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.



Concordians in Politics

Pictured left to right: Sam Miriello, Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni


As the federal and city elections draw near many current and past Concordians are finding their voice

With the 2021 federal election well under way, a number of current and former Concordians are taking their first steps into the political spotlight. This year Concordia has produced candidates in a variety of positions and parties. Some have joined the NDP, or the Liberal and Conservative parties, while others are involved in municipal politics running for city council here in Montreal.


Samuel Miriello graduated from Concordia in 2021. He’s worked in PR for the past five years but recently became involved with Mouvement Montréal. The party was founded in 2021 and is placing a large focus on community action and getting people involved in political decisions. Miriello had been involved in politics at Concordia when he was CSU councillor, but this is his first time running in a government election. “As a Concordia student there is a lot of opportunity to get involved in politics.”

Miriello is running in the Ville-Marie, Sainte-Marie riding which puts him in direct competition with Montreal’s current mayor Valérie Plante.

“I really like being in competition with Plante … I want to see her held responsible for some of the things that she’s done.”  Miriello says.

Going to Concordia has certainly shaped Miriello’s views and involvement in politics. “Part of that is there is such an activist community here, we played an essential role in the 2012 student strikes, we have a history of becoming involved in national and international issues. Like in 2002 when we protested a visit from the Israeli prime minister.”

Miriello says it has been really inspiring to see students come together. Working in politics isn’t something he always imagined he would be doing though. “I was actually kind of against politics for a while but then I realized … we can also progress and participate in reform, while advocating for systemic change.”

His current campaign places a lot of focus on community involvement by creating a community action plan and creating a clear outline of exactly what students want. He also wants to focus on reducing rent costs and improving community gardens.

Regardless of the result of the election Miriello will continue to be involved in his community.

“Voting every four years is not how you make progress; you have to continue the pressure the entire time. If I were to be elected or not elected, I will continue to apply pressure on the government.  But it would be more ideal if I was in the government, facilitating that pressure. 


At just 20 years old, Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni has an impressive resume. After being confirmed as the NDP’s nominee for the Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle riding on June 14 she has likely spent more time campaigning than she has at Concordia. A first year student in Concordia’s psychology program, an immigrant and proud Quebecer, Ngamaleu Teumeni is excited to make a change in her community.

“I’ve been very, very involved in community engagement and civic engagement in my riding, but also in Montreal and in Quebec. I think that it’s very important to be an active member of our society, and to contribute to it in order to make it better. So that’s sort of one of the reasons why I wanted to get into politics at such an early time,” she said.

As a young woman engaged in her community Ngamaleu Teumeni had never met her riding MP and never seen her at any events. “I thought that was very odd because she’s representing us in Parliament, and she’s voting on issues that touch us and she wasn’t always voting in line with what the constituents want.”

Its the NDP’s policies on the environmental and social justice issues that first drew her to the party.

“I feel as though there’s a very huge lack of representation when it comes to young Black women.” she said.

“We’re present in the society. Minorities are here and minorities need to be heard. I’ve decided to do this in the name of representation so that we can have more folks in Parliament that are speaking for visible minorities.”

When it comes to inspiration, Ngamaleu Teumeni doesn’t have to look further than her own parents.

Ngamaleu Teumeni moved to Quebec from Germany with her family at 4 years old, her family is originally from Cameroon. Her parents both went back to school while raising her and her brother, after first moving to Quebec. “The fact that I can say today that because of them, because of everything that they’ve given me I’m able to run for a federal election and even have a possible chance to win. That’s really great, and I’m very grateful for that.”

Some issues that Ngamaleu Teumeni has focused on during her campaign are controlling housing prices, making public transport cheaper and more accessible, and providing greater protection for the environment as well as creating greenspaces.

Ngamaleu Teumeni has been able to communicate more with her community through this campaign, something which she loves.

“Being able to present resolutions and solutions to those folks, has been a very big highlight.” she said.

Mathew Kaminski completed his undergraduate degree with a bachelor of commerce and is now working on his CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) diploma as a graduate student at Concordia. He is currently a Conservative MP candidate in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount riding.

