A few random thoughts on a grey morning after:
~According to the deranged dominion's useless and government-subsidized media, Canadians' priorities in this election were climate change and indigenous reconciliation, and the breakout star of the campaign was NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
Back in the real world, Mr Singh's party lost over a third of its seats, and twenty per cent of its vote, and is no longer the third biggest caucus in the House of Commons. And, whatever voters may tell pollsters about global climate concerns and indigenous reconciliation, the real consequences of the last four years are a resurgent Québécois nationalism and Albertan alienation. Both are testament to what Justin's "sunny ways" boil down to in practice.
~As has often been said, Canadians rarely deny a party promoted to majority a second majority. The last time it happened was in 1935 - to R B Bennett's Tories. However, to the best of my recollection, during the '35 campaign old flickering silent movies did not surface of milord Bennett capering about in blackface with a banana stuffed down his trousers. As I pleaded three weeks ago:
Couldn't we have contemplated the sheer weirdness of Canada's head of government a while longer? On the election debate stage, [Trudeau] will be the only blackface devotee. Likewise at the G7 summit. And indeed at the G20. And Nato. If I'm not entirely confident about making the same claim of the Commonwealth Conference, it's only because Her Majesty's biennial beano has commanded the presence of some rum coves over the years, but nevertheless I am certain that Justin with his thrice-confessed blackface has worn it more than all the other prime ministers combined.
And yet Andrew Scheer couldn't lay a glove on the guy - notwithstanding that he's micro-managed and minded by some of the sleaziest low-down bare-knuckled dirty-tricksters in Canada, from Hamish Marshall even unto Warren (Catsmeat) Kinsella. These are self-proclaimed mean motherf**kers. But not apparently mammyf**ckers. If you can't make hay while the Sonny Boy shines, what's the point?
~In the end, the Tories increased their share of the vote by about two-and-a-half per cent - or less than one per cent per Justin blackface appearance. Chris Selley's summary:
It's not Scheer's fault the Tories lost. Blame the dreck that passed for his platform.
But Scheer's the leader. It's his platform, his dreck. His party slogan was a car salesman's pitch - but with no vehicle, only the instant cashback:
Plus. Pour vous. Dès maintenant.
More. For you. Right now. Unless you're a philosophical conservative pining for a bit of principle, in which case it was: Less. For us. With every dispiriting day of the last six weeks. Rosie Barton's life-sized CBC hologram of Scheer had as much substance as the real thing.
In return, conservatives are told: tough, suck it up; evasion and equivocation and the reduction of the party to a great wobbling vanilla blancmange are necessary conditions for victory. As readers know, I prefer Mrs Thatcher's approach: first you win the argument, then you win the election. Scheer didn't make an argument, and he didn't win the election. We're now assured that he kinda sorta won because he denied Trudeau a majority.
Not so. Justin is down over six per cent from his "sunny ways" sweep - and most of that went to other left-wing parties. That's to say, the day-o dauphin's support was reduced not by Scheer but by the Bloc and the Greens.
As for the consolations of a very narrow "popular vote" victory, aside from its irrelevance in parliamentary systems, the fact is that two-thirds of Canadian ballots went to left-wing parties. [UPDATE: See Mike Lyons' correction below.] Lefties, alas, have no shortage of alternative places to park their votes; conservatives had a choice between Scheer's supposedly electable vapidity and an electorally insignificant populist party excluded from most debates and damned as racist.
~What's the upshot of that? If you thought the last four years of progressive virtue-signaling was nuts, get ready for worse: Trudeau will survive in the Commons only by pandering to lefties who take climate fanaticism and aboriginal land acknowledgments far more seriously than the blackface narcissus does.
The principal victim of that, in this ministry as in the last, will be Alberta. Climate alarmism is a poseur accessory in most of Canada, but in the oil patch it has had real and devastating costs. Entirely shut out from the corridors of power, where bills will pass only with the consent of Dippers and/or Bloquistes, western alienation will increase - and Albertans will demand more than the insipid bromides of Scheerism.
~As for Quebec, Yves-François Blanchet fought the canniest campaign, especially considering he only became Bloc leader nine months ago. The party is back from the dead, and with the most interesting strategic tweak since its foundation three decades ago. Eschewing (with one exception late in the campaign) the Bloc's signature catchphrase of "sovereignty" (ie, an airbrushed separatism or secession), M Blanchet preferred to talk of "nationalism", thus moving his party closer to the populist flourishes of the CAQ, Quebec's very popular provincial government. Blanchet is not as hung up on banning hijabs as François Legault, the CAQ leader, but he's prepared to defend it fiercely on the grounds that Quebec's "racism" is within Quebec's jurisdiction. The other parties were already reluctant to confront the question, even before the Bloc's resurgence. No analogy is exact, but, as I've written, Europe's populist parties are basically fiscally liberal and culturally conservative. The modish open-borders exhibitionism of Trudeau is especially provocative in Quebec - the one place in Canada where the word "multiculturalism" polls badly and which antipathy may yet overcome their fondness for Jacques Parizeau's federal "booty".
~As for Trudeau's "victory" speech, he was, as he often appears, bonkers:
From coast to coast to coast, tonight Canadians rejected division and negativity.
Au contraire, that's exactly what they voted for, and what they'll get.
~Final thought: The modern Canadian state was essentially invented by Pierre Trudeau half a century back. Like his son, he won a first majority and was reduced to a minority four years later. He then bestrode the landscape for the next decade. I doubt Justin will. The difference between the two men is the difference between the glorious '67 centennial, on the eve of Trudeaupia, and the damp squib of the sesquicentennial. We are in the fag end of Trudeaupia, with Canada's most scorned and pampered provinces both seeking alternatives. Pierre's priority was holding the country together; as the last four years has shown, Justin is too self-indulgent and petty not to push it further apart.
~If you're a Canadian member of The Mark Steyn Club, we hope you'll weigh in below. After the election, the Steyn Club will be hosting a trio of November members-only events. For more information on The Mark Steyn Club, see here.