A second wave of Trudeaumania has swept the nation off their feet. Winning by more votes than his father, Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party of Canada has been declared Canada’s Prime Minister. Trudeau will be returning to his roots at 24 Sussex Drive, where he once resided during Pierre Trudeau’s term as Prime Minister.
He elatedly stated, “Politics doesn’t have to be negative and personal to be successful. You can appeal to the better angels of our nature and you can win while doing it. Tonight, my good friends, we proved that.”
The excitement surrounding the elections manifested into a fascinating night of unexpected outcomes. In what can only be described as a stunning result, Liberal candidates in riding’s throughout Canada swept the polls clean, declaring a Liberal majority government by securing 184 seats in Parliament. The Conservative Party of Canada is the official opposition with 99 seats.
Maryam Monsef reflected the Liberal success in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding. She was edging Michael Skinner of the Conservative Party throughout the day, ultimately gaining a lead and winning by a near landslide. Monsef is the first female MP in the history of Peterborough elections, and the youngest candidate in her riding at the age of 30.
What began as a strong force, the “orange wave” quickly crashed as NDP numbers plummeted to the disappointment of many hopeful voters. The party lost 51 seats and now holds a mere 44 in the House of Commons.
Elizabeth May has become a party of one, as predicted by many, and the Bloc Quebecois has gained some traction with 10 seats voted in.
Stephen Harper has resigned as the representative of the Conservative Party of Canada. The announcement came from a news release, and so inadvertently his resignation was acknowledged. Analysts are still working through the logistics of Harper’s resignation.
“It has been an unbelievable honour to serve as your Prime Minister. We put it all on the line, and we have no regrets what so ever.”
He took responsibility for the party loss and did not explicitly announce his resignation. Harper will hold position as Prime Minister for two more weeks, and meet with Trudeau to ease him into his role.
Mulcair delivered a humble speech in response to the NDP’s steep drop to third place. He thanked his supporters for their optimism, and stated, “We will be unwavering in our pursuit of better healthcare for Canadians, we will stand strong in our fight against climate change, and to protect land, air, and water.”
His crowd of supporters were visibly discouraged and subsequently low in fervor.
Elizabeth May of the Green Party told supporters that she has spoken to Trudeau and requested a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the future of Canada’s environment. “The Kyoto Protocol is only a month away.” May also rejoiced despite the unfortunate result of her campaign, and enthusiastically stated, “Welcome to the post-Harper era!” There is now a petition circulating the internet that has gone viral. The petition is calling for Trudeau to appoint May as Environmental Minister, so that she can represent Canada at environmental summits at an international level.
It seems more and more that despite various disappointments surrounding the disintegration of the NDP and the Green Party crash, the election for many Canadians was a full force attempt to break down the wall of the decade long Harper reign.
The narrative of the election thus far has generally been revolving around ousting Harper, yet the Conservatives placed second, holding a minority seat in Parliament. It seems that despite years of controversy and scandal, many Canadians still hold faith in the Tories.
Trudeau made a clear distinction in his victory speech, “The Conservatives are not our enemies. They are our neighbours.”
Visibly exhausted and in a state of bliss, he addressed Canadians as his friends, and as citizens. It should be noted that he refrained from using the word “tax-payers,” and also evaded any mention of his father. This could be an effort to distinguish himself from Pierre, as much of Justin’s public image has been compared and contrasted with his infamous father. Justin must represent himself as a leader with a distinct identity.
This is undeniably a historic election. Weeks of campaigning, social media movements, twitter hashtags, and a healthy vigor towards voting resulted in increased youth voter numbers. This has been the largest voter turnout since 1993. If the numbers mean anything, it’s that Canadians are ready for change.
Some find big party governments problematic. In the words of Toban Leckie, leader of the Strength in Democracy Party of Peterborough-Kawartha, “Our politics are broken. Big government is too busy fighting each other to make actual change. We need to start at a regional level, only then will we see true change.”
Time will tell if the Liberals are the ones who will provide this change. For now, people are mending their disappointments, celebrating, or grappling with the compromise of a majority Liberal government, and a strong Conservative opposition. A strong opposition means a more legitimate and less convoluted democracy, but are the Tories the minority we want?
There is much to celebrate despite who won the Federal elections. A record of 10 Indigenous MP’s have been elected to the House of Commons. This is an increase from the 7 elected Indigenous MP’s in 2011. Though this is cause to rejoice, it should still be known that out of the 54 Indigenous candidates who ran in this election, only three percent of the 338 seats are occupied by Indigenous people.
As well, Canadians elected a record breaking 88 female MP’s into office. it’s important to note that Canada still ranks at number 50 out of 190 in proportional female representation at a national level of politics. Small strides are being made, and should boost the nations morale and optimism, but its important to continue this progress.
Casting a ballot and leaving the house to vote was a big step for many Canadians who may not have done so in the past, but it shouldn’t be the only efforts made. Canadian’s should continue this enthusiasm and get involved in local politics, and continue the shift to a healthier, and more just democracy.