The Carnival Of Canadian Politics

At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the results of the by-election in the Toronto St-Paul riding were announced. Conservative candidate Don Stewart had won by 1.6%, a major breakthrough in a riding in which the Tories have not been competitive since the ‘80s. There is now a spot of blue smack dab in the middle of solid red Toronto.

Elections Canada blamed the remarkably slow counting process on an activist group called the Longest Ballot Committee, which managed to get no fewer than 84 candidates into the race, in a protest against Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system. The ballots were apparently over a metre long, and required extra time to unfold – not to mention additional boxes to store them.

The Conservative candidate was not the only man to set records that night. One of the protest candidates, Felix-Antoine Hamel, became the first federal candidate in modern Canadian history not to receive a single vote – possibly the first since Confederation in 1867. He was beat out by the Rhinoceros Party, which racked up 57.

Now it’s hard to blame the Liberal Party, which has been handed the tough job of defending Trudeau’s unhinged crusade to reverse a 20-point Conservative national lead, which he appears to believe can be accomplished by rolling out increasingly whimsical policy schemes. You have to wonder how he will defend his leadership on the doorstep in the next election. Let’s listen in:

Justin Trudeau: Before you slam the door, I understand that Canadians are hurting. We are taking decisive action to end the housing crisis.

Joe Canuck: Like what?

Trudeau: New research from the experts indicates that diversity is key to solving the housing affordability issue. Our latest program is to bring in construction workers and tradesmen from the third world to put up fourplexes absolutely everywhere.

Joe: Wait, why do we need all these apartments again?

Trudeau: Well, to house all these immigrants I keep bringing in.


To counter Trudeau’s agenda, Poilievre has weaponized the TikTokification of the public’s attention span by mounting a campaign consisting entirely of slogans – all rhyming, none longer than three words.  At packed rallies, he promises to solve the housing crisis by bribing municipalities to build, baby, build. Oh, and by “selling off government buildings” – for which he provides the explanatory image of “a happy family pulling up a U-Haul to the former headquarters of the CBC”.

I need not mention the NDP leader who rolls up to union speeches wearing a Rolex watch, or the supposedly Green Party which refuses to mention population growth – the number one threat to Canada’s environment.

Outside of the carnival, the public coalesces around common-sense. Polling indicates that 67% of Canadians want immigration restriction, 78% nationwide think the criminal justice system is too lax, and 72% of Torontonians oppose the renaming of Dundas Square.

It’s time for the silent majority to remind politicians that governing is a serious business.

Editor’s note: My Counter Current column is published once every two weeks in the Islands Marketplace paper on Salt Spring Island. This piece was published on June 28th, 2024.

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- Riley Donovan, editor

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