Monday, May 2, 2011

Quite. A. Night.

So there it is. Canadians have finally spoken and #elxn 41 has provided results which offer up a lot of food for thought. The headlines are simple:

- the strong, stable Conservative majority that Mr. Harper sought;
- the rise of the NDP as the official opposition;
- the decimation of the Liberals; and
- the virtual elimination of the Bloc in Quebec.

But like so much in this campaign, the headlines only tell part of the story.

I am going to take a night to consider the results further, but there are some initial observations I would make.

1. The Harper majority would have been less likely had the NDP surge not occurred. The degree of vote splitting, particularly in Ontario, was decisive. In many, many ridings it took Jack to give Stephen what he wanted as many centrist Liberals went Conservative, presumably out of concern about the NDP.

2. What will Mr. Harper do? Expect to see over the next few years a continued erosion or scaling back in the role government plays in our everyday lives. Through tax cuts and a strong nod to provincial responsibilities, the ability of the federal government to act decisively has already been changed - this trend will continue.

3. What happens when the NDP wake up tomorrow? In their "break out" years, Reform or the Bloc each had about 50 neophyte MPs elected. The NDP have elected a sizeable number more. Are they ready to oppose? The good news, I guess, is that they will have 4 years to learn. It will be a steep learning curve for a party that is now effectively in the role of "government in waiting."

4. And what of the Liberals? Their base is eroded and public subsidies are not long for this country. As a result, their ability to re-build will be limited. This puts all questions on the table. Can they reassert themselves as a centrist party or are we now seeing the starting point for a re-alignment of the left?

5. And finally, Quebec. The virtual elimination of the Bloc has the potential to be a watershed moment in the province and in Canada. Quebec remains effectively "out of the government."

So, some random thoughts as we look into tomorrow and beyond. I will be writing more, but would welcome other's observations and commentary.

Above and beyond what I have mentioned above, #elxn41 has served as an important reminder about engagement. The engagement we began to see in this campaign needs to be sustained, nurtured and grown. We owe it to ourselves to take the time now and invest in our democracy and the role we play as informed participants within it.


  1. I am not surprised at all by the results, what a night!!

    First of all to me, is bittersweet, I hate seen Igniateff going down like that, he didn't deserved it, I knew it was going to happen, but I am aching I am feeling his pain, oh man sooo many mistakes were done and just the fact that the LPC would not listen, is frustrating boy, have they learned a lesson that might take decades to fix, is going to take a while, Harper is here to stay, I would bet 8 years more.

    The good thing about Ignatieff as a person, for the first time in his life he found his soul he has connected with the magnificence of being human, this humble experience has thought him such a valuable loving lesson, I think from within him and his gift of beautiful words he can bring his best work yet, Mario Vargas Llosa just won a Nobel Prize after been defeated under similar circumstances, for the first time in his life he unconditionally loves Canada, and that is great!

    I honestly wish him the best of luck, I wish he could have stayed as a leader a while longer and I should hope the LPC does not rush into any decisions yet, they need to take time to process everything.

    Harper will become one of the more consequential PM of Canada, top 5 perhaps even 3, he will shrink federal government and give more power to provinces, he will change canadian government 100% but for the better, and I am confident he will pull it off too, I know people is concerned they should not, I will get more about his strategy later and why it works, it quite fascinating.

    And Layton I think he open a window nobody saw coming (conservative party hoped for but I am sure they got huge surprise with Quebec and those numbers) if I was him I would try to figure out what to do in Quebec how to make it work apparently odds are not on his side but I beg to differ, no one should take him for granted. He can make a name for himself in big way, and make a one of a kind legacy.

    I am curious to see the next couple of months with a new government.

  2. THIS is why I don’t like Mondays. Harper and the Conservative ideology aside, what does it say about our democracy when we reward a government that refused to work within parliamentary rules? I’m no fan of Harper and I disagree with the Conservative approach on a lot of things, but I respect that for what it is, a difference of opinion. My opinion is this: if you truly feel that your vision for Canada is best and you believe the majority of Canadians will agree and support you, then have the confidence, and respect for rules, to advance your agenda in an open and honest way.

    I’ve long given up on trying to respect Mr. Harper and his team. He is what he is, it’s all there for anyone interested in looking to see. I’m saddened that Canadians don’t expect more from their politicians. Rewarding Harper with a majority speaks volumes to how badly democracy has eroded in this country. It goes back to your piece on complacency. In reality, how much damage could a contemptuous government cause in current day Canada? Probably not much, but it’s a dangerous precedent to be setting to not expect a higher standard from our leaders.


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