NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife Gurkiran Kaur wave to supporters on stage at NDP election headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife Gurkiran Kaur wave to supporters on stage at NDP election headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

All things considered, the Liberal Party should be happy it held onto power Monday night, according to a political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University.

Stewart Prest said given the scandals that seemed to dominate the news cycle for Justin Trudeau, it’s impressive they held onto power at all.

“They do need to come away from this realizing that something has to change,” Prest said.

Some pundits have blamed the party’s loss of 25 seats since last election on its record on climate change: buying the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but keeping carbon taxes. But Prest disagreed.

In a campaign that’s been described as nasty throughout, he said the Liberals provided plenty of non-policy targets such as the photos of Trudeau wearing racist makeup and the SNC-Lavalin affair.

“Every government collects baggage along the way, but this government collected a lot of it in a very short amount of time,” he said.

The Conservatives shouldn’t feel too good about growing their seat total from 22 to 121, he added, because they were unable to take capitalize on Trudeau’s scandals.

Scheer was dogged by his own social missteps, which started when he did not apologize for a 2001 video clip that surfaced of him comparing same-sex marriage to counting a dog’s tail as a leg.

He was also noticeably absent from gay pride parades across the country, and failed to disclose he held dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship despite disparaging other Canadian political figures in the past who also held dual citizenship.

READ MORE: ‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

For the NDP, Prest said the votes they lost in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois are telling.

“The difficult question to ask is whether it had to do with [leader Jagmeet Singh’s] appearance,” Prest said.

In one instance, while campaigning in Montreal, a man asked Singh to remove his turban to look “more Canadian.”

The leader’s response to the man, as well as to Trudeau’s blackface photos, only added to his star power and polling numbers.

“I think people started to really warm up to him but it seemed like it was too little, too late.”

Cara Camcastle, another political science instructor at SFU, agreed that the NDP didn’t create enough momentum to shift the polls in time for voting day.

“I’m not sure how much surging there was. [The] NDP went from 16 to 19 per cent, so I think it was exaggerated.”

READ MORE: Singh calls for reform of ‘broken’ voting system after NDP falls short in Quebec

Camcastle said both the NDP and the Greens have an opportunity to affect decision making in the minority government.

“They’ll have a more prominent role… but at the same time, it’s a dangerous time for parties that don’t want to sell out on promises made to their supporters.”

All parties will have to learn to cooperate better than they did on election night itself, she noted, when Trudeau broke with tradition and began his victory speech before the other parties had finished their concession speeches on live TV.

Prest said the Liberals will likely bend to NDP pressure on social issues like Pharmacare and daycare before they let go of the Trans Mountain expansion.

“The pipeline is a sticking point, but the NDP will have to make a choice: Do they care so much about the pipeline issue they’re willing to withhold support on those other priorities?” Prest said.

“I think there will be a little of a dance and it may be an issue-by-issue parliament.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

K-J Millar/The Northern View
8 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the Northern Health Authority

Since Nov. 27, there have been 191 new cases reported in NHA

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read