of the federal government, but we’re expected to believe that they can co-ordinate with other levels of government and the entire real estate industry to have a substantive impact on housing?

On climate change, time is running out, but it feels like government just doesn’t understand the urgency. I feel like I heard a lot of hype, but none of the major parties ran on immediate action like stopping resource extraction, for example. They all had plans that talked about achieving milestones by 2030, or 2050, but almost nothing about getting things done by 2023, or 2024.

When it comes to climate change the only agreement was that there’s someone else to blame for inaction, it was like watching a shootout in an old Western except everyone was armed with keyword searches instead of six shooters. I saw an interview with one party leader who dunked on Trudeau for buying a pipeline but couldn’t answer the question about what he would do with it if he were elected.

In some ways, the Trudeau bashing was the most disappointing thing to watch in this election. I don’t necessarily have warm feelings for the man myself, but whenever someone threatens violence against our leaders, it becomes a reason to throw up another wall between that leader and the people.

Our leaders need to be able to hear and see our displeasure so that they know we think they’re on the wrong track, otherwise they end up in impenetrable messaging bubbles surrounded by yes men and women. One can be loud, angry, and even impetuous without being threatening. Throwing rocks doesn’t say you’re angry, it says you’re trying to physically hurt the person your throwing rocks at.

I heard a local candidate here say in one debate that he was ashamed that Trudeau is the Prime Minister of Canada. Really? One man who’s been the political leader of Canada for six out of the last 154 years makes you feel ashamed of the whole enterprise? My Canadian identity is bigger than one man, but it’s also bigger than hockey, Tim Hortons, and Drake.

I saw someone online say that elections are like Christmas for journalists, but it didn’t feel like Christmas, it felt like Monday. I opened my presents and didn’t see something cool, I saw something that comes with a lot of parts, and I have to decide how to put it all together without instructions. And by the way, the thing can only be built with parts in other boxes received by other people.

Adding degrees of difficulty is the fact that some people don’t want to share the parts in their box, they want to build their own thing because they think the person who wrapped the presents is trying to trick them. They think Christmas is a conspiracy, or a power grab, or they think it’s not even Christmas at all, and maybe it’s really Halloween.

The truth is that nothing’s changed, and this year, Christmas was just another workday.  


Adam A. Donaldson

About the Author: Adam A. Donaldson

In addition to writing his weekly political column for GuelphToday, Adam A. Donaldson writes and manages Guelph Politico, frequently writes for Nerd Bastards and sometimes has to do less cool things for a paycheque.
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