Almost immediately after the results were announced we were treated to a deluge of letters from cynics who predicted that Island ridings that failed to elect Liberals would continue to be deprived of their fair share of federal tax revenues. I am forced to assume these people were basing this assumption on the behaviour of the Conservatives under Stephen Harper without understanding that it was attitudes like that that led Canadians as a whole to repudiate them. Fortunately for the nation that is not how politics work.
I voted for a New Democrat but I do give Mr. Trudeau and his party the courtesy of believing they are either honest enough to do the job we have trusted them with or smart enough to realize that the way to win votes in opposition ridings is to treat every Canadian equally. Somehow the Conservatives never understood that, and look where it got them.
Not that I expect Mr. Trudeau to live up to every promise. He may try, but the realities of the budget confront every elected person at the first actual cabinet meeting. The cost of simply restoring health care and education funding to the sustainable levels promised when those programs were introduced will make it difficult to move ahead on other improvements to the national fabric. Perhaps, given his background, Mr. Trudeau understands that better than any other new prime minister.
I have come to believe that Pierre Trudeau’s greatest accomplishment was simply keeping the Conservatives out of office long enough for the national health program established under Lester Pearson to become a proven success and national treasure.
Certainly Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper tried to starve it to death when they got the chance, but the public would never tolerate a return to a private, profit-driven system. Perhaps Justin Trudeau’s legacy will be no greater, but that would be enough.