The longest Canadian election campaign in living memory has drawn to a close and so has Stephen Harper’s years as Prime Minister. Some have called it the dawn of a new era, and the pressure being heaped on Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau is enormous.
On the local stage, incumbent Conservative MP Cathy McLeod has secured a third term in the Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo riding.
Liberal supporters on campus were vocal in the celebration of their preferred candidate’s victory.
“I voted Liberal. I’m happy with the result and I’m looking forward to having Justin Trudeau as our new Prime Minister,” said Alex Beckett. Liberal supporter Jackson Dobrovolny said that he was “very surprised” by the result but was happy to see how many other young people came out to vote.
When asked to explain the Liberal’s surprising margin of victory, TRU political science professor Terry Kading said “Young people thought they could more easily relate to Justin Trudeau as an authority figure.”
Kading also cited the Liberal Party’s optimistic campaign style and late surge of momentum as contributing factors in their margin of victory.
According to Kading, many of the seats that the Liberals won in the election were formerly held by the NDP, but went Liberal due to strategic voting with the goal of ousting Harper.
“I don’t think it was that the NDP did anything wrong. They got caught in the last month’s momentum by Justin Trudeau when it came to who was going to be the most effective at getting rid of Stephen Harper, which was the central Issue,” Kading said.
“It’s unfortunate that the polls aren’t more accurate, but it sure made the election more interesting,” Kading added.
Despite many of the remaining Conservative ridings being concentrated in Western Canada, Kading said that he does not anticipate regional resentment or alienation being a major fixture of Canadian politics in the future.
Kading attributed local Liberal candidate Steve Powrie’s better-than-expected performance to a strong Liberal Party nationwide, but said that “the most visible campaign [in this riding] wasn’t Steve Powrie’s.”
The greater local visibility of the Conservative and NDP campaigns may have been due to visits from their national leaders. Although Trudeau visited more ridings than any of his competitors, he did not stop in the Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo.
Voter turnout is perceived by many as a contributing factor in the Liberal victory.
“I think that it really showed that when people get out to vote and are interested in politics, it can make a difference. I feel like if there was more apathy in the election then it wouldn’t have had the result that it did,” said student Mairi Richter.
Supporters of the other major parties also had opinions to share about the results of the election. Rhys Cranwell said that he voted for the NDP because he felt that local candidate Bill Sundhu engaged with students better than his competition.
“I noticed that this election had a high emotional engagement,” Cranwell said.
“I voted for McLeod, because I didn’t want our entire economy to come crashing down, but hopefully Trudeau, with his nice hair, will do some good,” said student Cassidy Tocheniuk.