Getting returned to the House of Commons was the easy part of the job - now Karina Gould has to come up with a solution to the way we elect the federal politicians.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 22nd, 2019



What does the Karina Gould win in Burlington tell us and what can we expect from her in the 24 to 36 months ahead of us before there is another federal election?

News anal REDThere are all kinds of problems the Liberals have with the people in Western Canada – and they will get resolved in some way – enough to keep the country together is another matter.

Let’s talk about what this election tells us about ourselves.

The 6.5% of the vote that Gareth Williams got for the Greens is more than disappointing. He got less than 5000 votes.

Gould - pregnant 2018

Gould didn’t miss much in the way of work time while pregnant. The son became a feature on those occasions hat she took the child to work.

Did Burlingtonians not care all that much about the state of the environment? Or was the concern over the threat from Jane Michael, the Conservative candidate, so strong that every progressive vote went to Gould to ensure that Michael didn’t win the seat?

Despite the hundreds of negative comments made about Michael and her decision not to take part in debates where she would have to defend her positions she did take 33% of the vote. 23,467 were prepared to accept the way Michael ran as a candidate. Proof positive that there is a solid vote that is not Liberal in Burlington. Was it a Catholic vote or a Conservative vote?

We heard from a number of strong Conservatives who were embarrassed with their candidate and deeply disturbed by the way she got the nomination in the first place.

How Burlington overcomes that divide is something Gould is going to have to work on. Good luck on that one. The responsible, decent Conservatives are going to have to find people who truly represent them if there is to be any change.

Gareth Williams looking sideways

Despite putting forward a very credible case for the Greens Gareth Williams was not able to pull in much in the way of voter support.

Back to that environmental vote. Gareth Williams did a very good job of setting out the Green Party case. He just didn’t get the buy-in he deserved.

The New Democrats selected a nice lady to carry their banner. It takes more than nice to win an election.

What does Karina Gould do now?

Gould in white - witness

Karina Gould at a Parliamentary committee.

We are all but guaranteed to have a lot of discussion about the way we choose who is to represent us in the House of Commons. Gould was the Minister of Democratic Institutions. Prior to her appointment the Liberals had not been able to make any progress on getting a buy-in from the other political parties and basically gave up on the idea.

Gould was brought in to ensure that the job the previous Minister, MP Maryam Monsef, wasn’t able to do didn’t get any worse than it was.

Karina Gould found herself standing before the national media in front of the doors to the House of Commons Chamber explaining that there would not be any change to the way Canadians chose their federal leaders.

Will the Prime Minister keep her in the portfolio – he should. Will she be able to craft a response to the problem and get a solid buy-in from her Cabinet colleagues? Hopefully yes for the sake of the country.

The New Democrats will work at making this their issue and pressing the Liberals to do something soon.  The Liberals need at last 16 of those votes to get their Speech from the Throne and the next budget passed.  Gould has her work cut out for her on this file.

Walkers and Dundas housing

This was the last major greenfield site in Burlington – there is nothing affordable being built.

There are other demanding tasks that Gould will need to focus on. Building housing that is affordable is vital. Gould can certainly support the case for building housing that people, especially younger people, can afford so they can remain in Burlington where housing is far from affordable.

Finally, Gould has some reaching out work to do. She has been very good at it. Her support for One Burlington was a good start. Helping those conservatives that need a home where their values are respected is a bigger job than Karina Gould can do – it will take time.

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7 comments to Getting returned to the House of Commons was the easy part of the job – now Karina Gould has to come up with a solution to the way we elect the federal politicians.

  • Perryb

    It has been said that you could run a fire hydrant for the Conservatives in Burlington and win. Nice try, but this election proves that it won’t work any more. Time to do better, folks.

  • Stephen White

    Watching the electoral stalemate in Israel, including the jockeying for control, back-room machinations, deal-making and the prospect of yet another election (the third this year) one has to be a little bit suspicious of those advocating for the replacement of “first past the post”.

    Admittedly, the system isn’t perfect, but none is. The advantages it presents are simplicity and yes, transparency. In a single member district plurality the person with the most votes wins. There are no complicated formulas, or run-offs, or additional complications that have entrapped politicians in Israel, Italy, France and countless other countries. Hell….we can barely get 2/3 of the electorate to show up and vote every 4 years, so how are we going to get people to turn up to vote in consecutive run-off elections? And …do we really need more political parties each catering to special interests, and many pushing radical positions, hate doctrines and extremist ideologies?

    I would rather time, money, effort and attention be directed towards how we engage citizens meaningfully between election campaigns, how we ensure integrity in the system, and how we provide mechanisms for public input into the policy-making process.

  • Joe Gaetan

    There is no way FPTP will be replaced anytime soon. The sparks will fly if the NDP makes this a non-confidence matter. My take, the Liberals and Conservatives will finally find common ground.

  • Steve G

    “Gould has to come up with a solution to the way we elect the federal politicians.”

    System seems to be working pretty good for her. Why change it????

  • Hans Jacobs

    Re: “Will she (Karina) be able to craft a response to the problem and get a solid buy-in from her Cabinet colleagues?” She will first have to persuade the PM to put electoral reform in her marching orders. I hope she succeeds.

    Not mentioned in the editorial were some of the many other important motives that determine voting behaviour. All of the motives don’t have equal weight, but a crucial one in this election may have been the voters’ ranking of preferred leader. Scheer was consistently ranked significantly lower that Trudeau in the polls – even with all of Trudeau’s negative baggage. If he couldn’t beat Trudeau with all of that as ammunition, then he never will.
    As I recall, even Scheer’s own party had not given him strong support when he barely beat Maxime Bernier for the CPC leadership. I hope that the CPC will find someone more suitable to lead before the next election; Scheer was a dud.

    • Perryb

      Karina was given a poisoned chalice to run with in her first cabinet assignment, and eventually had to carry the can for a Justin decision to kill the project. There is merit in changing FPTP, but every alternative (and there are many) has its downside, which quickly becomes the only focus no matter which way you go. Can’t blame her for that.

  • Carol Victor

    Our MP Karina Gould has demonstrated very well that she can both support issues here in Burlington and on the federal front as well. She is more than up to the job and won her seat handily over the Conservative despite the large”conservative” element in this city. It is a tribute to her that she did so well in this election; she had a great and diversified team of dedicated volunteers who were only too happy to make sure that she continues to be a voice for Burlington in Ottawa. We are fortunate to have both integrity and talent in the person representing us.