Better know a Canadian institution: the egg supply mangement boards

I’ve talked about the Canadian supply management system before – the mechanisms through which the Department of Agriculture controls the supply of certain farm products in Canada. One of those products is eggs; and Canada has not one, but two boards controlling the national egg market.

The Canadian Egg Marketing Agency (CEMA) was established in 1972. From the get-go, CEMA ran a side business of promoting eggs as a health food, starting its famous “Get Cracking” campaign in the mid-1970s. In 1996, the CEMA board of directors, which up to then had been composed solely of egg farmers, was expanded to include representatives of consumer groups and the wider poultry industry. Since 2008, CEMA has adopted the name of the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) as its corporate identity.

The chairs of CEMA/EFC have been:

John Hyde, 1972-74.
Phil Eldridge, 1974-75.
Leslie Worsdale, 1975.
John Hyde, 1975-76 (2nd time)(acting)
Jerry Pringle, 1976-78.
Murray McBride, 1978-79.
Harold Crossman, 1979-85.
Stan Steen, 1985-89.
Alex Craig, 1989-90.
Arthur Kenneth “Ken” Tjaden, 1990-94.
George McMillan, 1994-95 (acting)
Robert Murphy, 1995-96 (acting)
Félix Destrijker, 1996-2000.
Laurent Souligny, 2000-2011.
Peter Clarke, 2011-now.

The newest supply management board was founded as the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Marketing Agency (CBHEMA) in 1986. Unlike CEMA, which dealt with eggs for consumption, the CBHEMA only dealt with eggs that were intended to hatch into more chickens. It changed its name to the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers (CHEP) in 2007.

The chairs of CBHEMA/CHEP have been:

Ronald Drohomereski, 1986-93.
Vern Crawford, 1993-1995.
Ken Huttema, 1995-1996.
Martine Mercier, 1997-2001.
Ed De Jong, 2001-2007.
Gyslain Loyer, 2007-2011.
Jack Greydanus, 2011-now.


Better know a Canadian functionary: the Ambassador to Japan

Direct diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan began in 1929, when Canada sent an envoy to Japan and Japan opened an embassy in Ottawa. After the US and France, this was the third foreign legation opened by Canada outside of the British Commonwealth. The first Japanese ambassador to Canada was Prince Tokugawa Iemasa, the son of the direct heir to the last shogun of Japan.

Diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada were broken off right after Pearl Harbour. After World War II, Canada sent representatives to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was in effect ruling Japan as supreme commander of the Allied Forces occupying Japan. Thereafter, the Canadian representative became a full Ambassador in 1952. From 1964 to 1974, the Ambassador to Japan also served concurrently as the Ambassador to South Korea.

The Embassy of Canada in Japan is at 7-3-38 (i.e., building 38, block 3, chōme [sub-district] 7), Akasaka district, Minato City ward, Tokyo. In addition to the embassy in Tokyo, there are Canadian consulates in Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima, as well as trade offices in Osaka, Sapporo, and Kitakyushu.

The representatives of Canada to Japan have been:

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

The Hon. Sir Herbert Meredith Marler KCMG PC (1876-1940), 1929-36. A public notary from Montreal who studied law at McGill, Marler was the Liberal MP for St.Lawrence–St. George from 1921 to 1925 and Minister Without Portfolio in the Cabinet of Mackenzie King. During his time as Canadian Minister to Japan he considered himself the envoy to the whole of the Orient, and involved himself in affairs with China. He was knighted in 1935; then, Sir Herbert was then appointed Minister to the US in 1936, retiring from ill health three years later.

The Hon. Robert Randolph Bruce (1861-1942), 1936-38. Bruce was born in Scotland and studied engineering at the University of Glasgow before coming to British Columbia in 1897 to be a prospector, starting up a lead and silver mine in the Kootenays and getting stonking rich from mining and land speculation. He was then the Lieutenant-governor of British Columbia from 1926 to 1931. He ran for Parliament as a Liberal in the 1935 general election, but lost. He was then appointed as envoy to Tokyo, where he stayed for two years before quitting and retiring to Montreal.

