Goodbye, Mr. Harper
Did the country just give Trudeau a ringing endorsement or did it simply tell Harper to “get the heck out of our government”?
That’s the question I’ve been considering since I began watching Liberal red spread across the country. Here are my thoughts:
Harper’s sins are legion: gutting environmental protection, creating two-tiered citizenship, muzzling scientists, proroguing Parliament, shutting down the democratic process, covering up Duffy’s expenses — to name just a few. So — not surprisingly — I was euphoric when I saw that Harper was being beaten roundly. Sadly euphoria was quickly replaced by a cautious pragmatism. Let’s face it: The Liberals are just Conservative-light. The political spectrum has shifted so far to the right that the NDP is only a nudge left of centre, certainly not socialist.
I believe the Liberals are an improvement over the Conservatives — don’t get me wrong — but I hope they are progressive. I hope they will be welcoming to refugees. I hope they will take environmental issues seriously. I hope they will stop pushing an agenda of fear and division. I hope they will be inclusive in their governing. I hope they will bring back democracy. I hope they will reject the Conservative’s strong-arm, secretive style of governance. But I’m not naïve, and I recognize that it can be difficult to turn back the clock.
But I am excited for the future of our country anyway.
When Canadians voted overwhelmingly for the Liberals, I don’t believe they were so very enamoured of Justin Trudeau — well, maybe a little. I believe they were rejecting the politics of control, division, fear and xenophobia that we’ve seen these past few weeks. Harper — in his desperation to maintain power — pushed too hard. Yes, he roused some deep-seated prejudice, and he certainly awakened dread and division within the electorate, but on election night, Canadians decided that they no longer wanted our country to be run on discord, dishonesty and bigotry. Wab Kinew summed it up, “Canadians realized this was a mean-spirted divisive government that hid behind the economy.”
So even though I voted NDP, I’m excited by the Liberal win. In the words of Stephen Lewis: “Canadians delivered a strong message tonight — ‘Goodbye, Mr. Harper.’”