Lately, we've heard a lot about Americans who've been left behind. I got the first hint of what this might be last fall when, as part of a project on democratic capitalism, we set out to understand more about the American experience. We spoke at length to two dozen working, middle-class Americans about their lives.
This is what happens when you stubbornly vote for a third party candidate -- but your country has a two-party system. This is what happens when you spitefully write in your preferred candidate's name on the ballot (even though he lost the primary). This is what happens. You don't win. You lose. And you lose big.
Canadians agree that the conditions Indigenous people face economically and socially are unacceptable and long overdue for change. But to start that process would require Indigenous people to be at the table to represent their concerns themselves. Here, Canada's current voting system is a key barrier.
Our elected leaders are hopefully digging deep and trying to figure out what the right path is for Canada on Bill C-14: the Liberal's legislation on medically assisted dying. It's not an easy task. It may be the most important piece of legislation some of these MPs ever vote on. It's remarkable that our country has even gotten to this point in the first place, but we need to take it slow.
The Liberal Party of Canada changed the way that it chose its leader by introducing the free, "supporter" category for new members. The move was viewed by some as dangerous. What the party faithful may not have realized was that the Liberals were kicking off a grassroots strategy that would strengthen the party.
The election of Justin Trudeau has been variously described as historic. And it was. Another less talked about historic moment was the election of 10 First Nations MPs. Add to this that a record-breaking 54 Aboriginal candidates put their names forward during the election. Each of these candidates ran in one of the 51 swing ridings identified by Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Perry Bellegarde. Bellegrade was blunt and clear that the Aboriginal vote could make a difference between a majority and minority government.
Todd Rundgren's song, "The Verb, To Love," speaks to authenticity -- the antithesis of the packaging of a candidate for public consumption during an election. Both Trudeau and Harper were authentic to who they are in the campaign, while Mulcair showed up as a packaged pretense of what he wanted people to think of him, not who he truly is.
During the past nine years, reputations have been shattered, national institutions have been destroyed, the rules of parliament abused, the federation itself weakened, and the trust in the institutions of democracy profoundly undermined. Justin Trudeau will have to do a lot of heavy lifting to repair the damage.
While some political parties are more responsible for instances of blatant racism than others, no political party has committed to action on combating racism in Canada. Aboriginal and racialized realities of being heavily surveilled, unfairly carded in the streets, and higher rates of violence remain fringe issues.
only 39 per cent of those who voted chose Liberal candidates. Four years ago the Conservatives took 39 per cent of the popular vote and were also a "majority." The "majority" before that was another Liberal one. The last time we had a real majority government in Canada was back in 1984 when the Mulroney Conservatives got 50.03 per cent of the popular vote.
During the lengthy campaign I had a disagreement with Trudeau over his party's climate policy. I still think his climate plans need to be strengthened, especially with clear and ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But I'm confident the new government will take this issue seriously,
Thirty per cent of Canadian voters (over 5 million) have little to no partisan attachment. By comparison, only eight per cent of U.S. voters swing their party support, and thus the elections. A large non-partisan voting bloc explains the 2015 shift from orange to red, where in a span of three weeks, 1.4 million voters changed their mind from NDP to Liberal. This provides the perfect environment for strategic voting to swing elections. After four years of a majority Conservative government elected against the will of 61 per cent of Canadians, strategic voters became a major voice in this election.
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.
For those women who care about advancing women's equality, the answer is simple: the women's equality vote is the non-Conservative, anti-Harper vote. We need a government that will champion women's equality by recognizing it as something that needs championing, not as something that already exists. There are young women who refuse to buy the "women are equal" Conservative tag line. We know what our foremothers fought for, we know what we've lost in our lifetime under Harper's leadership, and it's time to reclaim the losses.