Edgar D’Arcy McGreer (1898-1974), 1938-41. Born in Napanee, Ont., D’Arcy McGreer served in World War I and joined the Department of External Affairs in 1927, eventually being appointed to the Tokyo legation in 1936, taking over when R.R. Bruce left in 1938. After Pearl Harbour, it was McGreer who sent the telegram to W.L. Mackenzie King informing him that Japan had declared war on Canada. McGreer was returned to Canada in 1942 in a swap of diplomatic officials, and spent the rest of the war in Ottawa. He was later High Commissioner to South Africa, envoy to Denmark, envoy to Poland, Ambassador to Israel, and Ambassador to Greece.

Head of Mission to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers

Egerton Herbert Norman (1909-57), 1946-50. Herbert Norman was born and raised in Karuizawa, Japan, the son of Canadian Methodist missionaries. He studied at the University of Toronto and at Cambridge, then studied Japanese history at Harvard before joining the foreign service in 1939, almost immediately going to the Tokyo legation. He returned to Ottawa with D’Arcy McGreer in 1942; when the war ended in 1946, Norman was chosen to represent Canada to Douglas MacArthur’s occupying force in Japan. During his time there, Norman continued his scholarly interests in the country and wrote several works on Japanese history. By 1950 the US Department of State suspected Norman of having Communist sympathies, even possibly being a Soviet agent. He was shielded from these accusations by his longtime friend and superior, Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester Pearson. Norman was then appointed High Commissioner to New Zealand in 1953, then Ambassador to Egypt in 1956, where he was charged with organizing Canada’s role in the UN peacekeeping mission during the Suez Crisis. Unable to cope with being continuously dogged by accusations of Soviet espionage by the American government, Norman committed suicide in Cairo in April of 1957, leaping from an eighth-storey window at the Swedish embassy.

Arthur Redpath Menzies CM (1916-2010), 1950-52. Menzies was born to Canadian Presbyterian missionaries in Changde, in the Hunan province of southern China. His father, James Mellon Menzies, was a part-time archaeologist who made a study of “oracle bones”, bits of sheep bone and turtle shell etched with early examples of Chinese writing. Arthur Menzies graduated from high school in Kobe, Japan, then studied at U of T and Harvard. He joined the foreign service in 1940, soon thereafter marrying the daughter of Undersecretary for External Affairs O.D. Skelton. Menzies was in charge of the ministry’s Far Eastern department by 1945, then replaced Norman as head of mission to Tokyo in 1950. Menzies was later High Commissioner to Burma and the Malay States from 1958 to 1963 and High Commissioner to Australia from 1965 to 1972 before receiving his dream posting as Ambassador to China, serving from 1976 to 1980.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

The Hon. Robert Wellington Mayhew PC (1880-1971), 1952-54. Born in Cobden, Ont., Mayhew moved to Victoria, B.C., as a young man and founded a prosperous roofing-supply company. He was elected the Liberal MP for Victoria from 1937 to 1952, the last four years of which time he served as Minister of Fisheries. After leaving his post in Tokyo, Mayhew retired from public life.

The Hon. Thomas Clayton Davis (1889-1960), 1954-57. Davis was born in Prince Albert, Sask., and studied at Osgoode Hall Law School. He was mayor of Prince Albert from 1921 to 1924 and a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan from 1925 to 1939, in which position he convinced the federal government to found Prince Albert National Park. He was appointed to serve as a judge of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal from 1939 to 1948, although he did not actually serve on the bench from 1940 to 1948, as he was serving as the federal Deputy Minister of War Services from 1940 to 1943, then as High Commissioner to Australia from 1943 to 1946 and Ambassador to China from 1946 to 1949. He was then Ambassador to West Germany from 1949 to 1954 and Ambassador to Japan from 1954 to 1957; thereafter, he retired to Victoria.

William Frederick Bull (1904-?), 1957-62. Born in Weston, Ont., Fred Bull was an economic attaché to Washington during World War II. He became director of the Export Division of the Department of Trade and Commerce in 1945, then was Deputy Minister of Trade and Commerce from 1951 to 1957 before being appointed as Ambassador to Japan. Bull was later Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1963 to 1968.

Richard Plant Bower (1905-96), 1962-66. Bower was born in Kansas City, Mo., and moved to Canada to study at the University of Manitoba. He joined the foreign service in 1926 and was sent as a trade commissioner to the Netherlands. He served as Ambassador to Venezuela from 1954 to 1958 and Ambassador to Argentina from 1958 to 1962, serving concurrently as ambassador to Paraguay and Uruguay from 1961 to 1962. During his time as Ambassador to Japan, Bower was concurrently named Canada’s first Ambassador to South Korea in 1964. Bower was later Ambassador to West Germany from 1966 to 1970.

