Canadians went to the polls on Monday October 19 in a show of dissatisfaction with the ruling Conservative Party of Canada. In a wave that started in Newfoundland, Labrador the Liberal Party led by Justin Trudeau swept the country to garner a majority of the 338 electoral seats. At the end of the evening they had secured 184 seats, 14 more than needed for a majority government.
The New Democrat Party(NDP) lost seats to the Liberals as well. The new face of the government will see the Conservatives as the loyal opposition with 99 MPs and the NDP holding 44 positions. The Bloc Quebecois lost seats as well and now falls below the number of MPs that constitute a federal party. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, retained her seat but it is the only one now held by them.
The reasons for the Liberal landslide are debatable. Pundits have had a field day expositing on them. In general terms there were many issues. The Conservative Party had taken a sharp veer to the right under the leadership of Stephen Harper. His refusal to answer any unscripted questions from the press set up some hostility.
The economy of Canada currently depends on resource extraction and the price of metals and petroleum has pushed the economy into recession. Others would say the negative tone of the Conservative campaign turned off voters.
The issue of a woman wearing a face veil at a citizenship ceremony failed to play in the Conservative’s favor in many quarters. When it was revealed that all security measures had been taken and that the woman would reveal her visage to another woman and had in fact done so and had obtained the supreme court ruling that she could claim citizenship, many began to wonder what the issue really was.
Perhaps the gaff that struck me as a desperation move on the C’s part was the passing of a bill to disenfranchise citizens if they were convicted of terrorism. An attempt by the PM to explain dividing Canadian citizens into “new” and “old stock” citizens was fodder for many jokes at his expense.
The Liberal Party has a reputation for occupying the centre of the political spectrum. Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Trudeau who was PM in the ‘70s. It may be that the younger Trudeau will bring a fresh new approach to the governing of the nation. This morning he greeted commuters in the Montreal subway, thanking them for their support and happily allowing them to take ‘selfies’. We can hope.
The Globe and Mail
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