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Liberal Party of Canada wins decisive election victory

Almost a decade long reign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party came to an abrupt end Monday night at the hands of Justin Trudeau, son of long-serving Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The Liberal Party has won a convincing majority, taking 184 seats in general elections, ending the 10-year-long Conservative rule. Canadians in every province voted for Liberal candidates who won in striking victories in greater Toronto and Quebec. Outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper conceded defeat and will resign as leader of the Conservative Party, which took 100 seats, but said he’ll remain in parliament as a lawmaker.

Results from polls in the country’s most-populated regions, Quebec and Ontario, and from Canada’s Eastern seaboard and the Pacific Coast City of Vancouver, showed a wave of Liberal red, marking an impressive victory in Mr. Trudeau’s first campaign as leader. It was the longest campaign in Canada’s history, stretching for three months, and the win represents the first Liberal majority in 15 years. The unexpected rout occurred almost 47 years after Mr. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, first swept to power. Pierre Trudeau, one of the longest-serving prime ministers in Canadian history, remains one of the most charismatic politicians on the world stage since John F. Kennedy. Pierre led the country until 1984.

Addressing his supporters shortly after the major win, Mr. Trudeau promised “sunny ways” for all Canadians.

“We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work. Most of all we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less.”

“This is what positive politics can do. This is what a positive, hopeful, a hopeful vision, and a platform and team together can make happen. Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight; it’s time for a change in this country, my friends, a real change, “he said.

Justin Trudeau, a former high-school teacher, will become Canada’s second-youngest prime minister and the first to follow a parent into office. While the Liberal Party had emerged on top since the early counts in the eastern provinces gave the Liberals their first taste of victory, its lead was a little short of conclusive and Mr. Trudeau was an untested figure. Many dismissed the younger Trudeau as trading off of his father’s achievements and the family name. Even early in the campaign, which was launched in August by the Conservatives, the Liberals appeared to have little chance and the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) surged ahead.

The 11-week campaign was considered too close to call for nearly two months, a virtual tie between the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives then moved into the lead, and only in the last couple of weeks of the campaign did the Liberals moved into and held first in national polls. A bold pledge to run a budget deficit nation and boost spending to spur the economy, as well as a positive message, helped the Liberals persuade a turnaround. Amid the faltering economy and a string of controversies surrounding the Conservatives, Mr. Trudeau’s newcomer status may have played into a deep-seated desire for change.

Mr. Trudeau campaigned on a promise of change, urging voters ahead of the polling day to “come together as a country”. Polls found 70% of voters said they were tired of Conservative rule in surveys near the end of the campaign. Mr. Trudeau proved able at crucial events like a debate on foreign policy, where even some Liberals feared that he might stumble. Late in the campaign, the Liberals flipped the Conservative slogan to “Ready” in its ads. The agency that supervises federal elections reported that 68.5% of the country’s 25.6 million voters cast ballots in this election.

While in some ways, the historic legacy of his father has given the younger Trudeau an advantage – growing up famous has made him comfortable and recognizable in the public eye. But he definitely had something more than his reputation to take the reins of the Liberal Party in his capable hands, let alone run the country as its Prime Minister. The Liberal leader not only carved a road map for the Canadian economy of the future but also emerged as a leader with a new vision for Canada. Now, Trudeau has some big promises to fulfill to prove that his leadership qualities have more to do with his brains than his reputation and charm.

Image CourtesyJustinLing