Herbert Owen Moran MBE (1908-2002), 1966-72. Herb Moran was born in Waterloo, studied at Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in Ontario in 1935. He joined the Army as an officer in 1940 and left it in 1946 with the rank of Colonel, immediately joining the foreign service. He was Ambassador to Turkey from 1952 to 1957 and High Commissioner to Pakistan from 1957 to 1960. He returned to Ottawa in 1960 and served as director-general of the External Aid Office for six years, until his posting to Tokyo in 1966. Moran retired from public service in 1972.

Ross Campbell OC DSC (1918-2007), 1972-75. Campbell studied law at U of T and served in the Navy in World War II, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, and retired as a lieutenant-commander. He joined External Affairs shortly after the war and was appointed as Ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1964 to 1967; he was concurrently appointed as Canada’s first Ambassador to Algeria in 1965. From 1967 to 1972 Campbell was Ambassador to NATO. Campbell left the diplomatic service after finishing his posting in Tokyo in 1975; he then served as Chairman of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. From 1975 to 1980.

Bruce Irving Rankin OC (1918-86), 1976-81. Rankin was born in Brandon, Man., and studied at the University of Alberta. He served in the Navy in World War II, retiring as a lieutenant-commander. He joined the diplomatic corps in 1945 and was posted as a commercial secretary in Shanghai, fleeing aboard a British vessel breaking the Nationalist blockade of the port when the Communists took the city in 1949. He then served in various posts until serving as ambassador to Venezuela and the Dominican Republic from 1964 to 1970 and Consul-General in New York City from 1970 to 1976 before his appointment as Ambassador to Japan.

Ian Barry Connell Steers (1927-2011), 1981-89. Barry Steers was born in London, Ont., and studied at UWO. He joined the Trade Commissioner Service in 1956 and eventually became a diplomat, serving as Ambassador to Brazil from 1971 to 1976, then as the first Canadian Commissioner to Bermuda from 1976 to 1979. Steers retired to the private sector in 1990, drawing from a decade of experience in dealings with Japan, and was the first director of the Canadian Japan Society.

James Hutchings Taylor (1930-now), 1989-92. “Si” Taylor grew up in Hamilton and went to McMaster, then to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. He joined the diplomatic corps in 1953, serving as Ambassador to NATO from 1982 to 1985 and Undersecretary of State for External Affairs from 1985 to 1989. Taylor was later chancellor of McMaster University from 1992 to 1998.

Donald Wilfred Campbell (1940-now), 1993-97. Born in Drayton, Ont., Campbell attended the University of Waterloo and thereafter joined the diplomatic corps. He was Ambassador to South Korea from 1984 to 1985, and spent some time in charge of relations with the United States before being appointed as Deputy Minister of International Trade from 1989 to 1993. Returning from Japan in 1997, Campbell was made Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs until retiring to the private sector in 2000.

Leonard J. Edwards, 1997-2001. Len Edwards was born in Melfort, Sask., and joined the civil service in 1969. Edwards was Ambassador to South Korea from 1991 to 1994. After leaving Tokyo, Edwards was Deputy Minister of International Trade from 2001 to 2004, Deputy Minister of Agriculture from 2004 to 2007, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2010. His daughter is the singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards.

Robert G. Wright, 2001-05. Robert Wright went to McGill and joined the civil service in 1971; he served in various diplomatic and economic posts until his appointment as Deputy Minister of International Trade in 1995, then as Ambassador to Japan in 2001. He went on to serve as Ambassador to China from 2005 to 2009. His brothers, James Wright and David Wright, were also high-ranking Canadian diplomats.

Joseph Caron, 2005-08. Caron attended the University of Ottawa and joined the Trade Commissioner Service in 1972, serving in Saigon and Ankara before a long assignment in Tokyo. He spent most of the 1980s in private-sector dealings in the Far East, before working in Ottawa for the Department of Foreign Affairs in the 1990s, eventually serving as Ambassador to China from 2001 to 2005.

Jonathan T. Fried, 2008-12. Fried went to U of T and Columbia University. He was principal counsel to the Canadian government for NAFTA negotiations from 1991 to 1993, and served as chair of the OAS in 1996. Fried has been Canada’s Ambassador to the WTO since 2012.

