Liberal Party wins the federal election: results unchanged since 2019

Meanwhile, Concordia University witnessed a rather smooth voting procedure on both campuses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue to lead the country with a minority government, as the Liberal Party won 159 seats on Sept. 20, coming 11 short of a majority. The Conservative Party, led by Erin O’Toole, remains the official opposition with a total of 119 seats.

Costing Canadians an estimated $610 million, the 2021 federal election ended up more expensive than any other in Canadian history, surpassing the 2019 election costs by $100 million. Despite winning two additional seats, the Liberal Party was unable to reach a majority — an objective that pushed Trudeau to call a snap election just two years into his term.

“You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic, and to the brighter days ahead, and my friends, that’s exactly what we are ready to do,” stated Trudeau in his victory speech at the end of the election night.

Going forward, the Trudeau government promises to develop a national childcare program, increase the supply of affordable housing, enforce vaccine mandates for federal workers, make clean water more accessible for Indigenous communities, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030.

Although voter turnout dropped to 59 per cent this year, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands still took part in the election on the Island of Montreal.

Home to the Loyola campus, the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount borough reelected its Liberal MP Marc Garneau with 54 per cent of the vote. In the same riding, Concordia graduate Mathew Kaminski came in third place as a Conservative candidate with 14 per cent of the vote.

Voting at the Loyola Chapel has been an overall success with almost no queues on election day, according to the station’s central poll supervisor (CPS) Nevena Jeric. She told The Concordian there were many efforts to inform all students of the voting rules on campus, especially when it comes to their residential address.

“Many students received an email that, as long as they lived in the riding, they could vote on campus. […] We had maybe one or two people who were turned away, but they weren’t surprised either since they were on campus anyway and tried to vote with their friends just in case,” said Jeric.

The supervisor added that, although the younger generation did not have as strong of a showing as expected on election day, many students had likely cast their ballots during the four days of advanced polling. Nationwide, Canadians set a new record for early voting: nearly 5.8 million citizens selected their candidate before election day, representing an 18 per cent increase since 2019.

However, the voting situation was slightly different at the SGW campus downtown.

Charles*, serving as the supervisor of two polling stations in the EV and LB buildings, noted that there was an impressive engagement from young voters. Having supervised federal and provincial elections at McGill University in the past, he observed “a much stronger participation” from the student population at Concordia’s downtown polling stations compared to those at McGill.

During advanced polling, some students had to wait for as long as two hours to cast their ballots due to a high volume of participating citizens. Experiencing major delays was the most common complaint addressed by downtown voters.

To improve the voting process, Charles said that out-of-province students were allowed to leave their mail-in ballots in a designated box at the downtown station. This additional measure was implemented for the first time on campus, making the election process more convenient for those who recently moved to Montreal.

Polling stations closed at 9:30 p.m. on both campuses, and CBC News announced the projected winner of the federal election just an hour later.

Montrealers showed strong support for the Liberal Party, which won 16 out of 18 ridings on the island. One of them is the Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle borough, where Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni — a 20-year-old Concordia student representing the NDP — managed to place third with 13 per cent of the vote.

In Quebec, more voters supported the sovereignist Bloc Québécois (32.6 per cent) than the Liberal Party (31.9 per cent). With 33 seats in the House of Commons, the Bloc has achieved its best results since the 2008 federal election.

Nationwide, the Conservative Party won the popular vote by nearly 200,000 ballots. However, since Canada’s electoral system works on a first-past-the-post basis, the winning party was determined by the number of ridings — and therefore, seats — it has won.

This election’s outcome was almost identical to that of 2019, when the Liberal Party also earned over 155 seats and secured a minority government. As the voting took place in the middle of the fourth wave of COVID-19 and broke records for government expenses, many have questioned the urgency and timing of this snap election.

Nevertheless, Justin Trudeau now begins his third term as Canada’s 23rd prime minister.

*Charles requested his last name not be disclosed.


Graphic courtesy of Maddy Schmidt.



Editorial: Why we excluded the People’s Party of Canada from our election coverage

As we were deciding how to layout the election coverage in the News section of our paper, we were faced with a decision: do we or do we not include Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada alongside the other contenders?

We debated for a while, but settled on a unanimous opinion: we, as NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said during the English debate on Oct. 7, do not believe Bernier deserves a place on the stage.

In a tweet back in September, Bernier called 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg “clearly mentally unstable.” In fact, he went on to say Thunberg is “Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear.”

Objectively, these are shitty things to say. These aren’t words anyone would expect from a potential leader of the country. What’s more, is he was saying these things in the context of climate change denial. He said efforts to address the climate crisis, like those undertaken by Thunberg, are “a movement that is a threat to our prosperity and civilisation. If [Thunberg] wants to play that role, she should be denounced and attacked.”

