New era

We were supposed to have this way back on December 21, 2012, when the thirteenth b’ak’tun (the Age of the Jaguar as per the Mayan long count calendar) clicked over and we were to face… whatever.

Whatever turned out to be nothing except a for being a huge disappointment to the ancient astronaut theorists and several others on the fringe and that’s okay – I really wasn’t expecting the Annunaki to come and invade the earth from their plane of existence, or for Sagittarius A* to suddenly suck us into another galaxy. That last one sounds a little too close to a science-fiction movie plot, but without the method acting.

Speaking of significant hits and fire and brimstone end-of-the-world scenarios, for those of you who didn’t follow the October 19, 2015 42nd Canadian Federal Election (which would be most of the world and pretty much everyone in the United States except maybe Bob in San Diego) this is what happened:

Canada Votes 2015 - results

You wanted a new era? We now have a new era north of the 49th Parallel: Trudeaumania 2.0.

Me, I voted the way I have always voted. My pal Butter Boy says he voted the way he would have traditionally (though I have a lingering doubt), and I know people who voted for a candidate who has the same name as the deceased lead singer of a 1960s-era psychedelic rock act because they couldn’t understand what was being offered in the platforms of the other four major parties. Oy gevalt! However, it really doesn’t matter in the end so long as everyone actually voted. If you did vote then good for you, and if you had the right to vote and didn’t then you don’t have the right to complain about the government. That’s how our iteration of Western democracy works.

So now it’s November 4, and the curtain will fall on the 9+ year hold on federal power by the Conservative Party as of 10:30 AM EST5EDT. I am not going to miss them, because it isn’t the Progressive Conservative Party, as that entity had been wiped out following the 1993 election and the remnants subsumed by the Reform Party/CCRAP/Canadian Alliance to become the “Conservative Party of Canada”. In short, it was the Reform Party doing the Canadian political version of the wolf putting on Grandma’s clothing in Little Red Riding Hood to come out with a more palatable name and zero Progressive Conservative values. I’m hoping they ditch the Reform and become Progressives again, because a Canadian Progressive Conservative voice in Parliament brings balance, though I’m not saying that we need another Diefenbaker government (ugh – the Avro Arrow and the Champlain Bridge? all on John).

Anyhoo, we now have Trudeau the Younger being sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Canada, meaning that a G-7 Country is now led by a hip young guy supplanting his stodgy predecessor. Hmm… I seem to have heard that one before, but where? Oh yes – that would have been the international media coverage of Barack Obama back in 2008, when his hair wasn’t grey and while the Americans were thanking the existence of term limits within the Constitution after living through eight years of W.

[aside: yes I know that Americans are again thanking the existence of term limits for the eventual end of the Obama presidency in 2016, but thanks to the GOP’s ongoing penchant to implode from self-mutilation, they’ll likely again be thanking the existence of term limits for the eventual end of the Clinton presidency in 2024]

[aside 2: to the GOP volunteers trying to get the vote out on November 8, 2016 – it is actually illegal for foreign nationals to vote in the presidential election so please do not call me to go cast my ballot for your candidate like you did three times back in 2012]

I feel a little old to tell you the truth: I’ve been living in snow longer than Justin Trudeau has been alive, I’ve met Trudeau the Elder, and I remember when the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted into law as part of the Canadian Constitution. I have great respect for the Elder Trudeau for enshrining the Charter and since I lived that particular moment in time and have actually read Canadian history books which weren’t rewritten by the Quebec sovereignty movement over 30+ years to support their political agenda, I know that what is held up de rigeur in the chez nous as Trudeau truthiness isn’t exactly accurate. This one piece of legislation and the multiculturalism policy are the two reasons why immigrants for the most part default to the Liberal Party (though not all do). They’re certainly seen more favorably especially in light of the former government’s introduction and passage of Bill C-24, which effectively created two-tier Canadian citizenship, something that I and many others certainly haven’t appreciated.

But what about the new kid?

