Now that the election is over, where will each of the three federal parties go from here? Politics never sleeps, even after a record-long election marathon like the country has just been through. What is next for Canada and each of its three major parties? Bernie Farber, John Capobianco and Marit Stiles are in the ONW Salon. (One sad note: this is Bernie Farber's last Salon, as he is moving on to new ventures.)
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau and his team for a decisive and historic win. I would also like to congratulate my friend and fellow panelist, Bernie Farber, who for the duration of this campaign ably defended and promoted his party and leader on these pages.
Losing is never easy, but when you can have as healthy a debate as we have had over the last number of months about issues and policies, we all win - that is the beauty of democracy. The voters decided and they are seldom, if ever, wrong. For my other friend and fellow panelist, Marit Stiles - I feel your pain.
For us it is time to reflect and rebuild. The message of change was strong and for that the Conservatives are going to take some time and look at who can replace Stephen Harper.
Kudos to my fellow panelists Marit and John for their outstanding work here and on behalf of their parties. This being my final Salon I want readers to know what accomplished and special people they are. Thanks as well to ONW's Susanna Kelley for her motivation, moderation and being a superb journalist.
It was a historic night! I am at once overjoyed but realize that we also lost some dedicated politicians. I add my Mazal tov to everyone who put their name forward as a candidate. Having run myself I understand the emotional highs and lows that follow an election. In my view you are all Canadian patriots of the first order.
The Liberal Party of Canada will now form a government. We have made many promises and we need to ensure they are kept. The past decade saw a different style of government that in my view was entirely motivated by the views of Stephen Harper, as opposed to the needs of a socially progressive Canadian electorate.
My hope is that the word "progressive" finds its way back to the name of a great political party "Progressive Conservatives." I also hope that the NDP will continue to be the conscience of our government system and hold our feet to the fire.
Indeed, let me join John here in congratulating the Liberal Party and their Prime Minister-elect. They ran an impressive campaign and clearly became the 'choice for change' in many ridings across this country. And to all of you and of course ONW and Susanna Kelley, a big thank you for hosting this discussion each week.
I was doing election night coverage last night on one of the networks and we talked a lot about the length of the campaign and what role that played. I'd characterize the campaign as really having two Acts - the first where the NDP was in the lead and the Liberals behind as a result of the Conservatives' attempt to make Trudeau out to be 'not ready'. The second was when the Conservatives brought in their 'weapon of mass distraction' - the niqab - in an attempt to drive down support of the NDP in Quebec.
I remember at the time saying to a Conservative pundit: you folks should be careful about that. The NDP did by all accounts see some rise in volunteers and fundraising as a result of standing up and being principled on that issue, but I think the Harper politics of fear and division served to drive up support for the Liberals in Ontario. And the NDP was left behind.
I also agree with Bernie that 'progressive conservatives' went to the Liberals - at least in the Atlantic provinces. I suspect the NDP picked up a fair amount of that vote in BC.
I hear Marit's analysis of this 42nd election and I do agree with some of the points she has articulated. I think the long campaign served the Liberals well - along with the voters. Those of us who spend every waking moment watching this stuff found it excruciatingly long, but for other Canadians, they were able to jump in and out as they saw fit.
However, the length allowed two things to happen: firstly, there were actual discussions about policies that you would never see in traditional five week campaigns
And secondly, it allowed Mr. Trudeau to grow and dispel the Conservative claims of him not being ready. The debates also helped Mr. Trudeau show his policy prowess and grasp of issues, much to the determent of Mr. Mulcair, who came out of the debates flat.
Ultimately though, the opposition were successful in making the ballot question about Stephen Harper, instead of the Conservatives' goal to make it about the stewardship of the economy. When it became an issue of "Anybody but Stephen" then it came down to strategic voting and who was best placed to take him on. Here is where Mr. Mulcair failed and Mr. Trudeau succeeded.
As we prepare for a new Parliament, I am hoping that there are some urgent issues that the Liberals will deal with immediately. Most urgent of those are on the refugee file.
First and foremost, we must reinstate health coverage for refugees. This was so retrograde that the federal court referred to this action by Mr. Harper as “cruel and unusual.”
Secondly we must see action on the Syrian refugee crisis. PM-elect Trudeau made a key promise on numbers and moving forward, we need to act on this ASAP.
And finally PM-elect Trudeau spoke of replacing fear with hope. This was in my view his most important promise. The tone of government must change. The long form census must be returned to help better plan for the future, there must be the un-muzzling of government scientists, and a move back towards making Canada the envy of the world when it comes to seeking peace.
Those are my hopes as we move forward. Thank you all for the opportunity to have participated in this wonderful platform. May you all go from strength to strength.
It was certainly a campaign about change ... and the NDP and Liberals battled it out over who would best bring that change. It's not terribly surprising that many chose the Liberals. A known quantity. A party that has governed before. The Liberals trotted out former PMs to that end, and it helped them immeasurably. It was a risky move: dragging out Chretien could have dragged out many foul memories - particularly in Quebec - of the Liberals' own ethical challenges. But Harper's own government's dismal record on that front seemed to drown out the Liberals.
And in it all, the NDP struggled with convincing the electorate that we were able to form a government, that we had the vision and the responsible approach to governing that would bring real change. I'm not sure yet that our message didn't connect, i just think it was less important to many Canadians than the opportunity to oust Harper.
The Liberal machine used their momentum and big fundraising dollars to great effect in the final week of the campaign, and targeted NDP ridings in the east to drive that 'wave' to the finish line.
I think our country will be worse off for the loss of some of the strongest, smartest and most principled MPs this country has ever seen. People like Andrew Cash, Peggy Nash, Craig Scott, Megan Leslie, Peter Stoffer and Jack Harris. There will be some voter remorse, definitely for these folks, and big shoes to fill for the newer members of the NDP caucus.
But there are some bright lights. Many young MPs who were elected in the 2011 orange wave saw the light of day. And many new faces like Erin Weir in Regina.
While the result wasn't what we were shooting for, the NDP was in a tight-three way race for government for most of this campaign and we will be again. The 2011 Quebec wave was not a flash in the pan. The NDP is a major player in Quebec now and into the next four years.
Finally, I agree with Bernie, the Liberals need to move quickly. I am disappointed we won't see the demise of C-51 but hopeful that the NDP and the progressives who elected this government will continue to pressure Trudeau to ultimately do the right thing. There is certainly much to be done and 'un-done' and it's a new day in Canada.