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