PHOTO C/O Arnaud Jaegers

An overview of the current state of Canada’s political parties

By: Max Cornblum, Contributor

On Sept. 20, 2021, Canadians across the country voted in an early federal election called by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Results of the election formed another minority government under the Liberal party, leaving Canadians to wonder what the future of the government would look like in the face of a new, but almost identical, parliament.

Liberal Party 

After winning 159 seats and maintaining their minority government, many now-former members of parliament have lost their pensions. Pensions are awarded after six years of being seated in parliament and this election was called just over two months before some of those pensions would have vested. 

Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for the Hamilton West, Ancaster and Dundas constituency, stands by the Liberal government’s decision to call a snap election.

Tassi believes that the party’s win proves Canadians agree with what the party has been doing and what they plan to do moving forward.

“The Canadians have accepted the mandate and that they agree with the way that we have navigated through COVID-19 and they say that they agree with our plan moving forward with regards to [future plans in things] such as environment, childcare and housing,” said Tassi. 

Tassi added that she doesn’t see the snap election as a waste of money, but rather as a mandate from Canadians to have either voice heard. 

“It is important that as we move forward, we are listening to Canadians, and this was the opportunity for Canadians to have their say with respect to what we have invested in,” explained Tassi.

“It is important that as we move forward, we are listening to Canadians, and this was the opportunity for Canadians to have their say with respect to what we have invested in.”

Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West, Ancaster & Dundas Constituency

Justin Trudeau currently remains the leader of the party. However, following public outrage regarding Trudeau’s decision to call the snap election, it remains to be seen as to whether the Liberal party is still committed to the Trudeau name.

Conservative Party 

As the Conservative Party’s leader, Erin O’Toole’s platform let the voters know that he was pro-2SLGBTQIA+ and pro-abortion. He also supported a federal carbon tax, which was unheard of for a conservative leader. 

However, the Conservative Party’s turn towards the centre with a more moderate leader such as O’Toole didn’t make up any ground from the Liberals. 

As a result of the snap election, the Conservative Party now holds 119 seats in the House of Commons, a loss of two seats compared to the 2019 election

“While [the Conservative Party] didn’t get the results we had hoped for, I am proud of our team for holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election,” said O’Toole. 

“While [the Conservative Party] didn’t get the results we had hoped for, I am proud of our team for holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election.”

Erin O'Toole, Conservative Party Leader

New Democratic Party 

The New Democratic Party was unable to pick up a sizable amount of seats despite their overwhelmingly popular policies. The NDP now holds 25 seats in the house of commons. 

Although NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, has garnered a large amount of popularity through social media platforms such as TikTok, this did not translate to an increase in seats in the House of Commons. 

The NDP will reevaluate their leadership and platform to see if they can improve their results with another leader or may decide to continue the course with Jagmeet Singh.

Jagmeet Singh remains the leader of the NDP and has stated that he’s confident he will keep that position.

Bloc Quebecois Party

The Bloc Quebecois won 33 seats, short of their goal of 40 seats. As is the case with other parties, the Bloc Quebecois won a similar number of seats as the 2019 election where they won 32 seats

Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the party, criticized Trudeau for calling the election.

“We almost feel like saying ‘All of that for this’,” said Blanchet. 

“We almost feel like saying ‘All of that for this’.”

Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Green Party 

After losing a Member of Parliament to the Liberals because of an internal party dispute about the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Green Party received far fewer votes than in 2019 and won two seats. 

Despite climate change being a top priority for voters, the party dedicated to the climate lost ground and credibility with voters.

In her own riding in Toronto Centre, the previous leader of the Green Party, Annamie Paul, was unable to win her seat as well. Even before the election, her standing within the party was already in tatters

Paul has now resigned and the Green party will begin its search for a new leader. 

With only two seats in the House of Commons after this election, the Green Party does not meet the requirement of at least 12 seats to be deemed a recognized party for parliamentary proceedings. 

