Opinion: Time for politicians to simply do better

Generally, topics of a federal nature don’t make the grade for column material much, not because such fodder is not important but it is all about priorities and NewsNow’s priority is Niagara West and what is happening in our fishbowl.

Monday night’s election certainly impacts all of us, even though Dean Allison was returned to his seat in Ottawa after another decisive win. It was a strong showing, but not as crushing as others in the past.

The result, with roughly 45 per cent of the vote, was indicative of the unrest felt, in general, across the country.

Take your own straw poll of 4-5 people. You will find they supported a range of political parties and for different reasons.

This was a messy, at times nasty, campaign which teetered on the U.S. style of mudslinging and struggled to settle on a definitive issue on which Canadians could agree or disagree.

It was all over the map.

When that happens, voilà, a minority government.

The night was like many others I have covered. First, I checked out the initial returns from the East Coast, then headed to the winning candidate’s election night HQ, hung out until speech time, and then headed home to watch televised coverage until 2 a.m. or so.

My main point this week will focus on the speeches of the major party leaders: what were you guys thinking?

Jagmeet Singh of the NDP blabbed on forever. You’d think it was the first time he had control of a mic. The country is waiting to hea what the leaders have to say. You finished behind the wretched Bloc…take your three minutes and move along.

He seemed to not want to do that, so the Conservatives’ Andrew Scheer made his march to the podium and CBC cut to him…with due apologies to Singh, but come on.

Scheer had not said a word yet, when Trudeau walks out to upstage his political foe and CBC cut to him, as the winner, to hear his full speech.

For my money that wasthe right move and, afterward, they noted commentators noted this was not common- for leaders to talk over themselves – and went back to play Scheer’s full speech.

Pundits fell short of calling Trudeau’s move classless, but I won’t.

He has a reputation of being a cocky, privileged sort. He certainly lived up to that.

Commentators wondered- before he started – if Trudeau would be humble and recognize the voters had dressed him down for various shortcomings in his last term, or if he would come out guns blazing.

He chose the latter.

For me, when he said his Liberals were being sent back to Ottawa with a clear mandate I almost laughed
out loud.

Dude, you went from a decisive majority to a minority government. Maybe we can agree you got a mandate, but I am pretty darn sure we would settle on very different versions of what that mandate is. If he thinks the Libs are doing great, keep ’er steady as she goes, the Conservatives will win next time around.

Back in my days as president of the Canadian Community Newspaper Association, keeping the board of directors herded in the direction of a common goal was not always easy.

Not only did we have issues from across the country, as does the House of Commons, but we also had corporate and small independent publishers mixed throughout all provinces and territories, not unlike the mix or rural and urban voters.

A leader has to be able to relate to and gain the confidence of all regions of the country. Trudeau was given an opportunity last time and squandered it.

It would have been really good for the country to hear him say just once Monday night, “We hear you, Canada. We will do better.”

Then the country could have said, ok, he gets it, let’s see what happens.

If you’re in Alberta, which voted almost entirely Conservative, you are cheesed off because Trudeau just served notice you are getting more of the same.

Canadians have said the same was not good enough.

If the Conservatives want to do something about that, Andrew Scheer needs to do better himself. He made NO connection with Canadians and made several amateurish mistakes along the campaign trail. This was an opportunity lost.

Federal Liberals need to do better, just like Premier Doug Ford needs to do better in Ontario.

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