My first inkling that big change in Canadian politics was afoot came Thanksgiving day, Oct 12 around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My wife and I had trundled off to the advance poll at the Lewis Centre assuming that very few people would line up at the polls when the turkey was just about to come out of the oven. Big mistake! We waited in line for an hour and a half to vote amid rumours that we were lucky—in Atlantic Canada voters were waiting –in a patient Canadian kind of way—three hours and more to cast their ballot. It seemed that something big was happening. I was longing for change, but– having been wrong before– I was hesitant about believing that all this meant the change I so desired was underway.
Then, October 19 I showed up at the Royston polling station to act as an NDP volunteer to find that the line up to vote had begun before the polling station opened at 7 am. Inside the line up went on and on—not so much at the ballot box but at the new voter registration desk. Big change was, indeed, afoot! By the time the polling stations closed a record 17,559,353 Canadians had voted—a record number; the highest percentage since 1993; three million more ballots than in the 2011 election that had given Harper his opportunity to remake Canadian values so that—as he so confidently boasted—we “won’t recognize the place(our Canada).”
And here is what makes my heart feel well, all those Canadians came out to endure all those line ups because they, indeed, didn’t recognize the place. And they wanted their Canada back. Oct. 20 I turned to the national press to try to learn a little more about what had brought on this great tidal wave of support for the Canada we do recognize and hold dear in our hearts. And AND AND-this just brings soft tears of joy to my eyes—the consensus was that the fanning the flames of ethnic hatred into electoral advantaged had failed; the unCanadian exercise in wedge politics had split off more votes than it brought to the Conservative fold.
Today I am so happy to have my Canada back!
I’m delighted to know that multiculturalism–the dream that we can be different and still respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people, the knowledge and commitment that we can dress differently and we can celebrate the fact that we are different and we are one, the knowing that difference calls us to celebrate the many dimensions of our democracy rather than break down into oppression and hatred as too much of our world seems to be doing, the joyful understanding that Canada can and will, once again, lead by action and effort in finding a way for us all to live together in peace and respect—will, once again, be the Canada that I know and love.
I am delighted to know that the Canada that looks for ways to peace before slinging bombs around –will, once again, be the Canada that I know and love.
I am delighted to know that the Canada that listens to its scientists and leads the way in looking for solutions to the human fueled cooking of our atmosphere rather than bolting for the exists whenever action on climate change is mentioned, will, once again be the Canada that I know and love.
I am delighted to know that respect for the rights of First Nations and a serious attempt find the cause and end the murder of so many Aboriginal women will, once again be the Canada that I know and love.
I am delighted that cooperation with the provinces and a serious commitment to the public health care system that so profoundly marks the difference between us and our neighbours to the south will once again be the Canada that I know and love.
I am so delighted that we will not, now, become a Saudi Arabia-styled petrostate that has no idea of what a diverse economy means and no commitment to values that are not in the interest of a few.
I am so delighted that the health our Canadian water and waterways will not now be sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed.
I am so delighted that Elections Canada will not now be shackled and emasculated in order to ensure a favorable field of play for electoral fraud and voter disenfranchisement.
I am so delighted that we now have a government that knows how to work with corporate interests for the financial well being of our country but knows, also, that democracy is about controlling corporate greed and enfranchising citizenship.
Oh, yes, I am so happy to think that my mail will still be delivered to my door and my beloved CBC will live to ride again on the air waves of a Canada that I do recognize.
Yes, it saddens me that the NDP—the party of my heart, my efforts and my dreams for a better Canada– didn’t do better. But reading through the Liberal Party platform, it is blatantly obvious that the Liberal Party saw clearly that the values the NDP has stood for are, indeed, the values that ARE the Canada the vast majority of Canadians love and recognize as their Canada. The Canada we recognize is not represented by only the 184 seats the Liberals took. It is the 184 Liberal + 44 NDP + 1 Green—all those votes speak for an immense, deep seated longing by an overwhelming number of Canadians to know and see represented in office the values that constitute the Canada that we once knew and that dawns again today like the golden sunrise that so graciously adorns the sky of a sunny Comox Valley morning.
To all of you who stood in line for so long, to all of you who came out to vote for the first time, to all of you who in so many different ways worked to bring back our Canada—the Canada we can love and recognize; Thank you!!!