Last night I had the honour to be a "scrutineer" at a polling station near my house. When it came near time to count the votes a young supporter of the Conservatives came in and we had an opportunity to talk. His point of view was that there were no real big issues in the election - it was really only about tweaking. I, of course, disagreed, stating that there was at least one big issue - his boss.
He could not see it.
I think that the results bear out my view - that whatever the other issues were, they were either overshadowed, or stemmed from, Stephen Harper and his actions as a PM. In the lead up to this election I saw more people talking politics than ever before, and their level of engagement was far greater.
And "strategic voting" came to dominate my newsfeed, spurred by the niqab and other fear-filled issues that arose during the election. The result we saw yesterday was, I am convinced, at result of massive strategic voting across the country.
I could point to the polls, where the race was tight until the Liberals started to pull ahead and NDP support waned at an equal rate. Or I could point to the large number of youth who came out to vote - a constituency who traditionally votes left - because of what Harper has done. But that is not what convinces me that strategic voting won the day. It was my personal interactions with other citizens.
I was on the "sign team" for my local Green Party candidate. One of our first actions was to drop by the houses of people who supported the Green Party in the past. Easily half of these supporters - ones who had lawn signs in the past - stated that they would not be voting Green this election. Several stated outright that they would be voting strategically.
Further, while at the polls I had friends who saw me there apologetically state that their heart was Green, but they voted Liberal because they felt such a need to get rid of Harper. I was even approached by a Liberal campaign worker who stated that he has supported Green in the past, and would support Green in the future, but that he had to work to get rid of Harper as he was the biggest threat to his ideals.
So, Mr. Trudeau, congratulations on your victory. But do not make the mistake of assuming that the results reflect peoples support for you and your policies - they do not. You are a means to an end. If you wish to keep your support there are a multitude of things to do, from unmuzzling scientists to enacting electoral reform to bringing back Canada's reputation internationally.
Always keep in mind that your support is weak. You are not "Justin Trudeau." You are "Not Stephen Harper." Canada is watching you. The voters who swung to support you are watching you. And they can easily throw their support behind another "Not Stephen Harper."