VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The longest federal campaign in modern times saw nearly a decade of Conservative rule come to an end and with it, the birth of a new political dynasty in Ottawa. The victory of the Trudeau Liberals in the October 19th election is the Number 1 story in our Top 10 of 2015.
The writ was dropped on August 2nd to kick off the 78 day campaign, the longest since 1872. However, you’d be forgiven for feeling electioned out long before that, as Canadians were inundated with political ads and slogans months before the lawn signs were finally out.
“Justin Trudeau. He’s just not ready.”
“I’ll tell you what I’m not ready for. I’m not ready to stand by as our economy slides into recession.”
“The choice… could not be clearer… balanced budgets or ongoing deficits.”
“Prime Minister is not an entry level job.”
“Nice hair though.”
“Stephen Harper’s government is out of ideas and completely out of touch.”
Harper spent the campaign trying convince Canadians the election was about leadership, but the turning point probably came during the first French language debate, when Harper made this claim:
“Never will I say to my daughter that a woman has to cover her face because she is a woman.”
NDP leader Tom Mulcair, who was leading when the writ was dropped, saw his support in Quebec plummet for not backing an outright ban on the niqab from citizenship ceremonies.
“We must reject this divisive approach and look for ways to engage with each other,” said Mulcair.
Justin Trudeau also emerged as a more than competent campaigner over his 11 weeks on the hustings. By the time it was all over, the leader of the third-place party when Parliament was dissolved found himself with a 184-seat majority, the first Liberal government in nearly a decade. The new prime minister promised to bring sunny ways and real change in Ottawa. He sounded triumphant and optimistic as his first news conference as head of government.
“On behalf of 35 million Canadians… we’re back!”
BC sent a record number of Liberals to Ottawa, with 17 of the province’s 42 seats going to the Grits. It was the party’s best showing since 1968, when Pierre Trudeau swept to power.
A number of Lower Mainland Liberals entered cabinet, as well. Harjit Sajjan in Vancouver-South was sworn in as the country’s new Minister of Defence and Jody Wilson-Raybould, elected in the brand new riding of Vancouver-Granville, became Canada’s first Justice Minister of Aboriginal heritage. Carla Qualtrough of Delta was named Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
A couple of high profile local politicians were sent to the Opposition benches. Former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts ran and won as a Conservative in Surrey White Rock, while Jenny Kwan ran and won for the NDP, replacing longtime MP Libby Davies in Vancouver East.
Elections Canada says 68.5 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election — the largest turnout in more than 20 years.
Of the 25.6 million people registered to vote, close to 17.6 million turned up at polls across the country. That kind of turnout hasn’t been seen since the 1993 election, a campaign that also resulted in a sweeping Liberal win under Jean Chretien.
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