Mackenzie Clugston (1950-now), 2012-now. Clugston was born in Kobe, Japan. He went to Trent and Queen’s and joined the foreign service in 1982, and was a diplomat in Japan from 1985 to 2009, then was Ambassador to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012.

Better know a Canadian functionary: officers of the Central Experimental Farm

Between its founding in 1886 and its reorganization in 1959, one of the major subdivisions of the federal Department of Agriculture was the Central Experimental Farm, which controlled the lion’s share of government scientific research before the establishment of the National Research Council, and for quite some time afterward as well.

Titles of chiefs of the specialist divisions in the Central Experimental Farm usually stuck to the form of “the Dominion Thing-the-guy-does”. We’ve already covered some of them: the Dominion Cerealist, the Dominion Dairy Commissioner, the Veterinary Director-General.

One of the oldest of these posts was that of the Dominion Botanist, created when John Macoun was appointed to the post as the Department’s plant expert in 1882. Macoun was replaced by James Fletcher, who was also made Dominion Entomologist. By 1952 it was renamed the Chief of Botany and Plant Pathology Division.

The Dominion Botanists were:

John Macoun, 1882-87.
James Fletcher, 1887-1908.
Hans Theo Gussow, 1908-45.
John Hubert Craigie, 1945-52.
W.F. Hanna, 1952-58.

After James Fletcher’s death in 1908, the office of Dominion Entomologist, an expert in insects, was separated from the Dominion Botanist. The Dominion Entomologist was renamed Chief of Entomological Division in 1950.

The Dominion Entomologists were:

James Fletcher, 1887-1908.
Charles Gordon Hewitt, 1909-20.
Arthur Gibson, 1920-24.
Henry Gordon Macgregor Crawford, 1924-50.
Robert Glen, 1950-57.
Beverly Northcott Smallman, 1957-59.

One of the major divisional chiefs had been the Dominion Chemist, the head of all the chemical research laboratories.

The Dominion Chemists were:

Frank Thomas Schutt CBE, 1887-1933.
Clifford H. Robinson, 1933-49.
James C. Woodward, 1949-55.
A.R.G. Emslie, 1955-59.

The office of Dominion Horticulturalist was split from the Dominion Botanist in 1910. Its specialty was in flowers, shrubs and other decorative plants.

The Dominion Horticulturalists were:

William Tyrrell Macoun, 1910-33.
Malcolm Bancroft Davis, 1933-55.
Hinson Hill, 1955-59.

The office of Dominion Agrostologist, also known as Chief of the Forage Division, was split from the Dominion Botanist in 1912. Its job was similar to that of the Dominion Cerealist, except that the Agrostologist focused more on legumes and grasses grown for feeding livestock. The Dominion Agrostologist was changed to the Head of Grass, Legume and Pasture Research Unit in 1957.

The Dominion Agrostologists were:

Malte Oscar Malte, 1912-21.
G.P. McRostie, 1922-30.
Lawrence Eldred Kirk OC, 1931-38.
Trueman M. Stevenson, 1938-57.
J.E. Ross Greenshields, 1957-59.

The Dominion Apiarist (also sometimes referred to as the Dominion Apiculturalist) was split from the Dominion Entomologist in 1914. The Dominion Apiarist studied bees, both for improving honey production and to improve methods of pollination.

The Dominion Apiarists were:

Frederick William Lambert Sladen, 1914-21.
Charles B. Gooderham, 1921-49.
C.A. Jamieson, 1949-58.

The Trudeau Cabinet

At the last major Cabinet shuffle, I took a look at how the position titles had changed. I thought I’d take a look at the changes Justin Trudeau made to Cabinet, because there are some doozies.

First, there are no Ministers of State and no Secretaries of State. Either you’re a full Minister or you’re nothing.

Second, there’s no Deputy Prime Minister. Most people were expecting Trudeau to return to Liberal form and appoint one, probably Ralph Goodale, but he didn’t.

There seems to be no President of the Privy Council; an almost meaningless title, to be sure, but one that’s gone unfilled for the first time since 1867. (EDIT: According to the Hill Times, Minister of Democratic Institutions Marilyn Monsef was made President of the Privy Council. Still, the fact the appointment wasn’t mentioned at the inauguration is a visible break with tradition, putting the title on par with Navdeep Bains becoming Registrar-General of Canada or Judy Foote becoming the Receiver-General of Canada.)

