• What Happens if the Liberals Win?

    October 3, 2019

    What Happens if the Liberals Win?

    On October 21, 2019, Canadians will elect our next federal government. Today, the polls – and more importantly the seat projections – indicate that Canada will elect enough Liberal Members of Parliament for the Liberal Party of Canada to form the next government. The likelihood of this today is about 60%. The odds of a Liberal majority government are about 30%.

    In coffee shops across Saskatchewan you would find some debate about whether a Liberal majority or Liberal minority is the worst possible outcome for Saskatchewan. Those who think the Liberal majority would be the worst can’t imagine another four years of a Trudeau-led Canada. While those who think the minority worse, shudder to imagine what a Trudeau-led government under the sway of an NDP or Green party might be like. Either way, a Liberal government is not perceived by most in Saskatchewan as an outcome that works in our province’s favour.

    There are 18 days until Election Day, and lots can and likely will change in that time span. Here’s my question though – what if it doesn’t…

    What if we wake up on October 22nd to a Trudeau-led government? How will we choose to react? How will we manage the next four years to ensure they are better than the last four?

    These are important questions for us all to consider. I’m one who doesn’t believe in hoping that others will change their behavior, but rather focuses on what I can do through my own behavior – and in my limited scope of action – to make things better. Still, it’s bleak to imagine that the most likely outcome for our country is “more of the same” or even “something potentially worse.” It’s hard to remain optimistic in the face of those odds.

    Fortunately, Saskatchewan people are resilient, courageous, and practitioners of the “art of the possible.” We’re not likely to give up hope in ourselves because of unrelenting headwinds from Ottawa, no matter how daunting they appear.

    One of the things we may need to consider – involving both the public and private sector – is an assertive public relations campaign across Canada – especially in BC, Ontario, and Quebec – to talk about the importance of the prairie economy to Canada. I grew up in Ontario and Quebec, and I can tell you that it is still true that Saskatchewan is hardly known there at all. Central Canada’s vision of the nation is still very much stuck in an Upper and Lower Canada mentality that doesn’t extend much beyond the Great Lakes or the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    I do believe, call me an eternal optimist, that this can change though.

    CBC recently reported on a study done by the University of Calgary that looked at the importance of the Alberta economy to Canada. The study noted that due to Alberta’s recession, Canada lost out on $130 Billion per year.  That’s just from Alberta. While the Saskatchewan impact would have been much less, there is no question that Canada as a whole benefits when the prairie economy is strong. We need to do a better job of delivering this message to people across Canada.

    Efforts in this area have certainly started. The oil sector, and Alberta, have invested heavily in promotion and marketing. We should follow their lead.

    I don’t want to give up hope that Canada can work. The truth is that the prairie economy cannot succeed without access to tidewater, and that won’t happen without engagement and support from our neighbours. We have to find a way to win their hearts and minds.

    If fortune prevails and we wake up on October 22nd to a different political outcome than the polls anticipate, that is something to celebrate for sure. Regardless of the outcome though, we should never stop promoting Saskatchewan and selling the fact that without the prairie economy, Canada doesn’t work. We all need to be in this together.

    Mark Cooper, MBA, PMP

    President and CEO
    Saskatchewan Construction Association