The 2021 Election was a Referendum on Trudeau until Erin O’Toole Shifted Leftward

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on September 20, 2021

While the election still isn’t over; Trudeau and the Liberals are definitely having a bad campaign and it was a mistake to call an election now. So let’s be realistic; it is a real possibility O’Toole and the Conservatives could win the election, but the current polling shows that victory would be by the skin of his teeth. 

We’ve seen this movie before, though. 

Let’s not become victims of short term memory; just under two years ago Andrew Scheer just barely lost an election to a much stronger Trudeau government. While Conservatives love to rag on how much of a weak leader Scheer was, he actually accomplished a few things: Scheer snapped up 26 seats in Parliament, he reduced Trudeau’s majority government to a minority, and he put a friendly face on the Conservative Party.

While Scheer lost the 2019 election and was certainly kinda weak, tellingly, to the best of my knowledge the 2019 election was the first in Canadian history where the losing party won the popular vote. This wasn’t something I saw discussed much in either mainstream or conservative alternative media, but Trudeau’s victory in 2019 was not nearly as strong as it appears on pure seat numbers. Many of the races were actually extremely close, almost coin toss number wins for the Liberals.

(Photo from Macleans)

(Photo from Macleans)

Thinking back to 2019, while no one was surprised by the Trudeau win, I remember leading up to the actual election and thinking of it as a real toss up. 

Now back in the present. I understand O’Toole’s strategy of running left; he’s trying to attract GTA voters, but why then is Justin Trudeau still on track to win a slim victory if O’Toole’s strategy was the correct one?

If the CPC had run with Scheer again that would be an almost guaranteed victory. Not saying Scheer was a strong candidate, but it was a seriously razor-thin victory in 2019… Doesn’t that suggest that the voters were already getting tired of Trudeau back then? Why then has the Conservative Party been trying to increasingly emulate Trudeau?

With Scheer being from Saskachwan the party would have probably kept much of the Western/Conservative base, which feels very unstable in 2021. The Maverick Party, while quite new still, is semi-organized so that it could pose a threat in targeted seats in Alberta & Saskatchewan. 


While we can’t entirely blame O’Toole for Maverick, he does have a bad track record of attacking and tossing out so called conservative ‘hardliners’. But is every Conservative elected outside of the GTA a hardliner? It’s logical to expect to find a Red Tory like O’Toole coming from that area but it has been insane watching every conservative with views differing from O’Toole being called a ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, ‘bigot’, ‘homophobe’, etc.

Let’s not forget we’ve never actually been provided the reasons for Jim Karahalios’ disqualification from the 2020 leadership race. That was pretty odd, but made more sense if you know Karahalios’ was quickly threatening O’Toole and Peter MacKay as the frontrunners.

MP Derek Sloan was also removed from the Conservative Party on a completely false pretence and which has made his old seat in Hastings-Lennox and Addington a target for the Liberals in 2021.

Sloan was ejected in early 2021, but more recently we saw Jonas Smith thrown out; Yukon based Conservative MP candidate with a lot of potential last cycle and with his Liberal Party opponent stepping down, was seen as almost a shoe in before being ejected for opposing vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations, a popular opinion with Conservatives and Canadians generally, and the opinion O’Toole pivoted to the day after ejecting Smith. 

Also like Sloan, Smith is now running as an Independent in the Yukon and has been warmly received by disenfranchised Conservative and Liberal voters in his new grassroots run to become a MP.

Independent MP Candidate Jonas Smith (Photo from Yukon News)

Independent MP Candidate Jonas Smith (Photo from Yukon News)

In more ‘great’ news for the Conservatives, guaranteed to be re-elected Fort Mcmurray- Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga announced he would not seek reelection over ‘personal health’ reasons,’ and then would later make it clear he was forced out by endorsing the PPC candidate in the riding.

And while the pathetic, legacy ‘conservative’ press is setting up Maxime Bernier’s PPC to take the blame for Erin O’Toole quite possible upcoming failure of an election. Bernier’s PPC fared poorly in 2019, however they are surging this cycle with enough support they could score more than 5 percent of the vote and elect Bernier in his old riding of Beauce.

Let’s utilize our memory skills again, but a little bit further back in time than 2019… that’s right, Bernier also used to be a CPC candidate and was a strong contender in the 2017 leadership race… then he ran off and formed his own party. Now that party, which espouses right-wing leaning values, is surging while O’Toole’s party, which is obviously running left, is floundering. 

Perhaps Bernier was too much personality for the Conservatives to handle, but am I the only one seeing the pattern here? For those who don’t, here it is: the CPC as a whole runs left, kicks out actual conservatives who are popular and those conservatives who then proceed to run against the party. The Conservatives later blame those others for loses despite the fact the party cause the problems in the first place.


What we’re seeing in 2021 is the Conservative Party’s last three years running left and attacking the base has turned what should have been an easy election, posed as a referendum on the character of Justin Trudeau, into a referendum on whether or not the Conservative Party represents conservative Canadians anymore.

The Conservative Party loyalists have to stop abandoning principles in order to try and secure election victory. As we have seen now for the past two election campaigns Canadians have only become more lukewarm on the Conservative Party as shifts towards more Liberal-lite policies. Canadians want some passion in their politics and being scared to take conservative stances will just make more Canadians stay home.

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

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