A new political day has dawned in Canada after voters answered the underlying question of this marathon election campaign. While the scope of the Liberal victory clearly shows that new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was, in fact, ready, what the results really show is that it was the Canadian people who were ready – for change.
Trudeau has a strong mandate to implement his agenda, with the Liberals controlling a majority of Parliament. That agenda seemed to resonate with Canadians, who overwhelming supported the Liberal plan to boost infrastructure spending at the risk of a few deficit budgets; to reduce taxes on the middle class by shifting a bit more of the burden to the wealthy; to create a Canada more welcoming to those fleeing crises around the world.
But Canadians were perhaps even more clear on what they didn’t want: They didn’t want a government that viewed climate change with skepticism and saw scientists as a tool to be used at the government’s disposal; a government that greeted questions on missing and murdered Indigenous women with a shrug; a government that would pursue a failed war on drugs at all costs; and a government that saw creating fear and division as a winning electoral strategy.
But it’s not as though Conservatives saw a massive erosion of support. The Tories received only 200,000 less votes in 2015 than they did when they received a convincing majority in 2011. It would appear it was the three million Canadians who chose to sit out the 2011 election who were the biggest reason behind the increase to the Liberals vote total.
And that is a change that we should all be able to get behind. More than 17 million Canadians cast a ballot in the country’s 42nd federal election, making for Canada’s highest voter turnout since 1993.
That means more than a win for any one political party, as it is a victory for Canada and democracy as a whole.