Oh! Canada! Post-Election Blues
Though this election attracted one of the lowest voter turn-outs in Canadian history (61.4%) – what some are referring to as voter fatigue - it may have become the catalyst for producing some of the most dramatic changes to the political landscape that have been seen in close to two decades. There were so many firsts and upsets, and so many ways to interpret the outcome.
Canada experienced what may well become a political tipping point, both in regional representation and in political philosophy. The Liberal Party, steeped in tradition and history, is now without a leader, and has lost its position as the Leader of the Opposition by a significant margin. The Party Quebecois, failing to see the shift within their province on sovereignty, lost their leader and their standing as a Federal organization.
The NDP, energized by a charismatic leader, loosened the grip the Party Quebecois had on their own province, and made significant inroads in other parts of the country to become a truly national party. However, they face some uphill battles on the hill with the rise of the blue. They can propose change but they cannot oppose change in the role they are now in. They were the kingmaker, but last Monday the Canadian people chose their king.
Whether it was voter fatigue or not begs the question. It appears that many were also tired of five years of minority government. They believed that Prime Minister Harper had done enough to validate giving the Conservatives an opportunity to lead the country unencumbered by minority politics. It is also clear, contrary to the views of political pundits, that Canada’s loss of the UN Security Council seat and the Prime Minister’s public support for Israel did not cost him the election.
No question, this election demonstrates that Canada is more polarized than ever before. The choice has become clear. There is a right and there is a left: there is blue and there is orange. Politics will become much clearer and more defined now. Where these Parties stand on the issues important to the Canadian people can now be monitored and measured.
Prime Minister Harper has been given the opportunity to lead the nation. Who he is and what he really believes will now emerge. He can pass the budget he believes is best for the nation and the economy. He can proceed with the social and justice reforms that have been stymied so far in debate, or were postponed due to the electoral process.
I believe Canada is looking for a leader and not a pointer, a person with conviction and not an individual of convenience. I pray that the Prime Minister we saw as minority leader emerges into a Prime Minister who knows how to wield his majority powers compassionately and wisely.