EDITORIAL: Hope votes

Opportunity for change after Monday's federal election, locally and nation-wide.

Local voters went to bed Sunday unsure what the next day would bring.

For many, it brought hope.

Love or loathe the results of Monday’s federal election, the changes observed by the individual voter certainly bring opportunity.

Those who had sought change nationwide got it, though not necessarily as some desired; instead of a Conservative majority led by Stephen Harper, they got a Liberal majority led by Justin Trudeau.

Locally, in South Surrey-White Rock, instead of Conservative MP Russ Hiebert in a landslide (he won 54 per cent of the vote in 2011, out of a field of nine), voters got Conservative Dianne Watts in a nail-biter (she eked out 44 per cent of the vote, not far from her closest challenger, Liberal Judy Higginbotham, in a field of six candidates).

And in Surrey-Newton, instead of NDP incumbent Jinny Sims, voters got former Liberal incumbent Sukh Dhaliwal.

The rest of Surrey – including traditionally right-wing Cloverdale, as part of the new Cloverdale-Langley City riding –  went or remained Liberal.

Our hopes must be met with realism. While Harper may well have embarrassed himself politically and personally in the days leading up to the election – partying at a rally hosted by Toronto’s infamous Ford brothers Saturday evening was only the capper – Trudeau is by no means tested; and, if one listens solely to his detractors, there is reason to be concerned.

Conversely, while Hiebert has kept a low, unproductive profile for nearly all of his four terms in office, little more than a yes-man for Harper, Watts –  a proven force as onetime mayor of Surrey – was an entirely different candidate, a shadow of her former self, parroting a party line rather than speaking from the heart.

Not once did we hear Watts challenge conventional thinking. Not once did we hear her say what she, personally, would bring to the community, more than any other candidate that her party could have put forward.

Again, there is hope.

In Trudeau’s case, it is that his supporters paint a picture of a man with integrity.

In Watts’ case, we urge her to remember her days as mayor, but not the ones of her final terms in which her Surrey First party ruled without dissent.

Instead, we remind her of the past glory of her earliest days, when she wrested the mayor’s chair from established parties and had to team-build. She did so with a smile on her face, and it felt as though she was doing it for us.

Indeed, we have a great deal of hope. We only hope it is warranted.

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