Trudeau and Liberal Party Sweep Canadian Election; Relations With U.S. Should Improve

The first time I followed Canadian politics closely was in the late 60s and early 70s during the Vietnam War when some friends fled to Canada to evade the draft. Many so-called draft-dodgers have become very successful and part of Canadian life. When President Carter declared unconditional amnesty, on January 21, 1977 many chose to remain in Canada where they were accepted as legal immigrants.

On Monday, according to the New York Times "Starting with a sweep of the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals capitalized on what many Canadians saw as Mr. Harper's heavy-handed style, and the party went on to capture 184 of the 338 seats in the next House of Commons. The unexpected rout occurred 47 years after Mr. Trudeau's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, first swept to power."

Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative Party tried to win votes with an approach similar to that of Republicans in the United States. One only had to listen to the first Republican debate to understand their focus is purely aimed at right-wing conservatives opposed to immigration, and those who support policies to protect the wealthy. According to the NY Times in Canada: "The election became something of a referendum on Mr. Harper's approach to government, which, in the view of his critics, has often focused on issues important to core Conservative supporters, mostly in the West, rather than to much of the population."

Trudeau's huge win, aided by his charisma, focused on his out-reach to the middle class. He campaigned on issues making the Liberal Party in Canada sound very much like the Democratic Party in the United States. Much of the platform on which he ran sounds familiar. Trudeau talks about some deficit spending as being realistic when one wants to invest in education, job training, affordable housing, and rebuilding infrastructure which would result in more jobs and greater economic growth.

This fresh start in Canada hopefully leads to a new robust relationship with the United States. It would appear Trudeau has much more in common with President Obama than did Stephen Harper. That ranges from their focus on fighting to ameliorate the ravages of climate change and their view of Canada and United States position in the world. It can be expected Trudeau, while working to make life better for all Canadians, will also once again make Canada more of a respected partner on the world stage.

A way to share his views on world politics would be to arrange a speech in the United States in the near future. A prime location would be American University in Washington D.C. American has often been the place where American Presidents and those looking to influence policy have chosen to speak.

In 1963, JFK chose to give the commencement speech at American University and it was titled A Strategy of Peace and was considered "one of the most powerful speeches where president Kennedy not only outlined a plan to curb nuclear arms, but also "laid out a hopeful, yet realistic route for world peace" at a time when the U.S. and Soviet Union faced the potential for an escalating nuclear arms race. In the speech, Kennedy announced his agreement to negotiations "toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty" (which resulted in the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty) and also announced, for the purpose of showing 'good faith and solemn convictions' his decision to unilaterally suspend all U.S. atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons as long as all other nations would do the same." Recently President Obama chose American University to speak about the Iranian Nuclear Deal his administration just brokered.

Coincidentally there is a Trudeau connection to American University and that is Dr. Michael Schroeder, who I first met when he began his work toward a doctoral degree at George Washington University ten years ago. Today Schroeder, who received his undergrad and master's degrees, a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, is a Professorial Lecturer & Director of the Global Governance, Politics and Security Program (GGPS) in the School of International Service at American. Over the years I have gotten to know Schroeder well and had the honor of meeting many members of his family including his step-sister and her mother who happens to be Trudeau's aunt.

As a journalist, I was fortunate to have his expertise and co-authored two columns with him which appeared in the Huffington Post. One on the value of the redline threat President Obama issued with regard to chemical weapons in Syria; and another on the Ebola crisis and how the World Health Organization mishandled it.

I would look forward in the near future to hearing Prime Minister Trudeau speak at American University and learn about his vision for peace and the future of Canada in the world.