Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Better Canada

I may no longer reside in Canada, but I am still a Canadian. Although the past nine years have made me less than proud to be a Canadian, my pride as a Canadian was restored this past Federal (National) Election. 

The Harper Government's leadership of Canada has led to the deterioration of Canada's international reputation as well the erosion of democracy, science, environmental protections, care for veterans and much more within Canada. (See a "brief" list of some of the damage wrought by Stephen Harper as Prime Minister of Canada on The Tyee: Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence Compiled.) 

Thankfully those disheartening years seem to be past. On October 19th, 2015, the Liberal Party of Canada, under leader Justin Trudeau, won 39.5% of the popular vote which translated into 184/338 seats in parliament to form a majority government. (Detailed election results available on CBC News: Canada Votes.)

Justin Trudea hasn't even been sworn in as Prime Minister yet (so he won't officially become the Prime Minister until November 4th, 2015) but Canada is already better under his leadership.

He has invited all of the provincial premiers to join the delegation--demonstrating a willingness to collaborate with the provinces and to further cooperation between the Federal and Provincial governments. This, of course is in stark contrast with Harper, who couldn't be bothered to attend Council of Canadian Premiers meetings and had a decidedly adversarial relationship with Ontario's Premier, Kathleen Wynne. (The Globe & Mail: Premiers agree to attend Paris climate summit with Trudeau)

He is further working to make the Canadian Government collaborative instead of adversarial by also inviting opposition party members to attend the UN climate summit in Paris--unlike Harper, who shut opposition party members out of important international talks. Sixty percent of voters in the past election did not  vote for the Liberal Party. By including other party leaders in the delegation he is giving all voters a voice and more truly representing Canada. (CTV News: Trudeau invites May, other leaders to join UN climate summit delegation)

And of course the fact that he is bringing such a large delegation to the Paris climate summit demonstrates a willingness to address the climate change issue in the first place--again, completely unlike Harper.

On a completely different note, he has also committed to electoral reform, doing away with the first-past-the-post system that gave his party a majority government in the first place. (Had the election been held using proportional representation, the Liberals would only have achieved a minority government.) By also examining online voting and mandatory voting, Trudeau has also demonstrated a desire to increase voter participation rather than trying to suppress it as Harper did through the (un-)"Fair Elections Act." (The Toronto Star: Electoral reform looms for Canada, Justin Trudeau promises)

Oh, and let's not forget that he specifically created an opportunity for members of the press to ask questions at the National Press Theatre shortly after winning the election--something Harper reportedly hadn't done in about seven years. (The Huffington Post Canada: Trudeau Takes Questions At National Press Gallery Theatre In Departure From Harper)

I'm sure that I will disagree with Trudeau's policy choices, etc. sometime (the TPP and pipelines being foreseeable issues), but in less than a week as Prime Minister-Elect, Justin Trudeau has already started restoring my respect for Canadian democracy and the government and given me hope for the future of the country.

So thank you, Justin Trudeau. And thank you, fellow Canadians for voting (even if you did vote for the Conservative Party).