The election is over, but I had a series of thoughts to keep for posterity:
1/ On September 25, The Globe and Mail published an oped by Shachi Kurl, the moderator for the English debate. In it she defends herself, which is absolutely a fair thing to want to do. But she says she wasn’t responsible for the format, and then defends it. Says it was meant to reduce talking point answers. But it didn’t. I think at this point we should all recognize that no matter what it was meant to be, the English debate was terrible.
On the Quebec question, Kurl says she has no regrets but that it could have been phrased differently. Here is my question on this question, which took over the election for days, and in Quebec for possibly the remainder of the campaign, which party leaders pretending that Bill 21 – which essentially prevents minorities from holding jobs unless they give up their religions – is not discriminatory:
What was the purpose of asking the question?
It was very unlikely Blanchet would react any other way than he did. No other leader was going to step in – they’re all avoiding this issue as much as they can. The bill hadn’t come up in the election at all to this point. There was not going to be any debate about it. The question was put there to cause a stir.
2/ People are angry with Elections Canada for the long lines, people walking away, mix ups about polling stations.
Except Elections Canada warned the government about the difficulties they would face in a pandemic election. They would need more time, they said. They wanted more time to find polling places, staff up, allow voters to apply to vote by mail.
Luckily turnout in this election wasn’t the worst it’s ever been – hurray for 62.09 per cent. God help us.
3/ Every leader wasted time during this campaign not answering questions they should have prepped an answer for. Every one of them.
They all used up time in their media coverage by not answering questions they should have anticipated and had a good, prepped answer for – O’Toole on Kenney, for example. He refused to even say the man’s name and that then became the story. It was stupid.
Every campaign has lost the narrative by not having the right answer quickly enough. Trudeau on two candidates that should have been out right away – days and days he wasted on Saini, and now more time being wasted on Vuong.
How much would it have hurt Singh to say on Trans Mountain – look, the government has spent a lot of money on this project, there are a lot of good, union jobs there, we can’t just say we’re going to scrap it outright without going in and making sure that we have a plan to move forward.
Done, answered, no more questions.
I would love Jagmeet to answer the question about a minority Parliament and coalitions more openly – we won’t know what Parliament looks like until after the results come in, and then we have to figure out how we’re going to work together. It’s up to the new Parliament to come together and make it work.
Trudeau said in one answer on electoral reform that he wants politics to be less divisive. Great, let’s collaborate. That’s what a minority Parliament has to do. Deals have to be made – use what your opponent says. Take it and run with it. He wants to be less divisive, let’s do it.
There were opportunities throughout the campaign when a leader could have answered a question more simply rather than not providing an answer and it would have been over, rather than dogging them for days.
4/ Tax credits cannot take the place of real social programming.