The Chief Government Whip wasn’t given a Cabinet seat, but Trudeau won’t need one for at least another month until the House sits again in December.

The regional economic development agencies have been mushed together with the Minister of Industry to form the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Confusingly, there is also a Minister of Science; they must split their science duties by whether it’s pure or applied science.

Employment was split off of the Minister of Employment and Social Development to merge with Labour and form the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Social Development has mutated into the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

A number of ministries were renamed in such a way that their names now include a redundant extra word that the department was already covering, but the government really wants you to know that they’re doing something about it. These positions are the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; the Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was renamed Indigenous and Northern Affairs, which means the departmental acronym will revert to the catchy “INAC” instead of the unpronounceable “AANDC”.

Public Works and Government Services was renamed Public Services and Procurement.

The Minister of Democratic Reform was renamed the Minister of Democratic Institutions. (Trudeau must not love that word REFOOORM.)

Intergovernmental Affairs and Infrastructure & Communities has been split into two cabinet posts. The Prime minister will be his own Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, much like most of the premiers in the provincial cabinets.

There is no more Minister of State for Seniors, but there is a new Minister of Youth.

Trudeau also dropped portfolios for Multiculturalism, Official Languages, and Consular Affairs, and added a Minister for Persons with Disabilities.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chief of Protocol of Canada

The Chief of Protocol of Canada is a senior official at Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs) (formerly the Department of External Affairs).

It is his or her job to keep straight a confusing mishmash of levels of seniority, forms of address and details of etiquette for every country, culture and religion the Canadian government may have to deal with so that our ambassadors don’t shame the nation by wearing the wrong socks or burping into the soup or referring to a chieftain as “Your Fancifulness” when he should be called “Your Most Irresistible” or something like that.

The government’s need for someone to handle protocol began when the Department of External Affairs was founded in 1909. The subject was handled ably by the deputy minister, Sir Joseph Pope, for whom this sort of nitpicking was a hobby. When Sir Joseph retired in 1925, the responsibility nominally passed to his successor, Oscar Douglas Skelton, but in practice it went to an official named Howard Measures, who had been the Department’s protocol expert since the waning years of Sir Joseph’s tenure. Measures was eventually appointed as the first official Chief of Protocol in 1930.

The Chiefs of Protocol of Canada have been:

William Howard Measures, 1930-58.
Herbert Frederick Brooks-Hill “Temp” Feaver, 1958-61.
Henry Francis Davis, 1961-65.
Christopher Campbell Eberts, 1966-69.
Norman Frederick Henderson Berlis, 1969-72.
E. Benjamin Rogers, 1972-75.
James Barker, 1975-78.
André Couvrette, 1978-81.
L.H. Amyot, 1981-83.
Georges-Henri Blouin, 1983-86.
Théodore Jean Arcand, 1986-89.
Pierrette Lucas, 1989-92.
Lawrence David Lederman, 1993-97.
Alain Dudoit, 1997-2000.
Richard Kohler, 2000-2003.
Robert Collette, 2003-05.
Malcolm McKechnie, 2005-07.
Robert William Peck, 2007-10.
Margaret Huber, 2010-13.
Angela Bogdan, 2013-now.

Election Post-Mortem 2015

Now that the dust has settled, and all the obvious points have been made, I’d like to take a minute to dissect the federal election that happened on Monday.

In this election, 30 new seats were added to the House of Commons, totaling 338 seats. The Liberal Party gained 150 seats from the 2011 election, winning a majority government with 184 seats. The Conservatives had 99 seats, losing 60, and the NDP won 44, losing 51. The Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats, gaining 6, and the Green Party stayed steady with 1 seat.

To start, let’s look at the 3 third-place parties.

The sole Green seat was won by the party leader, Elizabeth May, who will likely hold her seat until she gets bored of Parliament or the people of Saanich and the Gulf Islands grow tired of her. The Green Party may pick up another seat in Parliament by adopting an MP thrown out of his or her party for discipline problems or possible malfeasance, as it has done twice before. Barring a miracle, there are few signs that it will ever elect a large number of MPs.