At 23 years old, Kaminski has been involved in politics for a long time. During his undergraduate studies he represented the JMSB faculty in the CSU. He was also the president of Conservative Concordia.

“I’ve been involved the whole way through since I was 17 and it took me years to develop the knowledge and the confidence to be able to run federally.”

Kaminski’s time in university made a huge impact on shaping his political aspirations.

“Concordia shaped me the most in terms of politics, in really recognizing the social issues that are relevant to students,” he said. “and what solutions are needed.”

“One of my first meetings I ever had with the CSU, they acknowledged that we were seated on Indigenous lands. And that really stood out to me.”

Indigenous affairs are something that remain important to Kaminski as one of the main highlights of his campaign, as he hopes to restore some Indigenous faith in the government.

Another issue Kaminski is passionate about is climate change. “Concordia also made me recognize how much that’s an issue, not only for our generation, but for generations to come.”

While he admits the Conservative climate change plan did not receive the best grade he thinks it will be more effective than the Liberals’.

“What we did is we released a plan that we know we can achieve that will actually have a tangible impact on the environment.”

As he continues his studies while beginning his journey into politics, he is up against some stiff competition — NDG-Westmount has long been a Liberal riding. But this does not seem to have shaken Kaminski’s confidence.

“My mentality has been that I will be an MP one day, I am not going to shy away from that. I will work hard, even if I have to run three, four times and chip away slowly at the support in the riding, I will become an MP. As a childhood dream of mine, it was always to become prime minister of Canada, and so although I’m still very far away from that goal, at least it’s one step forward.”

Chelsea Craig graduated from Concordia in 2016 with a bachelor’s in political science and government, and at 29 years old she is a co-campaign manager for Liberal MP and Mount

Royal candidate Anthony Housefather, who is running for re-election.

A visit from Justin Trudeau to Concordia is a big part of what spurred Craig’s interest in politics

“Ever since then I became very involved with the party. I was the president of the Liberal Concordia during the 2015 campaign … Once I found a way to be involved in partisan politics I found that it was really something that was super enriching and I’ve made a lot of friends and it just is something that always gives me a new challenge.”

The life of a campaign manager can be unpredictable one. Every day is something different. Sometimes Craig is going door to door, or working on the vote strategy, or managing volunteers.

Like many other alumni involved in politics, Concordia played a huge role in Craig’s political development.

“I honestly have nothing but positive things to say about Concordia. I feel like Concordia allowed me to network. Concordia introduced me to the Liberal Party and through Concordia I really got to springboard my career,” Craig said.

The thing that drew her most to the Liberal Party was the official languages.

“I think the Liberal Party has the best ideas on ensuring whether it’d be the francophone minority outside of Quebec or the English-speaking minority inside of Quebec that they keep their rights and that we work with those communities, to see exactly what is needed and how we can better ourselves.”

Politics are an important issue to Craig and something that she wants everyone to embrace.

“There’s a space for everyone in politics. Sometimes I hear people being cynical about it and saying ‘Oh, it’s never going to make a difference’ or ‘You go out and vote and then nobody cares anymore’ and that’s just really not true. There’s so many different ways that you can voice those issues and we are so lucky to live in a country that asks for our opinion.”

While these are not all the candidates or politically involved people Concordia has produced in current or past elections,  it is certain that they will not be the last, as we continue to foster individuals ready to make a difference.


Feature photograph by Catherine Reynolds

Photography courtesy of Mathew Kaminski

Photography courtesy of Chelsea Craig


MPs unanimously vote to designate the Proud Boys group as terrorist organization

Stand back and DON’T standby

On Jan. 8, leader of the New Democratic Party Jagmeet Singh tweeted a petition calling on the Trudeau government to ban the Proud Boys and designate them as a terrorist organization. On the NDP’s website, the petition claims that the Proud Boys were present and involved in leading the assault against the US Capitol building earlier this month. They declared that this was an act of domestic terrorism. In Canada, there was a brawl that took place in Toronto’s Eaton Centre in 2019 following an anti-Muslim event that was attended by Proud Boys members.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Proud Boys as a hate group. The group was established in the midst of the 2016 United States presidential election. They describe themselves as western chauvinists and a fraternal organization.

