2021 Canadian election result — this time opinion polls were close : another Liberal minority government like in 2019

Sep 21st, 2021 | By | Category: In Brief
“The Science of Everything” by Michael Seward, September 2021.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, EAST TORONTO OFFICE. TUESDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2021, 1:00 AM ET. [UPDATED SEP 24]. There isn”™t a lot to say about the results of the September 20, 2021 Canadian federal election. It has all gone as the smart money and the pollsters pretty much expected.

The exact numbers will not be altogether clear for a while yet, as a result of counting complications in a pandemic election. But it is clear that the Trudeau Liberals have won a second minority government.

(See, eg, “Canadians have re-elected a Liberal minority government, CBC News projects” and “Liberals win minority government in 2021 federal election.”)

As we write an hour after midnight on September 21, both the CBC and CTV News sites are reporting Liberals elected or leading in 156 seats, Conservatives in 121, Bloc Québécois 32, NDP 27, and Greens 2. [UPDATES : As of the afternoon on September 21, the numbers reported are LIB 158, CON 119, BQ 34, NDP 25, GRN 2. As of the early afternoon on September 24 : LIB 159, CON 119, BQ 33, NDP 25, GRN 2.]

At the same time the Conservatives with their hordes of votes on the Prairies (and esp in Alberta and Saskatchewan), have a somewhat greater share of the Canada-wide popular vote than the Liberals. (At the moment 34% versus 32%. [UPDATE : As of the early afternoon on September 24 : CON 33.7%, LIB 32.6%, NDP 17.8%, BQ 7.7%, PPC 5.0%, GRN 2.3%.])

As already widely noted in earlier reports of opinion poll projections, these numbers are also remarkably similar to the results of the 2019 election : Liberals 157 seats, Conservatives 121, Bloc Québécois 32, NDP 24, Greens 3, and Other 1. (And in 2019 the Conservatives had 34% of the Canada-wide vote versus 33% for the Liberals.)

The Canadian people, that is to say, have been given a chance to revisit the decisions about who is to run the country they made in 2019, before COVID-19 first struck in the late winter and early spring of 2020.

They have replied that in 2021 they are finally still happy with the arrangements they made in 2019 – a Liberal minority government that often relies on support from New Democrats for the parliamentary majorities needed to pass legislation and bless budgets.

PM Justin Trudeau captured all this nicely enough in his short, sweet, and confident early morning response to the election of his second minority government : the Canadian people have chosen or reaffirmed their commitment to a “progressive plan” for the near future.

(And it is true enough that the combined Liberal-NDP-Green vote this time around was about 52% – and a substantial chunk of the almost 8% of Canadians who voted for the Bloc Québécois would no doubt endorse the progressive plan as well. In the 2021 campaign even the O’Toole Conservatives were making frequent progressive-sounding noises.)

As for how to deal shrewdly with one”™s second minority government Mr. Trudeau may want to ponder the experience of two first ministers from across the aisle. The first and most recent is the Stephen Harper who finally managed to turn his second minority government of 2008 into a majority government in 2011.

Rare photo of jazz great Charlie Parker playing tenor instead of his usual alto sax.

The second and perhaps more congenial and authentically old-school “Progressive Conservative” historical case is former Ontario Premier William Davis, who managed to turn his second minority government of 1977 into a majority government in 1981.

Meanwhile in the larger Canadian democracy it is presumably incumbent on everyone involved to help bring the progressive plan the people have voted for to life, possibly for even as long as the next four years until the next legislated fixed date election in 2025?? Or until the opposition parties collectively decide to defeat the government in the House??

Like everyone else we”™re glad the election is over. But maybe it will prove more useful in retrospect than when it happened. As Prime Minister Trudeau also observed, it has shown the strength of “our democracy and institutions” in challenging times. (Up to and especially including the many free and democratic citizens, waiting in socially distanced lines to vote under pandemic rules.)

Now, if only today”™s House of Commons in Ottawa wasn”™t so often such a hard-to-watch Animal House movie … Wouldn”™t it be wonderful to look forward to some genuinely constructive debate on our many important public problems … Maybe the Canadian people who voted on September 20, 2021 have given a mandate for something like that too ????

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 24 : See updates of election results above. It has also come to our attention that the great Charlie Parker in the above photo can (maybe) be heard playing a rare tenor solo in the middle of the Lionel Hampton band’s 1953–54 recording of “Red Light Blues,” thanks to the 21st century musical marvels of YouTube!

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