Sitting in his basement living room with his iPhone, iPad and laptop close by, former Liberal candidate Darren Hill watched every second of Monday’s historic federal election leading up to a Justin Trudeau majority government.
“I was ecstatic,” Hill said, adding he saw the Liberal sweep of Atlantic Canada on the tail-end of an in-camera meeting at city hall; before heading home to see if the Liberal momentum continued west.
As Canadians all saw, the red tidal wave did continue inland.
Hill ran for the Liberal Party of Canada in 2011 in Saskatoon-Humboldt, coming in third behind Conservative winner Brad Trost and the NDP’s Denise Kouri. Hill currently serves as the city councillor in Ward 1.
After a decade of Stephen Harper, Hill said he woke up Tuesday with a renewed sense of optimism as he believes Trudeau, like previous Liberal governments, will work with municipalities on policy decision that effect cities.
“They’ve done that before with the creation of the federal gas tax in consultation with municipalities and I’m confident the Liberals will work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), which I am a board member of, to ensure they have the best go-forward procedure in working with municipalities,” Hill said.
The federal gas tax gives municipalities one cent for every litre of gas sold in the municipality, but it came with restrictions on where civic governments could spend it such as infrastructure and public transit initiatives.
Hill acknowledged the Conservative government indexed the gas tax to make sure it received an annual increase.
But what Hill is really happy about, is Trudeau’s promise to boost funding for city infrastructure including public transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure.
“I see some of our immediate potential wins with the transit component, the Liberals are going to quadruple the transit investment over 10 years and we are just embarking on our Bus-rapid-transit (BRT) system which has a significant price tag attached to it.”
With all but four seats in Saskatchewan and five seats in Alberta going to the Tories, Trudeau has a lot of work to do to win over the west. But the re-election of Ralph Goodale in Regina-Wascana means Saskatchewan will continue to have a strong Liberal voice, Hill said.
Hill said the strong shift in federal politics highlights a larger picture, one where Canadians chose to ignore attack ads, and voted for the party they thought would work harder for them.
“They are tired of the attack ads and ridiculousness of some strategies and Trudeau spoke to this … at the end of the day people want to know that you’re going to work hard for them and that’s who they are going to vote in,” he said.