I remember seeing Pierre Trudeau, new leader of the federal Liberal Party at a rally in London Ontario in early June 1968. He was charismatic. I remember his piercing blue eyes looking up around the crowd and connecting with everyone individually. He won a majority government, keeping the Liberals, previously led by Lester Pearson, in power.
I couldn’t vote in that election since it occurred two months before my 21st birthday. My girlfriend at the time, later to become my wife, turned 21 nine days before the election and she could vote for Trudeau.
I was jealous.
Since that time I have never missed voting in any of the thirteen Federal elections held since. I feel it is both my duty and privilege and I can not complain about government if I don’t exercise my right to vote.
I have never felt as strongly about the outcome as I do in 2015. I have voted Liberal and Conservative and NDP in various elections since 1968. Often I don’t feel that the difference between parties is really that great. When Stephen Harper’s conservatives were first elected, I was willing to give them a chance. (although I didn’t vote for them) How much damage could they do?
The Conservatives today are not the old “Progressive” conservatives that were led by Diefenbaker and Stanfield and Joe Clark. The party was taken over by the much more right-wing Reform/Canadian Alliance Party who snuck in during a vulnerable time for the PC’s and cleverly kept the Conservative part of the name to retain voters. A political Trojan horse.
And after ten years of Harper’s Conservative governance, I want my old Canada back.
When I take the online quizzes to see which party is more in tune with my views on various political issues, I come out pretty evenly balanced between the Liberals and the NDP with a few Green ideas thrown in for good measure. I would be happier if either or any of those parties had a chance at governing. Or even better, if they could somehow cooperate to form a coalition government.
In Kingston and the Islands, the vote that will count to affect change will be with the Liberal Party and that is how I will mark my ballot on October 19. Mark Gerretson, the Liberal candidate in Kingston, is a bright, progressive 40 year old man who has been Mayor of Kingston. He knows the community and regardless of political party affiliation, he would be the candidate that I think could best represent Kingston in the federal government.
And Justin Trudeau? He makes a lot of promises and, I wonder if he could keep them all if the Liberals get elected. But somehow he makes me feel like he is atuned to the Canada I want to live in.
If nothing else, listen to the last five minutes of this town hall meeting held October 5. You will have to click on the link as it is not on YouTube (yet). http://bit.ly/1Rlhhgw
Although I don’t agree with everything they say or do, I will be happy to give Liberals an opportunity to lead our country again. It is time that Trudeau’s generation – Justin’s, not Pierre’s – that of my own kids, takes some control over the future of Canada.
I hope that we get change and that a new government gets the chance to rebuild some of the erosion that has happened to our respect and influence on the international stage.