The Commons: The last night

For Stephen Harper, there is no longer anyone to blame

by Aaron Wherry

Shortly after 11 o’clock, Michael Ignatieff stepped forward to formally acknowledge the unavoidable. ”Democracy teaches hard lessons,” he said.

He managed a smile, but the energy was out of him. He appealed to the life of this country, but this was a wake—his audience teary-eyed and bleary-eyed and silent and stunned.

He made a gallant show of appealing to tomorrow, but his political foray surely ends here tonight. And if this was not the last night of the Liberal Party of Canada, it was at least the last night of the Liberal Party of Canada as it has believed itself to be.

This was—or at least felt like—the end of a lot of things and so it is difficult to know where to begin.

***

This was the last night for Gilles Duceppe and the last night for the Bloc Québécois. This was the last night for the old idea of the NDP. This was the last night for four cabinet ministers and Helena Guergis and many of those—Mark Holland, Navdeep Bains, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Bonnie Crombie—who were supposed to be the Liberal party’s future. This was the last night for pretending that Elizabeth May would soon enough go away. This was the last night for minority government (at least until the next election). This was the last night for Parliament (at least in a certain symbolic sense valued only by strict purists). This was the last night (at least in a certain figurative sense) for all those who equated a majority government for Stephen Harper with the end of the world.

But let us start with Michael Ignatieff, for so much of this seemed—rightly or wrongly, justly or unjustly—to depend on him. And while others will remain, they will do almost certainly without him.

In the end, he was both better and worse than he was supposed to be; neither the philosopher king his proponents dreamed he was, nor the insufferable and presumptuous twit his detractors made him out to be. He was, these past five weeks, a minor revelation: a barnstorming preacher by turns, a rollicking throwback on the stump.

He was, at his best and worst, forever searching. He is a curious man who has spent his life indulging that curiosity. And here was his greatest adventure. But whatever he learned, what he discovered about himself and his country, he did not find whatever it was that we wanted to hear. However much he talked, whatever he said, he could not find the words. That night in Sudbury he begged the country to rise up. And maybe it did. But not for him.

Maybe he never had a chance. Maybe those ads and this party and those expectations doomed him from the start. (Maybe it wasn’t Stéphane Dion’s fault after all.) Maybe this was nothing more than bad timing. But if he had only this one chance—however fleeting, however slight—surely it is now passed.

It will all make a fine and instructive book someday.

***

If the last few weeks in the political life of Jack Layton did not seem real, here is an objective measure that is indisputable and certified. Before summer arrives, Mr. Layton will have taken up residence in Stornoway. Whenever Parliament resumes, it will be Mr. Layton who Stephen Harper sees when he looks directly across the aisle.

Between them will remain the central tension of these last five weeks—the lingering concern of these last five years and perhaps the theme of the next four.

Five weeks ago, Mr. Harper’s government became the first in the history of this country to be found in contempt of the House of Commons. Five weeks later, 40% eligible voters have elected to return it to office with an even stronger mandate.

Five weeks ago, the NDP was little more than a quaint group of plucky Parliamentarians, almost precious in their preoccupation with legislation and policy and debate. Five weeks later, 30% of eligible voters have dispatched them to “fix Ottawa” with an even stronger mandate.

In their approaches to Parliament, both saw their respective paths to power and both now have power. For Mr. Harper, there is no longer anyone to blame. The levers of power are now almost entirely his. For Mr. Layton, there is no longer anyone between him and the government side. The platform and the responsibility of official opposition are now his.

It will be a new Parliament and a new House with a new Speaker, but it will confront the same questions and the same concerns and the same fears. Between Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton there will be answers of some kind or another. If what we are to understand in this regard from these last five weeks is decidedly unclear, let us let them settle it.

***

It is 1:57am in the grande ballroom in the basement of the Sheraton in downtown Toronto. The television platforms are being taken apart. The tables are being packed up and the cables wound. The signs bearing Mr. Ignatieff’s stylized visage are now kitsch. The 41st general election is now history. The flags still stand at attention and the lights are still on, but the show is over, the night is done and the day is through.

This was the last night for so much and so much is now passed. It was and is bewildering and humbling and wonderful. But good night to all that and good morning to whatever now shall be. To each their own lessons.




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The Commons: The last night

  1. It's probably not the end of the world. But there's nothing in Harper's past which bodes well for Canada's future.

    • Except that he's done a great job running the country and that Canadians want even more of it?

