[See Also: The Patriot Game Review: Fortune, November 1987]
Peter Brimelow identified the key pathology in Canadian politics in The Patriot Game. English-speaking Canadians essentially have no political representation in what is supposedly their own country. It's no surprise some disgusted Canadian patriots don't even bother to vote. Only the French in Quebec have a political expression as a people. Those who rule Canada have gotten around the problem of English-speaking Canadians by simply importing a new people.
Thus, we have a "victory" for Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, but one that will require him to form a minority government with the New Democratic Party headed by Jagmeet Singh. Rather amusingly, Singh is descended from an Indian independence activist but like so many people once under the Empire, his family fled self-government to live among the white oppressors instead [Gurpreet Singh: Beware of those opposed to Jagmeet Singh and his supporters, by Gurpreet Singh, The Georgia Straight, May 18, 2017].
Justin Trudeau will win a third term as Canada’s prime minister, with his Liberal party set to remain the biggest group in parliament, after Erin O’Toole, the leader of the main opposition Conservative party, conceded defeat.
However, with results still trickling in late Monday night, Trudeau appeared set for another minority government, forcing him to co-operate with smaller left-of-centre parties, and raising larger questions about his future as the head of the Liberal party...
While the opposition Conservatives led in the national popular vote, Monday’s result nonetheless marked a defeat for leader O’Toole who conceded defeat in the early hours of Tuesday. His centrist campaign failed to persuade enough voters to toss out the Liberal party after six years in power. The last time the Conservative party won an election federally was in 2011.
The progressive New Democratic party, led by Jagmeet Singh, was on pace to pick up electoral seats.
[Canada election result: Trudeau wins third term after early vote gamble, by Leyland Cecco, The Guardian, September 21, 2021]
The nationalist People's Party of Canada looks like it has significantly increased its share of the vote. However, it has not won a seat and leader Maxime Bernier appears to have lost his race [People's Party makes vote gains but not expected to win a seat, by Richard Raycraft, CBC,September 20, 2021].
The main problem is that the opposition Conservatives don't seem to have given people something to vote for. Even in defeat, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole gave an apologetic, almost pleading speech begging people to be nice to them.
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole started this campaign by introducing himself to the country as a more moderate Tory. So far, the results suggest Canadians didn't buy into the message in a big way.
Nevertheless, O'Toole stood by his approach during his concession speech and warned disappointed party members that another snap election could be coming soon.
"In the months ahead, as Mr. Trudeau gears up for yet another election, we must continue this journey to welcome more Canadians to take another look at our party," he said just after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"We will take stock of what worked and what didn't and we will continue to put in the time showing more Canadians that they are welcome in the Conservative Party of Canada."
[Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole sticks with moderate message despite falling short, by Catharine Tunney, CBC,September 20, 2021]
How embarrassing. However, there is an interesting regional divide emerging. Alberta broke hard for Conservatives, if only because they had few other plausible options.
The CPC continued their blanket reign in rural and smaller city southern Alberta Monday, easily fending off revitalized challenges on their right flank to do it.
Led by former CPC cabinet minister Maxime Bernier, the People’s Party of Canada proved a growing thorn in the CPC’s side in a vote-siphoning many believed drew strength from resentment over recently-heightened COVID-19 restrictions.
Here, there's an old and depressing pattern emerging. Conservative areas keep voting for the same people who don't truly want to represent them, but instead somehow outbid liberals (small l) in a contest about who is more inclusive. An alternate strategy would be to wage a powerful campaign explicitly for more autonomy for Alberta (if not secession or joining the United States) based on the Quebec model. Somewhere has to represent English Canadians, given that the national government seems actively hostile to the founding population.
There's also an important caution for conservatives and nationalists who think that opposing vaccine mandates will be a sure way to a populist political victory. After the Republican defeat in California and the results in Canada, it's clear that those who want vaccine mandates are willing to do whatever it takes to get their political opponents to submit. In a democracy, the side that is more willing to exercise state power against the "Other" (in this case, the "unvaccinated," who have become a kind of untouchable caste) tends to win. You either use state power or have it used against you. Personal choice lost in this election and an appeal to safety won.
Trudeau bet Canadians didn’t want a Conservative government during a pandemic. Canada is now among the most fully vaccinated countries in the world and Trudeau’s government spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up the economy amid lockdowns. Trudeau argued that the Conservatives’ approach, which has been skeptical of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, would be dangerous and says Canadians need a government that follows science.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole didn’t require his party’s candidates to be vaccinated and would not say how many were unvaccinated. O’Toole described vaccination as a personal health decision, but a growing number of vaccinated Canadians are increasingly upset with those who refuse to get vaccinated.
Trudeau supports making vaccines mandatory for Canadians to travel by air or rail, something the Conservatives oppose. And Trudeau has pointed out that Alberta, run by a Conservative provincial government, is in crisis.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, an ally of O’Toole, said the province might run out of beds and staff for intensive care units within days. Kenney apologized for the dire situation and is now reluctantly introducing a vaccine passport and imposing a mandatory work-from-home order two months after lifting nearly all restrictions.
“Hubris led Trudeau to call the election. He and the Liberals won the election but lost the prize they were seeking. This is only a great night for the Liberals because two weeks ago it appeared they would lose government outright something they could not fathom before they gambled on an election,” said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.
Wiseman said the Conservatives were hurt by the situation in Alberta. “The explosion of the pandemic in Alberta in the past 10 days undermined O’Toole’s compliments of the Alberta Conservatives on how they had handled the pandemic and reinforced Trudeau’s argument for mandatory vaccinations,” he said.
[Trudeau's Liberals win Canada election, but miss majority, by Rob Gilles, Associated Press,September 21, 2021]
My own takeaways, which may offend some readers.
1. Appeal to safety, not freedom, especially on health issues. Don't be afraid to use state power. The Anglophone Right is on the losing side of the vaccine issue whether we like to admit it or not.
2. Emphasize regional autonomy, the national question, and the necessity for English Canadians to have true representation. Frame the issues as the West against an unresponsive central government. If Quebec can have a soft-nationalist government, why not Alberta? Sovereignty is preferable to keeping the Canadian "union" limping along. If necessary, use the threat of secession. It worked for Quebec. Talk about immigration, culture, identity, and Affordable Family Formation, not vaguely about being respectable or whether vaccines work or not.
3. Don't kid yourself that this was a defeat for the Liberals. It was only a defeat in the sense that many people wanted a government that is even more repressive and left-wing. The Conservatives need to reinvent themselves or be replaced, not keep apologizing for existing.
I have little hope that Canadians (or American conservatives) will apply these lessons. Instead, they will continue to run apologetic, unfocused campaigns against progressive stalwarts who believe in their absolute right to mandate social behavior on their political foes. It's easy to see who will emerge victorious in such a contest. English Canada remains unrepresented. For those who want to think about how this can be changed, start with Peter Brimelow's The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities. The core issues have not changed, except that now the Left can count on countless Third Worlders to serve as their reserve army at the polls.
English Canada, like the historic American nation, needs a champion. They need to stop being the political equivalent of farm animals that are docile even as they are led to political slaughter. Instead, they must become politically dangerous, like the French have done. Will one emerge? Time is running out, but the opportunity is there for even one ambitious man.