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gilles duceppe

Well, the votes are in, and Stephen Harper has his majority government.

  1. The right moves further to the right. The Tories, after spending five years walking all over Canadians as a minority, now get to walk all over Canadians even more as a majority. Harper believes – as he should, with these numbers – that he has a mandate from Canada to impose his agenda and move the government rightward. Forget the Shit Harper Did; what about the Shit Harper will do?
  2. The left moves further to the left. The official opposition is now the NDP, not the Liberals. The same NDP who has campaigned on anti-Israel platforms; who cozies up to the labour unions; who believes that quota systems will provide equality.  The NDP is positioning itself as the de facto Tory alternative, and with nearly three times as many seats as the Liberals, it clearly believes that it is the voice of the left – or the potential leader of any merger or move to unite the progressive parties. Ironically, the jubilant Layton doesn’t seem to grasp that he had more power in fourth place in a Tory minority than he does in second place in a Tory majority.
  3. The middle disintegrates. The Liberal party is in shambles. They lost over half their seats and most of their star MPs. They lost official opposition status. They will have to regroup and rebuild. And the common sense centre, the great balancing force against polarization, is severely crippled. Moderation is what suffers in this outcome.
  4. A weaker official opposition. A Harper majority is a scary enough prospect. But now 102 NDP MPs – many of whom are complete political rookies – will be heading to Ottawa to serve as the official opposition. Even seasoned Liberal MPs would have had a hard time keeping the Harpers in check. There’s no way that inexperienced political neophytes from the NDP will be able to pull it off. Harper’s now got a majority with no strong opposition; he can basically do whatever he wants and get away with it.
  5. Bloc collapses, but sovereignty gets a boost. The big news of the night was the Bloc Quebecois’s collapse from 47 seats to 4 amidst the Quebec “orange crush”, and Duceppe’s defeat and resignation. It should be good news for federalism? Right? Wrong. I’ve never seen so many Quebecers feel disenfranchised and alienated from the rest of Canada. This is going to provide a huge boost to sovereignty. I’m about as staunch a federalist as it gets, but even I have to admit that I see their point. Quebec voted overwhelmingly left-wing progressive NDP; the rest of Canada (except for Newfoundland) voted overwhelmingly Conservative. Is there any point in arguing that we’re not different here in La Belle Province?
  6. Human rights? What human rights? With as many as four Supreme Court seats opening up to be stacked by Harper-crony Conservatives during this term. Abortion rights, gay marriage, rights of women, rights of minorities, immigrants’ rights… you name it, it’s on their agenda for attack.
  7. No more funding for arts and culture. That is, unless the Calgary Stampede is your idea of a cultural event.
  8. Technology and innovation? Not on Harper’s watch. With important issues facing our country around telecom consolidation, internet billing and metering, privacy, digital rights management… the only party who didn’t respond to Canadians’ concerns about internet and digital policy is the one now holding a majority in Parliament. Four or five more years for the rest of the world to advance while Canada lags behind? Will we even have an economy when Harper is done with us?
  9. Canadians get slapped around; claim we fell down the stairs. We have a government who ignores us at every turn, walks all over us, and breaks the law with impunity. We get a chance to toss it out on its ear. Instead, we go crawling back to it. Domestic abuse on a grand scale, anyone? Basically, we’ve just sent Harper a message that he can get away with anything. And he will.
  10. Harper plans to reward his “base”. The Alberta-native social conservative movement has been waiting a long time in minority to get rewarded for its efforts to put Harper in power. All this time, he didn’t revisit socially conservative issues because he didn’t have a mandate and knew that the opposition wouldn’t let him get away with it. Now, all these interest groups want their pound of flesh. Our flesh.

The silver lining is, it’s only 4 or 5 years. The question is, will we recognize Canada after all that time?

