COLUMN: Change

MORRISBURG — A majority of Canadians got the result they wished for in Monday’s election results, change. A new party in charge; a new leader; many new faces in the House of Commons; and a new direction for the country. Not everyone will be happy with the changes, and that is why we have elections every four years. To the victors go the spoils, the losers get to rebuild and try again. In defeat, there are positives for some.

In 1993, when the Progressive Conservatives left office, the party fragmented. As the Conservatives leave office in 2015, there is no split; they enter opposition as one party in need of a leader. They now have four years to retool and begin again, changing direction. The Conservative Party must change direction as the support they lost was not just from the swing voters, but from party members.

Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, the party failed to keep to its conservative roots.  The former Progressive Conservative wing of the party diminished, as did a majority of the ideals of the former Reform Party wing. What remained was a perversion of the conservative ideals that brought the parties back together 12 years ago. When a party veers from its principles, it veers into failure.

For many small-c conservatives, the party has been the antithesis of conservatism. The economic policies adopted by Harper were the exact opposite of fiscal-conservatism. Meanwhile the social policies of division did not reflect social-conservative values in Canada. For the Conservatives, change has been coming for a long time. We have seen time and time again that political leaders have only so long before the public gets tired of them. Good leaders know to read when that time is. Others do not. History will judge in this case.

What lost the Conservatives the election? Stephen Harper. It was mature of him to say so in his concession speech. This was on him. His leadership grew as tired on the public, as it did on the party supporters who left. The tactics used in this election were foolish and to some, insulted the intelligence of the Canadian voter. Pitting one group of Canadians against another is nothing new in Canadian politics.  Pitting minorities against the majority goes against Canadian values of inclusiveness. Bad policy heaped on bad policy never wins. After almost 10 years in power, it was time to go.

Many may not agree with all the Liberals plan to do in the next four years. There are a lot of unknowns. The Liberals presented the best idea of change to that of the Conservatives or the NDP.

The NDP were a disappointment to watch. As the poll numbers came in and their hopes dashed, the NDP returned back to their 1980’s form. The issue is Thomas Mulcair is no Ed Broadbent; the results have proved that.

While the parties in opposition change, so to will Canada under the Liberals. Change, for the sake of change alone, is never a good thing. Time will tell if the voters of Canada got it right this time around.

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