Members of Canada’s parliament passed by unanimous consent a motion introduced by Singh to designate the group as a terrorist organization on Monday. The federal government has yet to officially designate the group as a terrorist entity.

There are three degrees to membership in the Proud Boys. The first is to declare that you are a western chauvinist and that you will not apologize for “creating the modern world.” The second is to give up masturbation and endure a beating from fellow Proud Boys until you can name five breakfast cereals in order to demonstrate “adrenaline control.” The third is to get a Proud Boys tattoo. The group reached another level of infamy during the recent U.S. presidential debates when Donald Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and standby.”

The Proud Boys was founded by Gavin McInnes who also co-founded the popular media platform VICE. In the NDP website’s petition they refer to McInnes by stating “Alarmingly, their founder is from Canada.” McInnes was born in England, raised in Ottawa and moved to Montreal where he co-founded VICE in 1994 before moving to New York.

In the United States, there is a petition calling on newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Counter-Terrorism to declare the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization. At this time, there are almost 500,000 signees.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Jagmeet Singh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raise $200,000 playing Among Us

The two politicians played the online game to raise money for a variety of charity organizations in the U.S.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, joined U.S. congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Nov. 27 for a five and a half hour live stream of the popular online game Among Us, with a rotating group of popular online streamers.

Ocasio-Cortez used the online stream as a way to fundraise for eviction defence legal aid efforts, food pantries and community support organizations in the United States. With a peak of over 100,000 people watching Ocasio-Cortez’s stream, around $200,000 was raised.

Among Us is an online multiplayer game, where players are crew members on a spaceship, and the goal is to keep the spaceship intact and return to earth. The catch is that one or two of the crew members have been replaced by a shape-shifting alien, The Imposter, whose goal is to sabotage the ship and kill crewmates.

According to a New York Times article, Among Us was created in 2018, but gained popularity during the pandemic. Influencers such as James Charles and Felix Kjellberg — commonly known as PewDiePie — have streamed the game on Twitch, attracting millions of views.

Ocasio-Cortez first live streamed Among Us on Oct. 20, with over 400,000 views. According to a Vox article, this was one of the 20 most-watched live streams in Twitch history.

According to the article, Ocasio-Cortez is known for using media platforms and games such as Animal Crossing to reach young audiences in fun, organic, unconventional ways.

During the recent game with Singh, Ocasio-Cortez stated that she was trying to get Bernie Sanders, an American politician known for his progressive ideologies, to participate in a future game.

“I could see him getting cranky with this game,” said Ocasio-Cortez during the live stream.

Singh had over 30,000 people watching his stream, and during the game he talked to his viewers about his policies and the pandemic. He often played as The Imposter, and even had a round where both him and Ocasio-Cortez were imposters.

“Do you believe we need to bring in a wealth tax?” asked Singh while simultaneously killing other players in the game.

He mostly talked about issues affecting young people, such as how he saw that younger people were being scapegoated for going to parties and spreading the virus, while in reality young people were putting themselves at risk to work service jobs.

“I think it’s great to see politicians courting young people,” said Ethan Cox, editor and co-founder of Ricochet Media — a public interest news platform. “But to really engage younger generations, politicians need to be unabashed champions of the policy they want, such as a Green New Deal, racial justice, wealth taxes and strong social programs.”

“Playing Among Us is a great way to reach younger voters with a strong message, but you need to do more than just show up. You need to show that you will fight for the priorities of younger people,” he said.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


“We need more action”: Canadian-Armenians demand bold measures on Nagorno-Karabakh

In an unprecedented show of force, Armenians from all across Canada poured into the capital on Friday

Gathered in front of Parliament, nearly 5,000 demonstrators were joined in solidarity by current and former MPs. Their objective? Compel the government to condemn Turkey and Azerbaijan as the aggressors in the Karabakh conflict, permanently halt the export of weapons to those countries, and recognize the Republic of Artsakh as an independent state.