      • No, he's done a passable job and the really dim bulbs on the front bench haven't done too much damage. We have a real lack of talent in Ottawa these days.

        As for "Canadians", 39.4% does not a country make. I'm getting the same uneasy feeling I got back in 97 when Chretien won with 37-38%. Something just ain't right….

        • Taking a party from 8% in the polls to running arguably the most successful country in the world during extremely challenging minority governance I think is doing a pretty bang-up job.

          Iggy promised that a Liberal party under him would stop underestimating Harper. Well, that promise hasn't worked out so well, has it. And it might well be too late to turn it around.

          As I wrote on Facebook earlier today, arrogance kills.

          • You refute that.

      • You misspelled "ruining."

  2. Very nice post.

    • Agree. The Democrats in the U.S. suffered a stunning loss in 2004, yet came back strong in 2008. Life is like that. Sometimes the wave carries you in, sometimes it tosses you around and throws you out.

  3. After Iggy loses his own seat and brings on the worst election results for the Libs in history, he announces that he plans to stay on as leader! Is there any other proof needed that this guy just doesn't get it?

    Hey Iggy, I think others in your party might have different plans.

    • Scott Reid's take on it, in the CBC chat, was that Ignatieff was doing the Liberals a favour by not just running off. It is obvious he can't stay on until the next election, but perhaps tonight isn't the moment to force the leadership question. There's enough for Liberals to do already, no?

      Edit: I'm seeing on Twitter that Ignatieff will announce his resignation tomorrow.

      • Can't imagine he'd announce tonight that he's staying on for the good of the party only to resign tomorrow.

        • If its true, I can't imagine he had much choice in the matter.

          • Would the party leadership really want to spark an immediate leadership contest? And who would the obvious interim leader be? Goodale?

            Judging from a Rae interview tonight if he wins the leadership the Libs are definitely merging with the NDP. Who would the anti-Merger candidate be? Coderre?

          • Here's the tweet. Ignatieff would stay on until a new leader is chosen, apparently.

            What'll be more interesting is to see who even decides to run, given the huge task ahead. Also, to my thinking, anyone in the Liberal party advocating a merger with the NDP is delusional; the NDP has no incentive to accept and cede any control when they could just gradually move to the center and eat up the Liberal vote all on their own.

          • A friend of mine reminded me that Frank McKenna exists, which set my antennae a-wigglin'.

          • Why would he want to run now, after passing when the party was in so much better shape electorally?

            The traditional appeal to the position of Liberal leader is that you get to be PM, and that's gone. In its place is 4 years leading a party that has fewer seats now than the NDP had last Parliament, where there is a strong possibility that rebuilding will take decades, if it ever even succeeds given that both the NDP and Conservatives will do all they can to drive the Liberals into the ground and claim those voters.

          • I think after Dion the LPC wanted someone they thought would have some glamor, and that didn't work out very well because their choice was thin on other fronts. McKenna's got electoral experience, business cred, and a bunch of other things that are going to look pretty good when the next internal ballot comes around.

            Plus whoever takes the job will have room for the kind of longer-game incremental growth that Layton and Harper both benefited from. (Which is a comfort buffer that Ignatieff didn't have, when the question was "will we lose even more of what we've managed to hang onto since our last loss?")

            For someone with the right kind of ambition that could present an interesting challenge. Yes, it might take decades, but given the volatility we've seen lately it's just as easy to guess that it might not…

            All that being said, I have no idea how bilingual he is.

          • He's like Bernard Lord but with a different tie!

          • Was it McKenna who has previously stated that he has no interest in getting back into politics? Am I thinking of another profile Liberal whose name has been thrown around in the past? I can't think, late night.

          • thumb me down if you like but i'm positive Mckenna is not interested. Not that I wouldn't want him running.

          • I am thinking of John Manley, however I have no idea what his inclination would be to running.

          • The short ass mckenna again eh? Another that too scared to run again. Claudette Bradshaw told him to BEAT IT! The biggest joke that New Brunswick ever had. All spin!

          • I would like to see Coderre make a run for the leadership

          • any particular reason for the thumbs down on the above?

          • Probably Coderre's federal unelectability. I hear good things about him, but I can't see him competing well on the national stage. (Of course, that used to be the same wisdom about Harper, so who knows? But I do have trouble seeing him as the candidate to rebuild the Liberal brand.)

