Now, Justin Trudeau is Prime Minister of Canada. A person who has neither knowledge nor experience in politics, in economics, and in administrative matters became a leader of the country. Some analysts and media were quick to point out what mistakes had conservatives made during the election campaign. Even Stephen Harper said that conservative’ s failure was his fault. Remarkably, very few, if any, say what liberals did right. The reason is that there is almost nothing they did right: in fact, this election was an evidence of colossal failure of common sense. This happens from time to time with any nation: at some moments in history common sense does not make sense for people anymore, no matter how strong and convincing its arguments are.
In reality, neither conservatives did anything wrong, nor liberals did much right, as I will show in the analysis below.
Conservatives had a remarkable record with the economy. In the 2008 crisis Canada weathered the storm much better than any country around the globe. This was due to the government’s fiscal policy, which was a combination of restrictions, regulations, and proper economic stimulus. In the following difficult years, when most developed countries struggle with high unemployment and deficit, Canada managed to have budget surplus. The recent price drop of oil had a negative impact on Canadian economy, but it is much less severe than should have been expected.
Anyone who has a higher formal education in macro economy – I am one of them – knows that healthy expansion of economy is based on savings and investment. This, in turn, promotes jobs creation and, as a consequence, increased consumption. That’s what essentially was the conservative’s policy in the past, and that’s what they promised for the future.
Liberals offered quite the opposite: they promised a spending spree, by using the surplus, created by conservatives, and by borrowing beyond their means, thus creating deficit. This policy has invariably only one outcome: a splash of consumption in the first 2-3 years, and then a long period of stagnation and restoration of economy. Common sense suggests to trust economy, and the surplus, to those who made this surplus. Instead, voters trusted management of the country’s economy to Justin Trudeau, who has – I dare say – no idea how mechanics of economy works. It does not make sense. But it happened.
Liberals chose Justin Trudeau as their leader not because he had any achievement in politics, or any accomplishment at all, for that matter. They chose him for one reason only: his association with the name of his father Pierre Trudeau, who was a famous prime minister of Canada.
Pierre Trudeau resigned before his term was over. He had no choice, as mismanagement of economy during his reign was appalling. It would make sense for a Liberal party leader candidate to disassociate himself from Pierre Trudeau. This association though was a major factor, which contributed to success of Justin Trudeau. It does not make sense. But it happened.
Regardless of how good or bad the association with Pierre Trudeau was, the fact that Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Trudeau says nothing about his ability to govern the country. In the past, only monarchies transferred reign of power to the offspring regardless of his ability to govern. Usually the nation accepted it as a normal thing. Stupidity of such inheritance was obvious, but now this notion of power inheritance made a spectacular victory in Canada. It does not make sense. But it happened.
Some expressed opinions that conservatives made a mistake concentrating on non-important issues, such as hiqab. This is, in my opinion, a superficial argument. Hiqab is, as Canadian majority looks at it, a barbaric dress of a culture completely foreign to Canada. Actually, it is unthinkable for Canadians to see a complete coverage of the face by policemen, doctors, nurses, judges, or political figures. It is unthinkable to present a driver’s license with the face covered. It is a security risk to allow a hiqab-covered person to enter a bank. That’s what Harper and his party were against. It made sense, but it failed. I don’t think that it was a fault of conservatives. It was a failure of common sense.
In the matter of refugees conservatives appealed to the nation’s common sense. Humanity and compassion for people in distress, as all other good intentions, do not generate a budget for helping them. Every nation could do only what it could afford to do. Many people think that spending money on migrants is just the matter of the government’s good will. Far from it: it is everyone’s money and effort. There will be much less immigration welcoming activists and supporters if it was the matter of personal contribution, such as donation or sponsorship. Justin Trudeau intends to accept amount of refugees which would exacerbate Canadian economic and social problems, not to mention security risk. Such policy does not make sense. But it worked.
Conservatives advocated tougher measures against terrorists and dangerous criminals. It does make sense. But it didn’t work. Liberals were against it. It does not make sense. But it worked.
In my opinion, neither Harper, no conservatives, did anything wrong in their election campaign. They did not make unrealistic or false promises. They were frank and truthful to the public. This was the only mistake they made, if we can call it that.
I believe that Stephen Harper is a great statesman, one of the most prudent Canada has ever had. If he was defeated by equally gifted opponent, I would have accepted this fact without much regret, even if the new policy was not to my liking. But bad policy without capable leadership is a sure way to a long-lasting misery.
Now, we are heading into rough waters: deterioration of economy in 2-3 years, bad relationship with the U.S., and a profound, dangerous change in international politics. Welcome change.