It’s time for campaign promises and catchy slogans to become something more concrete.
Canada’s electorate charted a new course for the country on Monday, handing the Liberal Party a majority government and a strong mandate. No matter how we cast our votes, we might as well be hopeful about what’s to come.
Vancouver Island didn’t elect any Members of Parliament who will be part of the government caucus, but opposition voices in Ottawa can make themselves heard. What’s more, issues that are important here on the Island are often ones that are important across the country. The federal government’s action – or inaction – on environmental policy and relationships with First Nations, for instance, will be felt here. Promised changes to tax legislation will affect people in every riding.
We will pay close attention to the infrastructure investment file – it was important enough, after all, for the Liberals to hazard three years of budget deficits. We in Nanaimo-Ladysmith will be paying our share of tax dollars into this pool and therefore deserve to benefit. We could sure use the jobs and the economic stimulus. But until the feds put in place a framework for infrastructure spending, it is impossible to predict what projects will qualify, what share of funding will be required from other levels of government and what role the private sector will play.
One of the most intriguing promises made by the Liberals was electoral reform. It has never seemed like something any majority government would realistically enact, but it was promised, and the notion of a more proportional form of representation is an appealing one, here on the Island and across the country.
This week’s election showed Canada wants change. By marking our ballots, we helped to initiate that change. And now we have an opportunity – along with our elected representatives and our new government – to effect that change.