Hrag Koubelian, president of the Concordia Armenian Students’ Union and a participant in Friday’s demonstrations, believes this is a fitting opportunity for Canada to show what it’s made of.

“Given Canada’s great record in defending human rights, we hope that it officially condemns Azeri and Turkish aggression against Artsakh and Armenia. We hope to see recognition of the Armenian people’s will to peacefully live on their lands.”

Sevag Belian, executive director of the ANCC, speaks to protestors at Parliament Hill. (Credits: Shoghig Tehinian)

However, with clashes intensifying and casualties mounting by the day, some, like Tamar Panossian, are worried that the government may be dragging its feet.

Panossian says, “Time is already being wasted because we have so many soldiers already dying, already so many people who have been displaced, and they’re taking a lot of time to take action.

Such concerns have been growing among the Canadian-Armenian community ever since open war broke out on Sept. 27 between Armenian and Azeri forces over Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh.

While sporadic fighting has occurred along the line of contact (LOC) in the past, the latest round has been the deadliest to date. Recent estimates place the number of casualties in the thousands.

The Armenian community is particularly worried that active Turkish interventionism has made Azerbaijan more belligerent. In response, Sevag Belian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, says the government needs to take some strong measures.

“Canada cannot afford doing business with a genocidal state such as Turkey that has absolutely no intention to adhere to international law. Let it be clear: this is a red line for our community,” says Belian.

Some current and former MPs are trying to bring this issue to the attention of the government. Alexandre Boulerice, New Democratic Party MP for Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie, and a long-time supporter of Armenian causes, says this is a matter of human rights and national self-determination.

Canadian-Armenian man looks over a demonstration sign calling for Turkey’s expulsion from NATO. (Credits: Shoghig Tehinian)

“You can count on us and the NDP to continue putting pressure on the Liberal government to do more.” He agrees the suspension of weapons exports to Turkey must be made permanent.

The Conservatives, for their part, are stressing the importance of an open and transparent investigation into weapons exports, as well as the right to self-determination.

Harold Albrecht, former Conservative MP for Kitchener—Conestoga, who also attended the demonstration, believes Canada ultimately must stand up for Armenians. He said, “I’m hoping I can influence my colleagues [in the Conservative Party] to put pressure on the government.”

Some of that pressure is even coming from within the Liberal party itself. In a statement that was read out on Friday, Fayçal El-Khoury, Liberal MP for Laval—Les Îles, expressed his full support for the demonstrators.

“We will never stop until we reach the recognition of the free and independent Republic of Artsakh. I have been with you, I am with you, and always will be with you,” he said.

Earlier this month, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told his Turkish counterpart that “external parties should stay out [of the conflict].” Additionally, Global Affairs Canada temporarily suspended some weapons export permits to Turkey, pending an investigation into their use in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mher Karakashian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Canada, says Armenians are definitely encouraged by these steps. However, he awaits what the government will do next. “We will have to see what happens in the coming days. Our hope is that Canada takes up a leadership role, together with its allies, mobilizing the international community to bring a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”


Photographs by Shoghig Tehinian

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


Poli Savvy: The storm before… the storm?

It’s been a whole new world of pain for the Liberal Party, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deals with accusations of racism over his use of “brown face.”

Old yearbook photos have been posted by TIME Magazine, showing Trudeau with a unique take on Aladdin, complete with a turban and dark face paint. Naturally, many Canadians were less than impressed with this attempted display of multiculturalism, leading Trudeau to issue apologies to the public and… NDP leader Jaghmeet Singh?

