The popular vote numbers are not available yet, so much of what I might have to say is on hold.
I have to say that I found the election results disappointing in a lot of ways. I don’t really mourn the Liberals at all. They essentially got what they deserved and will now have to begin what hopefully will be an invigorating rebuilding process. They need to rebuild themselves as a viable, centralist party.
I think that the surge by the NDP will make for an interesting session of Parliament, but, unfortunately may not be enough to prevent the rabid conservatism which may arise from such a strong Conservative victory.
What concerns and disappoints me are the following:
1. I was a scrutineer in my riding, so I saw first hand, as ballots were counted, the way that Bev Oda basically crushed the opposing candidates. This is the Bev Oda who misrepresented information to Parliament and then tried (pathetically) to cover it up. I have to assume that the voters who overwhelmingly voted for her either don`t care about her abuse of power or don`t understand it. The same can be said for the Conservative win in general.
I was surprised by the article in this week`s McLeans, where Andrew Coyne, a staunch Conservative supporter, declared that he was unable to vote for the Conservative party because of their repeated disrespect for the democratic process. Obviously, the large number of voters who enabled the Conservatives yesterday do not feel the same way. This is troubling, as it sends a message, not just to the Conservative Party, but to politicians in general, that the Canadian people are very tolerant about the abuses of power and the questionable integrity within a government. My fear is always that we may end up with the circus that passes for democracy south of the border, and I truly fear that we have brought ourselves one step closer to that.
2. I saw in the polls an optimistic sign that Canadians were ready to redefine themselves politically as a more left wing and progressive society, moving beyond reactionary conservatism, basically putting the fundamentalists in their place. Even with the NDP surge, which does count for something, somehow the poll numbers did not translate into seats. That`s why I want to see the popular vote figures. Were the polls wrong. Do 60% of voters not support one of the more left wing parties. If they do, and the Conservatives still won a majority, then there is something wrong with our electoral system. If 36% of voters can muster 55% of the seats, then we do not have a government in power that represents the people.
3. This was definitely the election where the Liberals were a deciding factor, -not from their supporters but rather from the crowds which fled the party. There is no doubt that either the Liberal campaign or policies or (more likely) leadership just resonated horribly with the voters. As a result, many Liberal voters evacuated the sinking ship, some going to the NDP, but many others unwilling to bend their convictions so far to the left and as a result moving to their perception of a more moderate and centralist Conservative Party. I would have no problem with that except that this is not a moderate Conservative Party. That was demonstrated clearly when it was a minority goverment and with the much more unfettered position of a majority, I fear for the future of the Canadian Identity, as this government tries to redefine it the way they successfully redefined the nature of our parliamentary system.
Conservatives tend to see any liberal fact as being automatically biased and any conservative fact as being the God given truth. As a result, there is a natural reluctance for conservatives to advocate freedom of speech. Hence, we shall see a further muzzling of CBC and any other media that they can manage to intimidate. We shall see a continuation of the distain for proper communication and transparency that we`ve come to expect. See the disappearance of the long form census (because who needs facts when you`re making decisions; faith and conviction work fine). And we will see an attack on the government payment support to election support for parties, because Conservatives know that big business and wealthy individuals can afford much bigger donation cheques to them than the Green Party or the NDP will probably ever be able to muster. It is not in the best interest of the Conservatives that there be a level playing field.
One can only hope that Jack Layton and the NDP are up to the challenge of being the watchdog for our personal freedoms and that the Conservatives don`t get around to redefining too much before we get another chance to vote. One can only hope that the Liberals can find an inspiring leader who can offer voters a centralist option so that they`re not faced with a decision of voting for the extreme left or the extreme right.
OK. Enough about the election. When the popular vote figures come out I`ll probably have something to say. However, I`m sure people are all a little fed up with this particular strand of blogging and I will endeavor to put some more varied content up.