What just happened? - Macleans.ca

What just happened?


Chris Selley considers.

This is a terrific result for Canadian democracy. If the Liberals are to continue on as a political party, they must now confront the black hole where their raison d’être used to be. No more coats of spackle and parachute leaders. Rebuild for real or go away. The Conservatives, meanwhile, get to show us just what they’ll do with a majority. And if turns out to be less awful than New Democrats and Liberals have traditionally suspected, and they’re willing to admit it, our polity will be incalculably healthier for it.


What just happened?

  1. (cross posted for posterity, and with trademark spelling errors intact):

    And with that,

    I bid my fellow commenters farewell.

    A rousing sprited debate is good for democracy, no?

    And to you media types out there: try to learn from this election. Read a few of Norm Spector's tweets of late and try to listen. Really listen. It's for your own good.

    Good by.

    • Well that was a big surprise. New political aide for some new CPC MP perhaps? Wells long ago said it was his job to be here.

    • See ya chet / biff / kody. Usually agreed with almost everything you wrote. Curious to see what your name will be when you return next time.

  2. Say what, Chet? You mean you're not a regular reader?

    • Conservative war room salary stops today

      • Bingo.

      • Man I wish that was true. I could be a better conservative partisan than Chet.

        If I could be paid to do this, I'd be on here all the time.

  3. This really does feel like a terrific result for Canadian democracy. Parliament can finally be the place for competing visions of the country to be debated and voters will be able to choose between those visions. That's a big leap forward from the days of policy debates all happening within the Liberal caucus, or in the Liberal leader's office, and Canadians looking only at the final brokered position. There's a lot of work for the NDP ahead – they won't be able to form a government of pylons – and it's exciting to see where this goes.

    • if the CPC had, say, 152 seats I could agree with this post.

    • There's not going to be any debate in Parliament. Parliament is now officially irrelevant,

      • Because there's a majority government? Or because the government returned with a stronger mandate after a vote of no confidence? We've seen those things before…

  4. Couldn't agree more. Selley makes very pertinent points.

    This is the Liberals' chance to rebuild, and they have a full 4 years to do so. Hopefully they won't rush to find a messiah and just apply a paint job on their party. They need to do some real soul-searching.

    Harper's speech today was also encouraging, in that he will seek to earn the trust of all Canadians, not just those who voted Tory. I thought that sounded very prime-ministerial of him.

    This will be an interesting 4 years…

    (As a complete aside/digression, by the end of Harper's current term, he will have been the 6th longest serving PM with 9-ish years as PM, just before Chrétien, and just ahead of Mulroney.)

    • And the longest national migraine headache in history, with no relief in sight. ;-)

  5. Can't really fault Selley…cept i don't share his optimism. Can't really say if it'll start from within the opposition or the govt. But these guys have no real love for one another.Sooner or later they'll discover they're on opposite sides of the house for a reason. Plus Harper is gonna get bored if he doesn't get to poke someone with a sharp stick now and again. He could shock me…i doubt it though.

  6. Good night for Canada?? It was a slap in the face for Democracy, we are more than ever now like the US.
    God help us all!
    A party getting 40% of the vote, then
    gets to play all the cards, is just plain wrong.
    I see the Consevatives pushing (or ramming) through a US style agendy on Canada, including a Law and Order Bill..
    This is a victory for big corperate Canada, and a loss for the rest of us..
    Like I said, I hope to be proven wrong..But right now I`m scared for about the next 4 years..

    • Your hysteria is showing

  7. While Selley makes some excellent points, there are two things I disagree with:

    1. The Conservatives winning a majority is more attributable to the Conservatives vote share growing than it is due to vote splitting. The Liberals, the Greens, and the NDP aren't interchangeable parties, you can't simply add up their vote totals and assume that some mythical combined left-center candidate would have won a riding. I doubt there are really that many ridings (and you'd need to find at least a dozen for the splitting argument to be even remotely plausible) where the split was so pronounced that it can really be said that moving away from the Liberals to the NDP is the cause of more Conservatives being elected.

    2. While in previous elections, the criticism of the Conservatives by the NDP and Liberals on policy matters has been really shrill (soldiers on your streets etc) and while both have been very eager to jump on anything the Conservatives did and try and turn it into some huge issue, the Conservatives have done some really ugly things procedurally and have not been kind to our democracy. Criticism of the Conservatives on those fronts has been extremely valid; they need to do more than simply have reasonable policies, they also need to behave in a way that isn't detrimental to democracy.

    • And I have no confidence that they are capable of improving their behaviour.

      • I can't say I'm optimistic myself, but it is really besides the point now: the Conservatives have a majority and they're going to use it.

        On the other side, though, I did personally come to a realization today (after hearing John Baird, of all people) that there are some Conservative policies that I don't hate, and there are a few I actually like. I don't mind how they're handling the economy, my objections to their elimination of the voter subsidy have pretty much disappeared (instead of potentially changing the electoral landscape and undercutting parties entirely, it'll just reinforce the results of the last election, which is somewhat appropriate considering they campaigned with cutting the subsidy as part of their platform), and I'm actually thankful that they'll be the ones handling the distribution of new ridings, as they will try and get us closer to voter parity rather than explicitly favouring one region or another.

  8. The Liberal media shills have to except some of the responsibility for the Liberal party decimation. Liberal/leftys encrusted within the taxpayer subsidized media gave Iggo a false sense of security and a delusional sense of how well his campaign was going. Iggo was kept in a bubble by his handlers and cheerleaded along by the media, while they sat at the back of the plane talking about how much they hated "Harper". Iggo didn't understand that the Canadian media do not speak for Canadians, and are despised by huge swaths of the electorate who neither trust nor respect the media's opinions and analysis. The Liberal party needs to reconnect with Canadians from the bottom up, not the top down, and they need to understand that the corrupt lefty media are doing them no favours, they simply give Liberals a false sense of their own worth, while they wallow in their own excrement, and continue to debase the political atmosphere, and polarize an already polarized nation.

    • Your very semi-literacy dooms to your comment. If you can't spell and edit your own thoughts, why should anyone pay the least attention? Go back to Grade 8.

  9. Because Harper thinks he is smarter than everybody else and will not listen to reason and is surrounded by yes-men. No check on his behaviour now

    EG destruction of the long-form census, which everybody knows was a stupid decision, but about which Harper refused to recognize that he was wrong.

    • Hi Holly. I bet you're hung over today.

  10. "Harper's speech today was also encouraging, in that he will seek to earn the trust of all Canadians, not just those who voted Tory. I thought that sounded very prime-ministerial of him."

    Prime ministerial of his speechwriter, more likely; but Harper never lives up to such noble promises, just the ignoble ones.

  11. The problem is when that party is so partisan and so vindictive against anyone who disagrees with them that they are not capable of representing a majority of Canadians. Harper has had five years in which to broaden his mind and learn to represent all Canadians, and he has failed to do so. He is too small a man.

    • Then stop being so partisan and vindicative, and maybe we'll start listening to you. Not me personally. But someone might.

  12. Yes, this business of "paid hacks posting on the Internet" always confuses me. Where's my cheque?

    • Where can I apply for the easy money?

  13. No relief for you anyway. My headache mysteriously disappeared last night.

  14. Good heavens, what on earth makes you think chet actually *read* anything posted around here?

    • He made a lot more sense then you did.