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With about 36 hours to go until the polls open, it’s time for me to post my totally unscientific, personal-opinion-only musings about the election and what the likely outcomes will be:

  • The NDP will win 10 seats in Quebec. With polls showing an NDP surge in support, this could be the breakthrough that Jack Layton was looking for. I don’t, however, believe that Gilles Duceppe’s seat (my riding) will be one of them. I think he’ll hold onto his seat here, albeit by a slim margin.
  • The Liberals will under-perform. No, it won’t be a  total collapse, a la Progressive Conservatives circa Kim Campbell. They’ll hold onto their safe seats and maybe even steal a couple from the Tories in places where the anti-Tory vote goes Liberal. But the surge in NDP support in Quebec will mostly be at the expense of the Bloc, everywhere else in Canada it will mostly come at the Liberals’ expense.
  • NDP/Liberal vote splitting will help the Tories. A cynic would say that the Harper camp is exaggerating the groundswell of support for the NDP, in a classic divide-and-conquer strategy in order to try and engineer a majority. I’m not quite that cynical, and I think the NDP’s support has emerged for a variety of other reasons. But I do think that the Conservatives will pick up a handful of seats due to NDP/Liberal vote splitting. That being said…
  • The Conservatives will be held to another minority government. I think that there’s enough anyone-but-Harper support out there, helped by initiatives like Project Democracy, to stave off the dreaded Harper majority. I hope.
  • The Greens will once again fail to pick up any seats. Their support has stagnated and there aren’t any ridings where their candidates are demonstrating a lead – or even a close second.  The party began as a sensible alternative to the status quo, but has shifted more and more towards the fringe, policy-wise, in the past few years. And with all the mainstream parties (except for the Tories) making environmental issues a big part of their platforms, there are fewer reasons than ever to vote Green.

Remember to vote!

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Back to the polls we go

03.30.2011

High-ho, high-ho, it’s election time again in Canada. And it sure does feel an awful lot like 2008: 4 out of 5 of the party leaders are unchanged. Only Iggy is new this time around, though his post-election political days are probably as numbered as Stephane Dion’s were. The party positions and platforms are largely […]

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The English debate

10.02.2008

Well, it was lively and even funny at times. That’s all I can really say about the debate format that provided more of a chance for attack zingers than real reasoned debate. Still, I guess it made for good TV, since we were all glued to the screen for a couple of hours – the […]

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Still our game

05.13.2007

Canada wins gold yet again at the World Hockey Championship, with this afternoon’s 4-2 victory over the Finns. Woohoo! (Now that Gilles Duceppe’s 24-hour run for PQ leadership is over, he can return to his important parliamentary duties, like attacking Shane Doan. I’d venture to say that Doan, wearing his gold medal, probably won’t much […]

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Bye-bye Boisclair

05.08.2007

He came, he made a mess, he quit. That’s pretty much how André Boisclair’s time as PQ leader will go down in the history books. Really now, wouldn’t it have been better to do it right after the election, André? I give it about 5 more minutes before Gilles Duceppe calls his own press conference.

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Dumont bashes Bloc, promotes Tories

01.14.2006

In a bizarre twist, ADQ leader Mario Dumont spoke out Thursday saying he intends to vote Conservative and urging Quebecers not to vote for the Bloc: Dumont said the Bloc limits the province’s influence on the national scene and acts more like a millstone around Quebecers’ necks. He said he would vote Conservative, but only […]

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Negative campaigning

01.12.2006

Last night’s “top story” on the news was all about how the campaign has taken a “negative turn” with the new Liberal attack ads on the Tories. Now, there’s very little dispute that the Liberal campaign has been terribly run. These ads are a bit of a running joke, especially to those of us in […]

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Reflections on the debate

01.09.2006

Update: Reflections now that the debate is over: Someone needs to buy Paul Martin a stopwatch, so he can time his statements better. There was hardly a segment in which he didn’t get cut off for nearly going over his time. Jack Layton really needs to stop phrasing every answer with his slogan that there […]

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Harper accepts Duceppe’s challenge

12.21.2005

Gilles Duceppe challenged Paul Martin to a one-on-one debate. Martin declined. So Stephen Harper offered Duceppe take him up on it instead. Some believe that Harper is going to score points in Quebec thanks to this move: Aside from the possibility that the Liberals may try to spin this as giving Gilles Duceppe a legitimacy […]

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