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Canadians lament C$612 million election that changed little By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Special ballot officers count ballots received via mail from Canadian Forces (national, international and Canadian Forces) during the federal election held in Ottawa, Ontario on September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Canadians woke up to a virtually unchanged political landscape on Tuesday after an expensive pandemic election they did not want, with many venting their fury at the C$612 million ($477.60 million) cost.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won the election, but it was unpopular from the start for its timing, two years ahead of schedule and during a rising fourth wave of COVID-19.

Trudeau won a third term, though he was denied the majority of the vote that he claimed he needed to win. Only three districts more than their entry into the election were in which they are currently leading or have been elected by Liberals, 158 of 338. To achieve majority, 170 seats are required.

The other parties didn’t fare as well, ending up with largely the same number seats that they had prior to the election.

One Calgary man wrote, “C$600 Million and all I got were these lousy pencils,” referring to the pencil that was used to mark votes.

On social media, “Waste of Money” was a popular trend as many voters were unsure about the cost and time involved. Elections Canada (which runs the election) projected it would cost C$110million more than the C$502 millions for 2019.

The election agency stated that holding the election in the midst of a pandemic caused additional expenses such as the counting of a flood, single-use pencils, hand sanitizer and mask supplies, and the supply of multiple-use pencils.

Each party was allowed to use C$30million of its own funds for the campaign.

Also, the vote occurred as Liberals had accumulated a record-breaking national debt of C$1 Trillion ($785 Billion) in order to control the pandemic. This has pushed budget deficits at levels not seen since World War Two.

Sheila Colla is an associate professor in environmental studies at York University. She worries about how much it will cost the earth to travel through one of the largest countries on the planet.

Reporters and top leaders flew all over the country while fossil fuels were burned. “Electoral 44 was an extremely wasteful (Liberal), vanity project,” she stated.

Trudeau is in office since 2015 and stated in his win speech that he had a mandate from Canadians to manage the pandemic.

Trudeau admitted last week that it was not popular to hold an election when infections grow.

“I understand the frustration that some people are feeling,” he told supporters. “They just want things to get back to normal and an election isn’t getting back to normal.”

Angus Reid was the chairman of the named polling institute. He said that the election had left the political landscape unchanged.

Nothing happened!” Trudeau won less than one-third popular vote. The election is considered a victory by Trudeau.

A second election could be in the future, since minority governments rarely last very long. Trudeau indicated this month that another election could be called in 18-months if nobody wins a majority of the parliamentary seats.

“(It’s) almost as if Canadians spelled out, ‘we don’t want an election now’ with their votes,” Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said of Monday’s result.

($1 = 1.2814 Canadian dollars)