NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife Gurkiran Kaur wave to supporters on stage at NDP election headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

All things considered, the Liberal Party should be happy it held onto power Monday night, according to a political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University.

Stewart Prest said given the scandals that seemed to dominate the news cycle for Justin Trudeau, it’s impressive they held onto power at all.

“They do need to come away from this realizing that something has to change,” Prest said.

Some pundits have blamed the party’s loss of 25 seats since last election on its record on climate change: buying the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but keeping carbon taxes. But Prest disagreed.

In a campaign that’s been described as nasty throughout, he said the Liberals provided plenty of non-policy targets such as the photos of Trudeau wearing racist makeup and the SNC-Lavalin affair.

“Every government collects baggage along the way, but this government collected a lot of it in a very short amount of time,” he said.

The Conservatives shouldn’t feel too good about growing their seat total from 22 to 121, he added, because they were unable to take capitalize on Trudeau’s scandals.

Scheer was dogged by his own social missteps, which started when he did not apologize for a 2001 video clip that surfaced of him comparing same-sex marriage to counting a dog’s tail as a leg.

He was also noticeably absent from gay pride parades across the country, and failed to disclose he held dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship despite disparaging other Canadian political figures in the past who also held dual citizenship.

READ MORE: ‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

For the NDP, Prest said the votes they lost in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois are telling.

“The difficult question to ask is whether it had to do with [leader Jagmeet Singh’s] appearance,” Prest said.

In one instance, while campaigning in Montreal, a man asked Singh to remove his turban to look “more Canadian.”

The leader’s response to the man, as well as to Trudeau’s blackface photos, only added to his star power and polling numbers.

“I think people started to really warm up to him but it seemed like it was too little, too late.”

Cara Camcastle, another political science instructor at SFU, agreed that the NDP didn’t create enough momentum to shift the polls in time for voting day.

“I’m not sure how much surging there was. [The] NDP went from 16 to 19 per cent, so I think it was exaggerated.”

READ MORE: Singh calls for reform of ‘broken’ voting system after NDP falls short in Quebec

Camcastle said both the NDP and the Greens have an opportunity to affect decision making in the minority government.

“They’ll have a more prominent role… but at the same time, it’s a dangerous time for parties that don’t want to sell out on promises made to their supporters.”

All parties will have to learn to cooperate better than they did on election night itself, she noted, when Trudeau broke with tradition and began his victory speech before the other parties had finished their concession speeches on live TV.

Prest said the Liberals will likely bend to NDP pressure on social issues like Pharmacare and daycare before they let go of the Trans Mountain expansion.

“The pipeline is a sticking point, but the NDP will have to make a choice: Do they care so much about the pipeline issue they’re willing to withhold support on those other priorities?” Prest said.

“I think there will be a little of a dance and it may be an issue-by-issue parliament.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: 12th annual Port Hardy Wild hockey tournament finals

The Wild vs. Whalers and Warriors vs. Flyers from last weekend’s tournament.

Tyson’s Thoughts: It’s my four-year anniversary at the Gazette

I went from driving a forklift in a warehouse to an award-winning journalist in just a few years.

First annual North Island Christmas Festival

“If it’s a big success we can do it every year”

Port Hardy Secondary School girls volleyball team competes in Parksville

The girls volleyball team has a new coach this year, Kenzie McDonald.

33rd annual Rotary Auction raises $50,000 gross profit

The Rotary Auction is an annual joint project between the Port Hardy and Port McNeill clubs.

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

Most Read