Canada Preview: Trudeau's Liberals Returned, Minority Likely

Trudeau Wins Again, How Big Unclear

If I’m wrong, there’s little reason anyone should take what I say with much seriousness. But if I am too cowardly to say in public what I say and believe in private, then nobody should give a damn what I have to say anyways. I cannot find a path to government for the Tories. Maybe one exists that I’m missing, I don’t know. But I can’t fucking find it.

If you’re sick of reading that quote, I’m really sorry, this will be (one of) the final time(s) you have to, but this was the last few lines of the piece I wrote at the beginning of the peak panic amongst Liberals about the election, caused as it was by the IVR pollsters getting wonky samples in the summer fallow period. The question of whether events changed the events, or whether those polls were always just shit, is one that we will spend many weeks and months fighting about I’m sure, but it’s not really important to where we are today, and that is a day away from a returned Liberal government.

I’m projecting a Liberal minority, one with more seats than last time but no more power than before the election, and against a weakened Conservative opposition, given the seat losses I’m projecting the Tories to sustain Monday night. I could be wrong, and maybe the Tories squeak their way to 125 seats. They won’t be able to get to 140, at which point they’d be able to credibly contend for some amount of power. Same as it always was, it seems. If you want to be optimistic about the Tory campaign, your argument begins and ends with how bad the polling was in the early summer, and how much O’Toole has improved since then. The counterpoint is O’Toole was considered by some the favourite before the debates (hey, Macleans, looking at you), and now he’s losing seats. I think his leadership is going to be under serious trouble, but your mileage may vary. Whether the campaign is a success or a failure for Jagmeet Singh’s NDP is also dependent on the baseline - compared to midcampaign, a roughly 10 seat gain would be considered disappointing. That said, he’s the first leader to make NDP gains since Layton, and he won more English Canadian seats than Mulcair did in 2015, and he should get another chance. (And a better staff, but I digress.)

The real winners of the writ period were the Bloc, who managed to find the stupidest of grievances to win their flagging support in the province, which is a feat that is both impressive and also soul destroying. Yes, the debate question was both moronic and offensive, but my God, how is Angus Reid’s pollster asking a moronic question worth changing the course of an election over? I mean, good for the Bloc I guess for pouncing on the issue, but holy mother of fuck, that shit was idiotic. Their surge has mostly meant that the results in Quebec will be very status quo, and that not a lot will be decided or changed there.

On Friday night, I announced I'm self-publishing a novel (I swear this is relevant, this isn't just promotion). The book - a story of a gay Canadian teenager leaving home, going south for University, and findong himself immersed in a new world - is one part political drama, and one part emotional rollercoaster. Obviously, I think it's well done, but that's almost besides the point. The one thing I didn't say in my tweet was the title - Salvation In The Storm.

The title's meaning in the story becomes clear, at some point, but it also works as a broader metaphor for the work I, and so many others who put out projections and make predictions, do. Put plainly, we are wading into a storm, attempting to predict the future while being unsure about the present. We are putting ourselves out there, and the downside is far greater in many ways than the upside. If you're in lock step agreement with the consensus, you get little credit for being right and only downside if everyone is wrong. Stray to a contradictory opinion, and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune multiply - trust me, I've lived through it. Be contrarian, and your upside increases wildly, but if you fail, you can be done for. Having lived on the edge of disaster 4 times before this - Canada 2019, UK 2019, US 2020, Georgia 2021 - I'm probably more than a little lucky to only have one fuck up, and even then, I didn't get wiped out. Once again, I've been living on the edge, and I'm exhausted.

Thursday, I hit the wall with this election, the moment where I found myself broadly unable to write about this election or frankly care. I've managed to run on fumes for the last few days, but this campaign has been exhausting, and I'm burnt out. I don’t want to make it seem like this column has been actually been onerous to me - I write columns as a side gig, let’s save the whinging for people who actually do difficult jobs - but I am at the point where I have run out of fucks to give here. It’s going to be Trudeau, it’s going to be Trudeau because it was always gonna be Trudeau, and if you bought the hype you were wrong. Trudeau will lose a handful of seats in Ontario to the NDP (and maybe the Greens, in Kitchener), he might get a couple of Tory seats in the province back, and he will make a handful of gains west of there. Can he get burned by losses in Quebec? Highly unlikely, and I’m treating the Atlantic the way it should be - with a healthy dose of caution on the polls showing a close race.

Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah is playing right now, and it is making me remember the last time I played it on a loop as I wrote an election preview - it was January of this year, and I was writing the Georgia runoff preview for my buddy’s site. That day, I admitted to finally feeling an amount of optimism, and I called my shot, that Democrats would win. Here, I’m doing the same thing. “I've done my best, I know it wasn't much”, to steal a phrase, but here we are.Justin Trudeau will remain Prime Minister, and the only question is majority or minority. There is no Tory path, and there never was.