Chance for change

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

The whole ‘real change’ slo­gan was bandied about freely by the Lib­eral party in the fed­eral elec­tion, which left Canada with a sur­pris­ing Lib­eral ma­jor­ity.

Change is no doubt in store for this coun­try over the next lit­tle while as prime min­is­ter-des­ig­nate Justin Trudeau looks to make his mark on Canada’s af­fairs.

But it’s not only the Lib­er­als who will be look­ing to em­brace change. The Con­ser­va­tives and NDP will have no choice but to con­sider what went wrong for them dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

For Stephen Harper’s crew, many of whom will from now on serve in Ot­tawa as mem­bers of the Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion, those MPs will need to hold the Trudeau gov­ern­ment ac­count­able for its ac­tions over the next few years.

Judg­ing from the party’s per­for­mance this past elec­tion, Con­ser­va­tives would be wise to move away from tak­ing stands on is­sues that amount to out­right racism (see the whole niqab de­bate) and in­stead fo­cus on fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity. That’s the party’s bread and but­ter.

If it wants to be in a po­si­tion to form a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment in 2019, the party will need to re­con­nect with those who may have felt com­fort­able sup­port­ing the old Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party but not Harper’s vi­sion for the Con­ser­va­tives.

As­sum­ing more than one can­di­date steps for­ward, this will be the first cam­paign to lead the Con­ser­va­tives since Harper gained the trust of the merged the Cana­dian Al­liance and PC crowds in the 2004 lead­er­ship race. It’s a sure­fire op­por­tu­nity for the party to get a fresh start.

Tom Mul­cair’s fu­ture lead­ing the NDP has not been set­tled yet, but as­sum­ing he stays on, he’ll be back in op­po­si­tion with sig­nif­i­cantly de­pleted resources to draw upon. His party’s fail­ure to build on the gains his pre­de­ces­sor Jack Lay­ton made in 2011 leaves the NDP back where it was in the early mil­len­nium and 1990s.

One hopes the party might at least have a role to play in help­ing steer dis­cus­sion in the house to com­mon in­ter­ests the NDP might have with the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment. An ex­tra two cents of thought and opin­ion never hurts.

As of the Lib­er­als, the party once again took ad­van­tage of a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that al­lows one side to have all the de­ci­sion-mak­ing power, even if its share of the vote is well be­low 50 per cent. Con­ser­va­tives were able to do the same with their last two fed­eral elec­tion vic­to­ries.

The Lib­eral party’s pol­icy res­o­lu­tions do make men­tion of in­ves­ti­gat­ing elec­toral re­form and the po­ten­tial use of pref­er­en­tial bal­lots and pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion. If that ini­tia­tive pro­duces any sub­stan­tial changes, the way we ap­proach an elec­tion will be dra­mat­i­cally al­tered, whether you’re a voter or a prospec­tive politi­cian.

Here’s to hop­ing that what­ever change comes from this elec­tion re­sults in a Canada that’s strong, pros­per­ous, and re­spected.

An­drew Robin­son is The Com­pass’ editor. He can be reached ate­d­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

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