Denounced. And. Attacked.

Sorry, w h a t ?

It appears as though Bernier is a) not super into science and b) super into publicly insulting (and inciting violence towards?) children.

Furthermore, the People’s Party platform states on its website that “In a free society, immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage, however, that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it.” It also says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created “cult of diversity.”

Outside of the fact that a “cult of diversity” is, very obviously, an oxymoron, we at The Concordian firmly believe multiculturalism is something that should be encouraged and celebrated, not reduced to anti-Canadianism.

Everyone in this country, save for Indigenous people, is an immigrant. Let’s not pretend otherwise. The People’s Party wants to cut the annual amount of immigrants and refugees accepted into Canada in half, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000. They also want to interview every candidate for immigration to “assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms,” according to the party’s website.

We at The Concordian believe that denying people the right to seek refuge or to create a better life for themselves is what does not align with Canadian values.

Lastly, the People’s Party website constantly uses the term “aboriginal,” which many Indigenous people have labelled problematic as the “ab” may carry the connotation of meaning “other” or “non” (think “abnormal”). When referring to Indigenous people, it’s important to ask them on an individual basis how they identify.

Despite the fact that some may be okay with the term “aboriginal,” others aren’t; so why not use a term that has not been flagged as problematic or insensitive? No other political party used “aboriginal” in their platform. It doesn’t take much to pay attention to these details, and the People’s Party’s inability to do so is concerning.

Obviously, as a newspaper, we know freedom of speech is important. But that doesn’t give a person the right to spew whatever hateful thoughts travel through their brain; especially not someone who is leading the country. The line is drawn when your opinions are inherently hateful or when they disrespect and invalidate other people’s existences.

So, “People’s Party,” but only if you don’t believe in the climate crisis, think bullying children is okay, and see diversity as a problem. Not our party. Not in our newspaper.

The Concordian would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to participate in democracy and cast their vote on Oct. 21. This year, millennials make up the largest portion of the voting population.


Feature photo by Alex Hutchins

Poli Savvy: Start the clocks, the countdown starts.

With one week left to go, federal leaders continue to compete for the public’s attention in the press and through their policies.

Justin Trudeau is trying hard to put the blackface controversy behind him. Obviously deflecting with new and more “a-pleasing” promises than ever, the Liberal leader is neck and neck with Andrew Scheer. However, there is something to be said about his efforts to meet the more progressive party platforms, in an attempt to keep the left-wing vote away from the NDP and the Green Party.

What do I mean when I say party platform? Well, I’m talking about the promises our leaders are making to us. Trudeau – trying to escape his long rap-sheet – is promising net-zero emissions by 2050, and a tax cut that will allow everyone’s first $15,000 in income to be tax-free. Jagmeet Singh, the second leading progressive leader is also promising major climate and economic action. Don’t get me wrong, these leaders are not interchangeable. In matters dealing with the Indigenous communities, Singh has been more favorable due to his strong stance on the clean-water issue in northern Indigenous territories, while Trudeau has been accused of doing little for Indigenous communities.

During the french speaking debate hosted by TVA, we saw four of the six candidates debate questions of foreign policy, Bill 21, and climate action. Conservative leader Scheer scrambled to connect with the Quebec audience, and through his support for the TransMountain pipeline, it’s likely he didn’t win many votes outside of Alberta that night.

As a follow up, the English speaking debate this past Monday included all six federal leader candidates. I’m not sure whether this debate was meant to replicate the dynamics of a high school classroom, but that’s besides the point. Yves-François Blanchet once again proved that he is fighting for the rights of Quebec – more specifically, their right to equalization payments.

Singh made quite an impression as the media declared him the winner of Monday night’s debate. His ability to connect with people is uncanny, and translates to a loss of votes for the Green Party; too bad it won’t be enough to become the default progressive leaders.

So in this coming week, my fellow Concordians – stay alert, listen, and most importantly: vote.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Advanced voting available on campus from Oct. 5-9

“Every voice matters and every vote counts in an election,” said Concordia President Graham Carr in an emailed statement sent to the Concordian. “Concordia is happy to host, like several post-secondary campuses, polling stations for our community and our neighbours.”

From Oct. 5 to 9, those who are eligible can cast their votes ahead of the official Oct. 21 date. Advanced voting is available at several other universities and CEGEPs across the country for this year’s federal election.

