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Nov. 29, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Analysis: Election is over, so let's get to work on pandemic, economy, jobs
MP Tony Baldinelli during The Lake Report’s debate night at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery. (Ron PLanche)

No matter what way you voted, no matter who you supported, no matter how happy or not you are with the outcome or the fact we even had a snap federal election Monday, the results did produce some intriguing storylines.

Conservative Tony Baldinelli substantially increased his winning margin over Liberal  Andrea Kaiser – despite fears that the right-wing People's Party of Canada would steal support away from the Tories. And despite a last-minute pep rally visit by the PM to the riding on Sunday afternoon.

As of now, Niagara's four federal ridings are again split, with two each going to the Liberals and Tories.

In the riding of Niagara Falls, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie (three more disparate and different municipalities might be hard to find), the Liberal and New Democratic Party votes held pretty steady – but did not grow from 2019.

The Green party, whose candidate Melanie Holm was mostly invisible, saw the hard work and growth achieved by 2019 candidate Sandra O'Connor (now a NOTL councillor) implode and evaporate.

The Greens were never going to be contenders and perhaps all the internal party turmoil at the national level is to blame, but their vote cascaded downward substantially (to about 1,300, from a high of 3,400 two years ago).

It doesn't matter whether you think the People's Party reflects your values and beliefs or that it is a haven for racist, conspiracy theory loving outliers (or somewhere in between), the fact remains the PPC attracted more than 5,800 votes.

That's almost half as many people as voted NDP in this riding and it's an achievement that can't simply be dismissed. What it means in the long term is anyone's guess. Will Maxime Bernier's party continue to grow? Will he be able to remain as its leader, having failed to win his own riding again? Will any of this matter?

Whether the party's result here and across the country is a one-time surge powered mainly by anti-vaxxers and small-l libertarian types who like to say they are "pro" personal choice, remains to be seen.

In Niagara Falls riding, the People's Party polled at 8.4 per cent and boosted its vote total by a factor of six. In fact, right across the four Niagara Region ridings the PPC had similar results.

But the party seems to be a small-town and rural phenomenon, with little voter traction in major urban centres, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. Will it remain a vehicle for people to express continued discontent with government or have we reached peak PPC?

Kudos to Kaiser and the NDP's Brian Barker for fighting the good fight against Baldinelli's version of the "Big Blue Machine," which has dominated the riding since Tory Rob Nicholson's first win in 2004.

As ever, once elections are over and wounds are licked, it's time to move forward. Sometimes that can be tough.

Enough talk of it being a needless, expensive election and a Justin Trudeau vanity project – it certainly was both. 

But the good people of Canada decided they were OK with that and rewarded the Liberals with another stint as Canada's governing party, though again with minority strings attached.

The key now is for the government – and our re-elected MP – to work on governing what on some levels seems a fractured nation.

The first task at hand: guiding us out of this pandemic (safely) and getting the economy and jobs back on track.

Minority governments can be highly productive, if all parties are willing to work together for the common, non-partisan good. 

Let's see if Trudeau and the Liberals learned anything from the 36-day campaign and resulting vote. 

And let's not head to the polls for another four or more years.