Ottawa – September 27, 2021 – A viral tweet posted at 11pm on election night by Ahmed Ali reads, “This election could have been an email.”
We have, once again, another liberal minority government, with all parties gaining almost the same number of seats in parliament. Indeed, it was an expensive cabinet shuffle that could have been shared over a phone call, or memo, as the outcome revealed similar results as the last federal election held only two years ago.
Costing just over $100 million more than the 2019 federal election, this campaign has become Canada’s most expensive one. Additional costs were put towards ensuring that polling stations were able to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. But with this election being called in the middle of the fourth wave, many Canadians expressed their concerns about its usefulness during such unprecedented times.
This ignited some important conversations regarding the democratic process and a warning from some folks online that this type of cynicism might undermine the legitimacy of future elections. Still, it is worth considering just how many lives could have been saved with the $610 million spent on this election, during a time in which many Canadians are experiencing intense economic hardships, including job loss and evictions.
Perhaps one of the more alarming outcomes of this election was the way in which vaccination mandates and COVID-19 safety protocols mobilized white supremacists and their support of Canada’s far-right political party. While we can let out a big sigh of relief that their leader was not able to win a seat, we must meet this with caution and diligence in our organizing for progressive ideals.
Cynicism aside, the NDP did make important gains, including the Edmonton-Griesbach riding, in which first-time candidate, Blake Desjarlais, ousted the Conservative incumbent who held the seat during the last two elections. With the liberal government unable to make a majority, they will have to lean heavily on the support of the NDP to pass legislation. Within this context, working with new democrats will likely make this government even more progressive in their policies.
As we move forward with this new-but-not-new government, we must continue to be vigilant in holding politicians accountable. We must also be relentless in our demands for progressive policies and ensure we consider how our activism can make the most impact on working people, and those who find themselves on the margins.