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A Son Reclaims His Father’s Throne

It’s finally happened! We finally here in Canada have a Prime Minister who looks like he once belonged to a 90s boy band (though admittedly Diefenbaker came close)!
Justin Trudeau’s band stormed the castle and mounted Stephen Harper’s head on a spike. Caught up in the excitement, many of Tom Mulcair’s forces joined in the siege forcing him to only look on with a gaping mouth as Trudeau was crowned champion!
Did anyone see that coming? I sure didn’t. It’s a good thing I’m not a betting man because I was sure there would be a minority government coming out of this election for either the NDP or the Conservatives. Where did this Liberal majority come from?? It was like musical chairs in the House of Commons with the Liberals winding up in the Tories’ old place, the Tories in the NDP’s, and the NDP in the Liberals’. The Bloq managed to steal a couple chairs in the hubbub while the Green Party just didn’t participate in the game. It was really a dramatic and exciting night and this sudden victory by the Liberals is remarkable. But what was the precedent? How did this happen? Did the other parties just not do their jobs right?
The Conservatives seemed pretty confident when they first called this extra-long election eleven weeks ago! That confidence declined a little way in when they found they still had to dodge the Duffy scandal and for most of the election could never quite make it first in the polls. It’s not always good being on the defensive most of the time. Hell even the early attack ads felt weak. And this is from the Conservative Party! They excel at attack ads! But for the most part these were just slights on the other party leaders by actors who didn’t want to be there, and there was an overwhelming feeling of “yeah…just stick with us, okay…?” rather than promising anything new or changed. And it didn’t help that some of their MPs proved they were out of touch in some of their statements; and that they’re now the number one party when it comes to urinating in kitchen mugs. Harper went with the old rolled-up sleeves in a business shirt look in his public appearances which people could see through.  And then there’s also that after nine years Harper’s bound to be a little tired. He wasn’t sidestepping issues as well as he used to, and though he like Michael Bay still has his fans, the clear majority have become disillusioned with his work and less inclined to racism. He’s just become an old stock Canadian and now that he’s leaving, for the first time in the past decade he’s brought joy to the nation.
                So if the Tories were just worn out or made the critical mistake of being themselves, what about the NDP? Well one of their mistakes was assuming early on that the Liberals were a non-entity. Tom Mulcair kept dismissing the Liberals as “cute” but clearly not a real political threat anymore. And the NDP were successful in garnering the support of environmentalists, First Nations, and outspoken university students voting for the first time trying to get attention on facebook. Mulcair made a few mistakes though. In addition to some of his absolute promises and views on the niqab (which somehow became an important issue in the campaign) he lost a lot of his support in Quebec by never once eating poutine while on the campaign trail there. In the prairies where many didn’t realize there was even a non-Harper option he didn’t drop by enough. I know we in Saskatchewan would at least have liked a call once in a while. Mulcair’s first priority was to get rid of Harper and many Canadians agreed. Just not with him. In the end, Jack Layton he was not and Orange is definitely not the New Blue (I’ll give you a moment to groan at that joke).
                But with the Tories and NDP at each other’s throat most of the election, how did the Sea of Red break through?! It wasn’t until the last couple weeks the Liberals were leading. Some people remembered Pierre Trudeau and thought his son could be on to something. Some people liked his charisma and decent charm over the box of Bran Flakes that was leading us the last nine years. Some people saw his hair and thought “gee that’s a good enough reason to choose a Prime Minister.” Any and all of these may have been true. With such a big majority a part of me wondered if it was Canada as a nation deciding to punk the overconfident Tories and NDP in a rare act of unity. But then I thought, it’s probably something simpler. My guess is it was for the dynasty. Pierre Trudeau was one of the country’s most well-known Prime Ministers. Canadians wanted to prove especially to the US that a father-son dynasty in federal politics doesn’t have to be the disaster the Bush’s made it. Maybe it will be worth the risk, maybe it will blow up in our faces, but it’s something new. Trudeau won a majority government against the odds and it’s certainly surprising, in some areas managing successes for the Liberals not seen since the days of his father. He gave a decent speech at the end of last night with the phrase “in Canada, better is always possible!” which is a very optimistic and very Canadian outlook. Better is not impossible it is indeed possible (maybe some American candidate should try something like that for a slogan instead of the repetitious America is great, cool, powerful, etc. rhetoric). At long last, Justin Trudeau gets to move back into his childhood home! Let’s hope no one’s found his secret stash of weed.

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