“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” – from the lyrics of a song by The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Mick Jagger
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted October 22nd, 1019 on Niagara At Large
The choices for many of us in this federal election may not have been great ones. Some even found them disappointing and awful.
Yet, for more progressive-minded people across the Niagara region and across the country – for those of us who are demanding far stronger action on climate change and who want to see other common good services protected and improved – the results of this October 21st election may be as good as we could expect, given the choices and given the very real threat of a Scheer Conservative Party win.
In fact, the results of this election could be the start of a new dawn for more progressive action on climate and a host of other common good issues, from health care and education to fairer wages and closing tax loopholes for the upper ten per cent, if a minority Liberal government, the NDP and Greens can put one-upmanship partisan politics aside and work together for a healthier, more just and prosperous future for all.
That is where we, the people, come in because I don’t we should ever make the mistake of assuming that all three of these parties, all by themselves, are going to work together for the good of the people. We are going to have to stay engaged and push them.
Why do I say that?
If you managed to stay up late this October 21st to watch the CBC election coverage, and you say the leaders of the three major parties – NDP, Conservative and Liberals – coming out at the end of the night, almost on top of each other than rather than do the usual waiting their turn, to deliver their rah-rah speeches to the faithful.
One wonders if, in place of at least a little more sober, intelligent discussion and cooperation, this is a prelude to the kind of self-serving, counter-productive cacophony and chaos we can expect when they return to the federal legislature.
The prime minister re-elect, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, was up there at the end of the night, sounding as if he had just won another majority. I sensed little in the way of humility in his words except for one troubling moment when he acknowledged the virtual extinction of what little presence his federal Liberals previously had in the fossil-fuel industry provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and assured people there that he has “heard” them and will “support” them.
What does that mean?
There were political pundits and federal Liberal and Conservative Party operatives on radio and television news programs in the hours after the election saying they hope that means Trudeau and his Liberals will work with Scheer’s Conservatives to see that the Trans Mountain pipeline and other pipelines for carrying tar sands crude will finally get built to coastal ports.
In the wake of an election where he lost the popular vote and where many younger voters lost their energy and enthusiasm for him because he already spend more than $4.5 billion of our money on a tar sands pipeline, Trudeau has so far given us no reason to believe that he would not invest even more on what is, globally, a fossil-fuel industry that is slowly but surely being phased out.
During the election, Trudeau actually floated the idea of using some of the proceeds his government might make from investing in the tar sands industry to plant more trees for addressing the carbon pollution wreaking havoc on the climate. That sounds like proposing to use some of the tax revenue from the sale of cigarettes to treat lung cancer.
Why not invest the time and the billions of dollars that would be spent on these pipelines on helping provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan diversify their economies and build industries that have a chance of remaining relevant through the eight remaining decades of the 21st century?
So we, the people, are going to have to stay engaged and make sure that we push the Liberals, and the NDP and Greens, to work together be a world leader in addressing what is a climate emergency, and the many other challenges our communities across Niagara, Ontario and the rest of this country face.
It is not good enough for those of us who share more progressive values to now say; “Well thank God Scheer’s Conservatives fell short of winning enough seats to form a government,” and now we can just go back to posting pictures of our pets on Twitter or Facebook.
We still have a lot to do to make sure those who won a seat in this October 21st election work on our behalf, and on behalf of a livable future for future generations.
In Niagara, St. Catharines Liberal Chris Bittle and Niagara Centre Liberal Vance Badawey won enough votes to serve as second term in Ottawa.
Not surprisingly, Conservative Dean Allison won back his seat in a Niagara West Riding that remains a long-time stronghold for that party. Tony Baldinelli, who was nominated by the Conservatives run as the party’s candidate in Niagara Falls after Rob Nicholson decided to retire, won that riding where vote splitting between the NDP and Liberals has worked well for federal Conservatives for most of the past two or three decades now.
So here we go with a Liberal minority government, and let’s all work hard to make sure that it is laser focused on the common good of all.
Niagara At Large will have more on this later. Stay tuned.
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