The Canadians elect a new Prime Minister; Americans yawn.

Not many people in the United States noticed, but there was an election in Canada yesterday. And it was generally good news for progressives. So we should note the following things:

  1. The Canadian’s “longest” election in history was a scant 78 days. Oh Canada, if we could only emulate you on this in the United States!
  2. Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Trudeau, so like us with the George Bush’s (and maybe the Clintons), the Canadians can also keep it all in the family when it comes to the position of Prime Minister.
  3. Steven Harper, the outgoing Conservative Prime Minister was kind of a dick. Back in 2011 he was voted in contempt of Parliament for refusing to disclose requested documents about the price tags for certain law-and-order items, for corporate tax cuts and for a plan to buy stealth combat jets.[1] Harper’s government was also brought down in 2011 in a no confidence vote, but Harper was inexplicably reelected as Prime Minister.
  4. Trudeau is 43, the same age John F. Kennedy was when he was elected President. Trudeau is not too young to be Prime Minister.
  5. Trudeau has a very attractive wife, which never hurts. See John F. Kennedy (supra), if you don’t know what I mean.

Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau

At the beginning of this election cycle the Liberals, the party that Trudeau heads, weren’t expected to do much in this election. For much of the 78-day race, all three major political parties were in a statistical dead heat, according to various polls. Of course, Canadians only vote for members of Parliament, not the prime minister or parties, making it more difficult to translate poll findings. According to the New York Times,

The election became something of a referendum on Mr. Harper’s approach to government, which, in the view of his critics, has often focused on issues important to core Conservative supporters, mostly in the West, rather than to much of the population.

The focus of the campaign fluttered among issues, including a scandal over Conservative senators’ expenses; antiterrorism measures Mr. Harper introduced; pensions; the stagnation of the economy brought about by plunging oil prices; the government’s handling of refugees; the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact; and Mr. Harper’s attempts to ban the wearing of face veils known as niqabs during citizenship ceremonies.

Trudeau also said that his government would run three years of mild deficits to push infrastructure projects, according to the CBC. Harper did not get along with Obama and put a lot of emphasis on the Keystone XL Pipeline; Trudeau is expected to get along much better with Obama, but has to make sure that the Canadian public does not perceive him as a “poodle” to the Americans, which does not go over well in Canada.

In any case, it’s generally good news for Progressives the world over.


[1] Which also brings up the question, what do the Canadians need stealth combat jets for?

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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