On Monday, October 19th, Canadians headed to the polling stations to vote for change. This change comes in the form of the 43 year old Liberal Party leader with nice hair, Justin Trudeau.
This election was a very exciting one, as the three major parties – Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats (NDP) – were in a tight race from the very start. Forming a clear majority government, the Liberals painted the nation red. Let’s take a look at what this means for Canada:
With Canada in a recession, the economy has been the centre of attention throughout the election. The major points in the Liberals’ platform have been infrastructure and the middle class. The Liberals have pledged to improve infrastructure in Canada with a $5 billion plan. Where would this money come from? Good question. The party has said that they are willing to run “modest” deficits of nearly $10 billion over the next 3 years. This would increase Canada’s federal debt but Trudeau insists that this is necessary to grow the economy. The party has targeted middle class families through their promises regarding taxes. They have promised to reduce taxes for the middle class, however, a possible problem with such is high income taxpayers finding ways to avoid the higher tax. Other big points on the party’s agenda is the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, the launching of a national inquiry into the topic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and the ending of Canada’s current bombing campaign in Syria.
While the platform is very important, what has Canadians – and non-Canadians, as well – talking is the virality of “Trudeaumania”; our new prime minister is practically a celebrity. Contrasting the now former prime minister, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau has charisma and good looks to win voters over. Prior to the election, “Trudeaumania” took over social media and was revived when the results began to be released. Here are some reactions:
Popularly referred to by his first name, Canada’s new prime minister Justin grew up in the public eye, as his father is popular former prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. Due to this, he has got plenty of photos of his youth, as well as a movie and TV series under his belt. His numerous media appearances also include an interview in which he pulled a stunt where he fell down the stairs on purpose.
Trudeau isn’t only a popular leader, he’s also a popular person, but what other factors resulted in his party’s huge win? One major point was the niqab debate. Nearing the end of the election, controversy was sparked when a woman sued the Conservative government for not letting her wear a niqab in her citizenship ceremony. This ban that was set in place in 2011 against the niqabs started a debate in which Canadians were split between those who supported the Conservatives anti-Muslim sentiments and those who were against. Many Canadians were outraged at the Conservatives for taking a stance that was seen as “anti-Canadian”, as we are known to be welcoming and encouraging of multiculturalism. Some even took the controversy in their own hands and went to polling stations with their face masked. For example, one citizen, in particular, went to cast his ballot with a pumpkin on his head to show his disdain for the debate.
However, unfortunately for the Conservatives, this was not enough to secure a majority, as many Canadians have expressed frustration with Stephen Harper. Furthermore, strategic voting against vote-splitting was used to ensure that Stephen Harper’s party was no longer in power. Vote splitting, or “First Past the Post” is why the Conservatives have remained in power with only 39% of the vote since 2008. Organizations such as Leadnow.ca, lead a “Vote Together” campaign where 90,841 Canadians pledged to vote strategically for the best local candidate who could defeat the Conservatives. Both the NDP and Liberals campaigned with a slogan of promising change, and it is clear that Canadians desired such change.
The day after the election, Tuesday October 20th, Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau was quick to… head on down to a subway station. Yes, that’s right, Canada’s brand new prime minister went to a Montreal subway station as his first action as prime minister-designate. Justin went to a subway station in the riding in which he is the Member of Parliament to meet the citizens he was representing, shake hands and take lots of selfies. Then, he held a press conference in which he confirmed his commitment to fulfilling his campaign promises but did not confirm any dates, except for one; Justin has promised to name his new cabinet by November 4th. He also announced on Tuesday the 20th, that he has been in contact with his new fellow world leaders, including President Obama. In this conversation, it is reported that the two discussed climate change, ISIS airstrikes and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Just as Canadians do, those who were not supporting the Liberals this election were very eager to complain. However, in order to make change, the nation must continue to push our local MPs to fulfill their promises and serve Canadians for the next 4 years.