An election that will settle nothing

I predict the House of Commons will look pretty much the same after this election.

Today is election day in Canada, and we’ll find out the answers to two important questions:

  1. Whether the Communist Party of Canada or the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) wins more support from the proletariat, therefore determining if Canada follows the Soviet path toward socialism or the Maoist path.

  1. Until the glorious socialist revolution comes to Canada, whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s opportunistic gamble will pay off with a Liberal Party majority government.

For the first question, I think it’s clear that Mao has all the momentum these days. Thanks to social media, struggle sessions have never been easier to organize. For the second question, I think the Liberals will win the election - and maybe even add to their seat total - but won’t get their majority.

As a wise person noted when the election was called, Trudeau took a big risk by going to the polls just as a fourth wave of COVID-19 was taking hold. Liberals gonna Liberal, so he’s spent the campaign raging about what a dangerous radical right-winger Erin O’Toole is, and a few minutes on Twitter will show that many Canadians agree with him.

But if the Tories are such a threat to democracy, why did Trudeau call the election in the first place? He could have waited another couple of years, and wasn’t really in any danger of losing the confidence of the House of Commons. If the Conservatives are that much of a danger to democracy itself, risking an election in which they could easily take power was staggeringly irresponsible.

And yet: after a campaign that clearly hasn’t gone the way Trudeau expected, two right-wing politicians - Maxime Bernier and Jason Kenney - may have inadvertently given him a lifeline.

Bernier’s upstart People’s Party of Canada hasn’t drawn all of its support from the Conservatives - many PPC voters are the kind of people who usually stay home on election day, because the Stonecutters rig all election results in advance anyway - but in a close election, they may siphon enough right-leaning voters to cost the Tories some close ridings.

Related: my one out-on-a-limb prediction for today is that the PPC will win at least one seat. The party is thoroughly screwed by the first-past-the-post electoral system that Justin Trudeau plans to reform, wink wink, but I can see Bernier winning his own riding or a PPC candidate possibly squeaking through in Western Canada.

Which gets me to Alberta premier Jason Kenney’s necessary but embarrassing climbdown on re-opening his province this past summer, only to reintroduce lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. Trudeau is using this against his fellow Conservative, and it might just work.

Some moderate voters who considered supporting the CPC will look at Alberta and fear an O’Toole government will repeat this blunder nationwide. Meanwhile, the lockdown- and vaccine-skeptical right see the Tories as mushy sellouts, and some will cast protest votes for Mad Max instead.

The Conservatives will still win an overwhelming majority of seats in Alberta, but they could lose a few to the Liberals or NDP (in the cities) or the PPC (in vaccine-resistant rural ridings).

Here’s how the House of Commons is made up now:

And here’s what I’m predicting after this election:

Liberals - 160

CPC - 120

Bloc Quebecois - 35

NDP - 20

Green - 2

PPC - 1

All in all, an election result that would satisfy nobody but the anti-vax wingnuts and the Quebec separatists. Trudeau called this election to get a majority government, and he likely won’t get it. Erin O’Toole pulled his party back from the brink of disaster - polls this past summer suggested the Conservatives could get fewer votes than the NDP - but will have led the CPC to a result no better than before.

Green Party leader Annamie Paul did as good a job as anyone could have done with her own party knifing her in the back at every opportunity, but she won’t win her own seat. And Jagmeet Singh is yet another in a long line of NDP leaders not named Jack Layton, who are personally well-liked and everybody’s second choice.

So, yeah, we’ll probably be doing all this again next year., but at least it gives me something to write about. Until the Maoists come to power and put an end to elections (and this newsletter) anyway.

All kidding aside, get out there and vote. Casting a meaningful ballot is a right denied to many people around the world.

“I don’t understand why California is losing population” department:

A classroom at a Los Angeles public high school was decorated with hateful posters reading “F–k the Police” and “F–k Amerikkka” — as well as a Black Lives Matter flag, photos show.

The vicious, anti-American posters, shared on social media, adorned a history classroom at Alexander Hamilton High School.

One picture shows a poster declaring “F–k Amerikkka, This is Native Land” and another taking aim at law enforcement officials.

“Policing is a violent, anti-black settler institution that originated as slave patrols,” the poster reads.

“Their primary mandate is to protect property and to militarily enforce white supremacist capitalism. They are doing their jobs as they are trained and paid to do. You can’t fix what isn’t broken. That’s why we fight for police and prison abolition. F–k the Police.”

Another image shows a classroom blackboard covered with the Palestinian flag, as well as pride and transgender banners alongside another supporting Black Lives Matter. A US flag, meanwhile, appeared to be draped over a piece of furniture in a corner.

Flashback to this viral story from late August:

The head of United Teachers Los Angeles—the city's teachers union—thinks that pandemic-related learning losses are a myth and that the thousands of students who slogged through virtual school last year are doing just fine.

"There's no such thing as learning loss," Cecily Myart-Cruz toldLos Angeles magazine in a recent interview.

Myart-Cruz did acknowledge that students' achievements in mathematics, for instance, might have been harmed by virtual learning, but she asserted that the experience of surviving 2020–2021 somehow makes up for this.

"Our kids didn't lose anything," she said. "It's OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup."

Throughout the interview, Myart-Cruz acts as though she is trying to confirm the worst fears of conservative parents who worry that public educators are trying to turn their children into progressive activists. The union boss brazenly discusses her plans to politicize everything having to do with the classroom experience—and to fight school reopenings unless accompanied by changes that she claims will address systemic racism. Last year, she opposed making teachers teach virtually for more than four hours each day, but also turned down a deal to let schools reopen in exchange for $2 billion in extra funding. And she dares anyone to try to oppose her.

I’ve now come around to her position. Maybe students in L.A. public schools should stay home as long as possible.

I’d love to go back in time and show this tweet to myself in 2009.

2021 Me: “Brady is 44 years old and still lighting it up.”

2009 Me: “Sorry, did you say something? I was distracted by you not having lost any weight.”