The pundits and the experts got it wrong again. For 78 days, and even before the election was called, they told us over and over the Number One issue in this election campaign was the ECONOMY.
No it was not.
What we saw Monday was a repudiation and rejection of one man: Stephen Harper.
In fact, almost NO ONE I heard from or talked to during the campaign said the reason they would NOT vote Conservative was because of some Tory tax policy, budget plan, foreign affairs policies or even environmental shortcomings.
It was because of Harper.
They had enough of his arrogance and insolence that got worse over the years: the disrespect for the public’s right to know … or even ask questions; the gagging of PUBLIC scientists and PUBLIC servants; the downgrading of MPs to little more than performing puppets; the snubbing of Premiers WE elect to express OUR perspective on the national stage; the cuts to services; the control freakiness that turned into downright meanness; and a personal coldness and deafness to others who did not share his views.
That’s what clearly turned off the voters.
In fact, I’m somewhat heartened by that, because it shows even Canadians who have rare or no direct contact with federal government politicians, departments, programs, officials WERE paying attention to media and social media reporting/complaints about all these things happening and realized WHAT Harper was doing and how BAD it was for our democracy and our country.
People want to be valued … and not just one day every four or five years.
Trudeau the Elder gave the West the finger: Harper gave ordinary Canadians across the whole country the finger!
Remember, most of the people who went to the polls to toss Harper out are the same ones who gave him a majority four years ago. What does that tell us about their disappointment … and disgust!
Tory strategists should have realized the longer election campaign would expose Canadians much more to what Harper had become: his coldness; the lack of any real passion; the total control freak; offering no vision and no longer able to inspire.
Not even the promises of more tax breaks, increased write-offs, a four-year tax “lock” and 1.3 million new jobs could buy their votes this time.
So why did so many pundits think the Economy was Numero Uno?
Because the questions put to voters in all the polling I saw left out the one specific issue that voters zeroed in on: the Harper Nastiness Factor.
I was polled three times by phone during the campaign: one just wanted to know my voting preferences …nothing about issues; two others did try to zero in on reasons for voting choices, but highlighted traditional issues: the economy; justice/crime; security; foreign affairs; and the closest they came to the REAL reason many would vote this time was … Who would make the best Prime Minister?
That’s not quite the same as How much do you DISLIKE Harper? Enough to vote for anyone else just to get him out?
Admittedly, those do not sound like normal questions to put to the voters during a normal election campaign, but let’s keep it real: this was NOT a normal Canadian federal election campaign, by almost any standard … including the massive turnout.
The results show THAT the TOP reason millions of Canadians made their choice was to GET RID of Harper.
And even the NDP fell victim to that determination.
Although NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and his Santa Claus bag full of promises for almost everyone failed to sell with the voters, I never detected any resentment directed at them from undecided voters even close to that aimed at Harper.
The NDP lost seats in Quebec because of their their principled support for the niqab in Quebec (I told you they’re xenophobic down there!), and lost some support elsewhere in Canada partly because of their opposition to the TPP, but mostly because only Trudeau projected a real chance of throwing Harper and the Tories out …without a substantial change in the direction of the country.
Maybe the experts, the pundits and pollsters should start paying more attention to what is being said in the blogosphere. It was all right here for anyone to see.
In a way, this should be a bit reassuring for Conservative supporters: judging by the millions of votes they garnered, the results were not a massive ideological repudiation of conservative fiscal or foreign or even justice values (despite what the extreme partisans on the left may hallucinate).
It was the rejection of the disdain for the public that they allowed Harper to impose over time.
If they get rid of him as soon as they can, and get a ”progressive” leader, who restores respect for ordinary Canadians AND our basic rights to ask questions and get information … they could make a comeback.
And although I voted Liberal this time, I have no doubt Justin Trudeau’s and the Liberals’ term in office … over time … will give the Tories AND the NDP lots of opportunity and hope for regeneration before the next time around.
I personally would have preferred a strong Liberal minority government … not a majority.
Now we’ll see whether Trudeau will live up to the hopes and expectations of those who voted Liberal … or just become our new cold, self-absorbed dictator.
(BLOG BREAK: Time to enjoy some vacation travel. The Blog will be shut down Thursday … including the Comments function. Back by the end of November.)