If you live in the northern part of the continental United States, or southern Alaska, anywhere near Canada really, you may have heard a loud rumble on Monday evening. Perhaps you even felt a bit of a shimmy or shake. Not to worry, no earthquakes of any substantial magnitude were recorded at that time, nor was it an ancient volcano grumbling. But it was a tsunami of sorts. What you may have sensed was just your neighbour shifting back to the left politically in a big way.
A landslide victory for the Liberal Party of Canada delivered to power a new Prime Minister with an old name. On the day after what would have been his father’s ninety-seventh birthday, Justin Trudeau, son of the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a long serving Prime Minister, was elected amid a tidal wave of support for his party.With 170 seats required for a majority in Parliament, Trudeau fils garnered 184. Out went the conservatives and in moved the liberals. Stephen Harper resigned as party leader after almost ten years as PM.
Is this a new version of Trudeaumania? Justin Trudeau is not his father; whether you loved Pierre Elliott Trudeau or despised him (there seems to be little gray when the subject is the former PM), as the current Trudeau forges his own way as leader, he may surprise some on both sides of the divide.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next weeks and months. But at first blush there is a sense that the universe is unfolding as it should, something Justin’s father was fond of saying.
In the wake of the victory, the word that one hears most is progressive. I often find it interesting that in the United States the word ‘liberal’ tends to be hurled as an epithet, a slur, an insult. Yet the Liberal Party of Canada not only wears the moniker proudly, it has proven over the decades to be the party of choice for Canadians, with the occasional conservative respite.
So now a new era in Canadian politics begins. Mr Trudeau, like all newly elected Prime Ministers, must make good on at least some of the promises he made during the very long election campaign, and explain why others will have to wait. They say that the Liberals campaign from the left, but govern from the right. I believe this may not be a good idea this time as the one sentiment that cannot be denied in light of the results is that Canadians wanted change. Too much ‘right’ is what got Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada turfed from office.