When Justin Trudeau, in an interview right after his stunning election victory, said “I left them in the dust” this was more impulsive optimism than reality.
Not quite Justin! Actually, Trudeau won his majority with 39 per cent of the vote, which means that 60 per cent of voters did not vote for the Liberals. The truth is Stephen Harper left his party in very good shape and in so doing has restored normal politics to Canada by building the Conservative Party as a credible alternative to the Liberal Party.
The Conservatives have more than a few reasons to be optimistic. They received nearly 32 per cent of the vote and still have a healthy 99 seats in Parliament and are still the top party in terms of raising money.
Dark economic realities are already clouding the “sunny ways” agenda of the new government. Sagging oil prices and a low loonie will reduce revenue for the Liberals making it much more difficult for them to keep some of their irresponsible election promises. The cost of the Syrian refugee settlement pledge was supposed to be $200 million but will likely come in at three or four times that amount. Trudeau’s commitment to all 94 commendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for First Nations could prove very expensive.
Trudeau will provide a gold mine of ammunition for a capable Conservative opposition with his mistaken, short sighted and reckless management of the finances of the nation and the government’s non-existent foreign policy.
Conservatives must resist the temptation to go back to “Progressive” Conservatism, learn from mistakes made in the election, and continue to embrace sound economic and security policies and prove they are “a government in waiting.”