According to CBC, Trudeau approached Singh to apologize for the incident – a confusing move, seeing that Aladdin is of an Arabian background, not Indian. Moreover, it seems that Singh has enough on his plate, given that the Steel Workers Union of Regina might vote Conservative according to the Regina Post. A traditionally New Democrat group in the NDP heartland, workers are being forced to choose between work opportunities provided by a pipeline or job protections offered by Singh. Whether this highlights a dangerous trend among unions is yet to be seen, but the NDP certainly cannot afford to lose support after previous defections to the Green Party of Elizabeth May…

… who is facing her own scandal, covered by the Toronto Sun since an image on the party website shows her holding what appears to be a photoshopped reusable mug, though the truth is much more sinister. It was proven that May was instead using a single-use paper cup to store her coffee, leading to calls of hypocrisy by voters who feel that the pro-environment leader should lead by example. How this will affect the Green Party’s chances at a federal majority is too early to say. Regardless; Liberal scandals, NDP popularity drops, and Green Party controversies could prove to be advantages for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leader, Andrew Scheer.

Well yes, but actually no, since the National Post reported that Ontario’s CPC base is in trouble due to major cuts in healthcare, environmental protection, student grants, social services, legal aid… basically everything, by Conservative premier Doug Ford. A fact not lost on Scheer, who, interestingly, has conducted most of his Ontarian campaigns without Ford by his side. Undoubtedly a risky move that could alienate “Ford Nation” voters, but one that would gain the approval of no other than Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Incensed by the cuts to French-language services, under Ford no less, Blanchet has expanded his campaign to include francophone towns in Ontario; as covered by Global News. Claiming that French-speakers outside Quebec are being treated like second-class citizens, he has called for votes towards an independent Quebec, a bilingual Supreme Court, and expanded powers for the federal commissioner of official languages. In other words, nothing new; but a stark contrast to fellow Quebecer Maxime Bernier.

From claiming that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant to backing a candidate who had published racist tweets, as covered by CBC, the People’s Party of Canada leader is no stranger to controversy. However, Bernier is facing a lot of criticism for calling environmental activist Greta Thunberg “mentally unstable”, in a series of tweets back in September. Aside from the fact that picking a twitter fight with a 16-year-old is frowned upon in politics, his choice of words proved quite poor seeing that Thunberg has autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ultimately, how these scandals impact the upcoming election remains to be seen. Canadians will simply have to vote for whichever party they feel is the best choice for Canada or the best option available.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Poli Savvy: Walking on eggshells one week into the election

The election campaign is now in full swing. From the start, the Liberal party was taken aback by reports alluding that their cabinet blocked efforts by the RCMP to investigate allegations of obstruction of justice regarding the SNC Lavalin scandal. Trudeau’s main statement in response to the questions regarding his cabinet’s involvement was roughly his job as Prime Minister is to be there to stand up for and defend Canadians’ jobs.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer debuted his campaign with a public reprimand of the PM, calling on Justin Trudeau to allow law enforcement to investigate his cabinet. The somewhat unknown conservative leader is struggling to make a name for himself that is not Harper or Ford.

Trudeau was not present at the first English debate hosted by MacLean’s and City TV. Instead, he rallied in Edmonton, one of the bedrocks of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.

The Green Party was almost laughed off the stage by commentators and Scheer, despite Elizabeth May having the only political plan that even begins to address our climate crisis economically and scientifically.

Jagmeet Singh marked some points by connecting the Conservative leader to the much-hated Conservative Premier of Ontario during the debate.

“[Scheer] believes that the priority should be making life easier for the wealthiest,” said Singh. “I believe it has to be different and we can do it differently.” However, Scheer and Ford have not been seen together since the debate, indicating Scheer is distancing himself from his fellow Conservative.

This week hasn’t been all policy. A photograph of Trudeau surfaced on Wednesday, published by the TIMES, depicting the Prime Minister in blackface back in 2001.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Trudeau stated in the Liberals’ campaign plane. “I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.” Trudeau has since admitted to other occasions where his costumes involved blackface.

One leader that has not shown restraint in his response is Singh, stating “What we see now is an ongoing pattern of behaviour that is going to hurt Canadians.”

Needless to say, this will have an impact on the Liberals’ re-election campaign. But does a picture of a man 20 years ago define him? At the end of the day, it is up to the people to determine what to make of Trudeau’s character.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Poly Savvy: Old Rivalries in New Brunswick

Both the New Democratic Party and the Green Party have butted heads the past two weeks on what appears to be a controversial development in the eastern province.

