On Sept. 20, Manitobans will, like the rest of Canada, head out to the polls to vote in the upcoming federal election. The election was called by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau two years early, a decision that left many Canadians scratching our heads. Conventional wisdom is that Trudeau, whose popularity rose due to his COVID-19 pandemic response, hoped to seize the moment and snag a majority government. The unpopular decision to call the election in the middle of said pandemic, however, has that popularity rapidly declining.
I always enjoy the opportunity to vote, and now that I have both of my vaccine doses, I’d be perfectly happy masking up and waiting in a socially distanced line to cast my ballot. However, this isn’t the election I wish I was voting in.
What’s more frustrating to me, as a Manitoban, is which election we aren’t having right now: the one for Manitoba’s premier.
We were particularly hard on former premier Brian Pallister in the pages of The Uniter during his tenure, and rightly so. We make it a point to scrutinize those in power, no matter who they are. But when Pallister’s relentless, years-long dismantling of Manitoba’s healthcare system smashed headfirst into the pandemic, his response to which was incompetent and mismanaged. Combined with his many instances of racism, classism, anti-democratic policy proposals and many other brands of run-of-the-mill unpleasantness, I was glad to see him go.
But his interim replacement, Kelvin Goertzen, who just last June was palling around with Ted Cruz, Betsy DeVos and literal neo-Nazis, is hardly an improvement. Neither are the Tory leadership candidates, who will be voted on not by the general population but by card-carrying Progressive Conservative party members.
The next provincial election isn’t mandated to take place until Oct. 3, 2023. The fact that our provincial leader for the next two years and change won’t be democratically elected, but will instead be appointed by the people who presumably voted for the last clown, should be a concern to everyone.
Published in Volume 76, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 16, 2021)