Katimavik Nation: #Elxn42 Autopsy

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For pretty much my entire adult life, Stephen Harper has been my Prime Minister. Three straight mandates. To say election night was a cathartic moment is an understatement. But I don’t think Harper is done. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took another shot at party leadership. Not since Joey Smallwood has Canada seen someone whose life revolved so much around politics. Of course, that depends on what happens to the CPC. He may say otherwise, but this is the Stephen Harper Party. He united them and performed some devious, Machiavellian maneuvers to take control (u mad, Peter MacKay?). As a result, he’s lost a lot of strong MPs. The party is practically bled dry and is only relevant to Western Canada. Will they summon the discipline that allowed them to be so pragmatic and successful early on, or will they go full GOP and descend into partisan right wing irrelevancy. My guess is the latter, for the short term anyway.

Obviously, the big story was Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. I have mixed feelings. Trudeau has made it hard for me to like him. On paper, I can get behind him, but when he starts talking I cringe. However, I don’t need to like my Prime Minister, I just have to like his decisions.

I’m sick of this country being run like a right wing internet troll. And I think the country does too. The most powerful message voters sent was that they want a PM who speaks to a broad spectrum of Canadians, not just someone pandering to his base. While Harper and Mulcair tried to out-duel each other with small-ball politics and boutique tax credits, Trudeau took a more generalist approach, and voters rewarded him. For his part, Trudeau seems much more open to collaboration than Harper, which isn’t saying much.

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Harper created Trudeau. He wanted this match-up. Harper’s raison d’etre is to destroy Pierre Trudeau’s legacy and push Canada to the right. He turned Justin into the anti-Harper, and voters embraced it. I think Harper’s biggest error was doubling down on Trudeau’s perceived incompetence. The CPC tried to make Trudeau out to be a buffoon. And for all his faults, Trudeau isn’t a fool. So when he came into the election, he had nowhere to go but up. Not only did he not fall into Harper’s trap, he turned it around on him. As a result, it seemed like the only substantive thing the CPC had to say about Trudeau was a lot of clownish insults. “Nice hair, though.” Gimme a break.

A lot of people dismissed Trudeau as a famous name. Yes, obviously his last name helped. For whatever reason, voters crave continuity with leaders. Look at the the Bushes and Clintons. But you have to give Trudeau credit. The first thing he did when he took over the Liberals was shake up the old boys’ club. Harper was on the money when he exploited voters’ exhaustion with Liberal cronyism. The Liberal brand was dead in the water under Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. Trudeau opened the window, brought some fresh air, and cleaned out the cobwebs. He achieved something two PhDs couldn’t, so he’s no dummy.

Also, I find it funny that conservatives paint Trudeau as some kinda pussy. I mean the guy is atheletic and a pretty decent boxer (good enough to knock out Patrick Brazeau). Meanwhile, Harper is cut like a bag of milk and probably breaks a sweat tying his shoes. I see a lot of right wingers saying stuff like “oooh Putin’s gonna make Justin his bitch.” First, Putin wouldn’t give a shit if Tie Domi was PM. It’s not like international issues are settled by dropping the mitts on the ice (again, Trudeau is a good boxer, remember). Besides, Putin is more concerned with America, Germany, and Britain. Secondly, by most accounts Harper is a passive aggressive priss. Maybe he’d give Putin the silent treatment and let Jason Kenney do all the yelling.

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I don’t know what to expect from Trudeau. Historically, the Liberals have campaigned left and governed right. Whatever. Partisanship sucks. All that “lefty vs righty” stuff belongs in baseball. I’m only party faithful when the party is rockin’. AMIRITE? Mostly, I just want a PM that makes evidence-based decision making, whatever the party. Trudeau seems like he’s not interested in micro-managing the country with boutique tax credits and pandering to his base.

I’m also glad to be moving away from retail politics. The PM-as-CEO shtick is lame. I’m a Canadian citizen, not a “taxpayer” goddammit. I’m tired of citizenship being reduced to how much taxes you pay.

I’m also eager to learn what scientists have been up for the last ten years. That’ll be neat.

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~ by braddunne on October 25, 2015.

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