Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Post election

It was a hand-wringer. Apparently the voting percentage went up by about 5% (I read somewhere), so that's nice I guess. Couldn't be more pleased with a Green seat finally, and all that orange spread in Quebec. But.. Harper with the steel hair now has a majority. Which means he can ram through whatever he wants. Not that he didn't before - when he couldn't get his way he would simply prorogue. That was how he dictated when he only had minority government. Look out - now he doesn't have to listen to anyone if he doesn't want to, and he has never indicated (other than in his pretty acceptance speech last night) that he ever has wanted or wants to.

This is a whole new scene this morning. Watch the NDP be the official opposition for the first time ever in history. Politically, no schmoozy Liberal Party pretending to be all things to all people while itSELF doing whatever it wanted with whomever it wanted. The vasoline is off the mirror now and we'll get to see how our country operates politically, way more accurately. A clear corporate shill party in total domination position and a much more people-party in official opposition.

Superficially it looks like English Canada versus French Canada. However, I trust the instincts of French voters way ahead of the motives of English voters, in this country. I've always voted NDP, and now, most of Quebec does too. What I don't understand is why it took them so long to see what the NDP stood for. I mean, yeah, it started out as the CCF, and the CCF started out in Saskatchewan, and yeah, it all connects to medicare and Tommy Douglas, so yeah, it's originally a leftist party with roots in prairie English-speaking populism, so I can see how superficially at least, the Quebec voter might be apt to have not wanted to look any deeper. But 50 years have passed, and as it turns out Jack Layton is a Quebecer. OK, an English-speaking Quebecer, but still, he's from Quebec, not the prairies. That must have made a difference, and the fact his dad was an MP (a conservative MP if you can imagine, when Quebec loved Mulroney) must have made a difference. Whatever the case, Quebec seems to think it has a national voice again, now, so that's got to be good. 

Someone in the US asked me on Facebook if the Conservative/Liberal divide was along urban/rural lines the way it is in the US. I replied,
"Yes, generally. The thing about Canada though is that only a few cities are big enough to be urban cultures on their own - most of the cities are midsize and therefore still have "heartlandish" tendencies. Quebec is a force unto itself, as you can see by these results. Even though English-speaking Canada continues to frame Quebec as the tail wagging the dog, really, Canada is a two-headed dog with just one tail, wagged by mutual agreement."

Other than a few of us iconoclasts sprinkled thinly throughout the country, though (e.g., like me who has voted NDP my entire life, since I came of voting age 42 years ago), there has never been the accelerated push behind the party that Quebec voters provided yesterday, pushing the orange colour forward, an almost 300% increase in seat numbers, giving it official opposition status for the first time in history and pretty much putting the Liberal Party out of its historical 'party of Canada and the Queen' position it has held since the Canada was a newborn, and maybe out of its misery.

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