Last weeks election has altered the political landscape of Canada (see left, the top chart are 2011results, bottom are 2008 results) , but only reflects what people have already been thinking. Elections summarize past thinking and events rather than project the future. There should be a line on each ballot that says: "past performance does not guarantee future results," like all the mutual fund companies are required to do.
This past week the mainstream Canadian media have focussed on the demise of the Liberal Party, the surge of the NDP and their rookie caucus, but very little on the most important result, namely what a Conservative majority might mean for the future.
Stephen Harper and his gang now have free rein, there are so many in the media and the general public that openly hated the Harperites, that I'm surprised that angry demonstrations have not materialized, though that may yet happen.
What will the Conservatives do with their majority? On May 6th I discussed the National Post's priority list. If Harper wants to keep his fiscally responsible supporters he is going to have to stop kowtowing to the other parties for their support, Gerry Nicholls says precisely that here. Of course Harper has no need to kowtow anymore, but he really needs to show that things will be different. One way he could do this was suggested by a Quebec writer a couple of days ago, and I like it. Appoint Maxime Bernier, a fallen cabinet star, to President of the Treasury Board, Stockwell Day's old job. I think that is a great idea, I have always viewed Mr. Bernier as "libertarian-lite" and this would be a perfect place for his talents as outlined in the article.
There are those that say Harper should not govern with an ideological bent because he will be accused of pulling out his "hidden agenda." When the Liberals or NDP suggest a new policy program for every little thing that ails us, they were never accused of being ideological, but of course they were. Its time we had some fiscally prudent ideology from the Conservatives, I hope it happens, but like some I'm not holding my breath.
In that article, Terence Corcoran suggests that the Conservatives acted like centrist Liberals in this election. This may be why the Liberals had such a poor showing, they had no where to go but to stray into "progressive socialist" territory, a realm already occupied by Jack Layton and the NDP, and since Layton was far more popular than Ignatieff, people chose Layton and the Liberals became redundant. In Ignatieff's election night concession speech he suggested he would stay as leader until he was no longer needed, 10 hours later was gone, and a day or so after that he was back to being a teacher, this time at the University of Toronto.
One of the best things that happened in this election was the collapse of the "fake-federalist-party" Bloc Quebecois, from 49 seats to 4, well deserved. Of course the poor Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe, is left only with a paltry $141,000 annual pension. Who got suckered there?
I haven't mentioned Elizabeth May's impressive victory in British Columbia. She worked hard and moved there to find just the right group of deluded individuals from the wet (yes I mean wet) coast, land of Suzuki and all things environmental. I'm sure she will do an outstanding job of representing those people, she has proven she can play with the big boys in the 2008 leaders debate. Her party however, the Greens, is a dying force in Canada. Percentage draw this time was 3.9%, down from 6.8% in 2008 (then approaching the peak of climate change hysteria at COP 15), down from 4.5% 2006, and even down from 4.3% in 2004. In the light of NDP cap and trade policy, the Greens are redundant as much as the Liberals. Lawrence Solomon has an interesting link that compares political support of global warming activism in today's Post.
Now on to the Ontario election, less than 5 months away, thankfully a date that was known well in advance.