According to Pierre Pilon, Regional Media Advisor for Elections Canada, the initiative to make voting more accessible to students began in 2015. The last federal election launched a pilot project involving 40 post-secondary institutions to offer advanced voting to students and staff. Concordia partnered up with the project for a second term this year, along with over 100 other institutions.

Pilon said this partnership is voluntary.

Offered on both the Loyola and downtown campuses, eligible Canadians can vote at the following times: Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 6, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Oct. 7, 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

“I encourage everyone, and especially our students, to make their voice heard by taking advantage of the on-campus polling stations at Concordia and the possibility to vote early on certain days even if this is not your assigned polling station,” said Carr.

Concordia student James William Altimas, 22, said he plans to vote. The joint specialization anthropology and sociology student said the climate march on Sept. 27 solidified his decision. Seeing such a large number of people manifesting for change inspired him and made him think that his vote, along with all the others, could change something.

“The big reason why I’m voting is because of climate change,” said Altimas. “Maybe we can make a difference.”

“I voted before but never really thought it was going to make a difference,” he continued. “But this time around, there’s a lot of people realizing that we’re fucked if we don’t do anything.”

How to register to vote

Those who are over 18, have proof of Canadian citizenship, and have an address, can vote.

You must register before voting, otherwise you are ineligible. You can use the Online Voter Registration Service before Tue Oct. 15 by 6 p.m.

You can also register to vote in person at any Elections Canada office across Canada. If you register before the 15th, you will get a voter information card in the mail that tells you where and when you can vote.

Alternatively, you can register to vote on Oct. 21, the official date of the elections. Don’t forget to bring proof of address with you. Before voting, you should know the names of the MPs running in your electoral district.

At Loyola campus, the polling station is located at the Jesuit Hall Conference Centre, RF Atrium. For the downtown campus, it’s located at the J.W. McConnell Building, in the LB Atrium.


Graphic by Victoria Blair



The influence of memes and bots in the electoral campaign

“Right now, we are not seeing a lot of positive Trudeau memes,” said Associate Professor Fenwick McKelvey. “So, will it influence the vote? That is something we walk in with an open mind, saying this could be totally meaningless. But then at the same time, it is an important part of how people understand and engage in politics.”

The lack of investigation of the role of memes in Canadian politics led McKelvey, from the Department of Communication Studies, to look at the content being shared on social media. While memes are usually regarded as harmless, humoristic tools, McKelvey argues that they are actually an important part of shaping public opinion and representing all the different political party leaders.

“I think the humour part is important because people look at these images and it helps them laugh or make a joke,” said McKelvey, “and then they identify closer with that party or with the people who created the joke.”

According to the research, which McKelvey is doing with the help of undergrad students, there is currently a tendency towards counter-Trudeau memes. And it is not only a right-wing phenomenon, but memes are also used by all parties to campaign with generic, negative messages.

The research identified 30 Facebook groups posting memes about the election, each focusing on different issues. It can be observed that from the left-wing, climate change is a recurring theme while the right promotes corruption-related memes. Yet, Trudeau’s various scandals, such as SNC-Lavalin and his Brownface incident, prevail above all.

On Sept. 27, in a meme-tweet style, Trudeau announced his latest environmental promise to plant 2 billion trees if he was to be re-elected. “We’ll plant 2 billion trees over the next ten years. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”

This tweet, which McKelvey argues was orchestrated by his campaign staff, was an attempt to adopt the meme trend and ended up backfiring on him. It was received more as a joke than anything, said McKelvey.

“It’s interesting to see the varying reactions, I mean at least from the students,” said McKelvey. “No one took it seriously. It came across as a joke.”

The research comes after McKelvey co-wrote a paper with Elizabeth Dubois on the role of bots in politics. Simply put, bots are the loose word to describe any automated accounts on social media that behave or pretend to be a human.

In politics, the worst scenario could be where bots push for a story to become more popular than it should be, whether false or not, impacting public perception directly. It can become terrifying knowing that, according to a study by the University of Southern California and Indiana University, nearly 50 million Twitter accounts are run by bot software.

Although, under the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, political parties worldwide have now agreed to obey a code of conduct that states full disclosure on their use of bots.

Yet, while Jagmeet Singh and Andrew Scheer took the pledge, neither Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May nor Maxime Bernier’s names can be found in the online agreement.

What about their roles in spreading false information?

Since the 2016 United States election, the existence of online-interferences from automated agents is not a secret anymore.

In fact, parts of McKelvey’s research on the role of bots was to recognize the capacity of bots to manipulate the content on social media, but also acknowledging that bots can serve important public functions, along with the public interest.

