Let the negotiations begin.
With the election of a minority Liberal government Monday, the new federal government will need to work with progressive opposition parties to get any legislation passed. Indeed, it will need their support just to stay in power.
For those hoping to see real legislative change, this is a true opportunity.
The prime minister, like me, is a feminist. If we believe in true economic equality, the path to that is a national childcare plan. If Quebec can provide childcare for as little as $8.25 a day, there’s no reason the rest of Canada can’t, too – and a minority government gives us an real opportunity to do just that.
It was under minority governments, after all, that Canadians got some of their most cherished programs, including Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan. Many of us define ourselves as Canadians on the basis of such programs, because they show that as a people we take care of one another.
A minority Liberal government gives us a similar opportunity to make the bold changes our country needs on many pressing issues.
This is a strong minority government, as minorities go. At 157 seats, just 13 shy of a majority, we can expect Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow the lead of previous minority governments – garnering support from other parties legislation by legislation, vote by vote, rather than forming a formal coalition government with another party.
Practically speaking, that means the alliance of MPs that comes together to develop, say, a just transition to a green economy might not be the exact same alliance that brings in Pharmacare, or labour law reform, or affordable housing or any other issue
In the end, I think that’s a good thing.
Needing to build a new voting bloc for every piece of legislation will require that the new government reach out across the aisle and really listen to what is needed to get their legislation through. For those hoping that new voices will be heard, and their concerns acted upon, this is good news.
Backbenchers will also have a stronger voice in a minority government because their votes will be needed every time to get legislation passed.
In the end, that means local issues will find their way to the front benches of government more than they might in a majority government. For those worried about local issues such as transit, housing or opportunities for youth in their hometowns, that’s good news.
All this is positive, even as we lost some strong and progressive voices in Parliament. Unifor’s own Tracey Ramsey in Essex has been a true advocate for working people in Parliament the last four years, and she will be missed in Ottawa as this new minority government finds it way.
These election results were a call for all the parties to work together on the pressing needs of this country, including climate change, affordability, pharmacare and childcare.
It was also a clear rejection of the right-wing politics of division that we saw not only from the People’s Party of Canada, but in significant parts of the Conservative Party, as well.
Andrew Scheer’s backwards views on LGBTQ rights, a woman’s right to choose and climate change are clearly out of step with the majority of Canadians. Canadians clearly want a progressive government.
At the same time, voters sent a message to the Trudeau Liberals, as well - that as much as they want to continue the reforms his government has already made, more is needed and more voices need to be heard.
I can tell you that Unifor will be front and centre as one of those voices. We are already making plans, in fact, to go to Ottawa and push progressive causes, including labour law reform, infrastructure funding, green transition, pharmacare, electoral reform, affordable housing and more.
Indeed, Unifor has been active throughout this campaign, reaching out directly to members in 72 key ridings across Canada – and in 58 of those we helped block Scheer’s attempts to become prime minister.
Now, let’s get to work on building the Canada we want and need.