COMMENTARY: Political déjà vu or not, Canada’s minority 44th Parliament could achieve real change – National

Members of Parliament returned this week to a Home of Commons uncannily just like the one they left two months in the past to hit the hustings. The Liberals and NDP picked up a few seats, the Conservatives misplaced a pair, and the Bloc and Greens held their very own.


Within the inexperienced chamber, it’s déjà vu over again.

That’s led many observers to query the purpose of the entire marketing campaign. Since nothing a lot modified, this “Groundhog Day” election looks like a waste of cash and energy. I disagree. By electing a Parliament nearly precisely just like the one it changed, Canadians really despatched a robust message: not nearly what they need authorities to do, but additionally about how one can get it accomplished.

After 18 months of pandemic, amid tantalizing glimmers of hope it could quickly finish, Canadians confronted a historic alternative. Ought to the nation now snap again to some pre-COVID-19 ‘regular’? Or has the pandemic extra completely modified what we count on from our governments?

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Even earlier than the ballots had been counted, it was clear the latter choice mirrored a robust plurality of Canadian opinion. Even Conservative Chief Erin O’Toole sensed Canadians needed extra from authorities sooner or later, not much less, so he engineered a big-spending platform with deficits nearly matching that of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Events espousing an much more formidable imaginative and prescient of post-pandemic reconstruction received a lot of the votes.

So the message from voters is fairly clear: authorities should do extra, not much less, to maintain Canadians protected and safe, even after the pandemic passes (hopefully quickly). Furthermore, by returning one other minority, Canadians count on their leaders to implement this imaginative and prescient in a collaborative and environment friendly manner — with out the same old posturing and ultimatums.

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There’s an vital analogy between the present second and the consecutive Liberal minority governments headed by Lester B. Pearson within the Nineteen Sixties. Now universally considered one in all Canada’s biggest prime ministers, Pearson was elected in 1963 with 128 of the then-265 seats (wanting a majority). He’d promised a number of main new packages, however progress was slowed by minority impasses.

Ultimately, Pearson known as one other election, playing on a majority. He ran on an much more formidable platform, however nonetheless fell simply wanting majority.

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So Pearson rolled up his sleeves and acquired right down to enterprise. Tommy Douglas — whose NDP additionally received extra seats — pushed Pearson to go additional and quicker. It’s no exaggeration to say that second Pearson minority had an epic influence on our nation.

The shining achievements had been medicare and the Canada Pension Plan. However there have been many others: the Assured Revenue Complement, pupil loans, the Canada Help Plan, and extra. That point is now considered Canada’s “golden age” of nation-building.

May the subsequent Parliament emulate that expansive, costly imaginative and prescient? In fact, the world could be very totally different than in Pearson’s time. However each the necessity for visionary coverage innovation, and the capability to make it occur, are plain.

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The seemingly static final result of this newest election confirms Canadians need to see highly effective measures that make their lives higher — not simply throughout COVID, however after. And so they clearly rejected the standard political infatuation with balanced budgets that hamstrung earlier initiatives. These are historic verdicts, even when the seat depend hardly modified.

There are a number of initiatives on this Parliament’s agenda that collectively might represent a historic shift in financial and social coverage, not in contrast to Pearson’s second minority 44 years in the past.

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Youngster care

The brand new nationwide program will certainly proceed, and the stress will likely be irresistible for the final holdout provinces to signal on.

Employment Insurance coverage

Each single main celebration advocated for enhancements to EI. The pandemic reminded Canadians that dependable revenue safety is just not a “handout,” it’s a necessity.

Labour legal guidelines

A brand new $15 minimal wage in federally regulated industries comes into impact at 12 months’s finish. And there are different methods this authorities — as Pearson did, along with his first nationwide labour code — might leverage higher labour requirements.


Housing was a high precedence for voters this marketing campaign, and all of the events spoke to it. Massive initiatives to increase inexpensive provide might win help proper throughout the chamber.

Actual progress in these and different areas might put this Parliament down within the historical past books as one which made essentially the most of a difficult second. However it is going to take a extra collaborative, much less partisan method to transform these grand visions into concrete progress. No celebration desires one other election quickly. So it’s time to cease taking part in rooster and get the job accomplished.

Some even suggest a proper coalition to take the specter of one other election off the desk, and power leaders to concentrate on implementing the issues Canadians voted for. However even with out a formal deal, there’s enormous political and financial room for this Parliament to considerably enhance the lives of Canadians.

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Let’s hope the MPs shortly get right down to enterprise and make that occur.

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work, based mostly in Vancouver.

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Trudeau outlines his authorities’s priorities

Trudeau outlines his authorities’s priorities – Sep 28, 2021 | COMMENTARY: Political déjà vu or not, Canada’s minority forty fourth Parliament might obtain actual change – Nationwide


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