After Elizabeth May stepped down as leader of the federal Green party, it made me ponder about less obvious winners and losers in the recent federal election.
Here's a back-of-the-envelope analysis:
Jeremy Broadhurst (winner): The Liberal campaign director faced an uphill battle that included a leader dogged by blackface and brownface images and an SNC Lavalin scandal that wouldn't go away. Yet the party still beat back energetic challenges from the Conservatives, New Democrats, and Bloc Québécois to win 157 seats. That was better than expected by many analysts—and largely due to the framing of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as an evasive social conservative. This likely won't be Broadhurst's last political campaign, but it remains to be seen if he can match former senator Keith Davey's record when it comes to reelecting Liberals.
RightNow (winner): The hardline political arm of the anti-abortion movement made some significant gains in this election, even though the Liberals retained control of the government. The Conservative caucus has new anti-abortion MPs in several ridings, including Port Moody–Coquitlam (if the NDP candidate, Bonita Zarrillo, can't defeat Nelly Shin in a recount). These anti-choicers will provide a bulwark of support for Scheer in caucus even as the centrists try to dislodge him.
Leah Gazan (winner): The NDP MP-elect from Winnipeg Centre could draw comparisons with New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her fiery and uncompromising positions on climate change and human rights for Indigenous peoples. For those disappointed in Svend Robinson's loss in Burnaby North–Douglas, Gazan will provide a sharp contrast to the Liberals and push her caucus to the left. She defeated Liberal incumbent Robert-Falcon Oullette, perhaps the only caucus member who questioned Justin Trudeau's support for the Site C dam.
Indigenous peoples (winner): Lots of people focused on the victory of independent Jody Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver Granville after she was kicked out of the Liberal caucus. In total, 10 Indigenous candidates were elected, which is down from the 11 in 2015. But this time, the Conservatives have a Métis member of caucus, Marc Dalton, who won in Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge. The NDP's two Indigenous members of caucus are Gazan from Winnipeg Centre and Mumilaaq Qaqqaq from Nunavut. Five Indigenous Liberals were reelected. And one of the three Green MPs, Jenica Atwin, has an Indigenous husband and Indigenous stepfather. Trudeau might have fared better in this election had he not lost a fair chunk of Indigenous voters to the NDP, so he may try harder in his second term to offer more to try to bring them back into the Liberal fold.
Sikh youths (winner): Sikh kids across the country witnesssed Jagmeet Singh, the first turbaned leader of a major federal party, fare extremely well in the televised debates. It sends a message that they too can dream big.
Nathan Cullen (loser): The long-time NDP MP would have been in a great position to become the next federal party leader had Jagmeet Singh done a face-plant on election day. But that didn't happen, so now Cullen will have to consider other options, like running for the B.C. NDP in the 2021 B.C. election.
Peter MacKay (loser): The former Conservative cabinet minister was primed to replace Scheer had the Liberals won a second majority. But because the Conservatives increased their seat count and won the popular vote, we'll get a civil war in the party as Scheer and his campaign chair, Hamish Marshall, fight like hell to retain their hold.
David Eby (loser): See the entry above for Nathan Cullen.
James Moore (loser): See the entry above for Peter MacKay.
Mark Carney (loser): The Canadian-born governor of the Bank of England was poised to become the next federal Liberal leader if the Conservatives won the election. But Justin Trudeau managed to keep his job because not enough voters living in Central Canada trusted Scheer. Carney's term at the Bank of England expires in January. He's only 54 years old, which means he's too young to retire. So he'll probably end up as a CEO or a university president rather than the prime minister of Canada.
David Merner (loser): The former justice department lawyer was poised to replace May as the Green leader had he won his seat of Equimalt-Saanich-Sooke. He didn't, losing to NDP incumbent Randall Garrison. This doesn't preclude Merner from seeking the Green leadership, but his chances would be far better if he were sitting in the House of Commons.