So, it is easy for many of us on the left to say Monday nights results were a disappointment, and I won’t claim to be happy with a Harper majority either, obviously. It’s a disgusting thing for many reasons, number one being how archaic our electoral process is when a minority of the population can vote in a majority government. But, for me and many others who have grown up as New Democrats, it can’t be looked at as a failure. Over one hundred seats in parliament for a left wing party is a huge success no matter how you swing it. I personally never believed it would happen, despite my identity being clearly rooted in the very important beliefs I share with the NDP.
For any Americans who may not understand how it works here in Canada, our Conservatives are like your Republicans, our Liberals are like your Democrats, and our New Democrats are essentially your Independents on the far left. Imagine your far left party suddenly stealing more than half the Democrats votes during an election. It would never happen. But that is what happened here on Monday night, and it was incredible to be there when the NDP was announced the Official Opposition party.
The fact that Stephen Harper pulled off that scary “majority” and the NDP gained such overwhelming support is because the Liberal party fell apart in every possible way. So those Liberals that lean right voted Conservative, while most left leaners went NDP. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest one is that the Conservatives were serving attack ads against Michael Ignatieff from the minute it was announced he was the new Liberal leader. Long before there was an election called I knew Iggy was a “traitor” who had lived overseas and in the States (working as a Professor at some of the best Universities in the world). His name became synonymous with unpatriotic. No Canadian wants to vote someone who prefers living outside of Canada into office.
It was forward thinking campaigning on the part of the Conservatives, in their vigilant attempt to destroy the Liberal party, who they have always seen as their real competition. The other big thing is that, as smart and brilliant as Iggy is (and I do believe he would have made a MUCH better Prime Minister than Harper, by a mile) he is a terrible public speaker. At the debates he appeared to have no platform, and no real argument. His entire debate was focused on repeating why the election was called (aka what a nutjob Harper is) but he didn’t give any good reasons why we should vote for him. He didn’t even talk about what the Liberals stand for. I watched the debate and had no idea what their platform was, and left it remembering only that he said “At least we get into office” as a rebuttal to Jack Layton, and how I knew in that minute he was done. As Jack said, that is the arrogance Canadians despise, and I hope he ate those words Monday night as the NDP took all his seats.
What we know now is that the Liberals need to suck it up and merge with the NDP before it is too late and far right destroys everything Canada is known for. We can not have four parties on the left and one on the right if we ever want to stop the richest of the rich from killing every good thing about this country. As Harper will be cutting all government financial support for parties, Liberals won’t have a leg to stand on anyway.
The fact that it has become the right wing against the left wing, rather than the right against the middle as per usual, is wonderful. In one light, it represents the huge divide between the rich and poor that will get much deeper in the next four years of damage Harper will do. But the upside to that comes when all the normally Liberal fools who voted Conservative come to see what they caused. The next Prime Minister will not be a Conservative, but now there is a huge chance it will be Jack Layton, and that makes the next four years of shit worth it. I want 2015 to hurry up and get here for that reason alone, but for now I will be happy that my party finally has the real support it needs to do what Iggy said we couldn’t, and make it into office.
Jack Layton ran the best campaign I’ve ever seen in Canada, and it felt great to congratulate him Monday night.