… and the result will speak for itself.
So, after a long campaign (and many Facebook-arguments), the dust has finally settled, and we Canadians find ourselves with a Liberal majority under Justin Trudeau as our next government.
Capturing 184 of 338 seats in Monday night’s election with 39.5 per cent of the vote, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party snatched power away from the Conservatives. Despite polling third for much of the campaign, the Liberals managed to gain 147 seats in the midst of a national fervor for change which is already being referred to by some as “Trudeaumania II: The Justining.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party won 99 seats, and will form the official opposition. Harper has promised to step down as party leader (much to the delight of Facebook feeds everywhere, apparently), leaving the question of who will lead the party next hanging in the air above the Conservative camp.
Thomas Mulcair and the New Democrats were the big losers of the night, dropping 59 seats and their opposition status at once, after a failure to repeat 2011’s surprising performance in Quebec. Unlike Harper, Mulcair has pledged to stay on as NDP leader.
For students, this news hopefully means some welcome relief from crushing student-debt. Trudeau has pledged relief for indebted students through hefty grant programs ($900 million by 2020), as well as exemptions from student-loan repayment until graduates earn at least $25,000 annually. In addition, the Liberals have promised to increase Canada Student Grant maximums for low and middle-income families, and provide increased support for Aboriginal students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. It also means legal marijuana, but no students at the Univeristy of Regina would possibly be interested in that…
As for where the additional student funding will come from, the Liberal party has said, “This investment will be funded by cancelling the poorly targeted education and textbook tax credits. The tuition tax credit will be maintained.”
Trudeau has also promised free post-secondary education to all Canadian military veterans, in addition to restoring the lifetime pension program for wounded Canadian veterans.
URSU has been campaigning heavily to get students involved in the election with their Get Out and Vote campaign, which registered over 500 students during the election.
“The goal of URSU this election has been to turn up the youth turnout, so we won’t know if we won for another week or two,” said Student Union president Devon Peters from his barstool in the Owl during Monday night’s election results party.
Students seemed happy with the overall results, cheering on the news like it was a Blue Jays home-run. Yet most of the students the Carillon spoke with seemed to be most excited about seeing Harper’s back:
“I’m glad it’s not Harper. I was hoping not for a Liberal majority, but it’s not Harper,” said Alicia Miller, an arts student. “The Liberals are too close to the Conservatives on too many policy areas that I disagree with,” she continued, but added that “the Liberals are the only ones who had a realistic budget projection.”
“I was hoping for more NDP,” said Kristian, an English major attending the festivities on Monday. “I feel Liberal can be Conservative-like at times, but I followed my voting ABC’s of Anything But Conservative. Small victories.”
When asked if he expected Mulcair to resign as NDP leader, Kristian responded, “I hope not. I like him. He feels like Canada’s nice uncle.”
Other students were excited to see Trudeau taking the reigns. “I’m a Liberal supporter,” said arts student Shelby Moffat, “so I’m pretty excited and pretty proud of Canada and the choice everyone’s made.”