Tom Walkom writes that voters punished all the parties in this election. But that reality hasn't set in yet. All of the leaders seem to be living in an alternate reality:
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer treated the Liberal minority win as if it had never happened.
He made no mention of the fact that his party had failed to oust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Instead, he treated the election as a way station on the road to an inevitable Conservative victory sometime in the future.
There was no talk from Scheer on how to make a minority parliament work. Rather, he suggested that any attempt to do so would be somehow illegitimate, noting that his party won marginally more of the popular vote than the victorious Liberals.
Referring to his Conservatives as the government in waiting, he said that his work would not be over until he demolished the Trudeau regime.
Justin Trudeau sounded like a man who had won a majority:
The prime minister made no explicit reference to the fact that Canadians had deprived him of his parliamentary majority. Instead, he insisted that voters had given him a mandate to continue governing as he had before.
His only concession to the reality of his new situation came in two brief references. He told Quebecers who had switched their votes from the Liberals to the Bloc Québécois that he had heard their message. He said to voters in Alberta and Saskatchewan, who on Monday booted the few would-be Liberal MPs still extant in those provinces, that he understood their frustration.
Like Scheer, he seemed to treat Monday’s election results as a minor interruption. He said he will continue doing what he has done — although he did note that it is always possible to do better.
And, even though Jagmeet Singh ended the night with far fewer seats than he had at the beginning of the campaign, he sounded triumphant:
An excited Singh treated the election as a huge victory for the NDP. In fact, the party suffered devastating results. It was wiped out in Saskatchewan and almost wiped out in Quebec.
It won no seats in Toronto or the so-called 905 suburban belt around the city. In Ontario, it went from eight seats at dissolution to six. Nationally, its seat total went from 39 to 24.
There was lots of hubris in the air -- and hardly any humility. A minority parliament will only work if leaders begin with a realistic assessment of their situation. It appears that each leader has his own set of alternate facts.
Image: Chilliwack Progress