What excites me most about this election?
My daughters and their friends got engaged. They were not alone. One report I read spoke about the youth vote. How the 20 and 30 somethings carried the day. It was their vote, the reporter said, that swept the red wave across the land.
Thank you Mr. Harper.
You gave them a reason to care. To get informed. To become active in Canada’s political scene. You gave them a symbol of power that lead them to the polls in waves of red shirts armed with their desire to topple the juggernaut of your command of our land.
It was our own Arab Spring á la Canada. There were no guns fired. No troops called out. No blood spilled. No body count, except for the casualties of the political kind where those who once held the sacred ground of office must now give way to their successors. In peace.
Always in peace. We are Canadian and we value peace.
In his acceptance speech last night, Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau said, “Conservatives are not our enemies. They are our neighbours. Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.”
On our front lawn the ‘Battle of Canada’ was fought with both sides holding ground on either side of our front walkway. On the left, a sign supporting our Liberal hopeful stood proud. On the right, a sign for the man who has become our Member of Parliament representing the Conservatives, stood up to the winds of change, ever hopeful in its ability to hold its ground.
It was the same in the Provincial election last spring. C.C.’s conservatives on the right. My gritty red nature showing on the left. We both agreed that if one of us could wave the flag of their party, so too could the other. It wasn’t about our differing sides of the political spectrum. It was and is about our freedom and desire to express our support, to be engaged, to have a voice in who and how our country is run.
We tease each other about our signs, as do our guests when they come to visit. And we’re okay with it. We know that beneath the colours of the party’s we support is the truth of what each party is about — we love Canada and want the best for our country. We just happen to believe another person/party can do it better.
Regardless, we are not enemies. We are one in our desire for Canada to stand, proud, strong and free.
This morning, though the Conservative candidate, Ron Liepert, won the seat, only the sign for Liberal hopeful, Kerry Cundal, remains.
I don’t know what happened to the sign. It was there last night when I drove home. Perhaps it blew away in the winds that howled throughout the night. Perhaps, an anonymous Liberal supporter carried it away. We’ll never know.
And it doesn’t matter.
What matter is, when once people told me being a Liberal in Calgary is a loser’s game, I am, like so many in Canada this morning, hopeful.
“My message to you tonight my fellow citizens is simple,” said Trudeau in his acceptance speech. “Have faith in yourselves and in your country. Know that we can make anything happen if we set our minds to it and work hard.”
There is a different political party in command of Canada this morning. But it doesn’t change who we are. It doesn’t change what we, as Canadians, stand for, believe in, value.
We have faith.
Faith in our belief in the rights of every citizen. Faith that we are strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
Turning Tory blue to Liberal red doesn’t change the fundamental values we share; that every Canadian has the right to speak freely, to worship in the pew of their choosing, to wear the symbols of their faith freely and proudly and without fear. To create lives that are filled with dignity, integrity, respect.
It doesn’t change that all Canadians, regardless of their land of birth, want our children to have the futures we dream of, that they aspire to. That each of us can live without fear of one another, without fear of our government, without fear of our policy-makers, judicial system and armed forces.
I do not fear a violent uprising this morning. I do not fear tanks rolling through our streets. I do not fear for my daughters lives or the life of my husband’s son, or all our sons and daughters storming off to war to fight for the right to be free on our common ground of Canada.
This morning, as with every morning as a Canadian, I woke up free. I woke up with all my rights, all my belief in a fair and just society in tact.
That is the privilege of being Canadian. No matter the political party at our helm, we are free.
I am blessed to be Canadian and this morning, I am also very proud.