    • Well, it's either Iggy, or its Bob (aka Mr. Waffle) Rae ?
      yep, I'd sooner want Justin Trudeau as the new young leader of this now decimated Liberal party, than a Bob Rae.

      • Is Rae going to push for a merger? If he is, then i want him gone. He's a fine man and a good politician, but if he can't commit to rebuilding the party he should slide on over to the dippers side of the aisle.[ i suppose they wont want him?]__That or even cross the foor[ never! the conbots yell] and give Canada some useful service as the only decent FM this govt is ever likely to see.[ i suppose an ambassodor thingy would be more realistic?] As a liberal i just want to be sure he's inside the tent pissing out, not in.

        • Ummmm, perhaps I'm not a very good ConBot, but I don't think the Cons will care much how many Liberals cross over to the NDP.

          And my own two cents on all this musing about the Libs merging with the NDP: it's hilarious. And only more proof of how entitled the Lib and their supporters feel. Even now, they feel entitled to just throw out the possibility of merging with the NDP, after the NDP historic victory, almost TRIPLING their HoC seat count. You don't just snap your fingers and merge. Right now, any merged party will be at the discretion and direction of Jack Layton, not Bob Rae.

    • You might be stuck with him for awhile. John Turner got similarly obliterated in 1984 – 40 seats – and stayed on until 1990. He lost a second election in 1988 and STILL stayed on for another two years. Mind you, that was then. People don't have that kind of patience anymore.

    • I think you're absolutely right. Yes, his political presentation improved. Yes, the party was a tighter ship under his operation. But his political instincts were lacking. He didn't get it.

  4. Without exception every defeated candidate I heard spoke with respect for "the people have spoken"…I'm reading between the lines here, but I think you've just written that the people have mis-spoken….hope I'm just tired too.

    • "The people have spoken, the bastards."

  5. Futureshock hits some people harder than others.

    And to all, a good night.

    • Suck it! WHOOOOOO! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

      • I can't bring myself to gloat like that. But it must have felt goooooooood. Now if Holly Stick shows up, all bets are off!

      • And futureshock has hit you particularly hard I see.

  6. "This was the last night for … many of those—Mark Holland, Navdeep Bains, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Bonnie Crombie, Marc Garneau—who were supposed to be the Liberal party's future."

    How true. The Liberals have not just been decimated. They have been decapitated. As well as the names mentioned above, consider this: there were eight candidates on the ballot for the Liberal leadership race in 2006. All were candidates in this election. Only three were elected: Scott Brison, Stephane Dion, and Bob Rae. And both Dion and Rae will be eligible for CPP by the next election.

    • Garneau was re-elected. I am looking at these ridings, the vote splitting just destroyed them.

  7. The West is…..welcome to the new Canada!

  8. Actually, Marc Garneau won his seat

    • Wow, that was close — I was following it most of the night and last I checked Joanne Corbeil was still fractionally ahead. A touch disappointing, but the dude was in space, I'll let him have it.

  9. Not.

    Even.

    Close.

    I called 163. Was being a tad conservative.

    Canada's left, Frank Graves, hardest hit.

    • Complete, total, utter destruction…I LOVE it. LMAO….the MSM and their pinko associates brought down a conservative minority government, and replaced it with a conservative MAJORITY government!

    • Paul Wells on Twitter: "You know chet, that right-wing gadfly commenter on our Maclean's blogs? He underestimated Harper's victory."
      http://twitter.com/#!/InklessPW

      • That's the funniest goddang thing I've read in ages. Hell, even I was slamming Chet last night. He hath vanquished us all.

        • It's there! You may have to scroll down a bit.

      • Ouch.

    • Props to you chet. I thought you were crazily optimistic as well. As it turns out, you were sandbagging.

      • I thought you were crazily optimistic when predicting Iggy would lose. I was not up on scuttlebutt about how bad it was for Libs, or the BQ for that matter. What a wonderful night, Libs and BQ on their knees, grasping for air.

        It's a beautiful morning.

  10. Paging Frank Graves. Paging Frank Graves.

    Looks like the giddy "NDP is tied with the CPC…tee hee" twitter posts, and subsequent polling, didn't quite work out for ya.

    Oh well, I'm sure there's some far left dictatorship in Continental Africal that can use your services. Not to worry.

