Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Harper is out. Trudeau is in, big time.
I didn't vote for either of those guys or Mulcair, yet I'm enormously relieved that Stephen Harper didn't return for the final term he needed to complete his transformation of Canada and, especially, the west.
It's a weird feeling, almost as if it was laced with just a touch of emancipation. You're free to go. Speak your mind. Dispute, argue, debate. Organize. Get busy, get to it.
Only this whole emancipation things is no simple matter. What do you do? How do you engage this freedom? What are the pitfalls ahead and where can you go wrong?
Dismantling the Canada that Harper inflicted on us isn't going to be easy. It has to be brought out into the open, explored and understood - not as Harper proclaimed it to be but as it is. Some of it might be like defusing unexploded ordinance.
Ah, the Good Fight fought, and won. Canada won, we won.
My Greens didn't win but the pressures to vote strategically were powerful and persuasive. The election plainly cost the party votes but I'd be surprised if, this morning, it has cost the party many supporters.
Then there's the NDP, whatever that is any more. They began the campaign soaring high but then, like Icarus, the wings melted and they fell 'plop' into the sea. As usual, they spent too much effort attacking the Liberals when they ought to have been slamming Harper but, in the end, they got their just rewards. Brace yourselves for the classic grousing so familiar in the wake of NDP failures. The public was too stupid, the opponents were dishonest, their guy was maligned, yada, yada, yada.
That leaves us with the Liberals. What to make of them? How do you make sense of a party that began yesterday with 34 seats and ended the day with 184? It's going to take a few days just to make up name tags for the caucus meet'n greet. The good part is that there's a fair bit of veteran talent in the party that's evenly split between under and over 50s.
I'm not sure what to make of the strong majority. I had thought some minority coalition might be preferable if only to compel the Libs and New Dems to stop the constant back-biting and make them cooperate. I'm not sure that would have worked with Mulcair having spent much of the campaign attacking Trudeau even as Trudeau focused his efforts on the real target, Harper.
Trudeau has a lot of change to deliver but that includes dismantling the detritus of Harperland and tons of scaffolding to build something new that works for Canada not just one sector, one region.
Anyway, get prepared for the emancipation syndrome. Enjoy the freedom, the chance to breathe, the warmth of the sun. It won't last. The challenges haven't gone away and, try as he might, the Liberals will stumble, they will make mistakes and, sometimes, they'll choose the wrong path.
Here's the thing. During the Harper years a lot of us attacked policies and advocated for change, sometimes fundamental change. Under Harper we didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting through. Maybe, just maybe, we now have a government that will at least hear us out.