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New day for Canada

cartoonOn Tuesday morning, Canadians woke up to a changed country. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are no longer in power, replaced by Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.

Locally, the Conservatives held on, with Colin Carrie in Oshawa and Erin O’Toole in Durham holding on to their seats. But here in Oshawa, although he won, Carrie’s support among the electorate slipped from 2011, dropping to 38.2 per cent from more than 50 per cent the last time residents were at the polls.

While some of that number for Carrie comes from a drop in a number of votes – the unofficial results from Elections Canada Tuesday morning had the incumbent with 23,179 votes, down from 26,837 in 2011 – the vast majority of the slide came from a growing number of residents coming out to vote, and then voting for someone other than the incumbent.

Most notable is the Liberals under former councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri, who more than quadrupled the amount of voters for the Grits, garnering more than 16,000 votes from the approximate 4,000 seen in 2011. Whether that can be attributed to Marimpietri’s name recognition in Oshawa, or support for Trudeau is up for debate.

The same question can be asked about polls across the country. Did Trudeau ride into power on the power of his policies, or the power of his popularity? Some voiced their pleasure at Trudeau’s announcement of lowering taxes on the middle class. Others voiced their concern on his plan to run deficits on a federal level right after the country had a balanced budget.

Just as many did with Harper and the Conservatives, the public will need to keep a close eye on the policies that will come forward from the new Liberal government, and expose anything they see as wrongdoing. With Trudeau and the Liberals holding a majority, it is up to the public to act as an opposition, highlighting faults and troubles in future policies so that all Canadians will better benefit.

It is definitely a new day in Canada – it’s just a matter of what side of the political spectrum you’re on that will say whether it’s a good or a bad one.