October Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News
The election fairy waved her magic wand and now this riding has a strong Liberal MP from a majority government led by a Prime Minister with significant ties to the west. I’d say it’s time for celebration and it’s time for making the most of our good fortune.
We all know about broken promises and the blood sport that is the political arena, but let’s be hopeful and optimistic, as Trudeau talked about in his victory speech on election night when he referenced PM Wilfred Laurier’s Sunny Ways.
It was surprising to hear him say such a thing, wasn’t it? Sunny Ways? Hope and optimism? What modern politician talks about that? After I mulled this, I decided that he isn’t asking us to trade our brains and political acumen for some mindless aw-shucks happiness, he’s asking everybody to let go of negativity and cynicism and be co-creators in the way the country moves forward. And I want to believe—no, I need to believe—that such a paradigm shift is possible so I’m extending my trust, as are many Canadians.
Right now, in this honeymoon phase, there’s reason to believe that trust is well placed. Trudeau has shown a high level of emotional intelligence and social responsiveness, not to mention vision and courage. The Liberals ran a positive campaign not solely as strategy, but because there’s an intrinsic value in doing so. And given their success, I’d say there are some very smart people on his team including Gerald Butts, his behind-the-scenes Principle Adviser.
But that said, the people have given the Liberals a majority mandate because we want the promises turned into policy—gender equality in Parliament, a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations and reinstatement of the Kelowna Accord, electoral reform that could see the end of first-past-the-post representation, the legalization of marijuana, adjusting Canada’s international reputation and reclaiming our pride, climate change responsibility, being smart on crime instead of simply tough on crime, investment in our infrastructure, and so many more.
New policy won’t happen overnight and there are bound to be bumps and disappointments along the way so it’s wise to keep our eyes on the long game. Pay attention to the news but question that which would try to enflame cynicism, dumb down the issues, or separate us behind Us-and-Them fences. There’s a good possibility that right, center and left can coalesce into something remarkable. Trudeau and his team aren’t just thinking outside the box, they’re kicking the box to the curb; if even half their goals are manifested, the country’s political landscape could take an historical leap forward.
Back to this riding and what we want to see—what is top of the wish list? It’s a very big riding so let’s make sure that the Honourable MP Sidhu gets to know this town and some of its incredible people, and that he’s impressed upon to make our needs a priority. Carpe diem, this is a time of golden opportunity.