It was an election by younger people if the faces on TV are any indication. Mind you, at my age, almost everyone looks young!
It was also an election of change which inevitably means that “strategic voting” took the place of selecting the person that voters think will do the best job.
Nowhere was that more obvious than in my riding of West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Sea-To-Sky Country where the unpopularity of Prime Minister Harper and his local toady, John Weston, saw the Liberals (usually an endangered species here) swamp the Green candidate – a very good one indeed and former first class mayor of Whistler – who until a week ago seemed to have a reasonable chance. As soon as it became clear he couldn’t win, his supporters, panicked at the prospect of re-electing Weston and Harper, flocked to the Liberal, notwithstanding her wishy-washy stand on the proposed, hugely unpopular LNG plant in Squamish.
It was not only an election of change in the sense of getting rid of Harper, but people clearly want a change in our grossly unsatisfactory system. Parliament no longer represents the people and the people no longer feel connected with it. This is most important because it’s much like the old legal saw, “justice must not only be done it must manifestly be seen to be done”. If people don’t see their parliament as working, it doesn’t matter what it actually does.
Real reform requires that MPs have power and appropriate prestige and be able to speak up for their constituents and consciences without committing political suicide.
The rejection of the Greens everywhere except in Elizabeth May’s own riding is sad but by no means permanent. For the Greens to do well there must be a system of proportional representation, where the will of the people is in fact reflected in those elected.
Mr. Trudeau has promised reform and I believe that he will rely upon Ms. May to a considerable extent. She gained considerable respect, prestige and affection in this contest and her influence will vastly exceed that of a lone MP.
Great responsibility devolves upon us the people. We must be prepared for change and we must – forgive me using this old saw again – stop making perfection the enemy of improvement.
To have change means just that – change, not just cosmetic alterations. As the debate ensues we must be open-minded and remember that almost any changes one can imagine would be better than what we have – or make it easier for further change to come.
Let me close by a couple of general remarks.
The Niqab issue was one of the most disgraceful in Canadian electoral history and demonstrated that even most bigots want to be fair, strange as that may sound.
The newspapers of Canada made horses’ asses of themselves and demonstrated, as if it were necessary, that their ethical base has been abandoned with their marriage to the fossil fuel industry as demonstrated here in The Common Sense Canadian beyond any question. The difficulty for Canadians now is where to get information and hopefully outlets like this will expand to fill that need.
We certainly will do our best. Although we are not a news gathering or dispensing outlet, we do hold firmly to the view that the “Establishment”, very much including governments, must always have their feet held to the fire. We have done that and will continue to do so.
One of the great pleasures, in addition to seeing the back of Harper, is not having to listen to the unctious, anti-British Columbia, smug bullshit from finance minister Joe Oliver anymore.
Let me end with what I started with.
If Harper, in a back-handed way did indeed get young people involved, that’s a plus and, if permanent, a large one. Undoubtedly, the attractiveness of Justin Trudeau had much to do with it as he clearly understood that young people were sufficiently pissed off with the establishment to look for an alternative and he attracted them to the political remedy – something that’s been lacking in our political life for as long as I can remember.
It was a remarkable win for Trudeau – after a terrible start his comeback was stunning.
It is, clearly, a new era. It starts full of bright optimism. Let’s hope it’s justified. At least we know that for those who believe in social and economic justice, the environment and fair play for all, it can’t possibly be worse.