Big Red Wave: Election 2015 Recap

Justin Trudeau celebrating his victory Monday

After a gruelling 78-day campaign, and the longest federal campaign since the 19th century, the 42nd Canadian election finally came to a finish on Monday night. Throughout the campaign, the race was extremely tight between the three leading parties: the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party. However, in the final weeks, the Liberals were able to stride ahead into the lead, and came away with a majority government at the end of the day on October 19th.

From the very beginning of the campaign, the Conservative Party had their sights set on tearing down Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Early Conservative advertisements addressed Mr. Trudeau by his first name, Justin, in an effort to belittle him and engrain the fact that he is younger than Conservative leader Stephen Harper. It was in this same wave of campaigning that the Conservatives famously labeled Justin Trudeau as “just not ready”. Contrary to the Conservative attacks they received, the Liberal Party stayed away from attack ads this election, and instead opted for a more positive campaign, possibly in an effort to capture the many seats taken by the late Jack Layton’s positive NDP campaign in 2011.

Tom Mulcair and the New Democrats, meanwhile, attempted to ride on the coattails of Jack Layton’s legacy, and the “Orange Crush” that saw the NDP form the first opposition government in party history. In the early days of the election, the NDP appeared to be running ahead into the lead, peaking at a 37.4% poll rating nationwide on August 24th. Unfortunately, this was the highest they would raise in the polls, and they subsequently dropped, never rising in trends over a percent.

For many Canadians, the focus of this election was removing Stephen Harper from office. Taking away from experiences in 2011, when vote splitting gave the Conservative party a majority government, “strategic voting” became the famed buzzword of this election. Strategic voting, by definition, is the idea of voting for a party that may not be your #1 choice in an effort to prevent an undesirable outcome. In this instance, strategic voting was when supporters of the NDP, Green, and other parties voted Liberal to prevent the formation of a 4th consecutive Conservative government. As a result, the Liberal party gained an unprecedented 148 seats, and the Conservatives and NDP lost a shocking 60 and 51 seats respectively. In his acceptance speech on Monday night, Prime Minister Designate Justin Trudeau had this to say on the campaign: “I didn’t make history tonight, you did…YOU are the inspiration for our efforts, YOU are the reason why we worked so hard to be here tonight and YOU will be the heart of this new government.”