SHAFAQNA – Ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule, Canada’s Liberal Party has decisively won general elections, as anti-Muslim rhetoric failed to garner support for the country’s outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“This is what positive politics can do. This is what a hopeful vision and platform and team can make happen,” a hoarse but jubilant Justin Trudeau, the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, told cheering supporters at Liberal headquarters in Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth hotel, The Independent reported on Tuesday, October 20.
“You can appeal to the better angels of our nature, and you can win while doing it.”
Canadians went to polling stations on Monday, October 19, to vote in the country’s federal election.
Over the past few weeks, many headlines focused on how Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who heads the Conservative Party, has been under fire for allegedly making anti-Muslim comments.
Harper’s anti-Muslim message has centered around his support for banning the niqab, a religious piece of cloth that covers the face along with a hijab, from the Canadian workforce.
The Conservative Party nominee also said he would appeal a Canadian court ruling from earlier this year that allowed a Pakistani woman to wear her niqab when she was sworn in as a citizen.
These anti-Muslim comments backfired after voters picked 43-year-old Trudeau, whose father was Prime Minister for more than 15 years in the 1970s and 1980s, to become their second youngest Prime Minister.
Trudeau is a sometime actor and former high school teacher, who sprang on to the public stage when he delivered the eulogy at his father’s funeral in 2000. He has been an MP since 2008.
“We beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work. Most of all we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less,” Trudeau said as he addressed his jubilant supporters.
“This is what positive politics can do,” he said, also praising Harper for his service to the country.
The Liberals were elected or were leading in 185 districts, with Mr Trudeau winning his Montreal district. The party needed 170 to gain a majority.
The Conservatives were next with 97, followed by the New Democrats at 28 and Bloc Quebecois with nine.
After the Liberal sweeping victory, party faithful posed and took selfies at the podium where he declared his victory.
“Canada spoke out, we wanted change, we were fed up with 10 years of Stephen Harper,” Peter Szilagyi, 33, told The Guardian.
“Four years ago we definitely didn’t think (a victory like this) was possible. It’s thrilling and it’s a very optimistic way to move forward. Trudeau united the party and united Canadians.”
Meanwhile, the election of a Liberal government is expected to spell a sea-change in Canadian politics after a decade under the Conservatives.
The party’s election promises include ending Canada’s combat mission as part the US-led coalition against Isis in Iraq and Syria and refocusing military efforts on training local forces and humanitarian efforts.
Trudeau has also committed to bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada and invest $250m into refugee processing.
He has committed to pulling Canada out of the new F-35 stealth fighter jet program, a 12-country partnership that includes the US, UK and Australia.
The Liberal have also committed to launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, amending the Conservative’s controversial anti-terrorism bill and legalizing marijuana in Canada.