People’s Party 

While the People’s Party of Canada was able to increase its share of the popular vote, it remained unable to make any ground and won zero seats. 

PPC leader, Maxime Bernier, also lost in his own riding in Beauce. 

While the rise of right-wing populism has given great success to parties around the world, it appears that the ideology shared by these parties is not welcomed by enough Canadians to make this party feasible. 

After an election that didn’t change the political landscape, every party is left to reflect on what happened in their campaign. Every party must reevaluate its strategies and come prepared for the next election either in 2025 or earlier.

Photo c/o the Associated Press 

By Nicholas Marshall, Contributor

Grits. Reds. Libs. We need to talk. Let us consider Justin Trudeau’s domination in the 2015 federal elections. Here, Trudeau, the son of the heavenly father of our Constitution, descended from the lofty peaks of Canadian society to liberate our wretched souls from the clutches of Harper’s conservative austerity. I take it you were feeling pretty confident this time around. Trudeau was a media darling, beloved on the world stage and, in contrast with our neighbors to the south, a head of government that was hoping to unite our diverse population with Canada’s virtues of multiculturalism and equality. 

But then, the scandals started rolling in. They began as relatively innocuous misdemeanours; his trip to India donning garb of another culture may have seemed like a substantial embarrassment, but it was only foreshadowing whats to come.

Things started to get more serious when the Liberal government approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Trans Mountain pipeline is poised to carve a path straight through the Liberal rhetoric on climate change, and undermine every word that spilled out of Trudeau’s mouth about protecting future generations.

Nothing could have prepared us for the big fish: the SNC-Lavalin scandal was a disaster for public confidence in our prime minister. A private corporation lobbying the government to change the law in their favour so that they could escape conviction was and is an international scandal. But to also pressure and demote your attorney general and then lead a coverup inside your own cabinet demonstrates a profound lack of respect for the political process and the rule of law. In fact, according to the ethics commissioner, the sitting prime minister had broken the law. At least things couldn’t get any worse, right? 

We soon learned that the prime minister was “two-faced” in more ways than one.

So, where do we go from here? Justin Trudeau has been involved in scandal after scandal, while Andrew Scheer, the Conservative party leader, is climbing in the polls. Scheer, the leader who pinky promises that his personal opinions about gay people won’t inform his policy decisions.

So what do we do?

The truth is, most people like how the Liberals brand themselves, but in practice they don’t like watching their feminist darling sell war machines to Saudi Arabia. So, perhaps it’s time to wake up to the fact that Liberals campaign themselves as New Democrats and govern themselves as Conservatives, especially when they know no one is looking. 

This election, it’s time we build our image of the Liberal party based on actions and not on words. We should recognise that the policies the Liberals win on are the actual policies of the NDPs and the policies they sneak in behind our backs are Conservative. 

And, we must keep in mind that when Canadians don’t have the appetite for a scandal-ridden Liberal, voting Conservative is a counterproductive exercise in masochism (see Doug Ford). When your sheep start to bite, you don’t start shearing wolves. 

This election has only just begun, so now is the time to get to know your candidates and evaluate them based on what they offer you as a citizen. Take nothing at face value, and remember that these people may not be exactly what you expected. But if you give it time, I’m sure they will all reveal their true colours to you.


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The event hosted close to 1900 students and community members, as well as a variety of other influential members of parliament, including #HamOnt born and raised Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

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On Sept. 26, the provincial government held an anti-racism panel in Hamilton, as a part of their anti-racism directorate to address systemic racism within Ontario.

The anti-racism directorate was created in Feb. 2016, and its main aims are to decrease systemic racism within provincial government institutions, increase awareness of systemic racism within the local communities and promote fair practices that lead to racial equity. Since July, the panel has held various meetings to discuss systemic racism in an open forum.

The anti-racism panel was held at Mohawk College, where the community gathered to discuss the specific race sensitive issues in Hamilton.

Approximately 150 people were in attendance, and audience members were encouraged to speak to the panel of municipal and provincial representatives about their concerns.

