This is the 14th in a series of opinion columns on the 2021 Canadian federal election, written by Josh Lieblein for The CJN—you can find more in our section called Perspectives.
In a few short days, this mostly pointless election will be over, and the Jewish community won’t have to worry about whether candidates who publicly express antisemitic views will have a chance of being elected to office.
With E-day close at hand, I’m once again forced to confront the same reality that I always do after each election: that Canadian voters, Jewish and otherwise, who regard these exercises in democracy with barely disguised contempt and confusion (if they look at all) are far wiser than I.
We election-coverers try to get you interested in the goings-on. For us, they are worthy of interest, but you all have very, very good reasons for tuning out. So, given that we’re just gone through Yom Kippur, all I ask is for you not to hold it against me for trying—and I won’t hold it against you for not listening.
But please know that for the people actually responsible for this mess, the stakes could not be higher. We’ll have long forgotten about this election by the time the next one rolls around, but when that time comes, the players are going to be very, very different.
Let’s start with the Liberals. I haven’t written about them all that much this election cycle, but that’s because there’s not much new for me to say, and that’s mostly down to them positioning themselves as the safe choice.
Therefore, what’s at stake for the Liberals is: Can they continue to govern as though no one can touch them?
Let me state clearly, since there’s been some confusion: I regard Justin Trudeau as a Canadian politician without equal. Despite everything he has said and done, people still look at him and say, “Yeah. That’s the guy I want representing me and my country to the world.” That may be astonishing to some of you, but it is worthy of note and a testament to his skills. As he’s shown repeatedly, he doesn’t care what people like you think, and he still may be reelected regardless.
For the Conservatives, the question is more ideological (but then again, it always is for them.) For decades, we have been told tales of woe about how the CPC can’t break through outside of the West because they’re too gosh-darn mean and freedom-focused. Now, we’ll finally get the answer to the question of what if they actually ditched everything that made them Conservative and just went for out-Liberalling the Liberals? Can they convince enough Canadians that they won’t murder the entire country with AR-15s, COVID, and white supremacy? If they can’t, expect a shift right back to the hard-edged Harper style.
For the NDP’s part, they’ve had a pretty ideal campaign. They’re not panicked about their voters voting Liberal to stop the CPC, and Jagmeet Singh is promoting his party’s participation in a video game that’s a year and a half old. Can the NDP climb out of fourth place and convince their members that there’s a way for a left-wing party to stay relevant in electoral politics that doesn’t involve cosplaying as Jeremy Corbyn?
Will the Bloc prevent the Liberals and the CPC from eating into their Quebec plurality by demanding apologies for their treatment in the English language debate? Will Annamie Paul increase her seat count and spite the haters who tried to throw her down a well? And will the media spend the next few years obsessing over whether we should be nicer to the PPC’s contingent of gravel-tossers?
These are the questions that you, the voter, will decide on Monday, whether you want to or not. Gmar Chatimah Tovah!
Josh Lieblein can be reached at [email protected] for your response to Doorstep Postings.
HEAR more weekly election thoughts from Josh on Bonjour Chai