The election is over, Thanksgiving is over.
What better time, then, to give thanks about what happened, and what didn’t, in the 2021 federal general election?
And, yes, sure: Justin Trudeau isn’t now in a job for which he is suited, like cleaning leaves out of gutters. He’s still prime minister, and that’s nothing to be grateful for, if you ask me (and you did).
But we still have things to be thankful for, electorally speaking. Here’s 10:
1) The Conservatives didn’t falsely allege they won the election. The Tories could’ve done what Donald Trump did, and does. They could’ve pointed to the fact (because it is a fact) that they won a bigger share of the popular vote than the Trudeau Liberals. They could’ve kvetched and complained that only 20% — TWENTY PER CENT — of eligible voters voted for Trudeau. But they didn’t. Kudos.
2) Canadians got to know who would govern them within hours, not days.Remember the U.S. presidential election, which had all the hallmarks of a three-ring circus, without any of the fun? It went on for day after interminable day, with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jon King standing in front of their infernal magic board thing, trying to keep viewers viewing. Canada? We got the results hours after polls closed, and then we got to change the channel to Netflix. Yay!
3) The losers conceded. Tory boss Erin O’Toole accepted the results with grace. So did the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh. Everyone was restrained and modest — well, maybe not Justin Trudeau, because he’s never restrained or modest. But it was all very civilized. Good.
4) No one made false claims about mail-in votes or ballots. None of them did. In the United States, post-vote, Republican sore losers were to be seen everywhere. They endlessly made baseless claims about election fraud. In Canada, precisely no one did that, mainly because the system worked. Merci.
5) No one called journalists “enemies of the people.” Trump, as despicable and dishonest as he is, built a flourishing career on calling every legitimate critic a purveyor of “fake news.” He was always on a war footing with the Fourth Estate. Up here in Canada, none of the politicians particularly like those of us in the news and commentary business, but they understand we have a job to do. Bonus.
6) No one cooked up crazy and/or illegal schemes to overturn the election result. Trump did — up to and including urging his crazier followers to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. In Canada, we had a few recounts in the tighter races, but the law provides for that. We Canadians just shrugged and carried on. Very Canadian. Very good.
7) Similarly, nobody called for the imposition of Martial Law. Sure, we’d like impose a better hockey team on Toronto, and better coffee at Tim’s, and better weather in February, but Martial Law? Isn’t that a law firm on Bay Street? Possibly.
8) No one sacked Parliament Hill.Sightseers took selfies out front. Tour buses cruised by. And construction workers continued working on fixing up the Parliamentary precinct, which is taking more time than the construction of the pyramids. But no one ran around in Centre Block, wearing horns, makeup and a bearskin hat. Phew.
9) No one chanted “stop the steal.”Because there was no “steal.” Not one of the political parties actually won anything — they all got precisely what they had before the unnecessary, unwanted election was called by a craven Justin Trudeau. But not one of them claimed that victory had been “stolen” from them. Victory!
10) Our elections aren’t perfect. Our government isn’t perfect. Our politicians, God knows, aren’t perfect. But we’ve still got a pretty good country — and, election-wise, we look a lot wiser than the Americans, with their whackadoodle system of picking winners.
So, give thanks, Canada. It could be worse.
Down South, it usually is.
— Warren Kinsella was Jean Chretien’s Special Assistant