Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What The Hell Happened Last Night?

Sorry, I'm still in a bit of shock from seeing the Canadian federal election results. That, and I'm worried.

I'm worried what's going to happen now that the Conservative Party has a majority. The last time this happened was before I was an adult, with good old Brian Mulroney of the Progressive Conservatives, who introduced the GST, one of the most hated taxes in Canadian political history. Then, it being his third term in office, he graciously stepped down as leader for Kim Campbell and let the ensuing uproar hit her in the face. Yes, we briefly had a female Prime Minister. Too bad her party set her up to fail.

Now we have the Conservatives in power. I guess they became less progressive after they absorbed the Reform party. Not surprising, considering some of the Reform party's negative views on gay and lesbian rights. I'd call them the maple-flavored Tea Party, but even the Reformers weren't that idiotic. Still, with those ideas floating around inside the Conservative party, on top of their perceived preference to extend tax cuts to the rich, it should be an interesting four years.

Guess those attack ads were really effective.

On top of the Conservatives gaining power we saw the utter meltdown of the federal Liberals. Even the leader of the party couldn't get elected, and he should have been running in a seat that was a lock for them. Of course, he did commit the ultimate sin and say two very stupid things on camera. First, he mentioned that he wouldn't take a GST hike off the table. Again, most hated tax in Canada, not a good idea to say you might raise it. Yes, I know the quote was from a few years back, but it was stupid to say then and it dogged Ignatieff through this election, with the Conservative's cherished attack ads making sure to repeat it over and over. The second dumb thing he said, and I can't really fault him for this one as at the time he said it he didn't know he'd be coming back to Canada, was to call America his country while working down there. This really got played up by the Conservatives, to tap into that anti-American vein that runs through a good portion of Canadians.

There were some glimmers of hope in the election though. Seeing the Bloc Quebecois get pummeled by the NDP and reduced to only a few seats was amusing. It's nice to see Quebec voters reject a party that would only stand up in Parliament and ask, "What have you done for Quebec lately?" To me that shows a chance at a greater unity, a greater understanding, and a chance for things to be more inclusive. If only it was the NDP in power rather than the Conservatives.

Finally, and personally, I was overjoyed to see the Green party get a seat. I think they've come a long way in the last few years, from a whisper on the fringe to a voice that rings out clearer and clearer each time it's heard. Heck, a lot of the "traditional" parties are putting forth green ideas, so at the very least the Green party has highlighted the need for more environmental thinking from our elected officials. Let's hope the Conservatives listen.

As I said, I'm worried about the next few years. Parliament is very divided right now, with a right-wing party in the majority and a left-wing party in the official opposition while the center-left Liberals are but a shadow. Part of me hopes the Conservatives won't screw things up too badly, but another part of me knows they will and hopes they screw up bad enough that they'll never get back into power in my lifetime.

Oh well, we'll see.

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