When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in an interview with an influential BBC current affairs show in London right after his stunning election victory said “I left them in the dust,” this was more impulsive optimism than reality.
Not quite. Actually Trudeau won his majority with 39 per cent of the vote, precisely as did Stephen Harper in 2008, which means that 61 per cent of voters did not vote for the Liberals.
The truth is Harper left his party in very good shape and in so doing has restored normal politics to Canada by building the Conservative Party as a credible alternative to the Liberal Party, who like to think of themselves as the ruling party in Canada.
Who could ever say that 70 years of Liberal rule in our short history is healthy democracy? It’s about as healthy as the Communist party ruling the Soviet Union for 74 years.
The Conservatives have more than a few reasons to be optimistic. Harper has clearly distinguished himself from John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney, who both left the Conservatives devastated. The Conservatives received nearly 32 per cent of the vote and still have a healthy 99 seats in parliament and are still the top party in terms of raising money.
Dark economic realities are already clouding the “sunny ways” agenda of the new government. Sagging oil prices and a low Loonie will reduce revenue for the Liberals making it much more difficult for them to keep some of their irresponsible election promises. Hardly seems the right time to institute a national carbon reduction strategy.
The cost of the Syrian refugee resettlement pledge was supposed to be $200 million, but will likely come in at three or four times that amount.
Trudeau’s blind commitment to all 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for First Nations could prove very expensive. Higher deficits, payroll taxes, carbon taxes and increased income taxes will be needed to finance irresponsible promises.
Conservatives must resist the temptation to go back to “progressive” Conservatism, learn from mistakes made in the election, regain votes from Canada’s major cities and continue to embrace sound economic and security policies and prove they are “a government in waiting.”
Gerald HallNanoose Bay