We do know that it isn’t the same Trudeau. His father could never do this particular ad for so many reasons:

But while the Younger Trudeau isn’t the massive intellect that his father was, he is every bit his father’s equal in terms of being politically adept (e.g. Marc Garneau, Patrick Brazeau, the now former Liberal senators, Dmitri Soudas, Thomas Mulcair, Wilfred Laurier, shaking hands with the electorate in the Jarry Métro station).

I’ve alluded to Obama’s inability to implement much of his agenda because of a variety of distractions, including but not limited to the 2008 financial crisis, government bailouts to banks and the auto industry implemented by outgoing President Bush as a response to that same crisis, two foreign wars started by the same outgoing president, his name, and the inability of many Americans to accept a black president. There is already one key difference between Justin and Barack: since Canadians saw this kid born and grow up in the Canadian political spotlight, we theoretically shouldn’t have the rise of the Canadian version of the Birther movement to question his validity to hold office (that’s what the National Post is for). As for whether or not the political agenda will make any headway, we do have the Trudeau Metre to track the progress of every one of the 184 promises that make up the electoral platform to show exactly how many get off the ground and how many plow into the ground like a bowling ball dropped off the CN Tower.

My pal Eric (another Eric, not the one from Lyon) is stunned that the Liberal definition of a “wealthy Canadian” is an annual reported income of $200,000* or more, and he has great fear over some of the proposed economic policies, including the new surtax on income over $200,000 and a couple of the other potential extra-large spend-y suggestions within the platform.

* [aside: if one uses the 1% rule, according to the 2013 data published by Statistics Canada, Canadians earning $200,000 or more per annum are actually did make up approximately 1.30% of all Canadians reporting taxable income. in the same period, the median total income in Canada was $32,020 per annum, though that varies by province. it was particularly bad in the chez nous that year with median income below the national average – $30,480 – but we were living with the Marois government which by its policies for eventually enacting a debilitating third referendum on sovereignty effectively threw ice water on any potential investment in the province during its term in power]

All I can say for now is that like every other government that has been elected, they can’t keep all their electoral promises and one just has to hope that they actually implement more good ones than bad ones. Appropriately-applied Keynesian infrastructure spending good, not repealing C-24 bad. I’m okay with the Syrian refugee promise because helping them is the right thing to do with the bonus that new immigrants actually stimulate an economy (I’m not being a bigot – I know from my direct personal experience that first generation immigrants make the most of the new opportunities they might not otherwise have had). I don’t think the Xmas time frame is feasible just from the logistics but I do think that they should be airlifted to Canadian military bases as was done with the Vietnamese refugees back in the Clark days because there is no reason to leave them within the war zone during processing. I’m still digesting the other 181 promises.

What has surprised me is that from the time the election was called at 21:39 EDT on Monday 19-OCT-2015, everyone and their dog actually expected the man to start implementing his platform and enacting legislation. Uh, hello? Hasn’t been sworn in yet therefore illegal for him to actually do it, and also because the Governor General hasn’t called on him to form government following the resignation of the previous Prime Minister who no longer has the confidence of the House. I learned this in school when they used to devote some time to civics, but those of you who didn’t have a civics lesson can read the MacLean’s crib notes if so interested.

Still, after the weariness of the previous decade, I certainly understand the high hopes and big expectations of the electorate. I look forward to what is hoped to be a kinder more inclusive “Canadian” government and I hope it isn’t immediately hamstrung by external factors and domestic partisan infighting like we saw starting a few minutes after Barack swore the oath of office to inaugurate his first term in office (and what has essentially dogged him through his entire presidency to date).

However, political cartoonist Michael de Adder succinctly sums up what really should be the first order of business for the newly-minted Liberal government:

Michael de Adder: Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party

Very true. The betting money is that the first act of the new government will be to reinstate the mandatory Statistics Canada long-form census, but hopefully one of the next things of this new era is the repealing of C-24. That would be a really nice start. After that, jobs! jobs! jobs! Good paying ones! Nothing like the prosperity of a country’s citizenry to maintain a government’s popularity.

 

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