EDITORIAL: New approach to leadership signalled

On Monday, voters across Canada dealt Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party a stinging rebuke .

On Monday, voters across Canada dealt Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party a stinging rebuke and handed Justin Trudeau’s Liberals the mandate to govern with a majority.

Even in this riding, long a stronghold for the Conservatives, more than half of those who cast ballots did so for other parties.

But while the Liberals now control the levers in Ottawa, they should draw several lessons from the election that put them there.

With the Conservatives in power, the country was not, despite the cries of some, going down the tubes.

The economy has generally been stable,  crime continues to fall, and the rights of law-abiding individuals continue to be enshrined in law.

The government can claim only partial credit for some of those, but nonetheless, Canada ranks well on an international scale.

The fact that the government was defeated in such a manner in spite of those strong fundamentals suggests Canadians had grown tired with how the Conservatives went about their business.

And the Liberals must heed that cautionary note.

They will face plenty of challenges over the next four years, and have already laid out an ambitious agenda.

They must keep the economy running, while helping those who need a hand. They have promised to run a deficit in order to increase infrastructure spending, but must keep the debt in check so as not to cripple future generations. And they have to balance the need to protect Canadians with the rights of citizens.

But that isn’t enough, voters have said.

They must govern in a manner that prizes openness over secrecy, and inclusiveness over division.

Trudeau has spoken about such principles. But now it’s time for him to make good on his promises.