So the 78 day campaign is finally over and Harper is no longer in power. Considering the amount of (tax-payers) money that the Conservatives spent during those 78 days, you would’ve thought they’d have done better, but in the end most Canadians were sick of the rhetoric and too aware of the scandals, fiscal irresponsibility, and general douche-iness of the government during the last 10 years (see First Nations Women, Bill C-51, Pro-rouging Parliament, etc, etc, etc) to swallow yet another line.
And so, as we usually do; we turned to the only other real option. The Liberals.
Nevermind that the NDP had more seats in the House of Commons before this last shuffle than the Liberals had; Bob Rae as Premier of Ontario fucked it up for the Orange is the New Red & White team long before this campaign ever started. Which is a shame, really, since the NDP has been a recognized federal party since the late 60’s but has still yet to have a shot at the title, so to speak.
(And because they were the only party determined to repeal Bill C-51 … pardon my political stance; but if we citizens can’t form effective protests without provoking investigation as a “threat to national security”, then it doesn’t matter what the system is or who’s in power)
It doesn’t hurt that Trudeau is young, and rather good-looking, and that Mulcair looks like Bram of Sharon, Lois, and Bram who has undergone treatments by the Hair Club For Men.
It also doesn’t hurt that Trudeau is walking the middle line between conservative economics-before-all-else policies and Green/NDP ecological and social programs. He doesn’t require that you understand the intricacies of the issues at stake (TPP, Oil Pipelines, Human Rights, Environmental Protection, National Deficit, Balancing the Budget, Health and Social Programs, the future failure of the CPP to be able to provide benefits to eligible recipients … etc, etc, etc) and appeals directly to the heart.
Especially the hearts of younger Canadians who don’t typically vote. This year saw the largest percentage of young voters for the last 3 decades. Which is a hopeful sign that a young and vibrant PM will attract a younger generation to political activism.
So, Trudeau’s going to have his work cut out for him. Because although it’s clear that the country wanted change; we’re still very divided on just WHAT that change should be, and how to achieve it.
One of the more disappointing results, locally, was the re-election of Colin Carrie, often dubbed the “ghost” MP, since he’s got a horrendous track record of being unavailable to his electorate, and though he always seems to have the time (and anti-tax rhetoric) for pro-Carrie media appearances, when it comes to answering to the legitimate concerns of his constituency, his support is so much hot air, and disappears like a fart in the wind.
There are a lot of things that need fixing. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean that the issues are resolved, or that we can all go back to watching Netflix and letting the government types worry about these sorts of things. It isn’t Harper that’s the problem, it’s us.
It’s easy not to care. It’s a lot of big issues and a lot of shitty research to understand even the least amount of any one of them. It’s boring, and time-consuming, and enormously frustrating.
The problem is, the people who have a lot of stuff (wealth, power, etc) have a lot of reasons to protect that stuff, so they make sure to find out what’s going on and to voice their opinions to the people that can do something about it. So the decisions that get made tend to support the people that have a lot of stuff.
But if the people who DON’T have a lot of stuff make take the time to find out what sorts of issues affect them, and make the effort to make their voices heard, we CAN make changes, as this past election clearly shows.
One of the first things I’d suggest we tackle would be amending the Fair Elections Act which went through under the Conservatives last year and changed the rules to allow more money to be spent on longer campaigns — approximately $685,000 for each day beyond the basic 37-day campaign.
(Ever wondered why the Cons called the election early, allowing for a 78-day campaign? Because it meant that political parties — whether or not they had the money — could potentially spend roughly $53 million, rather than the $28 million originally planned. Keeping in mind that Elections Canada data showed the Conservatives had raised more than $76 million between 2012 and 2015, while the Liberals had $46 million and the NDP only $33 million.)
The reason this is a major issue is that Canadians reimburse political parties 50 per cent of their election costs. If there is an attack ad on TV, taxpayers are paying for half the cost of that ad.
Candidates are also reimbursed for 60 per cent of their expenses as soon as the election is called.
So get out there and let Trudeau’s people know that from now on, Canadians aren’t content to pay obscene amounts of money every time there is a changing of the guard. It might make campaigns more about the issues than the money a candidate has to spend, and maybe that will give us officials that actually push for the changes that their constituents are asking for. At the very least, it would mean that the party-wars wouldn’t be done on the backs of hard-working Canadians.