Previously thought to be 14 defectors, eight former New Democratic candidates have switched over to the Greens, as reported by the CBC. One defector, former party executive Jonathan Richardson, even went so far as to blame the move on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity’s effect on regional popularity.

Naturally, such a statement has led to accusations of racism against the Greens, accusations that the party has vehemently denied. Instead, it was pointed out that Singh had not once visited the Maritimes since assuming his position in 2017. Unsurprisingly, words have been thrown back and forth since the defections, reaching levels of passive-aggressiveness best reserved for thanksgiving.

But regardless of the political bickering, the real question remains; what will be the consequential effect of these disputes on the upcoming federal and provincial elections?

The answer is… probably nothing.

It’s no secret that the Green Party has never been one to gain more than two seats at the Federal level, so far. Nor have they established any sort of major political ground on the eastern seaboard. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that no riding was ever truly in sight for a Green takeover; as New Brunswick is primarily split between Conservative and Liberal MPs, with a slight lead for the Blues.

In fact, the Greens hold a mere three provincial seats out of the province’s total of 49. Zero on the Federal level.

But what about the NDP? Have they lost any potential advantage in future polls?

Again, not necessarily.

The “defectors” mentioned consisted of members of the Oranges, who ran in the 2018 provincial elections. Ran, not won, as the NDP had not gained a single seat. Most of these individuals had figured that their prospects would be better for joining the Greens, either through the assumption that following a Sikh leader would hurt their chances or genuinely believing that Singh had not done enough to remain popular in the area.

In the end, the Greens did not gain a single seat as the New Democrats did not have anything to lose. To find out if the former had gained any clear advantage, we will need to see the results of the upcoming elections.

Until then, the Green Party will just have to settle for brownie points.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


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


Jagmeet Singh and the future of Canadian identity

As a visible minority, Singh’s NDP leadership win highlights a positive change in our country

Following the announcement of his NDP leadership win on Oct. 1, Jagmeet Singh said, “Canadians must stand united and champion a politics of courage to fight the politics of fear […] a politics of love to fight the growing politics of division,” reported CTV News.

Leading with 53 per cent of the ballot vote, Singh is the first person from a visible minority to be elected to lead a federal party in Canada, according to CTV News. In the aftermath of the election, many Canadians are asking what this historic moment could mean for the future of Canada’s identity.

According to an article from The Globe and Mail, at least 70 per cent of Canadians believe having a person of colour in a position of leadership at a national level is a good thing for Canada. Nonetheless, when the Angus Reid Institute surveyed 1,477 Canadians between Oct. 2 and 4, the results showed that 31 per cent would not vote for a Sikh man who wears a turban and carries a ceremonial kirpan knife—as Singh does.

Despite this statistic, it is an improvement compared to the results of a previous poll about Singh conducted in June. As a result of these improved statistics, there is growing belief that public acceptance of openly religious Sikh men has increased since Singh’s election victory, according to the same article by The Globe and Mail. Coupled with his young age, 38, making him the youngest leader the NDP has ever had, Singh’s success to date is nothing short of a breakthrough. Even though he still faces criticism from some because of his faith, Singh is diligent and dedicated to his work.

According to CBC News, Singh constantly faced criticism while growing up and was often bullied for being different. His childhood experiences in a society where minority groups are often looked down upon was a motivation for him. Singh dedicated himself to fighting for those who, like him, were and are still harassed for being different.

According to CBC News, one of Singh’s primary objectives is to show Canadians that he is more progressive and willing to go further than the Liberals. He has discussed his intentions to fight social oppression, denounce stereotypes about Sikh men and help eliminate racial profiling. In an interview with CBC News in May 2015, Singh claimed he had been a victim of racial profiling by Toronto police at least 10 times. He was later involved in pushing a motion to ban random police checks in Ontario that was implemented by the provincial government in 2016, according to CBC News.

