It’s Groundhog Day in Canada. It’s deja vu all over again. Justin Trudeau has perfected a political time machine.
Pick your pithy phrasing as they all apply to the results of this most unnecessary federal election, the results of which were easily predicted by many when the writ was dropped in mid-August.
The polls were deadly accurate and the mainstream media was correct in its analysis, much to the chagrin of vocal People’s Party/anti-vaxxers on social media, who were predicting double-digit seat counts for the vaunted purple wave that emerged as little more than a vaporous puddle.
If one looks at the results of Monday’s election — which, pending final counts of mail-in ballots that could flip a riding here or there, are almost identical to 2019 results — everybody lost, including the taxpayer.
But every party could also find something with which to claim victory.
Trudeau said a return to leading a minority government is evidence of a progressive mandate for his Liberals from voters.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole noted his party received the most votes — 5.4 million, or 34 per cent of the vote.
The NDP could point to a one-seat bump (as of this writing, on Tuesday morning, the party had 25 seats won, one more than it had at dissolution) and a two per cent hike in vote support from the 2019 election.
The Bloc Québécois could note it gained two seats from dissolution.
The Greens, despite seeing popular support crater — from 6.55 per cent in 2019 to 2.3 per cent in this election — could still point to the fact they remain at two seats, the same number they had at dissolution.
Even the People’s Party could claim success, despite not winning a single seat, via the fact it garnered 5.1 per cent of the vote, compared to 1.6 per cent in the 2019 election.
Locally, many pundits — including this one — were expecting a much closer race between Conservative Frank Caputo and New Democrat Bill Sundhu.
Many of us also thought the 2019 battle between Conservative Cathy McLeod and Liberal Terry Lake would be close.
In both cases, we pundits were wrong as the Conservative candidates rolled to impressive victories.
There are many interesting tidbits in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding in the 2021 federal election:
• Frank Caputo is the first man to be elected MP locally this century. From Nov. 27, 2000, to Aug. 15, 2021, two women served this riding as MP: Cathy McLeod from 2008 to 2021 and Betty Hinton from 2000 to 2008.
• While Caputo won big, the largest improvement in votes was accomplished by New Democrat Bill Sundhu. In 2019, NDP candidate Cynthia Egli garnered 13.7 per cent of support (9.936 votes). In this election, Sundhu and the NDP received 28.9 per cent of support (18,618 votes).
• The largest drop in support can be seen with the Liberals. In 2019, Lake received 27.2 per cent of support (19,716 votes). In this election, Liberal candidate Jesse McCormick took in 18 per cent of support (11,618 votes).
• Of the five political parties running candidates in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in this election, two saw support rise and three saw support dip. The NDP and the People’s Party gained votes. The Liberals, Greens and Conservatives lost votes. The People’s Party went from 1,136 votes (1.6 per cent) in 2019 to 3,763 votes (5.8 per cent) this year. The Greens went from 8,789 votes (12.1 per cent) in 2019 to 2,375 votes (3.7 per cent) this year. The Conservatives went from 32,415 votes (44.7 per cent) in 2019 to 27,597 votes (42.9 per cent) this year.
• Speaking of votes, the voter turnout in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo in this election (pending completion of counting of mail-in ballots and those who registered on general election day) is at 60.54 per cent. In the 2019 election, local voter turnout was 69.93 per cent. Nationally, the turnout (again, pending completion of counting of mail-in ballots and those who registered on general election day) is at 58.5 per cent. In 2019, voter turnout was at 67 per cent.
• From Kamloops This Week operations manager Tim Shoults (one of those rare journalism breeds who has both editorial and publisher experience and who is a serious data nerd) comes this fun election fact:
In the past 100 years, there have been 30 general elections.
The riding encompassing the City of Kamloops has elected Conservatives (including Progressive Conservatives) 18 times for a total of 51 years (19 elections and 55 years if we count the Canadian Alliance).
The riding has elected Liberals five times for a total of 21 years, the NDP five times for a total of 20 years, the Progressives once for four years and the Canadian Alliance once for four years (unless we count them as part of the Conservatives, as noted above).
Election nights, whether we know the results ahead of time or only think we do, are always fun.
See you all again in 23 months.