OUR VIEW: Voters lined up for change

Canadians wanted change. That’s the clear message out of the Oct. 19 federal election.

Canadians wanted change.

That’s the clear message out of the Oct. 19 federal election, after the Liberal Party swept to a majority government, unseating the Conservatives in what has been described — even by Liberals themselves — as an unexpected majority.

As of the News Review’s press deadline Monday night, the Liberals were elected or leading in 186 ridings across Canada, nabbing around 39 per cent of the popular vote. All results are unofficial, but it seems the so-called Red Wave has made its presence felt.

While the new Liberal government was cordially welcomed by candidates in Saanich-Gulf Islands, there was some resentment that strategic voting — voting for a particular party for the sole purpose of changing government — cost the other parties and their candidates a chance at a voice in Ottawa.

Elizabeth May retained her riding here — by an overwhelming majority — but she is the lone Green MP. The party itself seems to have lost ground, taking only an estimated 3.5 per cent of the popular vote, nation-wide. The popular MP will have a lot of work to do and hopefully she can keep up the pace she set over the last four years. The question out there now will be: can the Green Party gain any ground, other than in isolated pockets, such as Saanich-Gulf Islands?

Alicia Cormier of the NDP in this riding also blamed strategic voting for her fourth place finish in the polls. However, this riding has traditionally been a Conservative stronghold, with May breaking that pattern in 2011. In the past, it was always the Liberals in second or third, as the right-of-centre won the day. So, the NDP’s finish isn’t all that surprising in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Only Tim Kane, the Liberal candidate here, did not talk about strategic voting. Why not? His party was the winner out of that battle. Why bite the hand that feeds?

Congratulations to all the candidates in Saanich-Gulf Islands for a (mostly) clean race. Change is afoot across the country.