I was mostly pleasantly surprised last night to find that my predictions of the day before had proven themselves to be a touch too cautious.
The myths that people surround our Prime Minister with — that he cannot work with others, for instance — are about to be dissolved. Another minority (a larger one, so that any one other party can provide the necessary votes to carry a bill forward) was no doubt anticipated. Of course, a majority would have been easier: I do not doubt, however, that a minority government was planned for. With this next term offering the chance to fade yet another anti-Harper myth, moving forward on the plan to become a new “natural governing party” becomes quite plausible.
Expect, therefore, to see a Prime Minister who operates a very different Government in this second term, one that makes more use of Ministers (and allows other strong figures to emerge), and which is attentive to finding allies on an issue-by-issue basis.
I was appalled this morning to hear Ujjal Dosanjh (Lib., Vancouver South) beating the war drums of “never vote with the government, defeat them as quickly as possible”. It rang not only hollow, but as out of touch with the spirit of “the True North, strong and free” that the Prime Minister spoke of last night. (Canada as the economic guiding light of the G-8, the frontier of the North and our remembering of our traditional partnership with the First Nations, and as the land of opportunity sought by people from all over the world — these are strong and resonant themes of hope, not of bitterness and despair at the result. Most other Liberals were far more gracious.)
The losers this morning, of course, are actually Premiers: McGuinty, Charest and Williams, all of whom ran counter-campaigns in their provinces. (Williams is no doubt taking pride in the 0-6-1 outcome in Newfoundland & Labrador: allow him his petty and small-minded “triumph”.) Far more so than Stéphane Dion (who also has gambled all, and now will either fall on his own sword, or be stabbed in the front by the many who have wanted him out) who at least ran on some actual beliefs, the Premiers in question merely ran against the Government on grudges.
Low turnout, of course, remains a key issue for the future. But that is for another day, when there’s been time to digest it.
So, too, my own personal disappointment that my lackadasical and self-centred MP was returned (Joyce Murray, Lib., Vancouver Quadra). One cannot have everything. Perhaps now she will buckle down and do her job rather than abstain and shriek in Question Period. Hope springeth eternal.
In any event, a good night for Canada, and one that brings promise to the next few years.