Three thousand units

It looks much like it did five weeks ago when Trudeau called a snap election.

Numbers will be confirmed in a few days after Elections Canada sifts through mail-in ballots, but it looks like we face another Liberal minority government.

Latest figures quoted suggest the election described by us as a “gratuitous election call” will now approach $610 million. The increase in expense had to do with COVID safety protocols and assorted items caused by the realities of holding an election during a pandemic.

For the ridings of Perth-Wellington and Wellington-Halton Hills both incumbent Conservative MPs were returned with impressive totals. John Nater and Michael Chong will soon return to Ottawa where we believe they will keep working diligently on behalf of voters here.

Campaigns can easily go negative and apart from a couple of issues and sign vandalism, articulate candidates in both ridings gave the public many options for consideration. All candidates and their teams can be proud of participating in what we view as one of the most solemn acts of democracy – running for office. Not everyone has that courage or calling.

Orange, green, blue, red, purple or otherwise – we respect their effort and that of voters to discern what works best for them. Once the election is over and the successful party grabs the levers of power the public should always remember the power of election. There will no doubt be things that a segment of the population doesn’t agree with, but Canadians must respect the right of politicians to make the choices they do. That is what the vote meant – granting the power to make decisions on our behalf.

That power allowed Trudeau to call this unnecessary election. Thinking he could claim majority status and serve another term without having to consult with other parties he plunged the country into a five-week debacle. Honour bound Canadians answered that call to vote, as did all parties that chose to run candidates.

The wisdom in forcing an election at this time, however, deserves discussion. It is quite obvious to most that the country is tired.

Essential workers are at a tipping point, bordering on exhaustion if they haven’t already collapsed. Families too are plain worn out, whether that be from the pressures of home-schooling, work demands, varying degrees of insomnia, anxiety and the absence of unfettered fun for too long. Covid has become a grind and we see it in people. Tongues are a little sharper and patience has grown thin.

Friend or foe seem to centre around whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, masked or unmasked. This has created and continues to cause divisions within communities. Outside of the halls of power, people are hurting and angry and this election did nothing to help those people or calm their fears. If anything it entrenched positions, some of that showing up on the campaign trail, with most of the anger focused on Trudeau himself.

Further to that point about unhappiness across the land is a lingering concern about money and how it is spent.  It was instructive that opposition parties decried the cost and timing of the election, but each had a laundry list of new money to be spent. After the COVID funds were released en masse, it is as if the tap will never run dry, but it will. We seem to have forgotten the past when interest payments played havoc with the economy.

Chatting with an old buddy the day after, I started off by saying “three thousand units.” That was answered with a “what?” so I explained. If the funds spent on this election had been diverted to affordable housing – 3,000 units could have been built. That is just one example of a desperate need that could have been addressed. Instead we all got taken for a ride.

The issue of affordability and inflation only became a serious talking point after the campaign began and other parties started noting the rising cost of groceries and housing. Real people have real problems and it just seems like the Ottawa bubble in this case just doesn’t get it. A step removed from hardship of any kind, politicians seem to forget when parents go grocery shopping they have choices to make based on what’s in their wallet and what they can afford. Bacon at $7 a pack is a far cry from $3.99 on sale a year ago.

As we settle into another minority government, let’s hope all parties make the best use of taxpayer money by investing wisely in people.