Canada – Post Election, Day 6
The Daleks are gone!
Six days now, free of "protect the economy, protect the economy". Yay to the Doctor.
My neighbour (an NDP volunteer) expressed a sense of relief, that a cloud had been lifted. Justin Trudeau has the good will of progressives.
Truthfully though, Monday night turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic. The need of media to declare a winner as soon as possible nullified any sense of catharsis from the last decade.
We had an enthralling first couple of hours poring over Atlantic Canada's 32 results. Presenters and pundits were in shock. Liberals were expected to win big in this part of the country, but the manner of it blew them away. Conservatives lost seats they had won with over 50% of the vote in 2011. Good, progressive NDP MP's were also swept aside. It wasn't an anti-NDP vote, their downfall was strategic voting which mainstream media had questioned over the campaign – the tone continually one of doubt. I lost count of the poo-poo's.
We entered the evening on the west coast, where polls were still open. The warnings came: Atlantic Canada voting behavior usually ends in Atlantic Canada. Be prepared.
It was edge of your seat stuff. We eagerly awaited Act 2. Another 280+ ridings to report.
Twenty minutes later it was all over.
Justin Trudeau was declared the next PM. There was zero time to process, to build a story, to engage in its ups and downs. We had zipped to the Act 3 denouement; Stephen Harper's head being carried away by a triumphant crowd.
We had seen the arrest, but were denied the trial, and worse, we didn't get to see Harper climb the gallows, watch the guillotine's clean cut (or not so clean – tis Halloween season after all), and gawk as his head spun into a basket to be finally held aloft before a baying crowd.
No! None of this. His head had been carted off and the end credits flashed before our eyes.
Or just mine.
Crap, not even a friend had arrived on my doorstep to watch – I had opted for a quieter evening rather than a wild celebratory party (I voted Green). I received a text to see if I had popcorn.
"Harper's gone… I've roasted some vegetables." It was that mundane.
And what of us in British Columbia? The Third Act? Nary a word. For the first time it was touted our votes would be decisive, we would have a say. He-llo, throw us a wave.
Our votes were kind of, sort of, decisive. We gave Justin Trudeau's Liberals a solid majority.
In the end we watched a crestfallen Tom Mulcair trying to stay upbeat, Stephen Harper give a victory speech – less the bit about him taking responsibility, and Justin Trudeau's seemingly never-ending speech. Still, he hit plenty "good intention" notes.
Canada has its first GenX PM, a chap at ease letting commuters take selfies with him two mornings after being elected. Someone who speaks from the heart, whose false notes are more obvious and awkward than of any political leader I've seen. We've gone from the consummate liar to a horrible one. Canada has done a 180. In Stephen Harper we had a PM who played to his 25% base, and by casting fear and doubt about the abilities of others to lead the country, secured victory three elections in a row. In Justin Trudeau we have a leader who has the eyes of progressives – 65% of the voting public – watching him, hopeful that his personality can overcome the cynicism of the political machine.
He hasn't taken office yet, but already there's a sea change. Some Conservatives, now off-leash, are beginning to sound human for the first time in decades. They would do well to elect Lisa Raitt.
I want to dig the knife in because their defeat was far worse than they're portraying – and I was denied that cathartic moment on Monday. They were the governing party, they had finally balanced a budget, they literally bought votes 1-2 weeks before calling the election by sending cheques worth upwards of several hundred dollars to families, they had a massive war chest, and what every pundit has forgotten, the new ridings favored them 2-1 for an extra 21 seats. BIF! BANG! BOSH! Take that!
I'll let Conservatives kid themselves their policies were good but the tone of the message let them down.
Justin Trudeau has made an awful lot of promises. Good ones. I wish him success in his efforts to make real change. If he can institute electoral reform, raise the bar how politics is conducted, and take meaningful action on climate change he could preside over one of the great governments.
He has opportunity to engage truthfully with First Nations, launch an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, change Bill C-51 for the better, turn Environment Canada back into an environmental dept. not an economic one, and invest in municipalities. The list is exhaustive, but on first glance possible. We have a PM who wants to engage with the electorate, perhaps do it differently than we’ve seen before. I have to admit it’s exciting. My sense of catharsis will be achieved when his promises become reality. If that was the bargain of last Monday's anti-climactic moment, I'll take it.
Just one thing for Justin and the Liberals, please avoid the $15 glass of orange juice, you know that kind of sh*t is your kryptonite.