To attribute Justin Trudeau's ascendancy to a rock star phenomenon such as his father Pierre Trudeau experienced back in 1968 is to misread current Canadian politics. What happened, in fact, was less a cult of personality than a national plebiscite on the rule of the much-hated incumbent, Stephen Harper.
Whatever I do and wherever I go, I will benefit from the collective wisdom, experience, enthusiasm and vibrancy of Ottawa Centre. There is so much more to do. But if the last nine years have taught me anything, it is that Jack was right. If we are loving, hopeful and optimistic, we can and will change the world.
The NDP has consistently found itself burnt by attempts to move the Party's policy to the centre. The overall impression is one of placing political calculus ahead of principled policy, and for a Party once known as the "conscience of Parliament," that appearance must be very troubling.
With a lead in the polls, Thomas Mulcair fell victim to the Conservative definition of the NDP as fiscally irresponsible and led with a promise to balance the budget. After years of austerity measures, that rightward fiscal turn felt to many like a betrayal of NDP values in search of a few votes. And by the time the NDP started plummeting in the polls and Mulcair reasserted their progressive position, it was too little, too late.
Politics is theatre on a grand scale. People go to the theatre neither to watch the actors nor to listen to them. They want to be transported into the world of the play: to suspend disbelief. The politician who can evoke an emotional response is the politician we will inevitably favour.
In 2004, I was disallowed from boarding an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Victoria. Since then, I have spent many years trying to get answers from the federal government as to why this happened. The NDP have pressed successive Liberal and Conservative governments to provide me answers.
Right now, there is significant movement among progressive voters to undertake strategic voting to support the leading opposition candidate, generally a Liberal or NDPer, in each riding to ensure the ouster of the Harper Conservatives.
On Sept. 17 a group of prominent Arab and Muslim organizations from across Canada got together and sent a letter* to the leaders of the five main federal parties: Conservatives, NDP, Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party.
During the federal candidates forum in my riding I noticed that both the NDP and Conservative candidates didn't mention their leader's name. It wasn't surprising. It's been hard differentiating between the campaigns of Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper.
Without sounding obvious, it all starts and stops with you. Your behaviour does impact what will happen. How you choose to discuss issues with others does have influence. How you choose to collect information to inform your decision does inspire the end result. And in the end, it does come down to this. Choose to vote and something will happen. Choose not to vote and something different will happen.
"This is common within the Harper Tories to find people whose views are based on... I don't know where they get their views from, but they're not scientific."
We found 16 special ridings that will change the outcome of the election. In these ridings: the Conservative candidate is ahead, one of the progressive candidates is a close second, while the other is a distant third but still has enough support to impact the result. If the Liberal and NDP parties cooperate in all 16 ridings, they will each take eight seats from the Conservatives, stopping the Conservative party from forming the government.
Caught up in its contradictions, the NDP hopes nobody will notice. There is the Sherbrooke Declaration NDP, which promises a condition-free right to opt out for the Government of Quebec. And then there is the centralist NDP, which unilaterally sets its childcare plan according to a rigid model incompatible with the contemporary practice of Canadian federalism.
Who do Canadians trust to shepherd our country though what may be a coming turbulence? Our current election sees once more a plethora of "Star candidates" that normal Canadians know nothing about -- and their victory or defeat will have nothing to do with the very little light that these stars emit.
Each of the leaders would present a different face of Canada to the world. Mulcair clearly demonstrated a new NDP approach to the realm of foreign affairs for Canada. Trudeau worked hard to dig into his opponents, but didn't present himself as a possible world leader. Stephen Harper managed to stay out of any major trouble and reinforced his image as a "tough on terror" PM.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.