So, the longest election in modern Canadian history is over. It was a long and drawn out affair that culminated in the election of our second Prime Minister Trudeau.
The election was fraught with attack ads, race baiting, screaming supporters and a majority, that it seemed no one except my grandmother saw coming.
The New Voters
Justin Trudeau on his way to victory managed to earn his party 4 million votes that did not vote for his party the last election. This feat is made all the more impressive since vote loss from the NDP and Conservatives appears to only total 1.2 million. Meaning that somehow Trudeau inspired 2.8 million voters who could not be bothered to vote in the last election, to lend them their support on October nineteenth. These votes came from two often under-represented groups, youth voters, and indigenous voters.
The new voters swung this election despite the three major parties making microscopic if any promises to better their situation in the current economy. So what exactly was it, that caused them to pledge their support to Trudeau the Younger?
Justin Trudeau simply did a better job than Tom Mulcair of communicating to the young voter that their vote mattered. Trudeau inspired a generation to enfranchise themselves and create an incredibly functional voting block. A lot of people will attempt to seek out where he was able to accomplish this galvanization of young voters; however there is a Facebook video on my wall with almost 2.8 million views that could save them a lot of time.
Vice Canada has been a godsend to Canadian political discourse. Highlighting the dominance of the Harper regime, the plight of often alienated and disparaged groups such as LGBTQ citizens, and women seeking abortion access in the Maritimes. Their town hall with Justin Trudeau was their attempt to replicate the Mansbridge/LaFlamme grilling of would be Prime Ministers. The entire process from both Tom Mulcair (whom I believe had hoped to replicate Trudeau’s success) and Justin Trudeau was played very safe. The fledgling player in the Canadian Political scene often seems to be fighting an internal war with themselves. On one side, they have become a reputable journalistic institution. On the other hand, the reason for their success and popularity is their radical almost activist persona that will always make them a pariah to conservative leaders and many traditional media institutions.
As such the key moment in their town hall, Justin Trudeau’s call to action for Canadian youth was one that they decided not to emphasize. I, however, did not share their trepidation or respect for copyright. I only cut the following video from their online recording and shared it on my personal Facebook account, certainly not thinking it would become the most viral video of the election. With 78,000 shares, 20,000 likes on the original post and almost 2.8 million views Justin Trudeau’s call to the importance of voting took on a life of its own.
What Does This All Mean
There are two trains of thought here. One, you can look at the election the way that the Liberals would like you to, and see it as a victory for positivity and hope. Or, as many critics and proponents of electoral reform identify, Trudeau’s Liberals got a majority with the same percentage of the vote as Stephen Harper did in 2011. So there is certainly more work to do to change the system to represent us all.
The last point that I want to make has to deal with the new-found political clout that people under the age of 40 have. There are no excuses anymore; you can’t say your vote doesn’t matter, or that politics is not a place where young people thrive. That doesn’t hold water anymore. So especially to those of you reading in New Brunswick, Municipal Elections are in May. Let’s get moving.
Visit NB2020.com or contact me today to join the movement and not let this momentum die.