Singh’s rise to power has shattered social barriers preventing the progressive evolution of Canada’s political identity. His acceptance by the NDP party and its supporters, as well as the growing support from his fellow Canadians, demonstrates a substantial step forward for Canada. Regardless of race and cultural background, Singh is making progress not just for himself, but for others who have been marginalized by society. He is opening the eyes of Canadians and working himself to the bone every day to renew and reconcile the relationship between Canadians with diverse backgrounds. If he, a member of a visible minority, can be accepted by Canadians of various cultures and faiths, then it speaks volumes for our progress as a multicultural nation.

And it does not stop here. Singh has only begun to change what it means to identify as Canadian. As his party’s new leader, Singh is beginning his campaign to reclaim the NDP’s title as the country’s most progressive party. As he explained in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Singh wants to transform the NDP into “the party that inspires, that truly touches the hearts of the people. We have to inspire because we have to win—we owe it to Canadians to do so.”

In a first step on his way to perhaps becoming prime minister, Singh is now touring the country to gain support from suburban ridings, which could potentially result in a significant shift of support for Singh and his party. Considering his current progress, I believe it’s highly likely Singh may once again defy the country’s expectations. Certainly he will continue to redefine what it means to be Canadian.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth


NDP leadership candidates cautious about Bill 62

Candidates say they oppose bill, but it’s unclear if they would contest it if elected

NDP federal leadership candidates Guy Caron, Niki Ashton, Jagmeet Singh and Charlie Angus chose their words carefully on Sunday, Aug. 27, when speaking about Quebec’s Bill 62 during the party’s French-only debate. The bill, which is still being discussed by a parliamentary committee, would ban individuals working as public servants in Quebec from covering their face when working. With just a few weeks left until a candidate is chosen to lead the party, the four candidates all agreed that the state had no right to tell people what to wear.

Despite the candidates’ agreement that the government does not have the right to make those decisions, it was hard to understand if all of them would respect the bill. Following the debate, Singh, an Ontario legislature MP, told reporters it was important to him to separate the church and the state, but then added that it was “absolutely clear that Bill 62, as it’s proposed, contravenes the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” and he wouldn’t support it. When pressed by reporters about whether he would be willing to contest the bill in court if he was elected prime minister — something Caron has accused Singh of wanting to do — the candidate pivoted his answer, telling reporters that “communities would do it.”

When asked if Singh’s willingness to contest the bill could undermine the NDP’s push in Quebec, Caron responded “for now, [the candidates] are only debating.”

In an interview with the Toronto Star on Aug. 26, Singh criticized Ashton and Caron for their stance on the issue, calling out the two candidates for “inconsistent understanding of human rights.” Caron’s recently-released “Québec 2019” platform reads: “The National Assembly of Quebec has all the authority and rights to legislate on issues of secularism and in its jurisdiction,” arguing that “since the Quiet Revolution, Quebec has placed secularism and the religious neutrality of the state at the heart of its evolution.”

Ashton later told the Huffington Post “there is a consensus [with] Quebec’s political leaders emerging on secularism, and the government should respect the will of Quebecers on this matter.” The comments from Ashton, who is writing a thesis on millennial feminism, sparked criticism on social media. The day after her comments were published, she clarified on Twitter that she would “not compromise on a woman’s right to wear what she chooses.”

After the debate, Ashton said she was open to contesting the bill in court, but said it was hypothetical to talk about the issue since the bill is still being discussed in the National Assembly. Caron, meanwhile, didn’t say that he would contest it, explaining that he opposes the bill, “especially as a Quebecer,” but respects Quebec’s provincial government right to decide of the issue on their own.

Caron argued the Sherbrooke declaration — the NPD’s 12-year-old policy for Quebec establishing the province’s right to self-determination — implies Bill 62’s process should be respected.

Angus didn’t answer reporters’ questions when asked if he would contest the bill if he becomes the party leader. “It’s a conversation in Quebec, and I have a lot of [trust that] the progressive movement will establish a balance between individual rights and society’s rights.”

Photo by Kirubel Mehari

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