Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Aftermath

Well, it's over. Good guys win. But what does it mean? Let's start with the Green party.

The first thing it means for the Greens is that the whole lot of them had better read up on the rules of the House. The most important thing, I think, would be how one gets time to talk in Question Period. Official parties get it. Parties with less than 12 members do not.  They have to ask the other opposition parties to give up some of their time.

So, all those issues the Greens feel are important are going to be afterthoughts. They can't move forward without the perks official party status conveys. They'll push proportional representation when they have the chance.  In the end, May won't be effective and won't get much help. 

The Bloc isn't finished, at least not yet. Quebec politics is a strange animal. Most of the population has no desire to leave confederation, but they keep electing Separatists. This time, they overwhelmingly elected Federalists.  Over the next year or so, we'll see if they'll even bother. That depends on how well the NDP represent their new powerbase.

Did the NDP win or did the Bloc lose? That's really what has to be asked. One thing that casual observers and hardcore pundits could agree on revolves around how poorly Duceppe performed in the debates. So, a tired party with nowhere to go was decimated. 4 years from now will tell the real story. In the House, they will be about as relevant as the Greens for the same reasons.

I don't know about anyone else, but I did not see the Liberal meltdown coming.  Certainly, the second largest story of this election was how it wasn't vote splitting that led to the CPC majority, but traditional Liberals abandoning their party in droves. How badly broken is that party?  Certainly not as bad as the Progressive Conservatives in 1993, but this defeat is historic.

When the next session begins, the Liberals will enter leaderless and directionless. A stable government is the best thing for them at this time.  Do they merge, change focus or blow the whole thing up? The old guard is gone. This provides an historic opportunity for the Natural Governing Party to learn why they failed.  The long time strategy of "Screw the West, we'll take the rest" no longer works.

The NDP did what now? I'm at a loss. I may be ideologically opposed to the NDP but their elevation to Official Opposition with the support of Quebec hopefully means that Quebec is "in". Federalism, hopefully, is alive and well.

Maintaining this historical level of support with people who were, to the best of my knowledge, placeholders for federal subsidies, will make for some entertaining shenanigans. All in all, I wish the NDP success simply because it can open dialogue with Quebec. Jack is in an interesting position reconciling what he said in Quebec and what he didn't say outside Quebec.

When you are leader of the Official Opposition, it's an interview to be the next PM. Now, there is pressure to perform on a different level.  Jack and company must move towards the centre. That kind of started during the campaign when the platform was examined. Reassurances were given that they weren't going to kill the recovery via crippling taxes. Our system of government naturally moderates, so don't expect too many crazy private members bills sponsored by the NDP.

Their next step should be planning for Sussex or at least solidifying gains. That's the rub. They appeal to a wide swath of the left.  That's not enough to win. That's what I'll be watching for. You can't appeal to the oil patch with a desire to cripple that industry. You can't run around in Quebec talking about re-opening the Constitution and not make an effort to do so. That's a hornet's nest in every other region.

What all this really means, though, is that the Conservative Party of Canada has returned to power. So, that means the Omnibus crime bill is getting passed. That means the budget is going through. That means, hopefully, that a serious look at how the Senate functions can finally begin. The per vote subsidy is going away.

We are looking at something different. I'm interested in seeing what happens now, because I've seen what happens when right wing parties gain majorities. It doesn't turn out well. So, I'll be keeping my eye on it.  There is an opportunity to consolidate power, but only if this power of majority is wielded with a steady hand.


I'll have a more personal reaction to this in the days to come, but for now it's fair to say that everything has changed. I hope it's for the better. Preliminary signs point to yes.

5 comments:

  1. Terence Corcoran has an article in today's National Post entitled "In Canada, We Have No Conservatives". Unfortunately, he is correct.

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  2. Maybe it was those workers whose job depends on a corporation voted against the liberals.

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  3. What I hope is that there is a shift towards letting province manage their responsibilities. If Quebec wants cheap day care and cheap tuition and more gov't pensions - pay for it yourself. The west is permanently fed up with being controlled by Ottawa.

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  4. Mini-Marx Layton got 5 a seat increase in the rest of Canada, probably because of the hype over Quebec.

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  5. >>I've seen what happens when right wing parties gain majorities. It doesn't turn out well.<<
    So true, as witness Bush II in the U.S. The last good example of successful right-wing governance was the Thatcher period.

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