I was fully prepared to have another minority Conservative government with the NDP as the official opposition. What I never suspected was just how decimated the Liberal party would be.
I'm still a little frightened. Initially, to make myself feel better, I amusedly thought back to previous commentary I made about Mr. Harper being in office, back in Jan 2006 and October 2008):
Jan 26, 2006 (Well I Didn't Vote For You! - inspired by a scene from Monty Python & The Holy Grail). It opens with the following text.
Last night my son threw up in a sudden explosive burst.
This was at about the same time the news media was announcing the certainty that Stephen Harper was going to be Canada’s next Prime Minister.
And people say that babies don’t understand what’s going on in the world around them.
I know, snarky harsh words. But you must admit it's a bit funny. And that blog post goes on to explain the bizarre way in which we elect the leaders of our country. What better way than using a "Monty Python" inspired scene to do it?
But despire my initial concerns, here are few things that give me hope:
1) With such a startling new government makeup, there's a real chance for change, and a chance for the NDP to show us what they've got now that they have so many seats in office.
2) Within my own riding, the candidate I voted for got in, and she has consistently represented my concerns beautifully in Ottawa. (I pay attention not to the parties but to the candidates who represent ME in my riding, and I vote for the person who best fulfills that role - I'm delighted that both federally and provincially, the MP and MPP in my riding are solid upstanding leaders that I'm proud to have represent me)
3) While I still don't fully understand how 60% of Canadian's could vote outside of a particular party, yet that party still end up with a majority government, that % gives me a sense of hope that there is diversity and balance in the attitude of voting Canadians.
4) Elizabeth May, one of the party leaders I most admire, won in her riding, bringing the Green party into Ottawa - this is a refreshing opportunity for another fresh voice to be brought to the House of Commons. And wee desperately need that.
5) The leader's speeches were inspiring (unlike much of the pre-election debates) - Michael Ignatieff displayed perhaps his finest moment of leadership in his speech last night. Dignified, strong, respectful. Jack Layton kept on target talking about working for Canadian families, health care and jobs. And Stephen Harper's speech was inspiring (I fully expected he would still be our Prime Minister) and he was eloquently respectful of the other leaders. I'm curious to see if he will indeed work with the opposition and other parties to make a better Canada.
6) More people voted than in the previous election. THAT is important to me. Still, less than 62% of eligible voters turned out to vote. Really? What the hell is wrong with the 38% of Canadians who are demonstrating sheer "laziness and stupidity" by not voting? Every vote counts. YOUR vote counts. Don't let other people speak for you. (I have to stop now because just thinking about this type of lethargy makes me sick to my stomach - have to focus on the fact that MORE people voted this time around and hope that continues to improve as Canadians wake up and smell the democracy we're fortunate to live in)
So I remain cautiously hopeful. I am a "glass is half full" kind of guy, after all.
FYI, CHML has an excellent post that includes audio clips of the three main party leader's speeches last night. No, I didn't vote for any of them (because none of them are in my ridings), but I respect the things they each said in their speeches.