So, most people I know already know that Justin Trudeau was not my Prime Minister of choice, nor the Liberals my party of choice. (For the record, I’m proud to say that not once in my life have I voted Liberal – all sorts of other things, both to the left and to the right, but never Liberal.) Here are my thoughts:
1. Let’s wait before we decide
The first thing I’d like to say is congratulations to our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He wasn’t my choice, but he was the choice for most Canadians.
After that, I want to say that I’m going to give him a chance. Of course, you might say, I have no other option, as things stand right now. But what I mean is that I’m not going to call him a bad Prime Minister until he’s had some time to show what kind of a Prime Minister he is. And I’m not looking for chances to condemn him.
I get a pretty clear feeling that most people who are gloating over Harper’s loss were pre-fabricated left-wingers who had already decided he would be a failure even before they saw his leadership. They had already decided he had “ruined Canada” the day he was elected. I won’t do that to Trudeau. I’ll be honest and say I’m not terribly confident he’ll be a good Prime Minister. But there are very, very few issues that I’m absolute about. Short of crossing those lines, I’ll give him a fair chance before deciding my opinion of him.
It must be noted that his rhetoric certainly crosses at least one of those lines (abortion); however, as I’ve pointed out numerous times over the last few days, what Liberals (in Canada at least) do has almost nothing to do with their election promises, image or rhetoric. Let’s hope he keeps up that long-lasting party tradition!
The same goes the other way; I already see people heaping praise on him for being so much better than Harper. He’s hardly had time to smile for the camera, let alone do anything. Don’t deify him quite yet. Let him prove himself.
2. Do good looks win?
Of all the reports on Trudeau’s astounding tenure in office, in which he’s already proven himself the Best Prime Minster Canada Ever Had – in less than 48 hours – it seems to me that over half of them focus on how camera friendly he is, and how warm he is with the press. Is that what got him the victory? It has no bearing on how good a PM he’ll be, but it certainly reflects badly on Canada. We’re becoming more American by the day. (Which is only a bad thing when it comes to politics; I love many Americans, but let’s be honest – your federal politics are a fiasco.)
3. Say thanks to Stephen Harper
Whether you liked him or not, he served our country. He won, he worked hard, he lost, and now he’s gone. He’ll never be our Prime Minister again. Show some respect and gratitude, even if you didn’t like him.
On top of that, it’s worth noting that he did do a good job. Anyone who’s been in any other other country during the past 10 years will know that the world economy has been a storm; I don’t know of any country that has weathered that storm better than Canada. Ironically, the people I know who complain about the economy here are living in comfortable houses, have a fridge full of food (enough so they can throw out a good deal of it), and usually work only 8 hours day. Life’s not bad in Canada, and it certainly hasn’t got worse in the past 10 years – and that contrasts significantly to pretty much every else in the world.
Stephen Harper’s government wasn’t the only factor in keeping Canada afloat, but it was certainly a big factor. He didn’t do it perfectly. He made real mistakes. But even if you didn’t agree with all his policies, on the whole he did a good job of applying conservative policies in a way that mostly benefited us.
For the record, I did not support Stephen Harper when he was first elected. But living in other countries and coming back to Canada helped me see how much of a benefit it is that we have stable and reasonable governments, and he was a good example of well-applied conservatism.
You don’t have to agree with him, but you should thank him.
4. A decade of Justin Trudeau?
The recent trend in Canada has been to keep our prime ministers around for about a decade. I told my oldest son (7 years old) that by the time we get a new Prime Minister, he’ll probably be eligible to vote.
Does that mean 10 years of aggressive progressivism? Again, I’m banking on Trudeau upholding the solid Liberal tradition of never doing the things he says he will. Here’s hoping …