Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In

What Santa ought to bring party leaders this Christmas

By Tim Powers      

Singh and Scheer both need to matter more in the political conversation, while Trudeau is likely wishing for a smooth-sailing economy and more chances to position himself in contrast to Trump and Ford.

With recent provincial elections showing a shift in some jurisdictions, Liberal Leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are all searching for solid ground to anchor themselves to get through this election year, says Tim Powers. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

OTTAWA—The Christmas and holiday season is upon us. Many, including me, will be thankful to have a little break from all things politics as well as commenting on the same. Relaxation and recharging are in order. But before checking out for a couple weeks, how about some Christmas wish lists for our main national party leaders?

This year seems to have been one of tumult and turbulence. Britain and America had major political realignment in 2016 as populism in different forms reared its head. The Canadian political map started to change colour in 2018 as new provincial political leaders often championing an anti-elite, anti-establishment sentiment took office in some Canadian jurisdictions. Most notable of course would be Doug Ford becoming premier of Ontario. Looking forward to more provincial elections in 2019 and the federal vote, our leaders federally are all searching for solid ground to anchor themselves to get through next year.

Jagmeet Singh, the head of the New Democratic Party, is the leader in need of the most magical Christmas ever. He has all limbs crossed hoping that Santa brings him a byelection win early in the new year. Well, I suppose he dreams the contest actually gets called first.

Singh is also wishing that his own Members of Parliament stop seeing him as one gigantic lump of coal. We all know how NDP supporters feel about fossil fuels. Singh’s biggest desire, other than having Canadians actually know who he is, is to actually matter in the political conversation. Right now, he doesn’t.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would also welcome a little more recognition from the Canadian public. He likely figures that will come anyway by the time Monday, Oct. 21, 2019 rolls around and the ballots are cast. Right now, broad swaths of the public know more about Ford and view him as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s political competition. Stealing some of that spotlight away from the Ontario premier is right on top of his list. Like a good cheese fondue at a Christmas party, Scheer would like to see Maxime Bernier become a hot mess and eventually vanish from sight.

The official opposition leader isn’t just looking to Santa for gifts; he is all for the prime minister gift-wrapping him some more opportunities. Another all-Canadian-taxpayer all-expenses-paid trip to a far-flung destination where the PM could bring out his tickle trunk would be welcome. Scheer might even buy Trudeau a Mr. Dressup costume kit.

The prime minister wishes Father Christmas could administer a magical memory-erasing drug to the Canadian public so that the Indian adventure could be permanently deleted from their minds. He is also asking that his major gift be no major Canadian recession. With economic anxiety high among Canadians, an economy on the decline might hurt his political fortunes. The PM would like an error-free spring and summer with no cabinet calamity. Over the past three years, if that was part of his gift order, he mostly got that present.

Justin Trudeau will be delighted if United States President Donald Trump and Ontario Premier Ford continue to be portrayed as naughty by the national electorate. That configuration is a gift he and his Liberal advisers believe keeps on giving. Despite a number of significant broken promises as well as a governing record that has its challenges, the Liberals love the contrast Trudeau provides to Trump and Ford. They want that to be on the minds of Canadians next year at voting time.

Rarely do we all get what we want during the holidays. But Singh, Scheer, and Trudeau will be hoping all their dreams do come true. None of them want to be part of next year’s never-used gift exchange.

Tim Powers is vice-chairman of Summa Strategies and managing director of Abacus Data. He is a former adviser to Conservative political leaders.

The Hill Times

Explore, analyze, understand
Guide to Using Social and Digital Tools in Election Campaigns: Digital and Social Tools that Politicos are Using to get Elected, Raise Funds, and Recruit Volunteers
Guide to Using Social and Digital Tools in Election Campaigns

Get the book
Charting the CBC’s challenging present and uncertain future
Charting the CBC's challenging present and uncertain future: Where it has been and where it is going provides an insider profile of the struggles faced by Canada’s public broadcaster in the 21st century.

Get the book
Democracy, Terrorism and Killer Robots: Embassy News covers the 2015 Halifax International Security Forum
The Halifax International Security Forum is one of the world’s biggest gatherings of defence and security leaders.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Defence Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Election 2019 campaign one of the most ‘uninspiring, disheartening, and dirtiest’ in 40 years, says Savoie

News|By Abbas Rana
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.

Strategic voting to determine if Liberals will form government, say political players

News|By Abbas Rana
As many as nine per cent of progressive voters could vote strategically in this close election potentially affecting the outcome in more than 100 ridings, says Innovative Research president Greg Lyle.

Turkish offensive should pressure feds to act on repatriation of Canadian citizens in Kurdish-controlled ISIS detention camps, says expert

News|By Neil Moss
The issue of repatriation will be less politically fraught after the election, says expert.

Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Here’s an analysis of the record 1,700-plus candidates running for the six major parties this election.

Pod save us all: the growing role of political podcasts in election 2019

News|By Mike Lapointe
The Hill Times spoke with some podcast hosts taking a deeper dive into the political nitty-gritty, within a medium that only continues to grow in popularity.

No-shows from Conservative candidate could hurt party’s chances in tight Kanata-Carleton race, say politicos

News|By Palak Mangat
The Conservative's candidate, Justin McCaffrey, has skipped two events, including a debate on the environment, intended to feature all candidates.

For whom will the bell toll in Peterborough-Kawartha?

In a riding where voters are deeply engaged in the political process, candidates avoid the low-hanging fruit and stay out of the mud as they grapple with who to send to the House of Commons.

Singh’s strong campaign an internal win, whatever the outcome, New Democrats say

Jagmeet Singh’s impressive campaign has ‘rescued’ and ‘refocused’ the NDP after the failed 2015 effort, Ed Broadbent says.

The astrophysicist whose polling aggregator is projecting the election

News|By Neil Moss
The mastermind behind 338Canada, poll aggregator Philippe Fournier, is aiming to correctly call 90 per cent of the seats in the Oct. 21 race.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.