Some of the notable members of the audience included minister MPP and minister responsible for anti-racism Michael Coteau, Ward 3’s Matthew Green, and McMaster’s equity and inclusion office’s senior program manager Vilma Ross.

Community leaders were also in attendance, and many spoke about their experiences as well as their issues with the directorate itself. Ken Stone, chair of the community coalition against racism in Hamilton, noted the redundancy of the directorate in his speech.

“Many excellent pieces of research have already been done over the last three decades, proving conclusively that systemic racism infects every facet of our justice system, it exists in the school, and it colours who gets and doesn’t get the best jobs available in Ontario,” said Stone in his speech.

Members of the audience also spoke about the current government’s own relationship with racialized groups. Manohar Singh Bal of the Gursikh Sangat of Hamilton accused Coteau of dismissing his group’s concerns, to which Coteau responded was due to logistical issues.

McMaster students were also in attendance, and shared mixed feelings towards the panel.

“I think it depends a lot on how you feel about the efficacy of our current system of government in enacting change through policy and the like,” commented Michelle Xu, a second-year Arts and Science student. “There was so much valuable information, stories, and suggestions that were shared from the audience, and I have so much respect for everybody who came up to speak to their own experiences and for their communities.”

Others were more hopeful, citing the panels as a necessary step.

“[The panel] was necessary because if [Michael Coteau] hadn’t done it he would’ve been seen as illegitimate and because he did do it there was a lot of anxiety to the usefulness of it,” commented Chukky Ibe, a fifth-year Political Science student. “I think it was a show of leadership from their office and we’re just waiting on their results.”

The directorate will continue their stops in other cities, their upcoming stop being in London on Oct. 7 and in Sudbury on Oct. 15. Individuals are encouraged by the Liberal government to come out and have their concerns heard.

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After an eventful campaign period, Filomena Tassi was elected as the Member of Parliament representing the area around and including McMaster University.

With a turnout of over 60,000 voters in the newly created Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas riding, Tassi is part of a returning wave of support for the Liberal Party, a party that has been conspicuously absent in representing Hamilton at the federal level for the past nine years.

The Liberal Party achieved a historic victory this October, reaching a parliamentary majority with 184 out of 338 seats, ousting the previous Conservative majority government. The Liberals now represent two of the five Hamilton ridings, with Tassi in the HWAD riding and Bob Bratina, former mayor of Hamilton, representing the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek riding.

Since 2006, Conservative MP David Sweet had represented McMaster University in the now defunct Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale district. With Sweet running for and winning the new Flamborough-Glanbrook district, the battle amongst candidates in the HWAD riding was expected to be far more open without an incumbent involved in the race.

Despite this, Tassi won with 29,698 votes, a comfortable margin of nearly 10,000 votes over her closest competition, Conservative candidate Vincent Samuel.

In an election defined by voters desperate for change, it seemed apparent that strategic voting helped shape the outcome of the riding. However, it’s arguable that Tassi’s large margin of victory was also in part due to the criticism that NDP candidate Alex Johnstone faced over comments she made regarding the Auschwitz concentration camp. Although candidates declined to comment on the issue during the race, Johnstone’s absence from her campaign to visit the camp, as well as an absence from the All-Candidates debate hosted in McMaster’s student atrium, contributed to a fairly straightforward result that was expected to be much closer between all three parties.

With some of the Liberal Party’s key promises directed towards student tuition and the transition to the workforce, students can expect to see some direct benefits from Trudeau’s government. This includes a grace period for loan repayments until a graduate is earning a minimum income of $25,000, and the investment of $1.3 billion over three years in the creation of new co-op placements for students in science, technology, and business, as well as over 40,000 youth jobs.

Although it’s unclear how much students will be able to save by simply delaying their loan payments to the government, or what exactly Trudeau’s “youth jobs” will entail, Tassi emphasized the importance of students to the Liberal party’s plans in a previous conversation with The Silhouette.

