Monday, September 20, 2021 – La Minute Monocle
Opinion / Genevieve Bates
Canada goes to the polls today in a nail-eating bug – not what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party expected when he called the snap election just a month ago. As a Canadian living in London, I see worrying parallels with British politics. Erin O’Toole (in the photo, left, with Trudeau), the leader of the Canadian Conservative Party, upped the opinion polls by appealing to elderly and blue-collar voters, who traditionally supported the left but could switch to the Conservatives, who fuel the public’s disenchantment with the so-called liberals ” elite ”. O’Toole even hired strategic advisers who worked on Boris Johnson’s 2019 election campaign and is trying to rebrand himself “not your father’s Tory Party” – much like David Cameron trying to shatter the perception of British Tories as “the wicked party”.
Will it work in Canada? Trudeau did himself no favors. Undermining his chances of re-election is a whiff of corruption that clings to various scandals and the general feeling that his liberal views are a slightly worn mark of privilege, rather than acquired through life experience; the feeling that he is not a man of the people. Yet what is likely to happen is that Trudeau will retain power in another minority government led largely by voters in central and eastern Canada. This will only reinforce divisions across the country: between provinces, ideologies and demographic groups.
All the elections have fueled divisions to some extent, but the mood is particularly tense this time around. This is also due to the wild card, the People’s Party of Canada, which has established itself this year as a melting pot for anti-vaccination and ‘no lockdown’ views and expresses populist sentiments rarely heard so loud in a polite mainstream debate. . As a Canadian abroad with an idealized vision of my egalitarian home country, I can probably expect the status quo to remain. But my rose-tinted impression of the country as a beacon of calm, progressive politics has been tarnished by this campaign.
For more on the Canadian election, listen to Monocle 24’s Candidate Profile Series last week and tune in for today’s and tomorrow’s updates on “The Globalist.”‘