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down the yellow-bricked road…

October 21, 2015

So, in the usual post-election media dissection of the election corpse, Conservative and NDP pundits have been pulled into the radio studios and asked to dissect “what went wrong” with their parties. Surprisingly, none of them seem to really know, or at least want to admit publicly, what went wrong with their respective campaigns. And having sat in our local NDP office to watch the election results on Monday night – where long-time NDP’rs seemed genuinely shocked and confused at the results – I was bewildered at this political mental block party supporters seem to get themselves into.

For it seems to be pretty obvious to me, and some of my non-aligned friends, what went wrong.

Stephen Harper campaigned on a strategy of hate, regional and cultural divisiveness, and xenophobia.

Thomas Mulcair was as boring as a pair of worn-out Birkenstocks – he had no energy, no vision, and nothing for the generations coming up behind us.

Neither of them knew how to talk outside of their talking-points, thought the people too simplistic to understand deeper discussions, and came across as both arrogant and out of touch.

They both made it easy for Trudeau – too easy perhaps, but that is for another day.

Trudeau so-far has said all the right things. That we must return to our multicultural roots, that we must re-build our cities and towns, that we must once again want to lead the world into the 21st century – and not curl up in the corner like an angry paranoid racist redneck of a nation.

Harper and Mulcair spoke to the past – Trudeau spoke to the future.

It’s not complicated as to why Harper and Mulcair lost. They were two men still living in a Canada that existed in the 1980’s. Trudeau campaigned like it was 2015 and he spoke to the concerns of our times.

I’m not sure why party supporters and party insiders have such a hard time seeing what went wrong in their respective campaigns. I suppose it is hard for all of us to admit when we are off track, out of touch, lost in the woods.

It happens to all of us. Look at Blackberry, Starbucks, and Sears. All of them stuck in amber, trapped by their own models of success – now outdated and surpassed by the competition.

Thomas Mulcair tried to take the NDP Party to the fiscal right of centre and the party lost its left-leaning base. Harper tried to go into the land of the old far-right Reform Party (where Harper first started his political career), moving into the land of Tea Party thinking.

If their party bureaucrats can admit that this is not where Canadians want to be, then they will come back as formidable political opponents in the next election. If they cannot then they may further splinter, much to the delight of the Liberals.

For now we have an new Obama-lite leader who speaks of our “hopes and dreams”. Time will tell if Trudeau is nothing more than a photogenic middle-class Disney wet dream – or if he has, in fact, surrounded himself with a team that wants to concretely deal with the very pressing problems of this century – massive demographic shifts, catastrophic climate change, systems failure – we will know soon enough…

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