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Erin O’Toole may not be the best man at winning elections. But boy he sure can spread a rumour like no one else.

With the tenacity of a prying neighbour or a gossipy teenager, O’Toole spent much of early November spreading the bizarre, unsubstantiated story that the Liberals and NDP were planning on forming a coalition government. According to O’Toole, such an arrangement between the two parties is a “radical” concept that would require “billions of dollars of new spending to buy Jagmeet Singh’s silence” making it a “disaster” for the economy. This would make Canada a “a poor and less relevant nation” and “threaten” both “the livelihood of millions of Canadians” and “national unity” itself.

It’s quite the story and O’Toole is quite the storyteller.

But make no mistake about it: it’s all a work of fiction.

While NDP MP Charlie Angus did confirm that Singh and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had “an initial conversation” about co-operation and shared legislative priorities, a Liberal source made clear that there was no “formal agreement” nor even any ‘talk to have a formal agreement.”

Singh himself reiterated this point at a recent news conference.

When asked point blank by a reporter about the coalition rumours, Singh could not have been more categorical in his response.

“There is no discussion at all of a coalition and that is a firm no for me,” he said. “There’s not going to be any coalition at all.”

As for O’Toole, well he’s the one guilty of spreading the rumours in the first place. Or, as Singh put it, “making stuff up.”

It’s hard to find much fault with Singh’s version of events.

Most formal coalitions require the sharing of cabinet positions. And last time I checked; Trudeau allocated no positions in his bloated cabinet for NDP MPs. If he had, we might have witnessed some truly inspired cabinet appointments, like Charlie Angus being assigned to Indigenous Affairs, Alexandre Boulerice to Labour, or Singh himself as Deputy Prime Minister.

But of course, that didn’t happen.

Instead, all of Trudeau’s cabinet appointments went to his cabal of loyal Liberal followers, leaving little possibility for a coalition agreement with other parties to be hashed out.

For Trudeau – a man not particularly renowned for sharing power or for reaching across the aisle and establishing constructive relations with opposition parties – this was certainly his preferred outcome. The same goes with Singh and the NDP.

For years, the spectre of the failed 2008 coalition attempt by Stephane Dione, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe has enveloped Ottawa and suffocated any enthusiasm or mindful considerations into the merits of a coalition government. Never mind that the chief reason for that coalition’s abysmal failure was more to do with the incompetence of its leaders and the inclusion of separatists as a governing faction than anything else. The Liberals and NDP still fear another voter rebellion against them, should they attempt anything even remotely similar.

It’s a shame, because despite all the fearmongering coming from O’Toole and other Conservatives, the formation of more coalition agreements would really be a benefit to Canada’s democracy. Not only are they perfectly legitimate, but they can help foster inter-party cooperation and dial back hyper-partisanship. Furthermore, when compared to the one-party rule of majority governments (most of which rarely secure over 50 percent of the popular vote) coalitions have the added advantage of ensuring that a greater percentage of voters are represented around the cabinet table.

The strengthening of democracy isn’t the only reason to consider the formation of more coalition governments.

In the current context, a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP would have helped facilitate and accelerate the implementation of more progressive policies in Ottawa. This would benefit everyday Canadians, yes, but also the political parties responsible for implementing said policies.

After two disappointing election cycles, the Liberals must realize by now that their lack of progressive achievements – the ones that actually bolster the socio-economic well-being of working-class Canadians – are wounding them. Its probably too late now, but the influence of the NDP in a formal coalition might have been exactly what Trudeau needed to cement a more admirable and robust legacy before his inevitable retirement.

As for the NDP, they’d have received more publicity for policy accomplishments, and would gain the credibility and experience of governing in Ottawa; something that they’ve long sought after. They’d just have to be wary of being swept up by the Liberal’s token progressivism – and being punished for it later at the ballot box.

Regardless of these and other potential pitfalls, the NDP, the Liberals and indeed, all of Canada’s political parties should really get over their fear and aversion to the idea of coalition governments. They’re anything but the “radical” notion O’Toole claims they are, and voters will recognize as much when the democratic rewards from them begin to accumulate.

