The Current

These Canadians are close to the key election issues. Here's how they reacted to the results

Certain issues have been front and centre this election: climate change, the oil sands, Indigenous rights, and the all-important power of swing ridings in determining who wins and loses. The Current spoke to four voters close to those issues to hear what they thought of the results.

Climate change, pipelines, Indigenous rights and the Doug Ford factor top of mind for these voters

From left: Tzeporah Berman, Yudhvir Jaswal, Niisgaan Sinclair, David Yager. (Kris Krug, Yudhvir Jaswal, University of Manitoba, David Yager)

Certain issues have been front and centre this election: climate change, the oil sands, Indigenous rights, and the all-important power of swing ridings in determining who wins and loses.

The Current spoke to four voters close to those issues to hear what they thought of the results.

Canadians 'voted for strong climate action': Tzeporah Berman

Tzeporah Berman, international program director of environmental activism group Stand Earth, was encouraged by the election results.

"The majority of Canadians voted for strong climate action," Berman, who is based in Vancouver, told The Current's interim host Laura Lynch. 

Tzeporah Berman. (Kris Krug)

Berman pointed to climate policies of the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and the Greens — who collectively won 59 seats — as well as of the Liberals, who all made fighting climate change a major pillar of their platforms.

She believes the Liberals losing their majority in Parliament could lead to more significant action on climate change.

"The Liberals now have an opportunity to work together with other parties to tackle the climate crisis, to take bigger steps," she said.

"For example, on the budgets, [Trudeau is] going to need the Bloc and the NDP and the Greens, and they all had stronger climate plans." 

Berman also thinks the youth climate marches that took place in Canada and around the world in recent months are likely to make the Liberal government see climate action as a more serious issue.

"These climate strikes have changed the debate," she said. "That's the bottom line. Our children are scared."

Conservatives 'didn't offer anything new' to 905 voters: Yudhvir Jaswal

Yudhvir Jaswal hosts the popular radio program South Asian Pulse, and he's the group editor and CEO of Y Media in Mississauga. 

He's located in the suburban belt around the city of Toronto, commonly known by its area code, the 905. It's a growing, diverse region where, famously, elections are won and lost.

Yudhvir Jaswal. (Submitted by Yudhvir Jaswal)

The Conservatives were hoping to maintain their advantage there, but the Liberals nabbed all the seats in both Mississauga and Brampton. One of their star incumbents, Lisa Raitt, lost her seat in the municipality of Milton.

For Jaswal, the reason is simple: the Conservatives "didn't offer anything new," he said. Because of that, Jaswal said, their message didn't resonate well with voters in the region.

On top of that, Jaswal said he heard from many callers to his radio and TV shows that the so-called "Ford factor" — the impact of some voters' negative impressions of Ontario's Conservative premier, Doug Ford — was turning them away from voting Conservative in the federal election.

Jaswal said he would tell the callers, "'You know what? [That] is a provincial issue and now this is a federal election," he said. 

"But the callers on my radio or TV shows, they [wouldn't] listen," he continued. "They said, 'No, Ford has done this. So, you know, we're going to punish the Conservatives."

'A tough pill to swallow': David Yager

David Yager is a former oilfield executive from Calgary, and the author of From Miracle to Menace: Alberta, A Carbon Story.

David Yager. (Submitted by David Yager)

He was hoping the Conservatives would win, because he believes a Conservative government would be better for Alberta's economy — and that they might have a better chance of getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built. 

"The idea there's going to be a material improvement went out the window with the vote last night," he said.

Yager is not alone. The Conservatives won all but one seat in Alberta, and every Liberal incumbent was ousted.

But the Liberals won big in Quebec and Ontario, particularly in urban centres. "It was downtown Toronto that decided the election last night," Yager said.

Watching issues like the Alberta oil sands and the Trans Mountain pipeline become contentious election themes felt personal for Yager.

"To see the people say, 'Well, but the world will be a better place the day me, my friends and my province is economically destroyed' — that's a tough pill to swallow," he said.

Yager said he felt that the criticisms of the Alberta oil and gas industry were misplaced. "When the world is still buying oil, this is symbolism," he said. 

But Yager is optimistic that the Liberals may cooperate with the official opposition to get a pipeline built.

"If a vote comes up in the House of Commons, the Conservatives are unlikely to vote against it," he said.

'Draconian' policies on Indigenous rights: Niigaan Sinclair

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Niigaan Sinclair told The Current that another Liberal win didn't necessarily bring anything promising to Indigenous people across the country.

Niigaan Sinclair. (University of Manitoba)

"While I think they talk a good game, the way that the liberals deliver Indigenous policies in this country is very much draconian — the same kind of practices and procedures we've seen for 150 years," said Sinclair, who is Anishinaabe and an associate professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.

"The real stark issue is that the federal government's going to be taking Indigenous children to court yet again in contravention of the Human Rights Tribunal decision," he said. "That is an egregious and disgusting decision," he said. 

"And particularly in a minority parliament, how do you engage that conversation with other parties?" he added. "And will the NDP support that?" 

Written by Allie Jaynes. Produced by Julie Crysler.