This article was published on October 22nd, 2019
It was an intense election in Canada, as five major political parties tried to convince voters to choose a new vision for Canadians. As the results came in, it was clear, Canada continues as a progressive, Liberal country. While a minority government, LGBT rights remain protected.
Justin Trudeau lead the Liberals to victory. His vision for a progressive Canada was evident. His vision of equality and inclusion pulled strong. Trudeau fought hard, amidst the SNC-Lavalan scandal, his personal black and brown face scandal, and smear campaigns by the Conservatives. But Canadians weren’t willing to give up easily and believed in their leader.
The Liberals have a strong history of supporting LGBT, women, and immigrant rights, while the Conservatives would have put the country back into the 1960’s. However, the Liberals did not win the popular vote. The Conservatives ran on a platform that included the consideration of rolling back LGBT rights and the women’s rights to choose abortion. This shook many Canadians to the core.
When the votes were counted, the Conservatives took a wide swath of Western Canada, which is their traditional stronghold. The Liberals lost their majority power, as Quebec flipped back to a Bloc Quebecois majority. As a nation within a nation, Quebec a unique electoral region, where protecting French culture is important, along with energy and environment.
The Liberals have a long, hard road ahead, working with the other parties to find common ground to maintain government. The good news is that prior to the election, the NDP committed to a progressive Canada, willing to work with the Liberals if they formed government. This will be the new reality.
The Green Party found success, picking up their first seat in Eastern Canada, and securing their two seats on Vancouver Island, where they have a strong hold.
Other wins for a progressive Canadas included the PPC not winning a single seat, rather splitting the Conservative vote.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will need to work hard to continue to bring Canadians together, to find common ground. Platforms will need to shift to maintain a minority government, working together. Otherwise Canadians can find themselves heading back to the polls should there be a vote of non-confidence.
There are four newly elected queer MPs in Parliament: Seamus O’Regen, Eric Duncan, Rob Oliphant, and Randall Garrison. LGBT candidate Svend Robinson, the first member of Parliament in Canadian history to come out as gay while in office, did not win his seat back into Federal politics, after a scandal over an expensive ring had him give up his seat back in 2004.
While these victories and the apparent crushing of conservatism in Canada are wins for the nation, especially for the LGBT community, women’s rights, aboriginal rights, and immigrants, they serve as signals that Canadians are looking for changes in areas of environment, economy, and energy to remain in power. Onwards and upwards, Canada!
Voters in the United States need to look to Canada, as optimism for 2020. Democrats have a long, hard path if they want to elect a progressive government.