Top Ten Ways the Election Surprised Us

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Now that the political campaigning is finally over, it’s becoming more and more obvious as to how the media failed when it came to covering the 2019 Canadian election.

I’m talking, of course, about the total lack of click-baity “Top Ten Lists”.

So to fill this void, I’ve created my own official list, which I’m calling the “Top Ten Ways the Election Surprised Us”.

Here it is:

#10  RIP Sunny Ways Politics

The notion that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was going to act according to “sunny ways” principles, emphasizing hope over fear, selfies over cynicism and niceness over meanness, was always more of a media-generated fantasy than a political reality.  Yet, I don’t think anyone expected that particular myth to explode as spectacularly as it did during this election.  Indeed, Trudeau ran a campaign so steeped in bitterness, it’d make Donald Trump cringe; essentially, he offered voters a stark and polarized choice, either you voted Liberal or you’re a terrible Canadian.  Not saying it’s a bad tactic, but suddenly Trudeau the “Care Bear” has sprouted six inch fangs.  Talk about a plot twist.

#9 Trudeau’s Gift to the Comedy Industry

At the beginning of this campaign I doubt anyone predicted the big beneficiaries would be comedians all over the world.  Yet, Trudeau’s blackface scandal, which erupted during this election, provided a bonanza of comedic material; Check this example from Conan O’Brien: “It’s smart of Trudeau to hold the election before Halloween, I mean why even tempt yourself?”

#8 Conservative Bashing Corporation?

Canadian Conservatives went into the 2019 election believing the CBC was going to be subtlety biased against their party, but the public broadcaster totally surprised them – it was blatantly biased against their party.   In an unprecedented move, right in the middle of the election campaign, the CBC decided to sue the Conservative Party for copyright infringement.  I’m betting from now on, the Conservative Party motto will be “CBC delenda est.” (To get that joke you probably have to be a history major).

#7 Globalized Politics

In a world that’s becoming increasingly interconnected, domestic politics is no longer simply a national concern.  Or so it seemed in our Canadian election.  As a matter of fact, in an unexpected development, foreigners took a decided interest in telling us how to vote.  For instance, we had a Swedish teenager come here to lecture us on the evils of climate change and, more importantly, former US President Barack Obama decided to publicly endorse his buddy Justin Trudeau.  But then again, Conservative Party Andrew Scheer was also endorsed by an American – himself.

#6 Progressivism Redefined

Progressivism was up until now traditionally associated with left-wing ideals.  Yet, during this election Prime Minister Trudeau made a point of embracing the progressive mantle, a claim the mainstream media didn’t question or challenge.  But if this is true, if Trudeau is now regarded as the champion of socialism, it means progressivism must now be an ideology that seeks to enrich, protect and otherwise coddle Quebec-based, super-rich, upper class, corporate elites.  I’m no expert, but I think that would surprise Karl Marx.

#5 Return of the Living Separatists

The surprising polling surge of the Bloc Quebecois in this election triggered an equally surprising surge of Quebec-pandering.  Trudeau, for example, tied his principles into knots over issues like Quebec’s Bill 21.  He also stole a little nationalistic thunder, warning Quebecers that unless his government was re-elected, the evil Anglo provinces of Alberta and Ontario, along with their greedy and unscrupulous oil baron allies, would crisscross their province with a labyrinth of leaky pipelines.  Watch for this to be become a new trend in 2020 and beyond.

#4. Low Expectations

At the beginning of the race, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s chances were rated somewhere between nil and non-existent, the only question being should his doomed campaign be metaphorically compared to the Titanic or to the Hindenburg?  But then his party started to inexplicably gain steam in the polls, meaning overnight in the media’s eyes Singh went from “The Loser” to “The Guy Who Might Possibly be Cooler than even Justin Trudeau.”

#3 Scheer Smearing

According to media reports, the Conservative Party possibly hired a consulting firm to allegedly wage a secret smear campaign against People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier.  If true, this is indeed shocking, but only because the attacks were directed against Bernier, who posed no threat, and not against the person who was a real enemy – Rosie Barton!

#2 Where’s Putin?

This is kind of a stunner: At no point during this election, did the CBC or the Toronto Star or the Huffington Post run a story proclaiming that Andrew Scheer was a secret Russian asset.  (Though I’m sure that’s coming.)

#1 Worst Election Ever

One common theme of this election was its alleged horribleness.  Columnists, pundits and journalists bewailed the election’s ugly tone, its lack of policy discussion, its bland superficiality, etc.  So it’s totally surprising that the Chinese Communist Party didn’t use this election as an example to bolster its “Democracy, it aint so Great” campaign.

Anyway that’s my list.  Do you agree with it?

I’m already working on my next list, “Top Ten Reasons Why Whichever Party Loses will Need a New Leader.”

Photo Credit: CBC News

More from Gerry Nicholls.     @GerryNic

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.

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