    • Oh yeah…only 3% behind and closing….don't forget…majority likely out of reach….BWAHHHHHHHHHH

    • Frank Graves is the one who recommended that the Liberals launch a "culture war against western red necks" as an election strategy a few years back. And why not? It worked for the Liberals in years past. But that was back when there was right wing vote splitting. Now the other side is wearing the split, and I must say, it looks good on them. Wonder how Graves feels about those red necks this morning.

      • Yep. Graves had the Conservatives pegged at 34/35 throughout the entire campaign. When they claim to be accurate within 3 points 19 times out of 20, that tells you something: He was not asking the right questions, he was not choosing a random sample, or something like that.

        • Take Frank Greaves Ekos poll add Vote Compass Poll and add their bias and dumb reporting into the mix, no wonder CBC has been dumbing way down. Liberals and CBC should get rid of those many bu*t lickers around.

          • You're all pretty simple. When he recommends strategies it isn't because he personally likes them, it's because polling numbers tell him they make work. Do you think when a reporter writes a story about something you don't like that they must like it? ha, probably.

  11. I'm not conservative by nature, so I state up front my built-in bias, but although I was cautiously optimistic about Harper after his first minority win, I feel very apprehensive about him having a majority. Consequently, I feel pretty pleased to be a Quebecer tonight, because even though my riding stayed Red, I feel like Quebec set aside some important and consequential issues, and some nationalist pride, to fight collectively against that majority. In my view, whether intentionally or not, Quebec protected Canada today.

    • If nothing else, the NDP sweep in QC has made the 75 seats in this province available for the taking in the next election instead of the 25-35 left after the Bloc had taken their share. I too am apprehensive of the Harper majority, but time will tell.

    • Conversely, in killing off the Bloc (maybe) and mortally wounding the LPC (maybe), Quebec elected a bunch of placeholder NDP candidates to be a bunch of placeholder MPs. When many of these Quebec MPs amount to nothing, what's the choice the next election: the Tories? A Parti vert landslide?

      • Or, if Team Harper, which set the previous definition of "thin talent on the bench", is any example, an NDP majority. Strange times, and all that.

    • Is that what they were doing? I thought that Quebec was looking out for Quebec, just as it always does.

      • One of the comments last night was that the BQ started losing the moment they started talking about bringing up sovereignty again. Perhaps, just perhaps, the previous BQ votes were a vote for a Quebec voice, and not a free Quebec.

      • That's possible too, and it would certainly make Alberta less lonely, but the net effect was symbolic at the end of the day anyway.

    • actually Quebec ensured a Harper majority by raising the prospect of a prime minister Jack Layton, therby forcing centerist liberals to vote conservative. Thank you Jack for ridding us of the bloc, congradulations Mr. Harper on your majority, I'm glad I won't be heading to the polls again for another 4 years.

    • Yes, because we conservatives are so simpleminded , we need the enlightened progressive seperatists in Quebec to save us from ourselves. Pretentious much?

      • It's the hat, isn't it? Puts people off.

    • Wow, how am I not surprised that you live in a riding that stayed Liberal… the conceit drips from your post. God Bless Quebec! They are saving the RoC from themselves!

      I find it ludicrous that a lot of Quebecers thought it was rational to vote for a bunch of candidates who just fell off the turnip truck – anglophones representing francophone ridings, candidates who admittedly didn't even VISIT the riding they were candidates in, candidates who went to Vegas rather than campaign, students who are now entitled to a $138k a year job… glorious day for democracy that is.

      We moan and complain about democracy in our country under the Cons, and then first chance Quebecers get, they piss all over the idea of electing responsible representatives for their local riding, and jump on the bandwagon. How intelligent.

      I will be surprised if the NDP hold onto even a third of those seats next election. Guaranteed, the CPC is convening a strategy meeting today for the 2015 election and when it comes to the NDP the strategy is simple – demonstrate that all these new MPs are amateurs, unrepresentative of their ridings and will never deliver the goods.

      • I didn't vote Liberal. Well-typed reply, though.

  12. I found it very interesting that when Layton was making his speech, the crowd was waving Canadian flags.

    When Harper made his speech, the crowd was waving Harper flags.

    Sorta lets ya know their priorities.

    • And I suppose you find nothing strange about the room full of NDP partisans chanting "N – D – P" while so patriotically waving our flag.

    • I heard Layton's crowd cheer Gilles Duceppe loudly, too. Lot of interesting cognitive dissonance in that crowd. I am astonished the Libs didn't run a Captain Canada last ditch campaign accusing Jack of cozying up to Bill 101 loving seps.

