Thursday, November 05, 2015

Yesterday In Perspective


I like to read Andrew Cohen's column when I'm looking for perspective. Perhaps that's because, like me, Cohen -- who teaches journalism and international affairs at Carleton -- is an ex- Montrealer. He remembers what Quebec used to be and he understands what it has become. More importantly, he understands the complexity of this country. On Tuesday, he wrote:

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Justin Trudeau and his new ministry arrive at Rideau Hall. They swear allegiance, they stand before the cameras, they look fresh and different.

It is a change of government, a transfer of power, bloodless and seamless. Canada has been doing this without fuss for 148 years. While Germany had Reichs and France had Republics, we have always accepted without challenge the election of new leaders, regardless of party, period or policy.

It is cliché on this occasion to stand up and salute democracy. But as John F. Kennedy put it at his inauguration, a new government is less a victory of party than a celebration of freedom.

Cohen then wrote about the fortnight between the election and yesterday:

This autumn fortnight is soothing because we are still digesting what happened on Oct. 19. Few thought it possible.

We took a party that was moribund four years ago, with the fewest seats in its history, and made it the government, with the second-highest number of seats in its history, the most since 1949.
We returned the country to the two-party system of mainstream parties, with the New Democrats back in third place. Behold, the status quo ante.

We elected the second-youngest prime minister in our history and the first son of a prime minister. Margaret Trudeau has the unique distinction of being both wife and mother of a prime minister.

We chose a government with more women and more aboriginals. It has seats in every province and almost every big city. It is rural and urban, black, white and tan, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other faiths. Canadians see their reflection in their Parliament.

We turned out to vote, almost seven in 10. On some reserves, they ran out of ballots.

There will be tough times ahead and the new government will have to get up to speed quickly. But yesterday should remind us that we can be guided by our better angels. We have much to celebrate and much for which to be grateful.


Rural said...

The sight of Trudeau leading his diverse choices for cabinet through the grounds of Rideau Hall to a publicly viewed swearing in ceremony is a thing to be remembered. I am cautiously optimistic that this is a turning point for the better for our democracy and for our country.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Rural. There will be a lot of things coming very quickly at this government. But I'm hopeful that they will find democratic solutions to the problems they will face.

Raven Corvoid said...

Rural bud and Owen I believe we are turning a better angle got me I am a surveyor and a geometry major with a belt in astrophysics ya know like Orion? I am a stargazer like my father that knew how to use that; stars as a navigation tool as an officer aboard very large ocean going vessels. First thing he taught me after sailing so put it together ocean navigation and stars to do so was the constellation Orion comes up in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere in early September in the east at sunset. Orion is the harbinger of winter to come. So we have a warrior for human rights Just In came in for us westerners on the Eastern horizon about that time. We welcome his approach but will hold his feet to the 'fire' if he does not stand on his principles. He did promise to run a deficit budget in order to fix infrastructure and put unemployed Canadians back to work. Whereas Harper ran a deficit to promote himself Me Myself and I welcome the change a vous?

Owen Gray said...

Justin is definitely signalling a change, Raven. As you say, though, we'll have to hold him to his promises.

Scotian said...

Whether he is able/willing to live up to everything he promised may be important, but for me so long as he lives up to the most important promise, restoring our system of government to we the citizens, then he will have been a positive force for change and well worth giving the majority to. The other stuff is nice and important too, please do not misunderstand where I'm coming from, but the ugly truth is our system of government was under massive threat and attack by Harper during his tenure. The ugly truth is that we nearly lost everything we value as Canadians thanks to that man. So if Trudeau is able to clense and restore our government to the open model, policy rich, celebrating diversity model we had prior to the Harper years, than for me he has accomplished his most important promise of all.

I know that soon enough so many of us united by our desire to see the end of the Harperium will faction off into our own interest groupings with different particular priorities. I just hope that when we do we do not lose sight of this having been our collective most important priority and to remember to judge Trudeau on this promise first and foremost. This is what we needed to see the most, all the rest while important does not compare to this IMHO. This is the promise by which I will judge whether Trudeau kept or broke faith with me. First signs are encouraging, but I will be watching.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau has reminded us of what we can do together, Scotian. We dare not forget that.

Steve said...

Canada is back

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Steve.

Raven Corvoid said...

" Conservatives chose Rona Ambrose as their interim leader Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day Ambrose said she's looking forward to her time in opposition.

She stressed the campaign and the days of the Harper government are over."

RRRAAAA RRRRAAAA Ra time for dancin in the streets Rona says um she says it better "...the days of the Harper government are over." My what a fitting epitaph I am preening my feathers waiting for the ultimate shake down where 'hold on to your underwear ladies and gents' all the cons spill the beans about the misery it was to live under the 'Harper' tent my what cowards to have swallowed and bowed to Steve :><:

Note my time stamp us Ravens have learned your ways :>

Raven Corvoid said...

-Just add two minutes :>

Owen Gray said...

Done, Raven.