Many Canadians angry after election produces a $610M bill and not much change

Many Canadians are feeling a sense of déjà vu — and they’re not happy about it — after an expensive election in the middle of a pandemic left them with a government that looks an awful lot like the last one.

Ask CBC News hears from voters who say Justin Trudeau’s decision to call a general election was selfish

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau celebrates his re-election with a victory speech at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth hotel on Sept. 20, 2021. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

This story features a voter, like you, who got in touch with us. Send us your questions about the election. We are listening:

The day after an expensive, mid-pandemic election, Justin Trudeau's win has been somewhat overshadowed by angry complaints from many Canadians who say there was no point in spending millions of taxpayer dollars to elect another Liberal minority government that looks an awful lot like the last one.

While some argue the democratic process is never pointless, the $610-million price tag for the election crossed a line for many Canadians, who wrote to Ask CBC News to share their frustrations with the election that Trudeau had asked for. Many called it a waste of time and resources, especially when the country is dealing with a ballooning deficit, a fourth wave of COVID-19, not to mention a climate crisis in need of urgent action.

"The reality is, we have a $600-million bill to pay, with nothing to show for [it]. There's the real nightmare," Jean-Marc LeBlanc of Meteghan, N.S., said in an email. 

"This election was a blow below the belt, dealt to all Canadians during the worst circumstances we've had in decades." 

LeBlanc said he's voted in every single election since he was 18 years old. Now a 37-year-old father, he said he wishes the federal government was required to stick to fixed election dates.

"It would save taxpayers a tremendous amount of money and force politicians to make things work even when they don't go their way," he said.

Instead of spending millions on the second federal election in two years, Toronto resident Martha Jackson said she would have rather seen that money go toward health care, clean water for Indigenous communities, daycare, or help for homeless Canadians.

"Prime Minister Selfie became Prime Minister Selfish — showing no knowledge of the problems average Canadians face," she said in an email.

That feeling was echoed by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who called the election "pointless" and said the money would have been better spent on the chronically underfunded health-care system and helping with economic recovery.

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet seemed to tap into the frustration of many Canadians when he said that after a five-week election campaign, nothing much has changed. 

"We are still in a pandemic with the same minority government," he said in his election night speech. 

"I feel like saying, 'All this for that?'"

Blanchet said people are asking themselves, "Why did I interrupt my barbecue?" 

What clear mandate?

Still, some say the election was worth it. 

Trudeau claims the election gave him a "clear mandate" to get Canada through the pandemic and "to the brighter days ahead," but some voters say that leaves a lot open to interpretation. On Tuesday, Trudeau said millions of Canadians voted for a progressive plan that includes taking "real" climate action, implementing affordable child care and pursuing reconciliation.

However, Rick Connors of Tsawwassen, B.C., said he feels the election was about nothing in particular, except for Trudeau trying to gain more power. 

"From the results of last night, he lost on the popular vote, and clearly — at least to me — nothing has changed," he said.

"There were no winners, only losers, and Canadians were the big losers being a little poorer as we woke up this a.m."

How much is this election costing Canadians? | Ask CBC News

1 year ago
Duration 5:34
This federal election, called in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to be the most expensive in history. So where is $610 million going? And where does the money come from?

Do you have a question about the federal election? Send them to or leave it in the comments. We're answering as many as we can.


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