No ‘Mandate’ for Harper


Was it fear of what a majority Conservative government might do? The way that PM Harper has tried to ‘manage’ the press corps, the failure of the Conservative Party to release it’s election platform until the tail-end of the campaign, the number of Conservative candidates who didn’t show up for candidate meetings, the increasingly global financial meltdown despite the PM’s assurance that we’re somehow magically insulated? Was it the fact that, in seeking an election now, Mr. Harper was breaking his own fixed-date election law?

Whatever the reason, an embarrassingly small percentage of eligible voters denied Mr. Harper the majority that he wanted last night.

There was no real victory in this election for Mr. Harper, save for maybe a small one. In gaining a few more seats, it will now take virtually unanimous support of all of those in opposition to defeat any government bill. But there’s still no certainty. Mr. Harper cannot be completely unmindful of those ‘across the way’ and simply shove legislation ‘down their throats.’

Jack Layton didn’t become the first NDP PM, and he didn’t form the Official Opposition, but he was a big winner. The 37 seats won by the NDP is second only to the 43 that Ed Broadbent achieved. And he’s still relatively new to the job. He’s still learning. This is something real that he can build upon and try for a historical breakthrough the next time.

Elizabeth May had mixed success. Although the Green Party didn’t win seats, there was the mid-campaign victory of being included in the debate. That established the party’s credibility in a way that only an incredibly expensive amount of advertising might have been able to match. It virtually guarantees that Greens will be included in future debates without having to battle for it. And the increase in their percentage of the popular vote means that they will get $$$ from Election Canada with which to further build their grassroots.

Mr. Dion, while gracious in defeat, must have had some trouble sleeping last night. Did he dream of hearing knives being sharpened by Mr Rae, Ignatief, Kennedy, et al? If the Liberals have anything to be thankful for at all, it’s that there wasn’t the kind of total collapse that it appeared they were heading for going into the campaign’s last week. But one thing you can be certain of. There will be many members of that party looking for somebody to blame. And Mr. Dion, like a deer in the headlights, is it.

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5 Responses to “No ‘Mandate’ for Harper”

  1. John Leschinski Says:

    This is Layton’s third kick at the can, he isn’t new, and he didn’t deliver on his running for Prime Minister platform. If anything he handed Harper the government again. Maybe he should switch parties.

  2. fowgre Says:

    His tactical assertion about running for PM isn’t something that other people can blame him for not delivering on. It was one of his responsibilities as party leader to strive for. Also a defensive reaction to the spin-doctors like you who tried to convince uninformed electors that it was only a 2-party contest. You also need to recognize that the NDP doesn’t have the same history of turning on it’s leader that the two older parties do. Quite the opposite, in fact. Finally, his name isn’t Bob Rae, and I’ve never seen any indication that he’s a closet Liberal.

  3. John Leschinski Says:

    The NDP are always going to be a third place party at best. Unless the Liberals roll over and die they’d be lucky to get within striking distance of Official Opposition. Hell the BQ get more seats then the NDP, and they only run in Quebec.

  4. fowgre Says:

    You can pretend to be able to foretell the future, but it’s only spin. The truth is, the electorate can decide to do whatever it wants to, if the mood strikes.

    As for the number of BQ seats, that simply reflects the inherent weakness of a ‘first past the post’ system.

  5. John Leschinski Says:

    The electorate’s mood has shown a strong trend in the last several elections.

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