      • "Layton talks about a more positive and respectful tone in Parliament as his supporters boo his congratulations for Stephen Harper." Kevin Libin, National Post Live Blog

        Classy, guys.

        • Kind of like how every party's faithful boo the other teams? Or how the CPC rallies drown out the media with boos when they ask questions? That's a pretty odd thing to be sensitive about on the night of a majority win.

    • Good observation, Columbo. You're on to us. Conservatives don't care about Canada – we just want to unveil our scary Hidden Agenda!

  13. For Conservatives, Christmas came early this year. First, the death of bin Laden, closely followed by a Conservative majority, a Liberal evisceration, and a Bloc eradication.

    • Christmas indeed. You could not wipe the smile off this chimp's face last night. Nor this morning. I'm sure Harper, like all politicians, will disappoint me greatly. He already has. It can't be helped. That's politicians for you. Always disappointing those who believed in them. But for now, my grin is a mile wide. I've waited 25 years for this at least. All the giddiness amongst progressives over the past weekend as Layton continued to strengthen in the polls had me down. No longer.

      • The NDP hype that had you down probably scared Ontario Blue. I know the idea of PM Layton had me a bit edgy.

        Nice to see that you have realistic future expectations thou. I'm sure Harper will do many more things that I hate, but for now it tastes like victory… and the taste is sweet.

    • It's like Christmas and my B-day all rolled into one. Osama as fish-food and my most hated political enemies, the Bloc, reduced to virtually nothing in the space of 24 hours. I couldn't have imagined how good of a week this would be.

      Enjoy it while it lasts.

      • Yup. And a big hearty thankyou to Jack for doing what no other federalist could do – vanquishing the Bloc. Mind you, he did it by promising to behave like a hard core nationalist (enforcing Quebec's language laws in federally regulated industries, re-opening the constitution) but at least he did it. Mulroney tried to fit sovereignists into his unwieldy coalition back in the 1980s. It worked – for a time. I have a feeling Jack really has no clue what a keg of dynamite he's sitting on. But good on him nonetheless.

        • I'll admit I was not happy with Jack after the french debate, but his strategy worked better then even he could have imagined. If that is what it took to collapse the Bloc like that, then he could promise Quebec the moon for all I care. It's not like he was going to be able to open constitutional talks anyway, even if by some miracle he had ended up as PM.

          You're right about Jacks future problems there too. Now he has to find a way to deliver things for Quebec, and I don't see how he's going to do that.

  14. What we need now is Harper's very own personal weight loss program! Just in time for spring!

    • Don't worry, by the time Harper gets through raising food, gas, tuition, taxes… prices,… even more, you'll lose weight very fast and naturally too. It's called Hunger.

  15. Congrats to all the right-thinkers out there.

    By the way, I seem to have misplaced Canada. I went for a walk this morning looking for it but I certainly didn't recognize it.

    • Would that be Trudeau's Canada you're talking about? Sorry, we had to get rid of that. It just wasn't working out. :)

      • Thank goodness!

    • As a right-thinker I thank you, Stewart_Smith

      And early this morning I went for a walk too and couldnt be prouder of the Canada I saw. The air felt cleansed and its potential to be unleashed appears closer than ever.

      A great new beginning for Canada in this twenty first century.

  16. Stephen Harper has realized his life's dream – an absolute, unfettered majority, with virtually no checks or balances on his unlimited power. We can only hope that he uses it wisely, though his track record is far from good.

    This is, unquestionably, not the Canada I grew up in – and it will be even less so four years from now.

    • Well, I'm glad Canadians decide and not just you. Now THAT would be truly scary. Sorry.

  17. Paul Martin Juggernaut – nope.
    Jack Layton Surge – nope.

    Wonder what weapon they'll use to try to dislodge Harper the next time. It seems he's just not into losing, even when the media is giddy over some other largely imaginary political force. Granted, Jack Layton kicked some serious butt last night, but that was nearly entirely at the expense of the Liberals and the Bloc.

    • Yep. The NDP nabbed 6 Con seats. The Cons nabbed 2 NDP seats. Considering the 140-40 split before the election, and considering the surge the NDP were experiencing, that's not good at all for the NDP.

