Canada election: What does a Liberal minority government mean for Guelph?

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As the dust settles following the 2021 federal election, Guelph Liberal Party incumbent Lloyd Longfield says he’s ready to get back to work after securing a third term in office.

With Longfield re-elected and another minority Liberal government, the political situation provides a bit of continuity, but how will it all impact the Royal City?

Getting through the COVID-19 pandemic is the first item on the veteran politician’s agenda.

Longfield said that includes working with local businesses through the economic recovery and with community partners to address the long-term mental health challenges that the crisis has brought on.

He added that he plans to go to Ottawa with the goal of working collaboratively with other parties.

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“I think now that we’ve tested the electorate, they’re saying, ‘We like seeing a minority government but you guys have to work together to solve these big problems,’” Longfield said.

“I hope that means we will see a better atmosphere in Ottawa when we are trying to get some of these problems worked on.”

University of Guelph associate professor Tamara Small believe a minority government could actually work better for municipalities.

She explained that majority governments and municipalities usually need to have similar agendas in order to collaborate.

But with the Liberals being forced to work with other parties, it means there are more MPs to talk to for cities and their mayors.

“If you are a mayor and you don’t have a direct line to Lloyd Longfield, for example, you might have a direct line to a Conservative MP like Michael Chong, you might have a direct line to the new Green member in Kitchener, or you might have a direct line to the NDP,” Small said.

“There are more paths to make contact with someone who then might carry your agenda and who might have sway at any given moment.”

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As for Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, he just wants to see the Liberals quickly bring forward their policies and mandates.

“Not just from a Guelph standpoint, but from all municipalities. We just really do want to see them working strongly together, not just across party lines but also between the different levels of government,” Guthrie said.

“I would hope the parties take a similar position as municipal governments do after elections — it is time to put things aside and to get to work, especially in a minority situation. I think there is some common ground around the issues that we have that are needed for Guelph especially infrastructure, jobs, COVID recovery and so on.”

With another minority government comes the possibility of having another federal election being called at any time.

Guthrie weighed the possibility of having three elections next year with the Ontario General Election scheduled for June 2022 and the municipal election set for later that year in October.

“Whatever happens at the federal or provincial level, those are important, but I certainly hope if there is not just the provincial election but also a federal election next year, that the fatigue won’t be there for the municipal election because it really is such an important vote,” Guthrie said.

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