Days after the federal election, some voters who cast a ballot but were undecided during the campaign are expressing disappointment, while still believing their vote made a difference.
Polling released by Ipsos just before the leaders’ debates this month suggested one in eight Canadians were having trouble making a decision on who to vote for. Now, some of those voters contacted by Global News say they’re happy they made a choice — even though the end result was not what they hoped for.
“We’re back in the same position we were in 36 days ago,” said Shannon McCarter, a Toronto-area voter who ultimately voted for the NDP.
“It felt like a waste of resources, a waste of time for nothing to change, really.”
The election saw the Liberals win another minority government with only two additional seats in Parliament compared to the result in 2019. The Conservatives lost two seats but are still in the official opposition, while the NDP and Bloc Quebecois once again hold the balance of power.
McCarter says she was likely to vote for the NDP anyways as she leans more to the left politically. Yet during the campaign, she had considered spoiling her ballot after finding little inspiration from any of the parties, including the New Democrats.
She chose against spoiling because she felt doing so “wouldn’t help anything.”
“Also, if I voted (for the) Liberals to make sure the Conservatives didn’t get in, then nothing’s ever going to change,” she added.
The Ipsos poll found nearly half of undecided voters at the time — 47 per cent — didn’t like any of the parties, while 50 per cent said there shouldn’t be an election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results also suggested those voters were less complimentary towards Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government than Canadians in general.
Forty-four per cent of then-undecided voters said they approved of the federal government’s performance, three points lower than the national average. Close to 60 per cent also said the country was headed in the wrong direction, versus 50 per cent of all voters.
Douglas Murphy, who was initially undecided, said he also voted for the NDP in his Roxboro, Que.-area riding because he wanted to see change. He hoped to see the party break through decades of Liberal and Conservative rule.
“All of these party leaders are the same,” he said.
“Once they gain the seats that they need, they do what they can to make sure that the population has benefited to a degree, but also they do what they want to do for their own gain. So I really don’t see any difference.”
Marc Demers said he followed through on his pledge to vote for a non-white candidate, leaving him with just one choice in his Niagara-area riding: the NDP.
“He didn’t win because where I live, you could run a dog under the Conservatives and they would still win,” he said, “But still, I figured if I voted for another white person, I would get very little change.”
Demers said he was “not impressed” with the end result, but believes the election could lead to leadership reviews for the Liberals and the Conservatives, which he would support.
“Maybe a leadership review will get rid of O’Toole or Trudeau — that will be worth $600 million,” he said. “You can only hope.
“On the other hand, maybe Trudeau will be humbled by this and he’ll become a better leader. So I guess we’ll see.”
Preliminary voter data as of Thursday night shows this year’s election saw one of the lowest voter turnouts in Canadian history, with just over 62 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot.
That’s lower than the 2019 federal election, which saw a turnout of 67 per cent. Elections in 2015 and 2011 had turnout rates of 68.3 per cent and 61.1 per cent, respectively.