  18. I wonder how the editors of the Toronto Star feel this morning. :) Their decision to run with that "leaked" story last week in which a senior Conservative Party official admitted "we're nowhere close in Ontario" seems like a bit of a suckers' play now. By waving the white flag in the official anti-Harper newspaper, the Tories may have ensured thousands of voters stayed home, comfortable in the knowledge that Harper had no chance of a majority. I would have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall in the TorStar editors' offices last night. A gloating fly.

    • They were just as successful stopping Harper as they were stopping Ford.

  19. You know what I enjoy? Having been completely right about what the electorate does and really doesn't care about.

    It's a Brand New Day.

    • It IS a brand new day, and as usual I have high hopes for this new government. I am especially pleased by some of the newer Conservative MPs- Oliver, Leitch, Trottier, and Adler- they seem like very smart people with legitimate resumes. I can only hope and pray that the really dim bulbs like Clement, Flaherty, and Goodyear are pushed to the side and roles greatly reduced. Very happy to see Gary Lunn tossed to the side- ugh- what a dull knife he was.

      Major concerns- banking regulation- had these Conservatives been in power in the 1990's we would have had at least 2 major banks collapse. There's also a nasty authoritarian streak in many of these Conservatives- Fantino tops the list there to be sure.

    • Another good point. The parliamentary press gallery is wondering what happened. They're also wondering what they did wrong.

  20. They said that if the NDP rose in Quebec, the CPC would almost "wipe out" Ontario.

    They said that Graves' unproffessionalism was a precurser to partisanship which is a pollser undoing.

    They said the media was completely out of touch, reporting not what they saw, but what they wanted to see.

    They said that the PPG in particular, was so rabidly anti-Harper that they could not concieve of a world in which all viewed every action of Harper with the most malevolant intent.

    "They" were right.

    Soul searching by the media today?

    Sun TV is preying, not.

    • What's the "PPG"?

      • Parliamentary Press Gallery

        • Ah- thanks.

          I don't get it old boy- everything went your way last night and you STILL sound bitter.

  21. And for those licking their wounds with some sense of accomplishment from the left in the NDP gaining seats?

    Consider this: Harper made minced meat of accomplished, seasoned Liberals.

    Imagine what will happen to the bar fly chic who spent the media week in Vegas, or the dude who cannot speak French…..IN A FRENCH RIDING.

    Oh yes, oh yes.

    • that at least should provide some hilarity over the next few years

    • The first day of a stable four year mandate and you people still can't stop talking about the 'game.' I guess we have to wait another four years to see if we can get someone who is actually interested in governing the country?

      • Do you really think 'chet' is governing the country for the next four years?

        • You don't get it. Politics is a game. 'chet' is a CPC creation. Harper kept his team on lockdown forever just to launch a campaign by lying through his teeth, knowing that Canadians are dumb — and his opponents were even more dumb.

          Harper didn't destroy the liberals — he gave them enough rope to hang themselves.

  22. The "soicalists' have slayed the "separatists". good to see Quebec supporting a federlist party. Even Stephen harper has to be happy about that

  23. Couldn't have worked out worse for team Wherry.

    My breakfast somehow tastes much better then usual this morning.

    I blame Harper.

    • 118 comments on this post alone indicates a lot of eyeballs on his blog, says to me that things are working out okay for team Wherry.

  24. I voted Liberal for years and years and years. But they lost me when they went stupid on the gun registry. I want gun control, but I can’t stand the sneering attitude Liberals have towards people like me who are hunters. Hunting is an honourable vocation, just like farming. There are millions of people who are fine, upstanding law-abiding citizens who hunt. But the vast majority of us hunters now despise Liberals, and won’t ever consider voting for them again. I really, really liked the outcome of the election last night. Liberals – good riddance.

    • I'm a hunter, and have never had a problem with registering my firearms, just like I register my car.

    • There are millions of fine, upstanding law-abiding citizens who drive cars – and register them.
      Be a fine upstanding citizen and – out of respect for the safety of the lives of men, women, children and law enforcement officers across the country – support the registry.
      It has nothing to do with liberals. It has nothing to do with hunting. It has to do with criminals with weapons.

      • It is a Liberal thing – the sneering and out and out dislike Liberals have for those of us with guns. Liberals ultimate goal is to disarm citizens. The registry does not save lives and will soon be dismantled by the Conservatives. Get over it.

        It’s a great day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the Liberals are toast. Life is good.

  25. I hope that Mr. Harper will now relax a little and let his ministers have a little more reign. Having to heard cats for 5 1/2 years can affect a man.

