Harper majority, the day after. / by Simmon Li

With 99.95% of polls reporting, the turnout is likely to hit 61.5%. Here are the final seat numbers for the House of Commons:

  • CONSERVATIVE 167
  • NDP 102
  • LIBERAL 34
  • BLOC QUEBECOIS 4
  • GREEN 1

I will admit I was fairly shocked that Harper won a majority. But upon a whole day's reflection, I am really not surprised. My own feelings about the Liberal party actually probably reflect the national sentiment. Their platform didn't move me, and failed to offer me a compelling reason to vote for them. In all ways, my vote was what I thought would be a strategic one. I will admit though that at the same time, I found myself unable to vote for the NDP on account of their platform—it promised the moon. While the Liberal platform wasn't much better, I felt that they were more even handed in the vote buying. But in any case, I suspect that my sentiment regarding the Liberal party drove a lot of others to vote with Jack. Ignatieff, while a great academic, was not such a great politician. I will be the first to say, I make this judgement without having heard him speak or attend any of his events. But that's precisely the point I'm trying to make. The majority of people that are voting will not be engaged as most rally goers. Leaders have to move everyone, whether or not they're at a rally. Ignatieff failed in this regard, while Jack succeeded. I think it is the quintessential failure of Liberal leadership (not just Ignatieff) that has led, in the past 2 elections, to the dismantling of the Liberal support structure. The party, I feel, lacks the gravitas and poise it held in elections past. The Liberals, it seems to me, stood for nothing other than petty bickering over the CIT. That is my impression of the election. The family pack was vote buying, and not something I was interested in. Harper offered a stable sitting government, for whatever it was worth, and despite all the vilification, he moderated his views quite a bit (moving himself left-ward enough) to court disenfranchised Liberal voters. On the other side, the NDP did the exact same thing, offering an energized alternative to the Liberal brand (at least, that's what it felt like). This, I think, captured the imagination of those that were never strong Liberal supporters, but thought the NDP not able to govern or play the opposition. Clearly, this election was the right time for Layton and his message of pragmatism (this move seemed to be out of the Liberal book—"Let's fix Ottawa and make it work."—it sounds oddly centrist). Congratulations to the NDP, but I think there are more pressing concerns. The NDP needs to whip all of its rookie MPs into shape, to better handle the Harper majority. That leaves people like me. I voted Liberal. I believe Canada needs a centrist party, but it needs to be a centrist party that stands for a strong, united Canada that is a world player on many of the issues that impact our world today. The vision of Canada I got from the Liberal campaign was "not a Conservative government." That's not good enough. While I am a centrist by nature, it's clear that the Liberal party has lost its way: there is no shortage of analysis from the major dailies on how the Liberal party fell so spectacularly. And so at the end of the day, the NDP surge claimed the lifeline of the Bloc Quebecois and severely injured the Liberal party.

I think the party will recover, but they will be hard pressed to rebuild from top-down processes as I believe that we'll get more of the same. I don't think that splitting the party is a good idea nor do I think a merger with the NDP would be beneficial. I will end with this: I think the Liberal party must engage a newer generation, especially people from the diversity that is Canada's strength. It is the only way the party will regain the relevance and credibility that is deserving of Canada's natural governing party.