A Majority Government For Canada

Last week, on Monday May 2nd, Canadians went to the polls to elect a new government.  There it is.  A matter-of-fact and rather bland sentence.  And for the people who read this article who are not a Canadian, I would imagine that this event probably did not mean much to them, and in fact, they may not even have known that we held an election.  After all, it was only a 37 day event.

But wait, there is much more going on than many non-Canadians may realize.  Read the following news article that shows just how stunning and historically monumental this election actually was.

“Canada rarely gets earthquakes but it felt a big temblor on May 2. When the rest of the world was glued to news about Osama bin Laden, Canadians voted in an election that shook up their political landscape.

On the surface, the election simply saw more of the same: Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who took office in 2006, will stay in power. But wait, much more happened below the crust:

1. For the first time in Canada’s history, the Liberals came in third place, with only 19 percent of the vote. The party of Pierre Trudeau, Lester Pearson, and Jean Chretien that so dominated politics for decades and defined Canadian identity fell from grace. The loss forced its leader, former Harvard academic Michael Ignatieff, to resign. (He even lost his own seat in Parliament).

2. Bloc Quebecois, the political party that long championed separation for Quebec province, also lost big time. Its seat count went from 47 seats to 4. This will alter one of Canada’s long-standing debates about its unity.

3. A party with socialist roots in the Great Recession, the New Democratic Party, essentially grabbed the left-of-center votes from the Liberals. It came in second with 31 percent. The NDP, long a small minority, is now the official opposition party for the first time in Canada’s history, with the charismatic Jack Layton at its helm. Many of its MPs are fresh faces, some of whom didn’t even campaign.

4. For Conservatives, their victory was sweet and historic. The party has not won a majority in Parliament in 23 years. Mr. Harper has had to rule over a minority government for the past five years, forming coalitions to get anything done.

(Article Written by Clayton Jones)

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Most Canadians knew that there was a lot riding on this election for everyone involved, the politicians and their political parties, and the people of Canada as a whole.  It was crucial for Stephen Harper to win a majority government, after having only managed a minority government in 2006 and 2008.

If he did not get the majority, then most likely he would be removed as the head of his party.  And even if they had a strong minority, many people feared the rumor that the other opposing parties would form a majority coalition and throw the country into total chaos.

Thankfully (my opinion, and that of 40% of all Canadians), Harper did get a majority victory.  And a strong statement in and of itself is that the leaders of the parties that won 2nd place and 3rd place in the 2008 elections did not even win in their own personal electoral riding, and their parties were almost decimated.  The very next morning, both of these powerful political leaders officially resigned.  What a stunning realignment for the political makeup of our country.

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And now I reflect on what Scripture may have to say about all this.  I must confess that as a Christian I have not always paid a lot of attention to general politics.  I do obey the laws of the land, and I pay my taxes.  But until this election, I did not do a whole lot more.  But the Bible tells us that the should be more mindful of the people who will be the leaders of our countries.

In Romans 12:1, God says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  And in verse 4 it says, “The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.”

Even more importantly, Paul urges us to offer up prayers not just for each other or people in general, but for the men and women who are our political leaders.  He says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”

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And so in light of the importance of this past week’s election, I know that many Christians were in prayer for a good outcome.  I was as well, and for the first time in my life, I contributed financially in hopes to help us gain a strong and stable government.  And one more unique thing for me and for my son Glen, we attended the political rally where Steven Harper came in and gave his victory speech.  (Glen is holding the ‘Harper’ sign by the reporter’s shoulder of this nationally televised event.)

It is my prayer now that all those who are now elected officials in the House of Commons for the people of Canada will heed the wishes of the people.  We crave a strong and stable government, but also one that will listen to what the opposition says, and will not forget the average Canadian citizen.  Most of all, I pray that the newly formed government will allow themselves to be used of God to be good servants for Him as they govern all the people of Canada.

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