Canada’s 2015 Federal Election just wrapped up. The Liberal Party received the largest number of popular votes – 39.5%. This gave them 54% of the seats in Parliament and a majority government. The Conservative Party were 7.6% behind that with 31.9% of the popular vote, but it only gave them 29% of the seats. The NDP Party had 19.7% of the popular vote – 13% of the seats. Several other parties took the remaining seats.
If the ratio between percent of popular vote to seats won seems odd, it is because Canada uses a first-past-the-post voting system (FPTP). Some people complain about this system because the winning Party rarely receives 50% of the popular vote. The Liberals agree and have promised to change this ‘unfair’ system. Sober second thought might change their mind, as it is this system that usually delivers majority governments in Canada – which winning politicians prefer.
The Leader (Prime Minister) of a majority government often pays a heavy price for this power, though. In this election, as in may previous elections, approximately 60.5% of the voting population of Canada didn’t vote for the party in power. The scapegoat for discontent this election will be Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau, as it was for Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper after the last election.
The ‘young, good looking, nice hair’ Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau, is already seeing the first ‘hint of what is to come’ in the form of opinion commentaries.
– “The Trudeau manipulation: Behind the most image-conscious campaign in Canadian history.” (National Post).
– “He’ll have an asset in that people will look at him and they’ll have an initially favourable impression of him because he looks like an attractive guy… Beyond that, all bets are off.” Ottawa Citizen
– “The Conservative Party’s loss is to the detriment of its neighbors to the south and the world at large, since the Tory leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was defeated by the unprepared, gaffe-prone but well-coiffed son of a former prime minister, Justin Trudeau. Harper’s fate is all the more shocking when you consider how well Canada weathered the 2008-2009 financial crisis under his watch.” CNN
– “Trudeau now bears the weight of impossible expectations that he himself largely created… In Trudeau’s case, it won’t be hard for him to keep his most prominent promise — to run a deficit for a few years. Spending more than you earn is always easy.” CBC News
– “Trudeau will be under a harsh spotlight as politicians and voters alike see if their gamble on a young, inexperienced media darling will play out in the policy arena.” TIME
The media attacks on Harper were sometimes so brutal that you could only wonder what kind of people say those kinds of things. It is one thing to disagree with the decisions of the politicians that are in power, but it is quite another thing to attack the personality of the leader with words that are full of hatred. When that kind of emotion is on a roll, facts and reason get trampled. This, to me, is the most disgusting aspect of our ‘always on and instant’ access to the written and spoken word.
Anyone with a keyboard and internet access can push out their opinion – an opinion that is rarely based on logic, research or balance. One self proclaimed ‘critic and journalist’ recently wrote, “I’m glad Justin Trudeau is Canada’s new leader, but only because Harper is gone. And Trudeau will certainly be a different kind of prime minister. He might even improve Canadians’ sense of who we can be: he is young and tattooed and bright-eyed, plus into pot and the very latest in hair cuts.”
Hopefully Trudeau will surpass the low expectations of his detractors, and be exceedingly brighter than some of the people who support him. If not, he is in for a rough ride.
Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.
– Sir Winston Churchill –