Thursday, October 22, 2015

O, Canada!

Oh, Canada, indeed as voters on Monday ended nine years of Conservative party rule and swept Justin Trudeau and the Liberals to power.
It was not even close as the third party, the Liberals, went from 34 seats to a staggering 184 out of 338 seats, a solid majority. And it was not just the ruling Conservatives that were vanquished but the opposition, far-left New Democrats that suffered losses as well. The New Democrats lost 59 seats and is now back to being the third party and has 44 seats. The Conservatives lost 67 seats and is a stronger opposition party than the Liberals were for this election. The Conservatives have 99 seats.
The Liberals meteoric rise from the ashes can be summed up in two words.
Justin Trudeau.
Mr. Trudeau is the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau and the clan is essentially the Kennedy family of the Great White North. The Montreal-Toronto dominated media elevated Mr. Trudeau to a God-like status while it became clear he did a terrible job as PM. But he was an "intellectual" and let's face it, that trumps anything even and including strong leadership. Sure, Mr. Trudeau suppressed terrorism and kept Canada together, at the expense of making French-speaking Quebec a nation within a nation and forcing the nation to become a bilingual one. And his economic record was standard, liberal fare and proved to further alienate the economically stronger prairie provinces and British Columbia.
To be blunt, Justin Trudeau is not even in the same league as his father was. Justin Trudeau is but a dilettante much like the late John F. Kennedy, Jr.
But damn if he is not good looking and has that family name.
Very hard for the soon to be ex-prime minister, Stephen Harper, to go up against.
In comparison, one can compare Prime Minister Harper to Mitt Romney running up against Barack Obama.
No doubt that the Conservatives hurt themselves with some less than savory candidates that made rude comments against First Nation (Native Americans, Eskimos, Indians) people. Also, the economy is beginning to stagnate due to international pressures. Some Canadians saw Prime Minister Harper as wanting to be more like the neighbors to the South, the United States. Yet Prime Minister Harper is openly very much a Canadian nationalist.
But one aspect of a Canadian election compared to an American one is that it is not a popular-vote election. Because it is a parliament and a first past the post system, it is actually 338 separate elections. Think of it as a perpetual congressional mid-term. It is the leader of the majority party that usually forms the government. Even if it is not 170 seats in the case of this past election. Prime Minister Harper led two majority-minority governments before winning an outright majority prior to this election. Another aspect of Canadian elections is that the sitting prime minister can call for elections anytime before the fixed, four-year term ends.
With a 14-seat majority, Justin Trudeau has four years to see what he can do.
It maybe four long years for Canada.
Oh, Canada, indeed.

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