  26. Mr Wherry, a reasonably informative column. But you had to get the knife into Mr Harper who I do not remember blaming anyone, ever – and heaven knows he had lots of reasons for doing so. So grow up and learn the positive things that can flow from generosity. Perhaps you should change your employer as uberliberal McLeans may not be the happiest place to work for the next while. Try Sunmedia or Mark Steyn or…..

  27. What a pathetic article written by small minds that believe socialism is the way. The headline says it all. Squirm lefties, squirm. I've been saying for days the demented readership of this rag have a perverted view of Canada as those who reject your love of socialism are too busy at work paying the taxes so youl parasites can whine on here. Scarey huh. Now you might have to actually earn your own living. I just hope and pray Harper doesn't pull a Mulroney..

  28. Blame anyone for what? Harper is an excellent manager and the economy has been his main preoccupation. The liberal media seem to take the economy fir granted, something which will always be there and something they can kick around whenever they feel the need to express a little 60"s style cultural Marxism.

    • isn't government managing the economy kind of marxist?

  29. There's a slight problem here, Aaron, either of math or of definition. 40% of eligible voters didn't vote for the Cons, and 30% didn't vote for the NDP, as we once again experienced horrible turnout at the polls. Only ~24% of those eligible voted for this majority government, and only ~18% voted for the official opposition.

    If we had true PR, 40% of the seats in the House of Commons would (should?) sit empty.

    • and what difference would that make? unless you need over 60% for quorum? then you just get an ungovernable mess where a rump can shut down any election simply by abstaining, like they did in Serbia in the last decade.

      • No difference, but it would make a good visual. 40% of Canadians don't care who sits in those seats.

  30. Conservatives seemed overly obsessed with the political game and how they can 'destroy' their opponents. I would hope getting a majority and not having to worry about elections or confidence votes would place that on the back-burner for a few years, and that they could now focus on governing the country and tackling public policy problems. If the comments here are indicative of the Conservative attitude I was sadly mistaken.

    I have some advice: Focus on making Canada better, and if you need to use your 'ruthless politics' skills, use them to defeat the PQ in the next Quebec election.

    • John D – if you are new to this blog you can be forgiven for thinking that only the right-leaning bloggers make rude comments. Should you continue to sign in, you will find the left-leaning bloggers treating the "cons" with ill-disguised contempt. It is the way of the "no-holds-barred" discourse on this site. It would be folly to suggest it is evidence of the true nature of the larger population of people who belong to any of the Canadian political parties.

  31. What a pathetic attitude and head line. Eat crow Wherry! It looks good on you.

    Harper's victory will be total when Jack has to answer some tough questions about a certain Bawdy House. It will be Harper, 3 leaders, two parties, leftards, 0 ! Two parties have been reduced to irrelevance, even extinction! The only one left standing will be Harper when all is said and done in the next three months! Total victory!

    My last post at this pathetic rag of a magazine just to tell you all what a bunch of lying shills you are, who run this site. Won't be back. Electoral peace for 4.5 years at least! No more Liberal kangaroo courts and lying leftist media shills! Thank God!

    • And thus ends the Craigslist employment.

  32. He's ruining the country by:
    - subverting the free access to information that is the basis of true democracy
    —stonewalling parliamentary information requests
    —subverting the census
    —tampering with Freedom of Information requests
    —firing civil servants who reveal information to which the public has a right
    —refusing to respond to, or be available for, public or media questions
    -poisoning political discourse
    —year-round campaigning
    —non-answers to Question Period questions
    —spreading incorrect interpretations of the law on constitutional issues
    -wasting public funds
    —G20/G8 photo op
    —fighter jets with no strategic planning or open bidding
    —taxpayer-funded partisan advertising
    -ignoring environmental issues

    Anyone want to add to this list?

    • In other words, he's ruining the country because he's a politician and you don't like his policies? All of the above list seems to be categorized in one of the two, aren't they? This is what will ruin the country, is it? I recommend less meditation under the hot Vulcan suns, Spock!

  33. The only party who is so blatantly nasty in taking their opponents out is the Liberal. They even use their House of Commons priveleges to attempt outing the governing party (Contempt of the House – a nasty coalition's engineering to force an election). This time the voters showed them what real contempt is.

    As for the "main stream" media , their bias and nastiness are beyond compare, Fox news had shown more class and decorum than many of them . Sadder still, they can't even see the bad image they project.

