Canada’s 44th election came and went, landing the country back with almost the same composition of government that it had before the election. As the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rolls through the country, and COVID-19-related health crises in Canada steadily increase, the $600 million that this election cost could have been much better spent elsewhere.
While the results of the election probably come as a blow to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who announced the election in hopes of gaining a greater stronghold for the Liberal Party in Parliament — it’s a bigger blow to the Canadian public. Trudeau remains with a minority government, and Canadians are left to wonder what it was all for.
The composition of the House of Commons after the results of the election held on Sept. 20 is remarkably similar to what it looked like before being dissolved in early August.
Saskatchewan was one of the places where the repeat of results from the last federal election were particularly felt. The Conservative Party swept all 14 ridings in the province, a feat they also managed during the 2019 federal election.
Many people, including myself and many of my peers, are upset that an election was called at this time. After all, the five weeks of campaigning and millions of dollars spent distracts from the growing crisis of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To quote an iconic Kardashian: “There’s people that are dying.”
Though COVID-19 is rampant across Canada, both Alberta and Saskatchewan have been suffering from immense health crises over the past few weeks. Both provinces have been struggling, with hospitals overrun and short-staffed, and cases climbing higher every day.
As of Sept. 24, there were 4734 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. 276 individuals were hospitalized, with 61 in the ICU. Of these cases, 216 — almost 78 per cent — were not fully vaccinated.
With the COVID-19 pandemic worsening across the country, it begs the question — was now really the best time for an attempted political power-grab?
Attention and resources should be given to bailing out our flailing health-care systems across the country, reintroducing public health measures and regulations that can hopefully stop the spread of the virus and encouraging Canadians to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
Calling an election and spending five weeks diverted from this issue in the face of campaigning for an election without a meaningful — or even different — outcome was a failure on the behalf of this government.
Leading this country out of the pandemic, and trying to save lives and support our health-care workers, should mean more than a line in a campaign platform. Real action needs to be taken, and it has been desperately needed over the last few weeks. Yet, the current government of this country has fallen gravely short of that need.
Unfortunately, our provincial government has not really been doing better. While Premier Scott Moe called the 2021 federal election “the most pointless in Canada’s history” and stated that more attention should be given to the fourth wave of the pandemic at this time, the hypocrisy was hard to miss.
Moe, in my opinion, has not been doing the utmost to assist the people and health-care workers of Saskatchewan recently. Only on Sept. 16 were new restrictions introduced, including masking and vaccine mandates, although health-care workers and concerned citizens across the province had been calling for them for much longer than that.
As we move forward from this election, it’s important to remember where the greatest issues truly lie — with the country’s continued survival and recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political moves and power-grabs, whether federally, provincially or anywhere else, can wait until Canada isn’t in a state of emergency.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a reply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Beth is a second-year undergraduate student studying history.