Chance for change
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.