“We’re just trying to bridge the gap from education to work,” said Tassi. “They’re saying the average student debt is $26,000; this is why we want to work with students to try and ensure that the cost of going to school is lowered, and that when they graduate they won’t have to repay [right away].”

Unfortunately, Tassi did not respond to The Silhouette’s request for an interview in time for the print issue.

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By: Takhliq Amir

Within hours of the news that Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau was elected as that new Prime Minister, the reaction of the country and the world began to pour in. After approximately ten years of Canadian politics headed by Conservative leader Stephen Harper, it was understandable that the majority win by a previously third-ranking party would make news.

What was slightly less expected, however, was the focus of the new attention. It wasn’t really about the new policies that the Liberals are promising to introduce, or even the fact that we finally said goodbye to Stephen Harper. In the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, the headline read, “Is Justin Trudeau the sexiest politician in the world?” An Australian news website wrote about Trudeau as “Canada’s new, incredibly good-looking prime minister,” describing him as a “super hot new leader.” All across social media people began to comment on his slim physique, his adorable family, and his beautiful wife.

This is, to an extent, understandable. Trudeau is seen as an easy-going, energetic guy. From ski-instructor, to teacher, to boxer, he has held a variety of occupations that have not only showcased his athleticism but also his amiability. From taking selfies with little kids to making burgers and pizza, Trudeau has developed a strong connection with the people of Canada simply by appearing to be just like everyone else. However, the Conservative campaign focused not on Trudeau’s looks, but on the question of if he was ready for the role of Prime Minister.

While the election may have been won, the future is really the time when his decisions will define his leadership. Instead of focusing on his looks, the country and the world needs to focus on his politics.

Based on his party’s policies, for instance, a Liberal government would be more interventionist on economic matters. Their proposal to invest up to five billion dollars annually in additional infrastructure spending leads to running budget deficits over the next three years by taking the currently balanced budget to one that would run a deficit of nearly ten billion dollars before being balanced in 2019-20. Additionally, critics have argued that it could lead to “chronic deficits” that Ottawa would not be able to handle and decreased future tax cuts. However, a deficit of around ten billion dollars represents merely three percent of the federal budget and 0.5 percent of GDP. Regardless, we can absolutely say that the conversation on economy is infinitely more vital than one on his looks.

The Trudeau government has also decided that Canada will be withdrawing from the American-led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, instead focusing on international peace operations with the United Nations that involve providing humanitarian aid and military resources to train local forces in war-like regions. Trudeau has further promised to allow 25,000 Syrians refuge in Canada by the end of 2015, a move that would cost $100 million. On another note, the Liberal government will be increasing the maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students (a 50 percent increase) and $1,800 for part-time students. It will further introduce a plan that requires students to repay their student loans only after they have begun earning at least $25,000 annually, thereby addressing issues surrounding student debt.

As a student, the Liberal policy regarding student loans matters. As a citizen of Canada, the future of the Canadian economy matters. As a human being, the role of the Canadian government in the war in Syria and the refugee crisis matters. So while “Trudeaumania” may have taken over the country, it is imperative that it remains temporary. Sure, while the Daily Mirror may arguably be right about the young Trudeau having “luscious brown hair, [and] spellbinding eyes” we have to keep in mind that his good looks will not dictate his political leadership.

Mr. Trudeau may have won the election, but the question of how he moves forward is one that everyone should keep in mind. Our focus needs to be on what it really means to have real change, not a handsome leader. The world needs to give the younger Trudeau a chance by seeing and believing in him as the true leader of Canada.

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By: Celine Ferreira

After one of the longest election campaigns in Canada's history, the Liberal Party's victory is not the only surprising change to come out of this election.

Professor Karen Bird, whose research involves comparative politics, gender and politics, and indigenous and minority groups, spoke on a panel organized by the Department of Political Science on Oct. 21 concerning the 2015 Canadian Federal Election.

