Monday, May 2, 2011

1993 Upside Down :)

Phew, that was close! Just a few days ago, political analysts were predicting an NDP-led coalition outflanking the Conservatives, as the Tory lead started to erode. Now at least we can take a deep breath. Not only the Conservatives stayed in power - they finally have a majority; finally, our Conservative government, has been given a chance to govern as real Conservatives. Hopefully they don't blow that chance.

Looking at the broader picture - this is 1993 upside down. The 1993 election gave us the Bloc Quebecois as the official opposition - this one reduced the Block back to a handful of independent MPs it started from. (You have to have 12 seats to have an official party status in the Parliament.) Back in 1993 the right-of-center vote split in half, with the larger part choosing to abandon the traditional, mainstream, center-leaning party for a stronger, more vibrant, straightforward, hard-line challenger, which then greatly outpaced the used to be front-runner. Now we had the same thing happening on the left - the Liberals went down (although not all the way to 2 seats) and the NDP surged ahead to the official opposition status...

...And the Conservatives won a majority!!! I still can't believe this has actually happened; that I won't wake up tomorrow just to realize that this was all a dream... 165 or so seats - the regarded this as a ceiling, as a best case scenario that was extremely unlikely to happen - and it suddenly happened.

Or maybe not so suddenly? Those last 6-7 weeks, they were just too crazy. The Conservatives tried to avoid an election at all costs - in the end, they won a majority. The opposition was eager to bring down the government; they didn't even wait for the budget vote, teaming up together to pass their "contempt" motion. As result, the Block got obliterated, the Liberals suffered their worst defeat since Confederation and the NDP, in spite of more seats and the official opposition status, can no longer hold the government by the throat as they used to...

What a crazy shuffle. The more the Liberals tried to position themselves as NDP-lite, the more left-leaning voters chose to go for the real deal. The more Duceppe was yelling about Harper's hidden agenda (hidden so well that nobody can find it now,) the more Quebecers realized that there isn't much of a difference between their local fleur-de-lis-tinted socialists and just ordinary, mainstream socialists. As result, Canada's political landscape now resembles that of Manitoba or Saskatchewan, where the major players are the Conservatives and the NDP with the Liberals being nothing but a minor party of a few undecided centrists.

Ironically, the orange crush ate up about half of Quebec's Conservative caucus. Yes, believe it or not, not only the Conservatives were able to win majority with little (if any) help from Quebec, but they also managed to lose some of the nastiest "red Tories" on the way. I'm talking about those three that voted against the Unborn Victims of Crime Act - Sylvie Boucher, Josée Verner and probably the most socially perverse, pro-abortion, anti-family Conservative MP - Lawrence Cannon. Adieu, unholy trio, the Conservative caucus will be much better off without you.

And obviously, Canada will be much better off without all that blackmailing from the opposition; without those demands to accept their agenda - or else; without having this constant threat of a coalition coup or yet another early election hanging like a sword of Damocles. Those looking forward for a re-vote will have to wait all the way until October 19, 2015.

P.S. Here's another historical parallel - with the Social Credit. That too was a quasi-socialist, Quebec nationalist party. (Or, to be precise, that's what it had become by late 1970s.) They too tried to bargain government survival in exchange for more money to Quebec. They too decided that an early election (just months after the previous one) would be better than holding their appetite. And they too - suffered a crushing defeat in the following election, losing all their remaining seats. (By 1979, Social Credit had only 6 of them left.) A defeat from which they never recovered.

No comments: