My latest: no election now

There isn’t going to be an election.

Not anytime soon, anyway. Blame Covid.

For a while there, it looked like there could be. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had surged ahead of the leaderless Conservatives. His lead was big – big enough to suggest a Parliamentary majority was likely.

Speculation grew about a snap election. A referendum-election on how to respond to the pandemic, perhaps: big-hearted, high-minded Liberal spending versus mean, miserly Conservative austerity. A renewed majority looked to be in the bag.

And then the WE scandal hit. Trudeau’s mother and brother were caught receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charity. A shady, shadowy “charity” that had been handed a billion-dollar Trudeau government contract with no competition.

Almost overnight, Trudeau’s polling lead evaporated. Even without a leader, the Conservatives were running even with the Liberals. The Bloc Québécois commenced declaring its intention to defeat the government if Trudeau, his Minister of Finance and his Chief of Staff did not resign.

Speculation about an election surged once again – but this time, the Opposition parties appeared to be the likeliest winners, not the Trudeau Liberals. WEscam had changed everything. The former winners were looking like losers, and the former losers were starting to look like winners.

But there isn’t going to be an election anytime soon, and everyone in Ottawa knows it. And prorogation isn’t the main reason.

Elections are essentially great big job interviews. Candidates seek public office, and voters consider whether to hire them or not. As in every job interview, those doing the hiring – and those wishing to be hired – communicate back and forth. In an election, they do that via the media and the Internet. Lots of technology. It’s modern.

But quite a bit of our elections, still, take in the old-fashioned way: with candidates, voters, campaign staffers and elections officials interacting in close quarters.

Lining up to vote. Scrutinizing ballots. Counting them. Holding all-candidates’ debates. Knocking on doors. Shaking hands. Holding rallies. Coming to hear someone speak. Handing out campaign literature. Building lists. Putting up signs.

All of those emblems of elections – as antiquated and antediluvian as they may be – are still the way we do things. They’re still important.

But in a global pandemic, they’re also things that can get some of us sick. They’re things that make some of us die.

That’s what happened in Chicago a few weeks ago. During the March 17 Illinois primary, multiple precincts experienced Covid-19 outbreaks. Dozens got sick. One poll worker, 60-year-old Revall Burke, died.

Burke was at the Zion Hill Baptist Church, working as he had during many primary votes. He got sick. Five days after the primary, Burke was dead.

In other states, well-intentioned efforts to prevent voters and campaigners from falling ill failed. In Wisconsin in April, dozens of voters and poll workers got infected. It happened, said a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, to people “who voted in person or worked the polls on election day.” In the days and weeks that followed, many, many more got sick.

Anywhere primaries took place, in fact, experienced coronavirus outbreaks. It couldn’t be avoided.

The obvious solution is mail-in balloting, some say. But in the United States, the ruling Republican Party has literally authorized the removal of mail boxes in locations across the United States. They hope to forestall losing by doing that. And it just might work.

Up here, the same sort of considerations apply. We are simply not ready to conduct a federal general election vote entirely via the postal system. Elections Canada has simply not had enough time to prepare for that sort of historic change.

So, whomever is ahead in the polls – the Trudeau Liberals in the Spring, the leaderless Conservatives in the Summer – the same considerations apply. If you force an election, you are forcing people to participate in a process where they might get very sick.

Where they might die.

No one wants to take that chance. No one wants to be accused of indifference to sickness and death befalling the very people whose votes you seek. Not much of an election slogan, that: vote for us, but do it before you are dead.

The Americans have no choice: their constitution mandates an election takes place. And when it is over, Canadians will mostly agree:

The election can wait.

George Randolph is a good man

I know him, and I believe he is. Big heart, big brain, big dreams. Human.

Here’s his full essay in Medium. Worth a read, and worth a follow.


During our Western Canadian Tour, the company found themselves in small town Alberta. Quaint, serene, ‘friendly.’ Upon being apprised of our arrival, the sheriff paid a visit to our director to inform us that we were, in no uncertain terms, on KKK territory. To ensure our safety, it was suggested that I, being the only Black dancer, not perform that night

My presence imposed such a threat that the director and I agreed I should, indeed, sit this performance out. Faced with a daunting task, the director had to swiftly change the choreography by turning my duets to solos, all of which we managed to complete 3 hours before curtain.

The company collectively pulled together to make it happen; they put on a show in my sudden absence, and provided me with care and support in light of this horrible situation. While they danced, I stared at the inside of a guarded hotel room, ‘othered’ by an audience who couldn’t watch a Black dancer.

Since that day, in that room, staring at those four walls, I have witnessed countless experiences that parallel my own. The ripple effect caused by the murder of George Floyd reveals that anti-Black racism, police violence, and systemic oppression are still pervasive.

RIP, Bill Morneau

Back in 2015, some folks in Toronto-Danforth were pressuring me to run for the Liberal nomination.  They said I should go to this thing in Regents’ Park where some Liberal bigwigs were gathering.  So I did. I saw a lot of old friends there.  I liked that part.

But up on the stage, I also saw Chrystia Freeland and Bill Morneau at the microphone, falling over themselves to pay tribute to Butts and Telford.  They were servile and obsequious.  It was nauseating.  It was gross.

I left.  I turned to the person I was with and said I would not be running for the Liberals.

“These guys make me puke,” I said.  “They don’t believe in anything.”

Tonight, Bill Morneau tried to pretend he believes in something.

He doesn’t.

None of them do.

Dowd: why the smears won’t work this time

Column here.

Best part:

It won’t fly.

All those old tropes about castrating women are threadbare as Trump’s despicable attempt to recycle the birther smear he used to slime Barack Obama, this time against Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother. She was born in Oakland, Calif.

Biden looks confident for choosing an accomplished woman who delivered a haymaker in a debate. After Donald Trump’s petty vindictiveness, Biden rising above grudges is a lovely thing to behold.

President Trump represents the last primal shriek of retrograde white men afraid to lose their power. He’s a dinosaur who evokes a world of beauty pageants, “suburban housewives,’’ molestation, cheating on your wife when she’s pregnant, paying off porn stars, preferring women to be seen and not heard, dismissing women who challenge you as nasty, angry and crazy.

Even as Fox hacks lambasted Harris as “transactional,” Michael Cohen dropped an excerpt from his tell-all describing life with Trump as a mob movie: “I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.”