"The share of women among the newly elected Parliament is little better than before. Women now hold 26 percent of the seats, compared to 25 percent. The glass, for women, is still only half full," she said. “The evidence overall suggests we’ve been stuck at about 25 percent for a long time and it doesn’t seem to fix itself on its own.”

The addition of new ridings and the insurgence of new candidates suggested that more women would be elected. However, the one percent increase does not truly reflect this hypothesis. Prof. Bird said that is due to the lack of seats won by the New Democratic Party which had the largest proportion of women in their caucus.

The NDP has implemented various practices that have increased their number of female MPs, including reaching out to women and offering the support they need to run. A great effort is put into recruitment and a mandate has been established requiring justification for why a female candidate was not found if that’s the case. Bird later stated that such efforts should be adopted by all parties if there is going to be a translation to a more gender balanced parliament.

Due to the higher proportion of women with a post-secondary education, women are increasingly doing well economically, therefore resources such as those provided by the NDP are not of prime interest. Bird went on to say that something must be done at an institutional level to address the lack of women represented in parliament.

Female representation is also topical at McMaster. Last year’s “MSU Wants You” campaign urged more female candidates to seek high-ranking positions within the MSU, and while this initiative is a step towards better female representation at McMaster, it also signifies the work that remains to be done. The federal election can be examined to see how our student government can become more representative of the undergraduate student body at McMaster.

Out of the top nine research universities in Canada, McMaster has the second lowest representation of women in its council especially in executive positions. When asked about her opinion regarding this, Bird said that this is not due to the fact that the women are less qualified for the position or that voters are voting against women; it is a result of structural hindrances.

“I think that if there was some information about what the office involves – what the work is on a day-to-day level, what kinds of tasks are involved – a lot of women would say, ‘I have exactly those skills,’” she said.

Bird further stated that explicitly publicizing what the job involves would attract more women as they would recognize that student government is something they would like to be involved in and that they do have many skills and accomplishments that would make them strong candidates for that position.

Bird hopes that in future elections, whether on the federal scale or at the university level, women will recognize that they possess the skills, experiences and ideas needed to hold key positions that shape public policy.

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By: Bianca Caramento

I entered university as a die-hard New Democrat. Now I’m the president of the McMaster Young Liberals. What the hell happened? My guess: philosophy.

Studying philosophy involves what most people would call “hairsplitting.” Minute details are endlessly debated. Everyday assumptions are constantly challenged. Basic “truths” are subject to intense scrutiny. For instance, philosophers might ask why we believe that what goes up will indeed come down, just because it has every time before. Simply put, nothing is sacred in the field of philosophy because no belief is taken at face value.

So, how does the Liberal Party emulate this modus operandi and why is that a good thing?

Many people give the Liberals flack for not abiding by a particular ideology. In fact, the party is often referred to as “The Big Rent Tent” because its members hold wildly different political views. There remains one constant, however. As a rule, Liberals place debate, critical discussion, and evidence-based decision making before all else.

Much like the study of philosophy, Liberals challenge and debate just about everything. In NDP circles, chances are you won’t hear anyone question the need to regulate capitalism or provide social assistance. They may debate how they ought to, but it is unlikely they will debate if they ought to. Among Liberals, these policies, along with all others, are subject to critical discussion.

In the Liberal Party, a policy’s merit does not stem from its alignment with party values, but from its ability to reflect existing reality and best address the problems at hand. This method of policy making is content-neutral. It may result in a highly left-leaning platform; it may not. What matters is that the resulting policies have withstood rigorous debate.

Political philosopher, John Stuart Mill, provides convincing justification for this form of policy development in his discussion of free speech. Mill argues that without the freedom to debate and challenge existing views, two things happen. First, we end up with blindly accepted truths that we cannot fully understand nor defend. Mill refers to this as “dead dogma.” Secondly, we miss out on the opportunity to adapt, improve and strengthen our beliefs by virtue of having to defend them with others.

This translates rather seamlessly to Liberal policy development. By staying committed to an ongoing discussion of each policy’s merit and efficacy, no matter what it may be, the Liberal Party seeks to implement the best possible solution, instead of the solution that simply fits an ideological framework. The philosophy nerd in me can’t help but appreciate that.

