Canada got a new Prime Minister today. Just 16 days after Canadians voted decisively for real change, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister at Rideau Hall this morning. While not everyone is happy about this (but honestly no government will ever please everyone), I am excited for the change. I think that the gender equal cabinet (there are 15 female cabinet ministers – the largest percentage of women ever) that is also the most diverse cabinet ever is going to ultimately be a good thing. It’s not like cabinets in recent memory have ever been about putting only the most qualified people into the portfolio that most suited them. There has always been an element of regional parity in cabinet making which already hampers the “best person for every position” philosophy, and I don’t think that any of the 14 women chosen weren’t qualified for their portfolio (besides, the only portfolio that you really need prior qualifications for is Finance IMHO).
It has been said that Canadians don’t vote a government in, they vote one out – which I think is true. We’re a multiparty country that vacillates between two governing parties in cycles ranging between 8-12 years. Part of me, the political idealist who is mostly hidden, wants to think that this election wasn’t just about voting out a leader who had overstayed his welcome, it was about something much bigger – possibility.
The possibility of a different direction for the country. One open and honest and accessible to everyone. My amazing friend, (I still can’t believe I’m her friend… I feel like she’s going to wake up and realize I’m nowhere near cool enough to be her friend) Amanda, wrote a heartwrenchingly honest letter to our new Prime Minister asking him to keep his promise to make transgender rights a priority. I feel like if anyone is going to be able to help Alexis grow up in a country that affords her the protection and respect she deserves, it is Mr. Trudeau. And if he doesn’t follow through on this promise, I will be right there with Amanda and all the other allies protesting and holding him accountable.
Already there has been change. Today’s swearing in ceremony was different from any other one in Canadian history – with the public being invited to the grounds of Rideau Hall and with Mr. Trudeau going out and mingling with the crowd. Another amazing woman I know, Amy Boughner, was fortunate enough to be able to go and she got to meet the new Prime Minister and get this picture of him when he was out meeting with the people who came out to witness this historic event.
I was trying to decide what my Word Wednesday word was going to be, and flipped on the television coverage of the ceremonies, and the words “hope”, “change”, and “new beginning” kept coming up. I think the perfect word to encapsulate the feeling from today is possibility. So that’s my choice for Word Wednesday on this gorgeous November day. Possibility. It’s a word that has positive connotations, and I think it’s a great thing to have positive thoughts at the swearing-in of a new cabinet.
Possibility is another word with Latin roots (I always come back to the Latin roots), coming from Latin to French to English – a fairly straightforward etymological progression. The Latin root word is possibilis meaning “able to be done”, which inspired the Old French word possibilite, from whence (yes, I’m aware that “from whence” is redundant, and I’m going with it anyway because it’s less awkward and Shakespeare used it) we get the English word possibility. Possibility – it even sounds positive, and full of hope and opportunity.
Possibility (pos·si·bil·i·ty ) noun
- A thing that may happen or be the case.
- The state or fact of being likely or possible; likelihood.
- A thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives
- Unspecified qualities of a promising nature; potential.
So there’s a definite possibility that next week’s Word Wednesday post will have something to do with the word whence, because it’s awesome and makes me happy, and there’s an air of possibility in the new government that took office today.