    I wonder what will happen now to that signed agreement of Liberal, NDP, and Bloc coalition which will yet expire in June of 2011, will it still be in effect?

  34. And the next day the markets tank. What a country. Lol

  35. The Bloc has been wiped off the face of the earth! Thank you God

    The Liberals crushed!!!

    Finally a Conservative Majority!!!!!

    All you jokers complain how the country will go to the pits. If you don't like it try North Korea and let me know how it works out!!!!!!! LOL

  36. Yes my tw least favorit partys are dead and gone and now the goverment can run properly. shame about the green though now we have one more person to be incompitant

  37. Yes, but besides all that Spock? Dammit Jim I`m a doctor…

  38. …and sometimes it wipes out entire villages and takes out the backup systems that power the safety systems on your nuclear reactor…

  39. Don`t you think Chris Alexander should make a pretty decent FM?

  40. Funny, you didn't whine about an absolute, unfettered majority all those years Trudeau and Chretien were hated in the west. Admittedly Mulroney turned out to be as big a scumbag as those two but I certainly hope Harper sticks to his conservative values. I for one like him controlling the loose cannons in his cabinet. I will be watching the next four years with more interest AND HOPE than I have had for years. Sooner or later somebody somewherre has to wake up to the fact government cannot spend more than it brings in. If that means some of the maggots have to get an honest job, so be it.

  41. Amen to that.

    It seems the Bloc shared Quebecois sentiments in everything but separation.

    It will be interesting to see how the particular liberal brand of the NDP will mesh with the particular liberal values of Quebec. In some areas they are very close. (social programs, unions etc.) In others, they are far apart. (multi-culturalism)

  42. Harper is raising the price of food and gas? I had no idea he even owned any grocery stores or gas stations.

    • you mean depaneur …

  43. I guess it's true what they say about the papers. Nobody reads those things anymore.

  44. We are fortunate that the Conservatives were not in power at that time. We avoided Iraq. We avoided the banking debacle. But I am comfortable that the Conservatives have learned those lessons. I don't expect we'll see any massive banking dereg or any more Iraq – or even Afghanistans – for some time.

  45. Probably why no one likes him much. I like the little ba$tard myself, but he does get tiresome.

  46. …knowing that Canadians are dumb….

    You know, I think I'm beginning to see what the main problem of the progressive forces in this country is. It's not vote splitting, though that's certainly an issue. It's the outright dismissal of 40% of the electorate as "stupid". I had one guy at work call me a member of the "stupid 40% of Canadians" to my face today. This is a guy who is normally quite friendly and reasonable. My response was: "I might well be just as stupid as you say, but it's a mistake to think that you're going to bring me around to your way of thinking by pointing out how stupid I am."

  47. If you fell for that Craiglist hoax, you're not in a position to making snide remarks.

    • My tongue is in my cheek. The internet sucks at conveying that, though.

  48. You should thank the Liberals, NDP and Bloc for changing your Country by calling a ridiculous election when the prime Minister was doing a good job !

    Their arrogance crowned Harper. Or they listened too much with what some bloggers wrote over the last 5 years…

    Happy 5 years.

  49. That would be true, except for a few facts. Most criminals are in urban areas. Most hunters are rural. Most criminals prefer handguns and sawed-offs. Hunters – by law – use only long guns. So forcing hunters to register their rifles and shotguns because urban criminals are killing people with handguns and sawed-offs is a bit like forcing farmers to register their cows because the city has a problem with stray cats. Targeting the wrong population in the wrong area for the wrong reasons.

  50. I thought it was mandatory minimum sentencing for anyone who tries to register their gun. Now I'm confused.

  51. and for you to finaly start with high school

  52. Maybe lay off the bong for awhile Stewart.

  53. Unfortunately, not dead enough.

  54. It was brilliant for Harper in setting the election date to coincide with income tax return filing deadline. It had played a role with Harper's message getting through. I guess looking at the tax return, had been a great reminder to many people how politicians' promises and government spending could cost such a big ding in everyone's pocket book.

  55. The papers all say that they are stable, despite a ~250 point drop yesterday. I want some of what the financial editors are smoking.

    That said, one day does not make a trend. It will take a lot of financial deregulation and capital flight to cause disaster. That'll take a few years, if it happens. I'm going to be optimistic, for now, and hope that the ideologues will be held in check by pragmatism.

  56. "Harper blames no one but himself."

    And that's the difference between Harper and Layton.

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