I was underwhelmed by all major parties during this election. But this might just be my decent into cynicism.
To the Conservatives’, who won a majority government, credit, they have done a decent job over the past few years (albeit in a minority government), and as long as you ignore science and the environment (more on that in a later post). But their social conservative base scares me. Also Stephen Harper, is about as uncharismatic a leader as one can imagine, his record for being able to work with people who disagree with him is appalling and he ran one of the most negative campaigns in Canadian history.
The NDP are in an odd position. Despite becoming the official opposition, and winning over 100 seats they actually have less power than they did in the last minority government. All they can do now is complain… loudly. Layton always impresses, likely one reason why the NDP did so well, his policies on the other hand don’t.
The Liberals got a dose of much needed medicine. They should have started rebuilding the Party in 2006 when, then leader, Paul Martin lost the election. But they haven’t. They now they have 4 years with no threat of an election. They best not waste them. Despite his abysmal performance (he lost his seat!) I like Ignatieff he speaks with nuance, except when criticizing Harper. Then it is black and white.
And finally we get to the Greens. They may not be a major party, but I like the Greens, and voted for them. They fall roughly in the centre of the political spectrum (just like me), and unlike the rest of the parties they give the environment the priority it logically deserves. Despite the talk from the other parties (well except the conservatives, they have no environmental talk), I don’t expect any of them to do much to deal with global warming, other than continue the Canadian tradition of inaction. But the Greens did achieve something historic, they achieved in getting their leader Elizabeth May elected. She is the first elected Green in North America! Elizabeth May is both smart and outspoken, she also took a very public stand against negative campaigning which I cannot respect enough. I expect we will be seeing a lot more of her in the next 4 years.
Now here is the depressing part. After the crushing defeat of the Liberals, and the vote splitting that handed the Conservatives more seats than they deserved, many are now talking about uniting the Liberals and the NDP. This is a terrible idea, which would alienate those of us who prefer the middle. The last thing I want to see come out of this election is a move towards a two party system. One just needs to look south of the boarder to see why this is a path best not travelled.
A better solution would be to move away from the broken first-past-the-post electoral system, but such a change wont come easy. Still it is a change worth fighting for.
And finally can anyone tell me why on the ballot there was a Marxist-Leninist, and a Communist party? What is the difference?