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Analysis & Commentary

Olga Safroshkina

This night was my Super Bowl
1 a.m., June 29, 2004

Olga Safroshkina
Olga Safroshkina  

I guess in a way this night was my Super Bowl, with the scores moving back and forth, excitement and fear for the party I had chosen to lead Canada after this election.

The party I voted for, the Liberal Party of Canada, did better than I or any of the pollsters had predicted; even though they didn’t win a majority government, they managed to take almost 140 seats.

I see the final numbers as a huge victory for a party that has been battling to stay afloat for some time, defending its image, trying not to distance itself too far from the sponsorship scandal or the gun registry fiasco but, as Paul Martin said, trying to identify the problems with them and find those responsible for their failings.

In the last five weeks, I was asked numerous times: Why on earth would anyone want to support the Liberals, or even want to be associated with the party that became famous for wasting taxpayers’ money? Yes, as a new Canadian citizen I am angry with the way my money was spent. I will watch Paul Martin closely to see if he will fulfill his promise to get to the bottom of this ridiculous spending. I want to know the truth as much as the rest of Canada.

So why did I put the sponsorship scandal behind and vote Liberal?

Simply because I want to live in a country that supports peacekeeping missions and doesn’t invade other countries for selfish reasons.

I want to live in a country that respects people’s rights and their freedom of speech, welcomes different cultures, and has a government that is ready to take responsibility when things go wrong.

For too long, I lived in a country that didn’t have any of the above and I will always remember what it’s like when your close friends are being persecuted because they are Jews or, God forbid, don’t believe in Marxist-Leninist doctrine.

I consider myself a very fortunate person to be living in Canada, where for the first time in my life, I’ve experienced tolerance I never thought existed.

Just look at the election: The race was tight and aggressive yet peaceful. Parties and candidates had equal chances to share their views on questions important to Canadians - and that’s what matters to me.

Even though the Liberal Party of Canada didn’t win the majority government I was hoping for, I am still proud of its accomplishment. I do have a lot of trust in Paul Martin, who knew very well that he was playing with fire when he called the election but went ahead anyway and then spent five weeks listening to what Canadians had to say.

Tonight’s number of 136 seats, at last count, just tells me that there are many people living in Canada who, despite the controversies, see their home as a peaceful nation, full of respect for different cultures, religions and opinions. They are ready to give the Liberal Party of Canada one more chance.

As for me, I will be watching the party I voted for very closely; there will always be another election.

Past Columns

Olga Safroshkina came to Canada from Ukraine in 1998, after working for seven years as a television journalist at ORT and NTV, the largest TV companies in the former U.S.S.R. She now works at the Women in Media Foundation in Winnipeg. She also acts as a translator for the Welcome Place in Winnipeg, and occasionally translates for the Immigration and Refugee Board. Olga became a Canadian citizen last July.

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A Look Back

Governing by minority  Governing by minority more »

Campaign Watch

Dennis Trudeau  A view on the election from Dennis Trudeau. more »

Religion and Politics  Keep track of the campaign with Olga Safroshkina. more »
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