I want to take a few moments to say something about our new Prime Minister in Canada: Justin Trudeau.
This recent federal election was a big deal for Canadians. It was a chance to finally end almost 10 years of Stephen Harper’s rule, an administration that has been very divisive and controversial. Harper did some good things for the economy, but he also did a lot of bad things such as severely weakening our environmental protection laws, compromising our constitutional rights with bill C-51, and going over the heads of citizens and First Nations groups to push forward his agenda of powering the economy through oil sands development. The Trans Pacific Partnership deal, which will have a multitude of consequences for several industries in this country such as dairy farmers, and pharmacare (although, to be fair, some industries would benefit. It’s a win-some-lose-some situation) was discussed largely in secret. Harper always controlled his public image very tightly as well. He did it so much, in fact, that he appeared to be about as bland and boring as his stupid buckethead haircut. Harper was an economist, and he tried to run the country like a business. But it takes more than business acumen to be the Prime Minister that Canadians want.
On October 19 the Canadian citizens made it known who they want to be their Prime Minster when Justin Trudeau, the son of former-PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, (one of our greatest PMs responsible for many of our social programs that make this country such a great place to live) was elected with a strong majority; 184 seats to the Conservatives 99; a pretty huge change from the previous federal election in 2011 where the liberals fell to just 34 seats and people were ringing the party’s death knell. Harper held a strong base in the prairies and rockies this year, but in this election something special happened: voter turnout was 68.5%, the highest it’s been since 1993!
The multitude of citizens who are sick and tired of Harper’s myopic crusade fought back. Young people, who have for a long time been disengaged from the political affairs of this country, took to the polls and young people don’t vote Conservative blue; they chose Liberal red or NDP orange, maybe even the Greens, but certainly NEVER Conservative. There was even a strong First Nations vote against Harper, and this is easy to comprehend: Harper was never given to negotiating with the First Nations groups, he would rather spend millions of dollars a year fighting them in court. We, the people, joined forces and kicked his ass to the curb allowing for a new, fresh-faced Prime Minister Trudeau part 2 to take office.
Justin Trudeau is the second youngest PM we’ve ever had, and he has some pretty big shoes to fill. His late father was intellectually brilliant and a fascinating personality that Canadians across the country rallied behind in “Trudeaumania”, so we’re all going to have some high expectations. One thing I can say for sure, however, is that he is the quintessential Man of the People.
I could see it in him during the debates with the other party leaders. He might not have held up as well against the more experienced Mulcair and Harper, but I immediately got the sense that he really understands what Canadians want, and what their biggest concerns are for this country. It shows because he spent three years going coast to coast to coast talking with everyday people face to face, listening to them, and showing real concern. Justin Trudeau gets us. He knows what it means to be Canadian and has a vision that, hopefully, most of us can agree on.
He isn’t afraid to go street level and meet his constituents, and that is exactly what he did yesterday morning. The PM-designate of Canada went to Metro Jarry, which is in his riding, where he shook hands and took selfies with morning commuters. Change is coming to Canada, and it sure is handsome.