"For this we paid 600 million dollars?"
That was my first thought when I saw the results of the 2021 federal election. I thought that because the numbers of MPs for each party were largely unchanged from the outcome of the 2019 election, then everything was going to be the same. On second thought, I was wrong. There is, or should be, a huge change.
After the 2019 election, the NDP were in disarray. For the second election in a row, they had lost seats. Their leader, Jagmeet Singh, was still relatively new, and they were broke. They weren’t about to get tough with the Liberals because they weren’t ready for another election and because, historically, it is the party that holds the balance of power in a minority government that gets thrashed in the next election.
But 2021 didn’t result in a thrashing of the NDP. Indeed, they gained a seat. More importantly, it is to be hoped, they gained confidence. Climate Ken the Surfer Dude pulled his cynical and self-serving stunt by calling an election hoping to get a majority. Canadians did not reward him.
Maybe some voted for the Liberals believing the same “it’s the only way to stop the Conservatives” line, but that barely worked this time. No, Canadians won’t be rewarding anyone who causes an election any time soon if it’s just to try to get a majority.
So what should the NDP do to cement their position? First, they should demand a Supply and Confidence Agreement (SCA) with the Liberals. This won’t create a coalition; the NDP will remain in opposition to the Liberals, but it can serve as a basis for good, stable and cooperative government. The NDP mustn’t make the same mistake the B.C. Green Party made with the provincial NDP. The federal NDP must include a provision in the SCA that, unless they are defeated by a non-confidence vote, the Liberals must govern the until the fixed election date.
And what else should the NDP require to prop up the Liberals in the next Parliament? Well, they could make good on a couple of their own election promises. They could insist that the Liberals end all subsidies, direct or otherwise, to fossil fuel companies. This would save the 18 billion taxpayers’ dollars that were spent last year. They could also insist that the Liberals cancel the Trans-Mountain Pipeline project and save another five billion of our dollars.
The ball is very much in the court of Jagmeet Singh and his faithful lieutenant, House Leader Peter Julian.