2015 Federal election
The election of Justin Trudeau has been variously described as historic. And it was. Another less talked about historic moment was the election of 10 First Nations MPs. Add to this that a record-breaking 54 Aboriginal candidates put their names forward during the election. Each of these candidates ran in one of the 51 swing ridings identified by Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Perry Bellegarde. Bellegrade was blunt and clear that the Aboriginal vote could make a difference between a majority and minority government.
While some political parties are more responsible for instances of blatant racism than others, no political party has committed to action on combating racism in Canada. Aboriginal and racialized realities of being heavily surveilled, unfairly carded in the streets, and higher rates of violence remain fringe issues.
Thirty per cent of Canadian voters (over 5 million) have little to no partisan attachment. By comparison, only eight per cent of U.S. voters swing their party support, and thus the elections. A large non-partisan voting bloc explains the 2015 shift from orange to red, where in a span of three weeks, 1.4 million voters changed their mind from NDP to Liberal. This provides the perfect environment for strategic voting to swing elections. After four years of a majority Conservative government elected against the will of 61 per cent of Canadians, strategic voters became a major voice in this election.
Check out our stopmotion Legomation brickfilm above to see everything turn out awesome for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
Hopefully the Liberals' majority mandate will not mean that electoral reform falls by the wayside. It is absurd that Canada has an electoral system where less than 40 per cent of the popular vote can mean a majority government and absolute control in Parliament.
With a lead in the polls, Thomas Mulcair fell victim to the Conservative definition of the NDP as fiscally irresponsible and led with a promise to balance the budget. After years of austerity measures, that rightward fiscal turn felt to many like a betrayal of NDP values in search of a few votes. And by the time the NDP started plummeting in the polls and Mulcair reasserted their progressive position, it was too little, too late.
With the 42nd federal election in the books here in Canada, now the clock starts ticking down the 42 days until the Paris climate talks begin. The good news is that Stephen Harper is no longer the Prime Minister of Canada. After nearly a decade in power, Harper has left a sea of devastation in his wake when it comes to climate change. Here's the bad news: while Stephen Harper's government may have been a supporter of the fossil fuel industry, Justin Trudeau has failed to distinguish himself as a much better option.
Voters at the Siksika First Nation polling station reported long waits or even being turned away.
When I was in university my political views were pretty straight forward. The school bubble made it easy to be passionate and lean one way on the political scale. Then I started paying taxes. Now I face my first federal election as a taxpayer and my views have shifted since the bubble burst.
After getting a driver's licence, I think most teens will tell you that the next milestone will be when they legally order a beer. Sadly they're missing what really is the most significant milestone. The federal government recognizes age 18 as the age at which one can vote in a federal election. Unfortunately, it seems that reaching vote eligibility is not nearly as meaningful as being allowed to order what's on tap.