We Canadians had our election yesterday, and I can't help but feel as though the country voted as some sort of organic entity. In my mind, if there's any such thing as a Canadian consensus, it's that it's time for a change in government but that we're also pretty wary of this Conservative party and its leader.
And so, we have got our change and also given Mr Harper and the Conservatives a chance to prove themselves. But we have withheld our permission for them to get all carried away with radical ideology and handle too flippantly the reigns of power.
I didn't vote for him, but my riding did. We live in rural and Conservative riding just outside of the capital. Heck, we're almost Conservative enough to blend in with the Albertans. (Please don't throw flames; I like you very much. I have even been known to wear cowboy boots if you'll recall.)
Why are many Ontarions so hesitant to give the Conservatives a mandate? It's partly because of our former premier, Mike Harris, who was a very belligerent and upsetting figure. He thrived on sowing discord and division, and many of us can neither forgive nor forget that. Somewhat naively, I voted for him the first time around, but I haven't voted Conservative since then.
So, Mr Harper, we have given you the opportunity to demonstrate that you have the best interests of everyone at heart. You have the chance to prove that you are fiscally responsible and not recklessly headstrong like Mr Harris who went as far as to borrow money to cut taxes, or that you are not as hapless as the country's last Conservative prime minister, Mr Mulroney, who could do absolutely nothing to stop running a huge deficit in each and every year of his two terms in power. You have the chance to prove that you can be pragmatically-driven and not solely ideologically-driven.
We want to trust you and to like you. We're like that in Canada. Although I have my misgivings, I sincerely hope that you do well, that you put our fears to rest, and that you prove to be an open-handed, open-hearted, and open-minded leader.