Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Less than I hoped for, better than I thought

By Sunday, I was losing faith. I'm not sure whether the public was affected by the Liberal attack ads, the reports of 'hidden candidates' or the brief suggestion that Stephen Harper had stopped talking to reporters, but it all dampened my spirits.

Last night as I watched the results, I was really disappointed. Then, I heard Stephen Harper speak. That was when I realised how big this win is, not for conservatives, but for Canadians.

Harper's minority government represents hope to many who had begun to despair of our political system. Right or left, conservative or 'progressive,' are not so important as seeing that there is a credible alternative to Liberal hegemony. Despite what Liberals want us to believe, we all know that One Party Rule is never a good thing in a democracy.

Some Liberals equate this experience for them to a 'time-out' or a stint in the 'penalty-box'. This implies that when the Liberals have finished their renewal process, that they will assume their traditional role of 'natural governing party.' I don't see that in the results and I hope it's bravado talking, rather than a true sense of entitlement.

In the months to come I expect that Stephen Harper and his team will prove themselves to be a safe and viable choice for voters, and not simply a temporary surrogate. Depite all the campaign rhetoric, the Conservative policies (despite being different from the Liberal policies) are not radical or right-wing and will be easily supported by many right-leaning Liberals.

All of the parties faced disappointment last night, none of them achieving their ultimate goals. The Conservatives have a fragile minority, rather than the strong one they'd hoped for. The Liberals lost both seats, and popular support. The Bloc failed to meet its target in the popular vote, and elected fewer MPs, and Jack Layton and the NDP, despite a two percent gain in the popular vote and a ten seat increase in the House, no longer hold the balance of power.

The irony of all this is that power still rests with the Liberals. It will be Liberals Stephen Harper will look to for support of his budget and other programmes, and for the most part I think they'll sign on. Financially strapped and without a leader, they'll be in no hurry to bring the government down. Likely, many are still stinging from the very public and vulgar bashing of their values by Paul Martin as he pandered to the 'progressives'. These MPs will be loyal to their party, but they'll want it to have time to be dragged back to the centre from the outter left fringes where Paul Martin left it.



VW said...

Harper will do all right. I like the phrase one of the MPs used: that Canadians are doing a "test drive." That's the opportunity; let's hope Stephen makes the most of it.

Justthinkin said...

Stephen is now the new kid on the block. He had better deliver, or he will make the Libs look good, and then Canada can say good-bye to Quebec and Alberta. I dis-agree that the Libs hold power. political appointments made by martin can be dissolved tomorrow, as they should be.

TrustOnlyMulder said...

I think in 3 years the 'right' has turned the Queen Mary.

It was taking off on us and with no policy convention, no real time under our belts, we managed to slow the tide in 2004 by bringing the seat count up and taking away the Liberal majority.

Since then, we have had policy stated. We have filled caucus with great intelligent people to draw upon. Something we haven't had in a decade.

It paid off with a gain of 25 seats and a change of government.

The performance of Stephen Harper will come to light. Citizens will see the fire and brimstone did not rain down upon them. The earth did not stop spinning. Canada did not stop existing as we know it.

Come the next election I do believe many more Canadians not quite convinced that Harper is for real, will know a lot more about the man. It will come down to that.

When you are on the massive Queen Mary as many Tories have been for a long time, it is hard to notice her turning or chugging off in another direction.

Peter Thurley said...

trustonlymulder said "The performance of Stephen Harper will come to light. Citizens will see the fire and brimstone did not rain down upon them. The earth did not stop spinning. Canada did not stop existing as we know it...Come the next election I do believe many more Canadians not quite convinced that Harper is for real, will know a lot more about the man. It will come down to that.

I agree. However, I am fearful that Canadians will attribute that to The CPC and Stephen Harper rather than the fact that they don't exactly have much room to move in Parliament. The reality is that the Consrvatives CAN'T do anything big because of parliamentary setup. Harper could very well win a future majority because he is being forced to remain moderate, and Canadians will falsely attribute that to the CPC rather than the realities of the House.

Linda said...

