We have spoken

September 23, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Constance Scrafield

With Your Permission

Could be the money spent on an “unwanted” election was not altogether wasted, as so many claim, because it gave us, the voters, a chance to re-fresh our understanding of what each party stands for and to observe how those returning to Parliament and those going for the first time, deal with the new day.

First of all, congratulations to our local candidate, Kyle Seeback, for his win. Caring deeply for this community, he has been dedicated about the improvement of telecommunications in rural areas. He is progressive about the Climate Crisis and he makes himself available to his constituents. 

There is a great deal about the philosophy of the Conservative Party that is worrisome, specifically the doubt – indeed denial – many members have about the seriousness of the Climate Crisis gripping the world.

Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole, pays lip service to the status-quo of abortion in Canada but admits he will not quell the movement against it in his own party. Some 60% (a whopping number) of Conservative members in Parliament want to re-open up the matter of abortion here in Canada.

We do not have laws, as such, about abortion in Canada: no restrictions as when a woman can have an abortion; no conditions imposed on her, no questions why. There is only the affirmation that women have the right to control their own bodies, the right to abort their pregnancies, with proper medical assistance, which procedure is paid for by the public health system. Canada is the global flag bearer for the freedom of women over their own bodies and we should be very proud of this.

Erin O’Toole, still new to the job of leader, shouted and yelled his acceptance speech Monday night, mighty applause ridiculous at every sentence but he ended it with a threat and with anger. He did not accept any fault at being part of the reason Justin Trudeau called an election but it is widely understood that O’Toole indulged in grand standing, creating reasons to stall legislation that was agreeable to the other parties.

In my opinion, this election could have had a very different look if Jagmeet Singh had approached his candidacy with more wisdom and less misplaced ambition. After the Orange Wave created by Jack Layton, the NDP won 103 seats in 2011, making it the Official Opposition. Tom Mulcair took up the lead, subsequently reducing those numbers to 44 in the 2015 election by insisting that the NDP could form the government, that he should be the next Prime Minister.

Much more attractive as a person (says I), Mr. Singh was not going to become Prime Minister this time around and he would have been better off acknowledging that to, at least, himself. However, he would have made a very pretty picture in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition. If that had been Mr. Singh’s goal, understanding that it was highly likely Mr. Trudeau would win back as Prime Minister, directing his two-prong attacks primarily on the more deserving Conservatives and much less on the Liberals would have won his party more seats, taking seats away from the Conservatives.

I do doubt, flying in the face of commonly held opinions, that Trudeau really believed he would win a majority when he called this election. I suspect he was hoping to change the numbers more than were changed but the toxicity within and without parliament spurred a call for reflection – a need to take it back to the voters and they came; they waited in long lines. A friend of mine who never voted – voted this time.

The message we sent, we sent to every member of Parliament, namely that a minority is possibly more democratic than a majority government. It designates the responsibility on to all the shoulders: to be an active – a constructive, positive government, to rule cohesively, not as an ego-driven struggle but as elected servants of Parliament, there to perform and in a reasoned and equitable way.

Now, we expect less hot air rhetoric and more carefully considered contributions to finding the ways forward: to the best health and healing on many levels for this country, this Canada they all shouted and promised to serve.

We expect that the laws in place, which took so much work and worry to create and which see to fundamental freedoms will be revered, not attacked; not like the false freedom that ensures harm to others (specifically, against getting vaccinated and wearing masks). 

We count on parliament to proceed with all haste to dedicate resources and science to doing all that must be done to change how we live, how we produce energy, feed and house ourselves – travel from one place to another – to reduce our footprints on this earth and slow the global devastation. 

This election appears to only replace what existed: same numbers, lots of familiar faces but new ones too. However, it was also a firm rejection of the hopeless and dangerous radical right and a resounding call to focus on the environment.

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