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bloc quebecois

The Liberals are battered and bruised but not out. Despite taking a beating in the polls and attacks from all sides, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau fended off a challenge from Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives to hang onto the Prime Minister’s job — and the worst fears of US-style populist extremism.

However, he will be leading a much-reduced government. The Liberals lost 21 seats, and their majority in Parliament. To govern, they’ll now have to work with the opposition parties to get their agenda through the legislature.

So, what happens now?

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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?


Vote smart; read the platforms


What does your party believe? I’d venture a guess that only a small number of Canadians who vote actually bother to read their party’s platforms… or the platforms of the other parties.  Even if we concede that politicians break campaign promises all the time, shouldn’t you know what your party is promising before casting your […]

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Election day


The Election Prediction Project is forecasting 125 seats for the Conservatives, 94 for the Liberals, 51 for the Bloc, 36 for the NDP, and 2 for Independent candidates. They’ve been pretty dead-on in past elections, so we’ll see if that trend continues this time. Voting is our most fundamental right and privilege. Regardless of your […]

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It’s a Conservative Minority


The official results are more or less in: It’s a minority government for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, albeit a shaky one. The real questions are, what now? Will Harper be able to govern? Will the NDP and the Tories combine for 155, or will they just miss? Will Harper work with Duceppe? How long can this […]

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Some last thoughts before the election


The polls are only a few hours from opening. I won’t make any definitive number “predictions”, which, in my opinion, are worth about as much as polls (that is to say, not much) other than to say that I think that the polls are overrated. But I do have a few thoughts on how things […]

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Dumont bashes Bloc, promotes Tories


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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Duceppe won’t run


Wow, I’m amazed… Gilles Duceppe is opting not to seek the PQ leadership and instead, to keep his job as leader of the Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa: Le chef du Bloc québécois, Gilles Duceppe, a annoncé ce matin à Ottawa qu’il renonçait à se lancer dans la course à la direction du Parti québécois. M. […]

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The most powerful man in Canada


It looks like the NDP will vote with the Liberals for the throne speech, and the Tories and the Bloc will vote against. That would cause a tie – 153 votes for, 153 against. Leaving the fate of the government up to Independent MP Chuck Cadman: Independent MP Chuck Cadman’s single seat could give a […]

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Bait and switch


Gilles Duceppe on June 27: “As I have said from the beginning, we won’t decide sovereignty on the 28th.” Gilles Duceppe on June 29: “We will carry through with this struggle until we reach the country we need to give ourselves.” Why does this not surprise me? The thing is, many of the people who […]

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