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As the Liberal candidate in the Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas riding, Filomena Tassi believes that her party is best prepared to meet the needs of students on campus.

When asked about the work that best exemplifies the type of role she would embody as an MP, she highlighted her work as a chaplain over the past 20 years in Ancaster’s Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School.

“In that role, I’ve had the opportunity to work with youth hand-in-hand throughout many difficult challenges. We’ve dealt with things like suicide, criminal charges, loss of a loved one … I’ve been able to see the resilience of our youth, and their sense of justice,” said Tassi.

Tassi believes that her experience with youth over her past twenty years has uniquely equipped her to manage and understand the issues that students have at McMaster.

Tassi also cited several of the campaign promises made by the Liberal party that have been targeted for students, including the plan to create a Prime Minister’s youth advisory council, which will consist of a non-partisan group of young people whose ages will range from 16 to 24.

However, one of the main pillars that the Liberal party is relying on for student support is the promise to push all repayment requirements for student loans until after a graduate is earning a minimum income of $25,000. This is in contrast with the NDP promise to phase out interest on student loans over the next seven years.

“We recognize that student debt can be crippling . . . I have two children now, who are in university, so I’m experiencing it first-hand,” she said.

Tassi also explained the Liberals’ goal of increasing the maximum Canada Student Grant to $3,000 for full-time, low-income students, and $1,800 for part-time, low-income students.

“They’re saying the average student debt is $26,000. This is why we want to work with students to try and ensure that the cost of going to school is lowered, and that when they graduate they won’t have to repay [right away],” Tassi said.

The Liberal party has promised a $1.3 billion three-year plan that, amongst a suite of various initiatives, will invest $300 million annually for creating 40,000 new youth jobs and 5,000 youth green jobs each year, as well as an annual $40 million to help employers create new co-op placements for students in science, technology and business programs.

“We’re just trying to bridge the gap from education to work,” she explained. “The real difference in our plan is that it offers fairness to the middle-class and those trying to get there, and job creation through investing now.”

While Tassi has dealt with some controversy after describing herself as a “pro-life” individual in an interview with the Hamilton Spectator last year, she is planning on supporting the party’s position on abortion if elected as MP.

“My position is this: a woman has a right to choose — that’s based on the Charter — and I will not vote against that right,” she explained.

“I’m a believer in the Charter . . . and secondly, in the separation of church and state. As an MP, my role is to represent the people, and that’s all of the people.”


Dear Marauders,

You will soon have the chance to make a difference. How? By voting in the federal election.

There are thousands of eligible voters at McMaster. If you all voted, you could put the concerns of students and youth on the agenda for Ottawa. Voting is a small personal step on a life journey that can change the world.

Why cast your vote for me?

For the past twenty years I have worked on the front lines with youth and their families.

We confronted many serious problems: bullying, suicide, criminal charges, loss of friends and loved ones. I am humbled to have been able to help youth and their families through these issues. As a Liberal, I am committed to continue to work to ensure that our youth are engaged and empowered. When our youth are empowered, amazing things can be achieved.

Under a Liberal government, I will help form Canada's first-ever prime minister's youth advisory council, ensuring your generation has a voice at the highest levels of government. That means a seat at the highest table in the land for young people, aged 16-24. As someone who has devoted the last 20 years of my life to our community’s youth in my role as a high school chaplain, I know that giving youth this powerful voice to speak truth to power will change how Canada is governed. For the better.

As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will invest $300 million annually in a renewed Youth Employment Strategy and invest $40 million annually to create more co-op placements for students and increase the number of jobs funded by the Canada Summer Jobs Program. The Liberal plan will create 120,000 job opportunities for Canada’s youth.

On October 19, I hope that you will vote and choose me as your representative in Ottawa. Let’s bring the student and youth agenda to Ottawa together. I pledge to you that I will do that.

- Filomena Tassi

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