“We have the CBC using bots to help people understand how disinformation spreads online,” said McKelvey. “We also have a bot that is called the Parity Bot. So, whenever someone tweets something negative or abusive to a woman in politics, it will automatically tweet something positive. It’s a way to counter interact negativity online.”

And when it comes to memes, McKelvey argues that analyzing false information being spread through them doesn’t look at how people share information they know to be false but believe anyway. Instead, he believes in trying to think about this sharing process more as social identification; how people come to understand themselves and politics.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Political Analysis: Will Trudeau’s black and brown face scandal swing youth vote?

“The picture does not change what he’s done during his tenure as Prime Minister. It will not really change my vote,” said Michel Maginzi, a 22-year-old student from Sherbrooke University.

“The first time I saw it, I was shook,” he said, admittedly. “Because that’s not something you expect to see from the Prime Minister, who’s the head of the government, head of the country. It’s very offensive. It’s racist, and I understand how people get offended. But at the same time, I’m personally not offended by it.”

“They found it and decided to use it as a weapon,” Maginzi continued. “It’s something that he’s done in the past. People are just trying to destroy his image.”

In an interview with the CBC, CEO of Abacus Data, David Coletto said that Canadians between the ages of 18 to 35 could make up 37 per cent of the electorate this federal election.

But, most Canadian youths have a tendency not to vote. Though the youth vote in the last federal election went up by nearly 40 per cent since 2011, they were still the age group with the least amount of votes according to Elections Canada.

Daniel Weinstock, director of the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy, said no matter the public youth opinion of Trudeau, it will probably not make much of a difference come election time.

“Younger demographics tend to have markedly lesser participation rates in elections,” said Weinstock. “That might have a dampening effect on whatever contribution the youth vote might make, to swing the election.”

“Right now it doesn’t seem like the effect is that huge,” he continued. Weinstock said the last poll he saw from a reputable source showed a small movement away from the Liberals, but within the margin of error, between 1 to 2 per cent.

“The news cycle doesn’t seem to be dominated by it anymore,” said Weinstock. “We’re still almost four weeks until the election I think that if it stays where it is now, I don’t see it as a major factor, more of an embarrassment than anything else.”

Weinstock does admit Trudeau’s numbers as a leader have taken a hit but said it could be due to any other of his scandals.

“SNC-Lavalin, the infamous India trip,” said Weinstock. “His personal leadership numbers have really gone down, but I think a lot of voters here are mature enough to distinguish between the leader and the party. They might say well, he may not have the best judgment, but as I compare platforms, I think the Liberal support, looking at the party as a whole, is not taking a hit.”

Jean-François D’Aoust, an assistant professor at McGill and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Democracy Citizenship reflects this sentiment. D’Aoust said the controversy may have affected Canadian votes, but in a minor way, and explained that this event was not the only affair to have tarnished his image.

“There were already other scandals, such as SNC-Lavalin, which damaged his integrity image,” said D’Aoust. “Other scandals damaged his First Nations-friendly image.”

Could vote splitting between NDP and Liberals lead to a Conservative win?

Weinstock said Canadian voters know how the political system works and that they know what happens when there is vote splitting, so he doubts it could happen. In 2011, ridings, where voters were split between the NDP and Liberals, saw how the Conservative won because of it.

”I think a lot of people might say, you know what, I’d be inclined to vote for the NDP if they were a bit higher in the polls,” said Weinstock. “But four weeks is a long time. A bandwagon effect could happen, but right now I’m not seeing it in the numbers.”


Collage by Alex Hutchins


Poli Savvy: How Campaign Slogans Are Identically Different

In the last weeks of August, both Liberals and Conservatives unveiled their TV ads and campaign slogans, ahead of the Oct. 21 vote.

While Trudeau’s campaign decided to go with “Choose forward,” Tories went for “It’s time for you to get ahead,” which you can only imagine fueled many waves of laughter on Twitter, as they are now just one typo away from being ridiculed. For Elizabeth May’s Green Party, “Not left. Not right. Forward together” is their campaign slogan. The NDP has yet to reveal theirs.

Do they all sound the same to you? Truthfully, as we live in a time where scrolling and swiping quickly is generally the way we consume our information, slogans will sadly end up being the only piece of the political puzzle voters acknowledge when heading to the polls.

Yet, the difference is there. What often sounds either like a call for action or an embarrassing pickup line can actually make or break an election.

“The Conservatives are talking about putting individuals ahead, while the Liberal’s forward movement revolves around government and country – ‘you’ versus ‘we,’ if you like,” wrote national columnist Susan Delacourt in The Star. 

Words are charming, yet very dangerous as they hide an entire platform. And as Canadians head to the polls in October, forward or together, there will be no coming back.


Graphic by Victoria Blair

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