Sunday, October 19, 2008

I was away for a week, did I miss anything?

If I didn't clearly remember voting (early), I might wonder if we even had an election this past week. Nothing seems to have changed and no one seems that interested in talking about it anymore.
While Harper's Tories have gained a substantial number of new seats, their gains in the popular vote were marginal. The difference between popular vote and seats won is pretty striking in general, especially comparing the numbers of both for the Bloc versus the Greens. No wonder the Greens are such big fans of proportional representation.
As I write, Dion is probably drafting his resignation speech. Which means that Harper--who has now failed to win a majority government twice in less than three years and faced zero public criticism from within his own party--will get a free ride in Parliament for at least another year as the Grits deal with their internal issues at the expense of the majority of Canadians. You know, the ones who didn't vote for Harper and do not want to him to have a de facto majority government, which is what he gets when the Liberals prop up his minority by abstaining from voting in Parliament because they're still unprepared to face the electorate.
The Liberals' bullshit head-in-the-sand technique not only makes them look ineffective and gives Harper the power to do as he pleases, it also gives the NDP room to posture and position themselves as English-speaking Canada's official opposition without fear that they'll trigger yet another election.
Can the federal Liberals even survive another two years in the wilderness? It will be next spring at the earliest before they elect a new leader. But will another struggle between Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff strengthen the beleaguered party, or will it just enflame the grudges between the various Liberal factions who did a terrible job of pretending to present a united front during this fall's campaign?
There will be much made of Stephane Dion's disgraceful position of being only the second leader of the federal Liberals in history not to wear the Right-Honourable title of Prime Minister (who was the other? who cares?), and Dion has earned that ignoble distinction for failing to galvanize his own party, never mind the Canadian people. But these fancy-pants Liberal Insiders we keep hearing about, who have been whispering off the record about their dislike for Dion for the last 24 months, surely must bear the weight of perpetuating the image of a party so smugly convinced it is "The Natural Ruling Party" of Canada that it ignores its Parliamentary duty, ignores the electorate who voted for it, and even ignore the basic political necessity of effectively criticizing the competition.
It's this last one that bothers me the most. Harper's first term in government was so obviously sleazy and contemptible that it should have been a slam-dunk to turf his daycare-killing, climate-change-denying ass. But nobody called him on it. He didn't have to run on his record, he didn't even have to run on a platform. The Liberals effectively handed Harper this election, and if they don't get their shit together and learn how to be the Official Opposition they were elected as, they certainly won't find their way back to Government in another two years, when Harper calls his next snap election.

mp3: "City of Electric Light" by Chad VanGaalen

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