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.
On October 19 Canadians will head to the polls again to exercise their right to vote for our next prime minister. Many Canadians have already started to cast their ballots, but election day typically sees the biggest turnout. On this very busy day, here are my tips for how to be on your best ballot box behaviour.
For nine years, we have lived under a Harper government -- the only government most of my generation has ever known. During this time, our leaders have ignored youth unemployment, climate change, and student debt. I almost didn't vote in the last election because I figured it wouldn't make a difference. I feel entirely different this time around.
After getting a driver's licence, I think most teens will tell you that the next milestone will be when they legally order a beer. Sadly they're missing what really is the most significant milestone. The federal government recognizes age 18 as the age at which one can vote in a federal election. Unfortunately, it seems that reaching vote eligibility is not nearly as meaningful as being allowed to order what's on tap.
Young people vote at much lower rates than older Canadians. In the 2011 federal election, only 41 per cent of Canadians under 30 voted. However, when it comes to rates of participation in political and civic life beyond voting, younger Canadians' participation rate is 11 percentage points higher, on average, than their older counterparts across 18 forms of participation.
Could we as a people, despite our many distinctions, be giving birth to a new kind of revolutionary optimism, to the belief we recognize that the political estate can only be as collaborative, visionary, or as engaged as we are? If so, and if the advanced polls are any indication, we could be building our own "Field of Dreams," but with one great distinction.