The global media went agog following the outcome of the Canadian federal election (the 42nd Canadian general election) that was held on October 19, 2015. The headlines were intriguing. Congrats to Justin Trudeau who emerged as the (new) Prime Minister of Canada.
Unfortunately, I did not follow the pre-election events that led to the Canadian general election. However, with the rhythm of the narratives that emanated from the recently concluded Canadian general election, particularly from the global media, it will be really difficult for one to ignore the lessons that are inherent therefrom for developing countries, like Nigeria, who are still nurturing their democratic institutions, to learn from.
In my view, Justin Trudeau did not only win in an outstanding victory, as the election results revealed, he also put his name down in the sand of Canadian history. He made history as the man who led his centrist Liberals from the third position in the campaign polls to victory in the general election with the majority win of 184 seats out of the 338 seats in the parliament, which is approximately 40% of the popular vote.
He also made history as the man who neutralized the jinx that has put the Liberal party in opposition for nearly a decade. Justin Trudeau needed only 170 seats to win the majority, but he strikingly added extra 14 seats to that, against the 99 seats won by the incumbent. The victory signals a massive turnaround from the status quo.
Justin Trudeau did not win over the incumbent because he is the son of Pierre Trudeau, the former Prime Minister who led Canada from 1968 – 1984, rather he won because Canadians wanted real change and they voted for the real change which they saw in Justin Trudeau. The victory of Justine Trudeau over the incumbent was a clear narrative that Canadians wanted a younger mind to run the affairs of government and deal with critical policy issues that confront Canadian economy. This narrative is fast spreading across the globe, and it is believed that young generation will change the world. But this narrative seems to be elusive in many developing countries, particularly African countries. Nigeria is a typical example!
Nigeria’s historical experiences, which are similar to other developing African countries, have shown that old generations of politicians do not want to leave the political arena for the young generations, even though they (old generations) started holding political positions at a very young age.
For me, the victory of Justin Trudeau at the election was partly because of the Liberal party’s policy vision, but mainly because of his personal positive vision and commitment to the party’s vision. He believed in the power of positive politics, as he said clearly in his public address after his victory. His victory was in no doubt a clear sign of what positive politics and a young person with vision could do.
Sadly, the young generations tend, out of frustration, to surrender to the sterile notion of the old generations that they (young generations) are not yet ready for takeover of political positions. All that the young generations need is a platform within the political party to assume political leadership positions. The old generations have deprived the young generations of this platform. Rather the young generations are exploited and used as tools to win elections!