UPDATE, May 3rd: The Conservatives have their long sought after majority. The NDP are the Official Opposition for the first time in Canadian history. Leader Michael Ignatieff has resigned as Leader of the Liberal Party, which suffered historic losses, dropping 44 seats to the Conservatives and to the NDP, which tripled its vote. The NDP now dominates the landscape in Quebec where the Bloc was reduced to two seats. (Some of its new MPs are so young they’re still finishing exams.) Elizabeth May of the Green Party achieved an historic victory as well, the first Green Party candidate ever to be elected, defeating Conservative Cabinet Minister Gary Lunn.
What will happen next amidst all this turmoil?
Not much will change, I think. The Conservatives had governed as a majority anyway, so I don’t expect to see much difference. Now that they can do what they want, now that the Liberal Party which they hated so much has been destroyed, maybe the tone in the House will become a little more civil.
Maybe we’ll see Stephen Harper a little less angry, a little less controlling. At least for a while.
More likely we can expect to see a released Auditor-General’s Report that hammers the Tories for their spending in G8/G20 and the release by judges of some documents concerning the Afghan detainee issue that are critical of them, too. By the time of the next election, expect scandals, maybe even convictions. Will any of it matter? Four years is a long time, and memories are short.
But for the most part, in this election, despite the nastiness and the dirty tricks, democracy prevailed. No-one died. More voters were engaged; turnouts were higher than previously.
Let’s see how things unfold. If this leads to a centre-left merger and ballot results next time that more closely mirror what the majority of Canadians want, it will all have been good. If it doesn’t, I guess we can only blame ourselves: we get the government we deserve.
Meanwhile, congratulations to my Conservative and NDP friends for their stunning victories, as well as to all those who fought so hard on the Liberal campaign trail. Democracy sucks, but compared to the alternatives, it’s the best we have. I hope, someday, we can make it better.
As promised, I’ll return to blogging about writing now. But I don’t want to leave without thanking the almost 5,000 of you who tuned into my thoughts on the Canadian election campaign. And thanks also to Rick Mercer, for making it cool to vote.
A final image: the joyous video of the London vote mob who turned out to celebrate democracy with Rick Mercer. Let’s let that be the image we take with us into the future: one in which democracy is something to celebrate in and of itself, regardless of political affiliation. Something to uphold.