BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Winter, 2019
Liberals didn’t win, Conservatives lost
Votes cast against Scheer were enough to give the Liberals a minority government
As a result of Justin Trudeau’s broken promise, the October federal election was again decided on the basis of who Canadians least disliked.
The Liberal leader’s pledge that the 2015 election would be the last based on first-past-the-post could have changed that.
Canadians would and should have been able to vote for what they wanted, not against what they didn’t want.
A Leger poll found that 35 percent of all voters cast their ballot strategically to try to prevent another party from winning. This included fully 43 percent of those who voted Liberal.
In other words, the margin of victory for our new government was provided by people who were voting against the Conservatives.
This outdated way of electing our governments is profoundly undemocratic. The threshold for electing a “majority” federal government is a mere 38 percent. Our system guarantees that the votes cast by almost two-thirds of Canadians won’t count. They will not be represented in the House of Commons.
Pushing for change
With the Liberals 13 seats short of a majority of MPs, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is seizing the opportunity to push for action on key issues, including national pharmacare, affordable housing, student loan interest forgiveness, meaningful reconciliation with First Nations and climate change.
“The results of this election have provided an historic opportunity for Canadians to win,” says Singh. “I believe that will happen when New Democrats use this opportunity to ensure that the government finally delivers for people, and not for the super wealthy and powerful.”
Singh says Canadians sent a clear message that they want a government that works for them, and are not satisfied with the old ways of doing politics.
“The people we have been fighting for, and the principles we stand for will guide us in the days, weeks and months ahead,” says Singh.
“The NDP will be constructive. We’ll respect the choices Canadians have made in this election. We’ll approach building the new parliament with open minds and open hearts.”