Kirk LaPointe: Wake me when this federal election campaign is over


It has been a meh-lection campaign. Like, who can possibly get excited about these last few weeks? Why are we voting for the least dislikable choice?

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Not a single, solitary, distinct, specific, lone, unique idea. Pharmacare has been in the political vocabulary pre-internet. Really, this is the best anyone could muster?

As others have pronounced it: a Seinfeld show. About nothing. Ignorant, as usual, of British Columbian priorities like housing, the opioid mess, tech development, and transit.

Yes, ugly, although not as ugly as might have been. Still, loads of disinformation by the leaders to distinguish themselves as survivalists to the core. Horrible slings and arrows to distort the records and ideas of opponents. Poker faces when lying, heaven rest their souls.

Opportunism, indeed. The earliest ever talk of coalitions, again as survivalists, spelling utter confusion for a voter contemplating a strategic ballot. Do I help my enemy by voting for my friend?

Everyone talking about the long haul of climate change, as it should be, but no one talking about the short haul of what it will be like to lead a country in an economic downturn. The next four years in their hands are a mystery to voters because not one leader has been even slightly reassuring of the capacity to govern through bad weather. Will it mean gargantuan deficits, mean-spirited cuts, oblivious spending, or disruptive economic transformation?

And hey, how about how to handle Donald Trump? And Xi Jinping? Anyone out there want to try that one on for size? Didn’t think so.

No, this will hit the history books as a forgettable exercise. No ballot-box issue, no galvanizing leader (sorry, but the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh will merely exceed low expectations), no sense as there is in most elections that it is time to decide if change is needed or not. This election could have taken place last year, next year, whatever.

We just don’t care – thanks, in large measure, to the campaigners.

Andrew Scheer might have cakewalked if he were not Andrew Scheer. Better him leading the Conservatives than Maxime Bernier, though nowhere near as entertaining. The Harper hangover hobbled Scheer from the 13th ballot of his party’s leadership vote, and Canadians had trouble after trouble distinguishing Scheer from the Harper shadow or his earnest 2019 version of sunny ways from the Original Coke prime minister of 2015.

He and Trudeau are, after all, both cheery, both carbon-based forms of life, but little else commonly. Still, there was a door for Scheer to walk – to frankly prance – through, and he seemed to stall at the welcome mat.

Justin Trudeau had revealed the imperiousness of his father in the SNC-Lavalin affair and a lack of judgment all his own in spending a 2001 afternoon donning blackface for a party and photo opportunity. Even if he can never be the leader he wanted us to think of him as, nothing toxic truly stuck. He makes Teflon seem like duct tape, a caged lifer seem like Houdini. In the national consciousness, his extraordinary missteps were Snapchat – see it, freak out, forget it, on to the next image. If I were an opponent, I’d be livid. Which Scheer might have been wise to be, but wasn’t.

Singh began the campaign as the most obvious Dead Leader Walking. Low personal ratings, slumped party standings, pretty well trading pop bottles for campaign funds. Which reminds all of us in life that you can never go wrong by setting expectations low. He emerged after these weeks as some sort of sage. His job, of all the leaders, appears safest.

The other leaders are really the others. It is possible on Monday night that the separatist Bloc Quebecois is furnished with sufficient seats to conjoin with a patriotic Conservative Party to run the show, in which case we are in for entertainment – Scheer entertainment.

It is also possible that Singh clings to the man who bought a pipeline, arguably the largest compromise in recent Canadian political history, to wield something approaching clout. News flash: It is not clout, it is a chimera.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May has been nothing short of consistently herself for 13 years at the helm, but the campaign suggests it is time to celebrate her run and flip the keys. They say that 80% of life is showing up, but 60% of life is knowing when to leave.

I will vote for an MP, not a party or a leader. The campaign left me with no other choice.

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.

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