Tuesday, May 3, 2011

about last night

I think I realized things were really starting to turn in an uncomfortable direction when I noted that Bev Oda had won Durham; Bev Oda, who tried to change the wording of a funding authorization after it had already been signed, and who Harper stood behind unconditionally. "We don't care about any of that," the voters of Durham may as well have said, "you are a Conservative, and you belong in Ottawa."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. None of the polls, to my recollection, were predicting a Conservative majority. Not even the Conservatives themselves were predicting a Conservative majority. And yet, here we are - Canada's first majority government since 2004, the first non-Liberal majority government since 1993, the annihilation of the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party in the Official Opposition for the first time.

I've heard of people celebrating the NDP's historic breakthrough, calling it a victory. It is nothing if not a Pyrrhic victory. What I had been hoping for, what the polls all seemed to be suggesting, was a slightly-strengthened Conservative minority with the NDP picking up seats from the Bloc in Quebec and becoming a real force to be reckoned with. That last bit did happen, to a degree - but at such a cost.

Majority government. For seven years, that has been my fear. For seven years we Canadians have been free of it; for seven years, the government has actually had to take the Opposition into consideration, to act in accordance with the desires of those voters who did not want to put them into power. That's all over with now. Harper has no reason to care about what the rest of the country thinks. He has his majority, and the MPs will fall into line - such is the nature of our fundamentally broken political system.

So congratulations, Canada. Congratulations for looking at a party that has lied to us, that has held us in contempt, that brought a police state to our shores, that locked the doors of Parliament when it wasn't getting its way, that ran a campaign founded on fear, and concluding that it deserved to be rewarded for what it had done.

It's going to be a very long three to five years.

1 comment:

  1. Your last paragraph is a great summary of what's wrong with the last election.