They say history repeats itself. I just never thought it would happen so fast.
Four years ago I wrote a column on the heels of the Conservative Party’s majority win.
Calling it a “win-win” I was predicting that the Tories’ majority would finally be able to get things accomplished in the House of Commons rather than the trend of bickering and snipping and gridlock that was apparent during the previous minority government.
I was hoping that a Conservative majority would set an agenda that moved Canada forward while at the same time hoping the plethora of NDP rookie MPs emerging out of Quebec would spark a change in discourse on Parliament Hill.
In hindsight, I guess I was off base somewhat on several issues.
The Conservatives did use their majority to push ahead with their agenda, much to the dismay of many over the last four years. It got to the point that omnibus bills, filled with dubious law changes and amendments, were rammed through simply by a majority vote and with little or no debate.
Canadians saw their own control over the fate of the country eroded from a bully pulpit that led to such memorable moments as; Conservative Peter Van Loan crossing the floor and threatening an opposition MP; the face-palming by NDP MP Paul Dewar after the continued non-answers from Conservative MP Paul Calandra; a total rebuke of our electoral process with the Robocall scandal; and the nefarious goings on in the Prime Minister’s Office over the attempted whitewashing of the Senate scandal.
And in reality that was just the tip of the iceberg that saw, among other things, pit bull Conservative MP Dean del Mastro carted out of court in handcuffs.
It was enough for Canadians to rise up and shout “That’s it” at the top of their voting lungs on Monday and bring the Liberal Party back from the dead with a majority of their own.
It happened so fast and so overwhelmingly that even the most optimistic Liberal supporter had to be shocked.
Despite all the doom and gloom that was predicted by opponents should a young Justin Trudeau win the election, the sun did come up Tuesday morning. In fact, for the record, it was a beautiful fall day.
To say that’s a symbol of the new mood washing over Canada would be too simplistic.
Our new Prime Minister has a lot of work ahead of him and a lot of hopeful promises to keep.
But much like back on May 2, 2011, there was an air of optimism as citizens were hoping this time they made the right decision. Of course, only time told Canadians how the story would unfold.
So here we are again, after another election, with Canadians expressing hope that this time they got it right.
Perhaps the extra-long campaign gave many voters time to dissect each party’s platform to make a truly informed decision.
Perhaps the desire for change outweighed sober thought and voters simply were anxious to put their “X” on any candidate other than the Conservative.
But if history has taught us one thing, patience is required for any substantial change.
I see the naysayers in Alberta already dismissing their provincial NDP government after only five months in government.
The party has wisely waited before passing a budget due to the volatility of oil prices and the federal election. Yet that has been perceived as failure by the loudest complainers.
I fear the same could await the Liberals if Trudeau doesn’t hit the ground running with some noticeable change.
A bandwagon can only hold so many people for so long before the complainers start jumping off. And that’s my fear – that the chorus of dissenters will let the air out of the hope that citizens voted for.
Hope is a strong motivator – simply look south of the border when Barack Obama was first elected. While he faced incredible opposition in Congress, he did manage to eventually get some form of universal health care adopted and increased rights for the gay community. Those were generational changes against a series of roadblocks put up by opponents. But it took almost eight years.
It’s proof that change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process and one, which I believe, the citizens have the patience and foresight to wait for.
Many waited years to finally bring an end to Harper’s rule, now they’ll have to wait and see if Trudeau can deliver on the positive message he delivered so well over the course of the election campaign.
That said, I’ve been wrong before. Here’s how I ended my column after the election four years ago.
“New blood, new ideas, a veteran at the helm, it all has the potential to be promising.
“But whether politicians deliver on that promise is always the lasting question following any election, isn’t it?”
Will I be writing the same ending to an election column in another four years? As with most things, only time will tell.
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times