I too was disappointed C., but I think I had accurately gauged the 'cold feet' many Canadians would suddenly acquire as the polls and MSM went madly off in all directions toward the end of the campaign. The 'Fear Factor' had a dampening effect, but it was not fatal. I am bleary-eyed and half-asleep from staying up till after 2 a.m. to hear Stephen Harper speak, but it was worth it. He is truly Prime Minister material and I believe he has the right stuff to carry off the delicate balancing act that now faces his minority government. Opportunity abounds, and I do think he'll make the most of it. The Quebecoise in me (I am half French) was absolutely thrilled at the CPC showing in la belle province. (Our family moved to PEI shortly after the FLQ crisis - I still have vivid recollections of soldiers on the street as I walked home from school...) Finally - a viable federalist alternative to the destruction wrought by the self-styled philosopher king and his acolytes... Bravo M. Harper!

PGP said...

Quote Below Cheered me up!
From SDA comment by Fred.......

""first blush on the results

Big City folks in Van & Toronto shut out of gevernment/cabinet and POWER. This is a good thing.

Federalism is alive in Quebec and the Bloc took some really good body blows.

Best of all the Tories can get their hands on the books, can investigate where the $9 billion in "Off Book Foundations" funding really went. And the missing $40 million. And the $2Billion gun registry scam. And on and on


Tara said...

I am happy, and hoped for a larger minority (I was guessing 146 seats, so I was off by a bit), but was not expecting a landslide. I think Stevie has a tough road ahead, showing all those 'scared' of him (and they are still out there, I had an argument with a terrified NDPer friend today) that he is about helping Canada. ALL of Canada. Not just Ontario and Quebec.
My husband, who is in the army and was ready to pack up and leave Canada if the Liberals won again, is also very happy with the result. He feels like change is actually possible now, and I think that reflects the relief of a lot of people who had despaired.
I'm crossing my fingers and waiting to see what happens next.

'Peg City Kid said...

Canadianna, I hate to break it to you, but people wanted Change, not the Conservatives. They Voted for Change, Not the Conservatives. And yes, when the Liberals have a new leader and back to there old glory, you can bet all the disgruntled Liberals will be back on the wagon.

What would you do if the Conservatives elected a leader you couldn't stand? Would you abandon them for good? Or would you wait until they elected a leader you agreed with before you through your vote behind them.

What? do you think the poor performance of the Liberals has given every liberal a bad taste for liberalism?? Come on, do you have any idea how arrogant that sounds??

Let's think about this logically for a minute shall we? The Liberals are the "natural leading party" because this is a liberal country full of people who want to live in a liberal society. No matter how many times you tell yourself this, the Conservatives are not liberal. They are not center, they are Right. They are conservative, not progressive. It's not an image, it's a fact.

But we can both agree Harper's on thin Ice. I doubt he'll last the full term. He'll have to introduce a bill sometime.

The only reason he’ll be in office as long as he will be is because

a) We don’t want another election
b) The Parties aren’t ready.

How long do you think that will last?

Anyway, I doubt he’ll be able to do much harm while he’s in office.

Candace said...

'peg city kid, the Liberal Party can't afford an election right now. They're close to bankrupt.

Ken Breadner said...

If Canadians are so liberal, and they voted for change, why isn't Jack Layton our new Prime Minister?

arctic_front said...

Hail Harper! I have the deepest hope that the liberal and NDP type's can take off their 'SCARY' goggles long enough to watch and see before they write off the conservatives.

I'm a recent convert to the Conservatives, but a very enthusiastic one! Having been raised in an NDP home, I have seen both sides...and well, guess what I think? I have a blue truck, a blue house and a blue heart. Hail Harper.

I wish there was a way to get the opposition party's to put their knives away and try, as the people have asked on election night, to get to work getting the business of running this country going. The petty partisan rivalry is not-so-slowly killing this country.

Oh, one last thing....
Harper has access to the books....I hope he makes everyone in this country aware of the depth and breadth of the waste and corruption that has been going on in this country over the last dozen years. It's time we all know how much we have been ripped-off. With the guilty going to jail....no mercy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, mom.

What does what Trustonlymulder said about the Queen Mary mean?

It sounds like some kind of seafaring vessel metaphor, but I don't really get it.

Your loving and wide-awake-at-three-AM daughter,