Plus, it would just be nice if for once the Liberals and the NDP actually gave the Conservative leader something truthful to gossip about.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

Canada and the U.S. have long been great friends, allies and trading partners. At the same time, they both think independently and often follow different paths. When it comes to “woke culture,” for instance, only one of these countries has woken up out of its left-wing slumber… and it’s exactly the one you probably guessed it was.

America’s unexpected love affair with progressive politics appears to be a fait accompli.

Virginians elected Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin as its new governor over former Democratic chairman (and governor) Terry McAuliffe. New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy was nearly toppled by Republican businessman Jack Ciattarelli, while longtime New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney was upset by neophyte Republican Edward Durr, a truck driver who ran his campaign on a shoestring budget of $2,300.

It’s great to see the U.S. rediscovering its political sensibilities. Canada remains deep in the heart of wokeness, however.

What on earth is wrong in the Great White North?

Canada has always historically been more left-leaning than the U.S.. This, in turn, means it’s been more open to embracing progressive ideas like wokeness in spite of interludes from right-leaning governments.

Canada’s King of Wokeness (or Court Jester, if you prefer) is undoubtedly Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If there’s a progressive cause, he’ll find it. If there’s a new left-wing toy to play with, he’ll be the first in line to get it. If there’s an issue that requires heaps of compassion, emotion and fluffy rhetoric, he’s the politician to do it.

Trudeau took a knee for Black Lives Matter with cameras watching his every move. He talks breathlessly about women’s rights and LGBT rights. He demands that Liberal MPs and candidates must be pro-choice on abortion. He’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on environmental pet projects like a crippling national carbon tax that even U.S. President Joe Biden wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

The PM has failed on just about every front. The litany of Trudeaupian foolishness ranges from three instances of blackface, spats with (mostly) female MPs and cabinet ministers, foolish jokes and/or praise of totalitarian countries and Communist leaders, and the preposterous use of lines like “peoplekind,” “the budget will balance itself” and his critics “experience things differently.”

It’s definitely hurt him at the polls. Trudeau has only had the support of roughly one-third of Canadian voters in the past two federal elections. Enough for his government to survive, but a clear sign that faith in his leadership has declined.

Yet, many Canadians, both young and old, seemingly want to be part of Trudeau’s politically woke culture – even if he’s at the helm of this voyage.

Why? Canadians tend to be a remarkably forgiving lot, which is why the thrice-blackface PM is still in power. Millennials and first-time voters see Trudeau as being young, hip and more “with it” when it comes to their beliefs and values. Plus, his personal brand of wokeness is probably viewed as being silly, softer and less threatening than the violent mobs and political radicals that destroyed statues and burned buildings in the U.S. and elsewhere.

This largely explains Trudeau’s recent flag flap.

He ordered Canadian flags at most government buildings to be lowered to half-mast after the horrific discovery of more than 1,300 unmarked graves at the abandoned sites of former Native residential schools. The gesture on its own was commendable. Few would have batted an eye had the flags stayed lowered for a week or two to honour their memories. Instead, he kept the flags at half-mast from late May until early November – and refused to return them to full mast until, as he said in September, “it is clear that Indigenous peoples are happy to raise them again.”

Trudeau clearly did this to curry favour with the Indigenous peoples. Much like other matters, he’s been all talk and no action. Improving relations with the Indigenous community, a high priority when he was first elected in 2015, has been a large-scale failure. He even had the audacity to take a surfing trip to Tofino, B.C. on the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which led to a series of apologies for this national embarrassment. If he believed keeping the flag at half-mast would make up for his past indiscretions, he’s got another thing coming.

Other left-leaning parties enjoy competing with our woke PM, too.

The New Democrats decided its first big issue before the return of Parliament on Nov. 22 would be to focus on scrapping the House of Commons’ “archaic” gender-based dress code. That’s right. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh wants to do away with more than 150 years of parliamentary decorum, including male MPs wearing (oh, the horror!) suits and ties to make transgender, non-binary and two-spirit members feel more included.

In a time when politicians of all stripes should be laser focused on COVID-19 and preventing further economic decline, Singh, like Trudeau, prefers to deal with the frilly and silly.

When it comes to shedding wokeness, it’s abundantly clear that Canada needs to follow America’s lead and wake up – now.

Michael Taube, a long-time newspaper columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.