At first glance, the Bloc winning 2 1/2 times as many seats would be a troubling reversal of its march to extinction. But there are three points that indicate otherwise: (1) the popular vote for the Bloc went down by about 70,000, from 889,000 votes in 2011 to 818,000 in 2015; (2) they still fell short of the 12 seats needed for official parliamentary party status, denying them a large amount of funding, which, combined with the abolition of the per-vote subsidy, continues to starve the party of resources; and (3) Gilles Duceppe, the only strong leader the Bloc has had in nearly 20 years, was again defeated in his riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie by the NDP’s Hélène Laverdière (for which she truly is an unsung heroine in the pantheon of great federalists), and then Duceppe again resigned as leader, which means that the Bloc will go through another round of leadership races, intrigue, retribution, infighting, defections, and general destruction of morale.

A lot of attention has been paid to the implosion of the New Democrats. From a first-place seat in the polls in August it plunged into an abysmal showing: its Maritime caucus was wiped out completely, as was its caucus in the GTA outside of central Hamilton. Most damning of all, it went from 59 seats in Quebec to a mere 16. (The Tories, by contrast, went from winning 5 seats in Quebec in 2011 to 12 seats this time.) Party stars and stalwarts like Megan Leslie, Peter Stoffer, Peggy Nash, Pat Martin, Dennis Bevington, Wayne Marston, Andrew Cash, Paul Dewar and Nycole Turmel had the rug seemingly pulled out from underneath them. And so far, Thomas Mulcair has not resigned as leader, which is usually expected when a party is beaten like this.

(Meanwhile, oddly, several of the most egregious “paper candidates” that were elected almost by accident in Quebec in 2011 survived: Pierre-Luc Dusseault, elected as MP for Sherbrooke at the age of 19, was returned to his seat; as was Berthier–Maskinongé’s Ruth Ellen Brosseau, the barmaid at Carleton University who never set foot in her riding before 2011 and spent a week of her first campaign in Las Vegas; as was Matthew Dubé of Beloeil–Chambly, a member of the “McGill Four”, a quartet of twentysomething undergrads elected around Montreal. The other three – Lauren Liu, Charmaine Borg, and Mylène Freeman – were defeated.)

But here’s the thing: this election was the second-best showing in NDP history. Before the Orange Crush of 2011, the best the NDP had ever done was 43 seats under Ed Broadbent in 1988. Thomas Mulcair deserves some credit for keeping the lightning-in-a-bottle charisma of Jack Layton from evaporating completely, and it may just be that going forward, though it may stay in 3rd place, the NDP will be able to consistently raise caucuses of 30 to 50 members, rather than the 10 to 30 members it was used to mustering before Jack.

And now the big two, and the questions everyone is asking: How did Trudeau do it? And how didn’t Harper?

For Harper, appropriately, I think a Bible verse sums it up, from Proverbs 16: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Harper, though he may have kept the country out of disaster, had been in charge for 9 years, and history has shown that serving any more than 9 or 10 years is reserved for only the most exceptional of our prime ministers: it has only ever been accomplished by Macdonald, Laurier, King, and Trudeau the Elder. It has to be admitted that Harper, crafty statesman though he is, is not quite of that caliber. Harper believed his presence was necessary for the salvation of Canada. In the public’s eyes, he had done nothing of great enough importance to overcome all the little things that turned people off. It was the natural time for him to go, and if he would not go himself, the nation would send him away. Other than a general enmity with the man himself, and a mounting nebulous sense of xenophobia emanating from so much niqab talk, the Conservatives didn’t seem to be any more hated than they usually are. Perhaps the Conservative platform, had it not had Harper attached to it, could have won at least a minority government: the Globe and Mail seemed to think so. And we’ll find out if it can in about 4 years.

Trudeau’s appeal, conversely, can be summed up with a different line from Proverbs 16: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Trudeau was all peaches and light throughout the campaign, always sticking to the central theme that the Liberals would not merely work to stave off disaster, but actively try to make the country a better place. It looked even more positive when contrasted against the Conservatives, who spent an awful lot of time talking about what a disaster the other parties would be. And Trudeau had one big thing that Harper could not have: potential.

Whoever was going to win this election was going to face an uphill battle: commodity prices are down, housing prices out of control, student debt is untamed, mechanization and outsourcing eating into the job market, the Navy is a mess, the post office in crisis, railways in decline, roads and bridges crumbling, airfare costs too much, phone and Internet service giving poor value for money, veterans slighted, indigenous persons aggrieved, long-term theoretical science research ignored for short-term industrial concerns. Trudeau may not have a mind big enough to solve these problems, but as long as he’s got a good heart and enough sense to listen to people who know what they’re talking about, one of Canada’s greatest gambles just might see some payoff.