While the rest of the world was waking up to news about the death of OBL, 61.4% of Canadians were heading to the polls to cast their vote for the nation’s 41st federal election. By the end of the night Canada had moved from a Conservative minority government to a Conservative majority government. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that most readers of this blog would see this as a bad development akin to the announcement of Bush’s second term in office. And, of course, it is. The government is now free to pass its budget, which is replete with corporate tax cuts alongside program funding cuts, etc., without having to rely on the support of members from the opposition parties.
For anyone of the A.B.C. stripe, this is a major setback. For those who saw this election as one mainly about Harper and filled up my Facebook newsfeed daily with links to http://shitharperdid.ca/ and strategic voting sites like http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/, we’re dealing with a worst-case scenario. But for those of us who view the endgame as something a bit larger than keeping out the Conservative bad guy at any cost and are inclined to see Canadian politics as a bit more than a short-term race to form government the result is a lot less pessimistic. For those whose desire to unseat the worst of the Right is inseparable from a hope for a future for the Left last Monday was actually a good day for two reasons: a) the New Democratic party made unprecedented gains moving from 37 seats to 102 to form the Official Opposition and b) the decimation of the Liberal party (referred to by many as “the natural governing party”), which was reduced to 34 seats, a number from which it will likely not recover for awhile, if ever.
Though not everyone is convinced that these are positive developments. For example, James K. A. Smith has recently put up a post entitled “No Country for Philosopher-Kings” on his blog. Read the rest of this entry »