Stephen Harper Out – Justin Trudeau In: Many Changes In Store For Canada


Credit: J. Szewczyk
Credit: J. Szewczyk

This Monday, when the world was watching Monday Night Football, the Canadians were watching election results. A few days ago, John Oliver did his best to explain the Canadian election through means of the “next door neighbor” analogy. He stated that although we might not know much about Canada, we should care in the sense that we would care about any neighbor being in an abusive relationship with a scumbag. He listed a chunk of Stephen Harper’s faults (and they are Legion) but he didn’t go far enough. Let me show you just the sort of obstacle course Justin Trudeau has to navigate.

Credit: J. Szewczyk
Credit: J. Szewczyk

Under Stephen Harper…

1. The Office of Veterans Affairs had to give back over 1.1 billion dollars to the Canadian government because, although it was promised to them, Harper’s government never officially released the funds for the veteran’s use.

One of Trudeau’s main challenges is to restructure the budget so that when places like the Office of Veterans Affairs is promised a billion dollars they actually, you know, get to use that money. When our neighbor to the north is strong, we are strong.

2. Higher education cost and debt has tripled in Canada in the last two decades, one of which Harper directly oversaw.

Some of this was inflation, but there is a large chunk that was based upon the further exploitation of the lower and middle class. Trudeau needs to address this issue as education is a universal right. Hopefully he won’t allow the Canadian higher education system slip further towards the US model.

3. Stephen Harper was umbilically connected to George W. Bush. There is no denying this. As far as Canadian policy was concerned, Harper was the puppet for Bush. If Bush wanted backing for an illegal war and the non-Stephen Harper prime minister said no–no problem! Super “Now I’m the Prime Minister” Stephen Harper to the rescue! In fact, according to an Ian Hunter piece for Globe and Mail, Harper is quoted in saying his success in Canadian elections is due to tapping into “a market similar to what George Bush tapped.” Anything that Bush tapped should be best left alone (or given a hug, depending on your verbiage).

Trudeau has no love for Bush: George H.W., George W., or even Jeb. He is in line with the top two Democratic candidates for the 2016 election. Although, he probably leans a bit more towards Bernie Sanders.

4. Stephen Harper has proven he simply will not work with a Democratic president. If you need proof, just look at the last time Canada and the US truly worked together in something other than killing people. Whoops, I mean “liberating” people. Harper’s political movement is straight from a GOP handbook.

Trudeau has been called the “Canadian Bernie Sanders(Note: This was actually done in a derogatory term from a right-wing blog, but hey…). In fact, one of Trudeau’s platforms was to legalize marijuana, which is something Sanders seems to push as well.

5. Harper wanted to shove that Keystone Pipeline in our mouths. Yes, the ultra-polite Stephen Harper made no small guess of his position on the Keystone Pipelines.

Trudeau will still try to push it through. However, he did state that he would try to address some of the ecological concerns.

In the end, we all learned one important thing: Dreams really do come true, John Oliver. All you have to do is wish hard enough (and wait for about 10 years):


Jo Szewczyk is an American scholar who earned his PhD from Lancaster University in the UK. He is currently an ex-pat American living in Montreal, Canada where he spends his time with his cat, Chuck Finley.