Sea change. With our 41st Canadian federal election history, Canadians have chosen change. Gone is the Bloc, those Quebec separatists who kept the dream alive of their own country. With that, Quebecers assured a different political reality would unfold across Canada. By the end of the evening, the Conservatives had won their majority and the NDP had gone into triple seat figures, effectively replacing the Liberals on the left. Simply put, it is a new day for Canada and Canadian politics.
In my mind the most significant part of Canada’s 41st federal election was the destruction of the Bloc in Quebec. Since 1993, the Bloc has effectively changed the game in federal politics. When our three traditional Canadian political parties would spot the Bloc 50 seats before the election had even started, there was no way for any hope of majority government. Sure, Jean Chretien got majorities after the Bloc was formed, but that was because there was a split on the right. For three consecutive elections, the Liberals got over 100 seats from Ontario. After the right came together, everything changed and it seemed up until last night, minorities would be the order of the day. Welcome to our new political reality.
For many Canadians our world is going to change. The gun law is toast, the same for the Canadian Wheat Board as well as many other policies, which the conservatives are against. I will be very interested in seeing what the Conservative party does with the Canadian Senate. Stephen Harper has a real chance to make the Canadian Senate elected, as much of his Western core support would like. However, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. Many conservative Western supporters wanted an elected Senate to combat Liberal strength in the East. Now that they have their own majority government, the thrust behind that is no longer true. In fact, maybe the NDP will get their wish to abolish the Senate altogether.
The Conservatives need to be congratulated. I have never had a problem with Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. I’ve never believed that he is some evil person with a secret agenda. What I saw was a hard-working guy, from a background without means who worked him to the top. I believe he’s genuine and has a healthy view of what Canada should be. He doesn’t scare me, never has. A large component of the Canadian populace believes in what the Conservatives were elected to do and the next five years we should see much of that.
Then we have the big orange wave. Other than the Conservative majority government, the big orange wave across Québec was the most significant move in several decades on the federal political scene. If that same orange wave had spread across Ontario in the same fashion, Jack Layton would be Prime Minister today. Quebec changed the game and embraced Jack Layton and the NDP with more than half the NDP caucus now coming from Quebec. It was amazing and credit Jack Layton.
A big casualty on election night was the Liberal party of Canada. In many ways it was sad to see because incredibly, many liberals still don’t get it. Since 2006, the Liberal party has been an urban rump, with seats in Toronto, Montréal and the rest spread throughout the East. With the NDP wave taking their support away, the Liberals need to work to repair the damage they caused themselves some years ago when the right was split. Throwing it all away has been very difficult for many Liberals to even admit to. The day after the election, it’s hard to imagine the Liberal party of Canada making its way back very soon.
2015 seems so far away. However, that is likely when the next federal election will be. How the political landscape will be shaped then is anybody’s guess. One thing that is for sure is that we will all be four years older. So will Stephen Harper and Jack Layton still be here in four years? Who will lead the Liberal party? Time changes things and with a majority conservative government at hand the realities of 2015 are now. The one constant we have is change. You can bet by the time we get to 2015, our whole world will have changed.
This all happened the day after Osama bin Laden had a very brief frightful meeting with some American commandoes in Abbottabad Pakistan. So in many ways, it is such a new day. It’s a day of hope. It’s a day or change. Canada in 2015, here we come.