This October might see a strong contender for the Most Boring Canadian Election of the Century.
I’m worried we might see spontaneous mass blackouts during the election debates. People’s brains might simply shut down out of an inability to care about any of the main candidates.
Let’s run them down, in order of their current poll standings.
Conservative and opposition leader Andrew Scheer has behaved, so far, like a slightly more likable but less intense version of Stephen Harper. That’s good, in that Harper was one of the least charismatic Canadian PMs of the last half century, but he did give you the idea that he had a plan, and you were either for or against it.
Scheer, on the other hand, has tacked about like a sailboat on a gusty day. Some days he’s pandering to right-wing conspiracy theories, other days he’s a moderate and standard Conservative. Every day, every hour, he would like to remind you that the Liberals are bad and corrupt and rotten.
Unfortunately, the Conservatives will at some point have to tell people what they are actually for, and so far their party website is rather vacant of ideas.
Justin Trudeau, saviour of the Grits in 2015, has seen the shine come off his inherited fraction of Trudeaumania. Maybe it was the broken promises, or the scandal over hanging out with the Aga Khan, or the loss of two cabinet members and a whole lot of credibility during the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Probably the last one.
Elizabeth May has been leader of the Green Party for more than eight years. With the climate crisis, forest fires, floods, and plastic waste at the top of many voter’s minds, she might be the biggest beneficiary of the Year of Boring Leaders.
She doesn’t have to be personally charismatic. Her platform is basically about preventing the apocalypse, and she can pick up disgruntled NDP, Liberal, and even Conservative voters.
The fact that Jagmeet Singh of the NDP is now polling equal to or below the Greens tells you all you need to know about where his party stands right now. Possibly the most personally charismatic of the leaders, he’s also been largely invisible of late, which is not helping his party.
I’d love a policy-centric campaign, actually. But it looks like we’ll get the opposite – attacks from the Conservatives over Liberal corruption, the Liberals trying to tar the Conservatives with extremism and racism linked to Yellow Vests, Maxime Bernier, and Trump.
The most interesting people in this campaign aren’t even running.
They’re Ontario Premier Rob Ford, accidentally undermining the Tories’ chances in Ontario, or Jason Kenney in Alberta, who ran for election against the concept of clean air, or the myriad low-budget Facebook campaigns that are spreading political memes to get around election spending limits.
It might be a weird election, but not thanks to the leaders fighting to be PM.