Higgs gambled and won big

 

Blaine Higgs rolled the dice, and he won big.  He now leads a majority.  He demonstrated democracy can work during a pandemic.  Turnout was even up from the previous election, despite the pandemic.  And no covid-19 case seems to have originated from electoral activities.  And he left his opponents in shambles.

After cornering the opposition parties into rejecting his proposal to unanimously prop up his Progressive-Conservative government until the fall of 2022, Higgs basically called a referendum on that very question.  On the yes side, the PCs.  On the no side, opposition parties dividing the vote.

There is no doubt the results of this election will be analyzed by provincial and federal parties alike.  Justin Trudeau and John Horgan, particularly, must like the idea of getting rid of the minority situations they are in, and they now know that it can be done.  They also know that, despite many clamouring about the irresponsibility of calling an election during a pandemic, voters don’t care much.  Life goes on, and so can an election.

Blaine Higgs will now govern without much care for the opposition’s input.  The PCs’ main competition remains the Liberal party, but they couldn’t even get their leader, Kevin Vickers, elected.  The former House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, a Canadian hero who along with Cpl. Curtis Barrett shot down the gunman in Centre Block in 2014, was utterly and completely defeated.  Outplayed and outmanoeuvred by Higgs, Vickers walked away without even speaking to his partisans.  Likely emotionally defeated and distraught, Vickers resigned immediately as party leader, a sad moment for a Canadian hero, slayed by the People’s Alliance in his own riding.

Defeating Vickers must have been a bittersweet moment for the new party, who lost a seat and is now reduced to fourth place with no influence on the government.  Higgs carried his minor partner around his neck through his first mandate, an anchor that was particularly heavy to carry in the northern part of the province, vastly francophone.  Acadians were already suspicious of Higgs because of his past anti-bilingualism statements, made during his bid to lead the now-defunct CoR.  Watching him govern with the support of the People’s Alliance, a staunch anti-French party, didn’t help improve their impression of him, and the PCs were shut out of the region, finishing in many french-heavy ridings in 3rd place, behind the Green Party.

But Higgs ne care pas.  He got his majority thanks to massive support in the anglophone southwest.  He is unencumbered by the People’s Alliance.  He now faces a leaderless Liberal party as official opposition, a party that will now go through a cycle of leadership race and soul searching.  For Higgs, it will not get better than this.

Photo Credit: CBC News

More from Karl Bélanger.    Follow Karl Bélanger on Twitter at @KarlBelanger.

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