Can Justin Trudeau Work With Other Parties on a Progressive Agenda?
Just before the October 21st elections, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's made a plea for progressives to vote strategically, this plea was echoed by many voices on social media and seem to have worked on Election Day as Trudeau won the power to remain Prime Minister.
The Liberals lost seats all over Canada, except for Ontario while Conservatives earned over 20 seats, mostly in the West. Overall, the Conservatives got a little over a third of the popular vote, about a quarter-million votes more than the Liberals.
Regardless of the close call, Trudeau seems to believe his victory was inevitable. Even while presenting his victory speech, Trudeau came across as though he thought his victory was a foregone conclusion. Justin Trudeau seems to forget that he won a national victory with the lowest proportion of the popular vote of any winning party in Canadian history. Even Liberal supporters were taken aback by the current prime minister's lack of humility.
According to a report on Rabble, while Trudeau was speaking, one core Liberal supporter wrote on Facebook:
"I'm sorry, but I'm listening to my leader, whom I support, saying we have a strong mandate. We don't. I want us to acknowledge that, and do stuff the 'centre' may not want, but people do. We're lucky Canada. We dodged a bullet tonight. But folks want us to step up to the plate. They want us to really speak for them."
“When his own supporters fear that he is tone-deaf and arrogant on election night,” writes Karl Nerenberg on Rabble, “a party leader should take note.”
The NDP, while having lost 20 seats in the recent elections, is thought to be the real winners in the elections.
Montreal political philosopher Daniel Weinstock, a professor at McGill, after the votes, wrote on Facebook that the NDP was actually the big winners in the election.
"The point of an election, "Weinstock wrote, "is to find yourself in a position where, when the dust settles, you can exercise some influence over the process of policy-making."
He noted that the NDP, "are the natural dance partner for the Liberals, which will heighten their visibility and influence over the next Parliament. As long as they don't succumb to the temptation of a formal coalition, they can retain their identity, push the Liberals in the direction of good policies like pharmacare, and then be able to claim credit for having made minority government work in the next election."
Regarding the party’s loss in Quebec, the professor says,
"They didn't win enough seats to make themselves indispensable," Weinstock wrote. "They are caught on the horns of a very unattractive dilemma. They can either play obstructionist, without the power to actually obstruct, and achieve exactly zilch for Quebec. Or they can play ball, and do exactly what Blanchet said they wouldn't do, which is to show everyone that federalism works."
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has already admitted to being willing to work side-by-side with the Liberal party, telling reporters, “A lot of Canadians wanted to see this government work with other parties. They need to work with other parties. We’re putting out some clear conditions, some clear areas that we think need to be advanced.”
On the night of the elections, Trudeau suggesteda victory for progressives, and now that together the three so-called progressive parties hold over55 percent of the popular vote, the important question becomes, can Trudeau govern collaboratively?