What are some of the observations that can be made about the results of this federal election from a grassroots activist perspective?
1. The electoral system is broken.
As we all know, the seat count would have looked very different under proportional representation. For instance, the NDP would have won 54 seats (rather than 24) and the Greens would have won 22 seats (rather than 3).
2. The Conservatives were stopped, but won the vote.
We'll need to contend with the fact that the Conservatives beat the Liberals in terms of the popular share of the vote as well as winning almost 250,000 more votes than the Liberals.
3. It doesn't spell the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Could the NDP and the Greens make cancelling the pipeline a condition of their support in the House? It doesn't appear that way right now, plus as was pointed out by other observers, the Conservatives would likely back the Liberals in any vote that might come up in the House on this. We'll need to be on the land to win this.
4. The SNC-Lavalin scandal isn't going away.
Given that Jody Wilson-Raybould won her seat as an Independent and a minority government means the opposition parties control the standing committees (and call witnesses, etc.), this story is likely to continue.
5. Highs and lows.
It was great to see NDP candidate Leah Gazan elected in Manitoba and a new Green MP in New Brunswick. It was disappointing that Svend Robinson didn't win in Burnaby and that (even had the NDP and Green votes been combined in Ottawa Centre) that Catherine McKenna still won even after she approved a tar sands pipeline.
6. Opportunities for a Green New Deal.
The outcome of the election doesn't suggest that the stage has been set to win a bold Green New Deal, but hopefully the "balance of power" equation suggests we could maybe carve out a few important gains on this front, ideally pushing harder on the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.
7. Colonial violence continues.
Just days before the election, Tiny House Warriors Kanahus Manuel and Isha Jules were arrested for defending Secwepemc territory against the Trans Mountain pipeline. Kanahus' wrist was reportedly broken by the RCMP and she was transported 200 kilometres in the back of a police wagon without medical attention.
8. The average lifespan of a minority government.
The average lifespan of a minority government is generally 18 to 24 months. We'll see how that pans out, but it is at least conceivable/likely that there will be another election within four years. How do we better prepare for that fight two years down the road as the climate crisis further intensifies?
In the meantime, here's to continued activism!
As the great progressive Howard Zinn wrote, "Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens."
Brent Patterson is a writer and political activist. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Image: Leafsfan67/Wikimedia Commons
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