Monday, January 23, 2006

Meet the New Boss...

The election results are rolling in, and we will have a new prime minister of Canada. Stephen Harper's Conservatives will have a minority government, although with a slimmer margin than recent polls might have indicated. This is about the result I foresaw a couple of months ago when the Liberals were leading in the polls and even Conservative commentators were fearing doom for their party (and the country), so I'd like to consider myself an official pundit now.

Above all, it was another great day in the exercise of democracy. It's always a thrill for me to cast a ballot, and not something I take for granted. I like our no-frills method of voting - take a paper ballot and a pencil, mark an X, fold the ballot and slip it in the box. No hanging chads, no computer glitches, no counting of ballots by secret programming code. I voted for my NDP candidate in Don Valley West, who finished a distant third, but I'm proud to have contributed that extra $1.45 in federal funding to the party for the next election.

So who were the winners and losers? That question is usually based on expectations. The Tories probably expected a stronger result, but at the end of the day they won the election and will form the new government, so they are big winners. The NDP look like they'll pick up about a dozen seats in Parliament - again, not as many as they would have hoped considering the collapsing Liberal support, but still a good result for a party that wants to consider itself on the rise. The Liberals lost, but weren't blown out of the water. Hopefully they'll soon have a new leader (UPDATE: Paul Martin has announced in his concession speech that he will be stepping down as Liberal leader), and won't be as far into the wilderness as their supporters feared. So the biggest loser of the night was the Bloc Quebecois, who only pulled in about 42% in Quebec and lost seats. The rise of the Tories in Quebec as another federalist alternative might have taken some steam out of the separatist engine, so that's one of the silver linings of this election.

Let us hope that the Conservatives' minority position will force them to govern in the centre and work with the progressive federalist opposition and not sell their souls to the Bloc. I wish our new prime minister well, as country must always trump party. I don't think the sky will fall because of this election result, but we must not take our eyes off the ball. And let us hope we can one day conduct elections based on values and ideas rather than ethics and corruption.


Anonymous mustardman said...

Jay. I agree with you completely.

Like you, I also voted NDP... in Mississauga, where they're really out in the wilderness.

But I'm hoping that with 29 seats, Layton can hold Harper in check. No regressive policies on same-sex or Kyoto in Harper's first term.

My only worry is that if Harper governs from the middle this time, Canadians might get the mistaken opinion that he's a moderate. Then, they'll give him a majority next time, and a clean slate to wipe out our social safety net.

The only saving grace would be a strong, new Liberal leader. Let's hope the Grits get their act together soon.

PS: I think Brian Tobin would be a good leader for them. Perhaps you could do leadership hopefuls in a future blog.

1/25/2006 11:05:00 a.m.  
Blogger NorthBayTrapper said...

As a conservative I would love to see Brian Tobin....or maybe "no abortion in New Brunswick on my watch" McKenna, or "if it's under 50 amps it's not torture" Ignatieff, or "alienate myself from 80% of the party with my newspaper column" Copps, or "I make Stephen Harper look like Sam Kinison I'm so boring" Ken Drydan, perhaps "Extra cheese, pepperoni and a scotch" Volpe...
I fear that the well is dry over at Liberal HQ.
And finally, I disagree with you Jay and believe that this election was won on ideas. If you choose to pidgeon-hole the victory as a blip on the corruption radar you will be sorely mistaken. The Conservatives won because they won over everyone who doesn't live in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver (they are real people too ya know). The Liberals avoided extermination by playing the rhetoric card which come next election will be proven to be bogus. I think Liberals (Dippers too) are going to come to the unfortunate reality that they are not the mainstream, nor the centre. The truth is gonna hurt but it has to be done.

1/28/2006 03:22:00 p.m.  
Blogger Jaymeister said...

I think Liberals (Dippers too) are going to come to the unfortunate reality that they are not the mainstream, nor the centre.

Sorry, NBT, but the numbers just don't bear that out. The Conservatives won 36% of the popular vote, so roughly 64% of the people voted for parties to their Left. Furthermore, the Conservatives' increase from 2004 was about 6%, and you'd have to concede that part of that had to do with Liberal corruption and scandal. So the actual "ideas" increase was really negligible. If you want to talk about the rediustribution of Conservative support, that's another matter, but the raw numbers don't indicate a seismic shift to the Right. Like it or not, the average Canadian is closer to the values of the CBC than those of Small Dead Animals.

1/29/2006 08:27:00 p.m.  

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