A Resounding Liberal Victory in Canada, Cont'd

A reader in Calgary reacts to the historic win:

As a Canadian, I was delighted by the repudiation of Stephen Harper, his party, and the campaign they ran. However, it may be too much of a good thing. Liberal majority governments have a long history of campaigning left of center and governing right of center, starting with fine ideals and ending up with gutter politics. I was expecting a much narrower result and a minority Liberal government dependent on the support of one or more opposition parties to stay in office. That would have tempered any autocratic tendencies on Trudeau’s part.

Yet I’m hopeful, because he seems humbler than Harper, less egotistically cerebral than his father (described as the “Northern Magus” by one of his biographers), and more likely to run a collegial government.

I think the cabinet, caucus, civil servants, and outside experts will play a bigger role in decision-making than in most Canadian governments over the past half century—at least for a while. The New Democrats and Greens had some good people and policies, and it’s too bad they didn’t do a little better, but at least they’ll have some voices in Parliament.

As a resident of Calgary and Alberta, I’m once again disappointed by results closer to home. The Conservatives got almost 60 percent of the vote in Alberta and will hold 85 percent of the seats—29 Tory, 4 Liberal, and 1 New Democrat at latest count. That’s actually an improvement over last time, when a lone New Democrat was the only opposition member elected here.

In my own constituency, the Liberal did really well, with 43.6 percent of the vote, but that was 1300 short of his Conservative opponent’s 45.5 percent. At least the three progressive candidates attracted a combined majority of the votes, which could be significant for future elections at all levels.

The voter turnout was impressive—68 percent nationally, 69 percent in Alberta, and 75 percent in my constituency. Among lesser lights, the Marxist-Leninists narrowly edged out the Rhinoceros, Pirate, and Radical Marijuana parties. Trudeau, incidentally, promises to legalize pot, which may have played a not insignificant role in his victory. We’ll see how that plays out.

As the German poet would say, it could be verse.

Other Canadian readers wanna share their perspective? Email hello@theatlantic.com. And be sure to check out Frum’s Canadian-American conservative perspective on Trudeau’s big win. A May 2015 Atlantic profile of the now prime minister-designate is here. From a Canadian reader at the time:

Justin Trudeau’s dad was truly an intellectual heavyweight, someone who made enormous contributions to this country. The country is the way it is today because of him—a liberal democracy that has embraced multiculturalism in every way.

We can debate for hours about the pros and cons of multiculturalism. But I find that Canada is more tolerant of other cultures than the U.S and European nations. Under Harper, Canada has swung too far to the extreme right by by aligning ourselves with Americans in the bombings of the Middle East; incessant tax breaks to people who do not need it and its obsession with oil while the economy remains anemic. (Economic news is very bad for Canada these days; almost every day, a company goes bankrupt in Canada shedding thousands of jobs. This is a small economy so few thousand jobs a week is a big impact.)

There is fear mongering every day, immigrant bashing (mainly as a result of urban myths and anecdotes), ramping up immigration controls, and propaganda from the government in the form of attack ads, letters and emails. The nation has never been so polarized. It’s almost unreal.

Young Trudeau probably will not be PM in October 2015. Having read his memoir, I honestly don’t think he feels entitled to be the PM. He earned his party’s nomination against some pretty formidable opponents. As the son of Pierre, if anything, he has to work harder to prove himself that he is not just another privileged son of a dynasty.