Anyone who predicted a Liberal majority in the election last night is lying to you. Despite the ebbs and flows of a long campaign, all signs pointed to a minority to someone and a likely split between the left leaning parties, as is usually the case when the Conservatives win.
So what changed? Canadians were sick of being bullied. Or, more clearly, they hope and change instead of more of the same.
When Justin Trudeau realized this, he began to surge in the polls. His last ad, which I’ll embed, includes the quote “In Canada, better is always possible.”
Stephen Harper has run his government, especially since he moved into a majority in 2011, on the idea that only the government can make things better. And that the government is always right. This is an assumption Trudeau doesn’t agree with and this win proves Canadians disagree too.
What makes Canada great is the freedoms available to everyone. Freedom to any religion is obvious, but this also includes freedoms in education and research. The freedom to privacy. The freedom to vote. The freedom to attain citizenship, and the freedom that as a citizen, the government will have your back. But most importantly, the freedom of knowing your government is working to make life better for you. The Conservatives threatened or attempted to curb all of these freedoms. The Liberals did not.
That is why Trudeau won.
The “sunny days” Trudeau talked about in his victory speech won’t last long. It’s very likely that his economic plan will fail. By taking money from the one per cent and corporations, employers will not be able to hire employees, job loss will spread across the country, social welfare programs will be run dry and Canada will go into a deep debt.
But on the night of Oct. 19, that was not what was at stake. What was at stake was the basic beliefs of freedom that Canada was founded on. Trudeau won because his campaign realized this and made it their primary focus.
As for the split, Tom Mulcair and the NDP oddly tried to push themselves away from the Liberals. At best, that strategy would have split the left wing vote and given the Conservatives a minority. At worst, what happened to the NDP happened, and the party was kicked back to its usual spot in far away third place. The NDP lost because they refused to promote one thing, unity against the current government. And it cost them a lot of seats at the table.
Harper has stepped down as leader of the opposition and the Conservatives will begin piecing together a new strategy for their party. I hope that they keep most of their economic plan, which involved keeping money in the pockets of Canadians and not strangling those Canadians’ employers with taxes. But I also hope the Conservatives realize another thing. Division and disruption of freedoms will never work in Canada. The population is too diverse, too intelligent, and too proactive to simply let the government do whatever it likes.
I predict in four years the Conservatives will be back in power. If they run a campaign on economic growth and social equality, they cannot lose. Because they didn’t do that this time, they did lose. And because they didn’t do that this time, another Trudeau is in power, whether he’s ready or not.
The ad that won Trudeau the election
Photo credit: Alex Guibord/ Flikr