Advocacy Update: December 23, 2019
A lot can happen in a year, especially in politics
One year ago, life was very different.
Just think back to December of 2018. Back to the days when Andrew Scheer was still leader of the Conservative Party, Jody Wilson Raybould was justice minister and attorney general and images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India were the most embarrassing photos of Trudeau, most thought, were out there.
We had no idea what was to come. That Andrew Scheer would lose the election and resign, or even that the Conservative Party was paying for his kids’ private school. Gerry Butts was still the prime minister’s principal secretary a year ago. We didn’t know that Wilson-Raybould would accuse the prime minister of pressuring her to intervene in a criminal case implicating his entire office in what became known as the SNC Lavalin affair.
So what could the next year bring? On the surface, at least, the possibility for wild times are even greater in 2020. Until October, the Liberals had a majority mandate and with that comes some stability. Yes, controversies can clearly still break out, but the business of a majority government is usually pretty steady.
Not anymore, the party in power in a minority can lose that power. This minority is a strong one – the Liberals are just 13 seats shy of a majority of seats in the House of Commons; still, the possibility of a confidence vote always exists – hanging over Parliament.
There are a few reasons – at least in the first six months of next year – why Parliament won’t likely fall anytime soon. The big one being the other parties are not even close to being ready for an election. Especially after the past few weeks.
The Conservatives will have a leadership election in 2020, just three years after the last one, and we have no idea who will win. The Conservatives share of the vote in the federal election increased, and so did their seats, yet, even with the SNC-Lavalin affair fresh in voters’ minds and pictures surfacing of the prime minister in blackface – the Tories didn’t win the election.
At first, Andrew Scheer tried to say his party’s electoral shortcomings could be blamed on communications issues, yet, he appeared to admit it was more than that when he stepped down. The party will also be dealing with its own internal battles after it was revealed Scheer struck a deal to use party funds to pay for his kids’ private school (side note: this is not going over well with party members, even those who like and/or worked for Scheer. One former aide even called it ‘disgusting’ in a text).
The NDP are one up on the Conservatives in that they have a leader, but one down in that they don’t have enough money to pay for anyone’s private school. 2020 will offer New Democrats the chance to position themselves in the House of Commons and rebuild a depleted war chest. Like the Conservatives, the Greens will also have to pick a new leader, after Elizabeth May announced she was stepping down shortly after the election. The Bloc Québécois have a leader but they’ve been pretty clear an election is not something they want in the near future.
So the year ahead will probably not feature an election, but my guess is there’ll still be some drama. We just don’t know what kind. That’s the beauty of life – and politics: a lot can happen in a year.
The above is an edited version of an article by Vassy Kapelos is host of Power & Politics, weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.
‘Twas the night before Christmas
On the last sitting day of the year MP Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton) would recite a humorous version of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’. Rodger Cuzner did not run again in the 2019 federal election however; Conservative MP Scott Reid and Liberal MP Anthony Housefather have taken up the mantel. You be the judge on who’s rendition was best.
Anthony Housefather, MP (Mount Royal)
‘Twas the last sitting week before Christmas And who knew? That Cuzner’s Christmas poem tradition would be assumed by a Jew.
But whether we light the menorah or a big Christmas tree, Parliamentarians are asking for presents on that, we agree.
For our Conservative colleagues I know today has been a shock. In the spirit of the holidays l will go straight to the Bloc.
And for the Bloc leader, flush with success For Mr. Claus he had but one request. When flying over Quebec, please remove that red suit. It is a religious symbol and ugly, to boot.
For the NDP, pharmacare was on the list. It is supported by the government, but they have requested a twist. They asked Santa, who is known for passing out candy, To put dental care on the agenda. Would that not be dandy?
And when it comes to our PM We know what he wants, all being equal, No more hot mikes And a new Star Wars sequel.
I wish all members some holiday cheer. Enjoy your family and friends, and maybe some beer. And when we come back in January, let us see the light, Let us work together for Canadians and let us get it right.
Scott Reid MP (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston)
Mr. Speaker, the ghost of Cuzner past haunts us still on both sides of the aisle.
‘Twas just before Christmas and the six-week long break, Which after six days of hard work, all we members must take.
The PM could not nestle all snug in his bed Any time the election replayed in his head.
In votes he’d come second but of seats he’d won most He had new-found love for first-past-the post.
Far more voters had liked the Conservative pitch But we got fewer seats, which is just such a—let down.
The Bloc had 32 members including our Dean, Who seems like he’s been here since 1915.
New Dems really miss Layton’s vote-winning flair. They may even miss Thomas Mulcair.
We’re glad to be joined by our dear friends the Greens, Three MPs from two coasts. Sadly, no in-betweens.
An independent MP is now here from B.C., Who’s got plenty to say about SNC.
In a minority perhaps the best give we can give, Is if we all learn to live and let live.