I almost don’t want to start writing this for fear I will never stop. The election was basically over 5 minutes after BC was allowed to watch, but, so goes it. For me, the election wasn’t over until 9:00, as that’s how long it took to get the first returns in from my riding, Vancouver Centre. Yes, it was my riding that was the last one to report, the same riding Peter Mansbridge was making fun of. Meh. But I did all of us a favor. I didn’t vote for Svend Robinson. I saved us from many embarassing situations. As the cover of Maclean’s pleaded to Vancouver Centre voters a couple of weeks ago on it’s cover: “Would the voters of Vancouver Center please do the rest of the country a favor and Svend him packing?” Done.
First and foremost, the usual issues. Our voting system sucks. The NDP has close to 18% of the popular vote, and 29 seats. The Bloc has a mere 10% of the popular vote, and they have 51 seats. I am struck by this bizzareness with each and every election, and with each and every election, nothing changes.
We will have more minority governments until someone with an actual VISION comes along. Blah, blah, blah, blah… This election was BORING> Nobody offered anything new or innovative. Nobody talked about issues. It was just negative schoolground bickering. It was petty and useless. No issues were debated. No really solid ideas were expressed.
Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Stephen Harper. You were right, Joel. You were so right. “Our country has voted for change,” says the Prime Minister elect. Our Prime Minister elect is kidding himself if he thinks the Canadian people have given him a real mandate for change. The guy has a whole 21 seats more than the Liberals. 21 SEATS! The Liberals are still in the triple digits – sponsorships scandal and all. The Conservatives won because people were ticked at the Liberals and didn’t have anyone else to vote for. It’s more of a punishment vote, not a vote for change. Mr. Harper had better remember that. He’s been given a free test drive. He’d better not screw it up.
To my beloved people on the Prairies, particularly in Sasktachewan: do you really think that voting Conservative is going to put you on the national agenda? Do you really think you’re going to get the time of day from a man who didn’t set foot ONCE in your province in 56 days? Do you think you’re really going to have an MP with a high-end portfolio from your province? Newsflash: all of your elected MPs are backbenchers, and always will be. And Conservatives are not going to put agriculture on the national agenda. They won’t. They’re all about big business. You’re going to be hurt. But yet, you’ll vote Conservative again – WHY?!?! They have done, and will do nothing for you! They have not stepped up to bat in equalization payment negotiations with Ottawa. They use you. They use your seats. They take advantage of you. Their focus is on Ontario. It always will be until either the population vacates the province due to civil war between Leafs and Senators fans, or our voting system changes. Mr. Harper says the West will be heard in this government, but it won’t be. At least, not Saskatchewan. One of these days I hope you will realize that.
Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell made some intersting comments tonight. She basically slapped Harper across the face for not seeking advice from his Conservative predecesors. Point: Campbell. She then went on to say that the Conservatives need to tune into the mainstream social values of Canadians and not force their own agenda on them. Point: Campbell and Hamm. I stated that exact thought last night. Now that the Conservative muzzles will come off, we’ll really see what we’re dealing with.
Mr. Harper is not the all-powerful leader he claims to be. He still has not broken through in the all important battleground of Ontario, and even though he appears as a social moderate, people still see behind that to his more conservative motives. We are not stupid, Mr. Harper.
What concerns me is the rural-urban split that we are really seeing for the first time in awhile, at least nationally. And it also conerns me that in a time when our world is becoming more liberal (small “l” liberal!) and more progressive, why are we turning to Conservative governments? Maybe it’s because we feel that’s the only way we can regain some control in our fast-paced lives – by returning to more traditional times. But it isn’t. The Conservatives will hurt us. They will. They are the Canadian Alliance/Reform party of old. A bunch of right-wing traditionalists who will not rest until they force their agendas down our throats. With free trade, big business, private health care, cuts to social programs and the reframing of our social consciousness, our country will be vastly different – if we let them get a majority. May this just be a temporary blip on our democratic journey. Besides, it’s hard to know what you’re dealing with until you deal with it…