Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Don't blame Guelph. We voted for Kodos!

Bah! Our electoral system has given a party that won 40% of the vote from the 61% of eligible voters who cast ballots a majority of seats in the House of Commons, and they've got control of the Senate as well. And as far as I can tell, electoral reform will not be on the agenda for the lower house for quite some time now. (The Senate, on the other hand...)

As you might imagine, I'm really disheartened by all of this (and I lost badly in my election pool). So here are my silver linings:

1) Guelph. My local riding stayed Liberal - unique for Southwestern Ontario - and Frank Valeriote substantially increased his margin over the Conservative. In large part, it looks like the Green vote collapsed here and went solidly Liberal. Many thanks to the U of G vote mobs and a great local get-out-the-vote team.

2) The Quebec NDP. Holy moly! Need I say more? I'm thrilled that the Bloc vote has collapsed (for now). Hopefully many of these MPs will grow quickly on the job. I'm somewhat optimistic that many of the university-aged or recently graduated newly-minted MPs, in particular, adapt quickly into their new positions and inject a youth perspective into our national politics. I'm a little worried about what the longer-term dynamics of this shift might look like on the national question, but that's fodder for another post.

3) Elizabeth May. Good on her for winning that seat. It's an important beachhead, and she should get a voice in the next leaders' debates, unless the consortium declares that the Greens don't have official-party status in the House.

4) Marc Garneau, Stephane Dion and Justin Trudeau. I'm pleased to see that these three Quebec Liberals, in particular, held on to their seats. I don't think that Trudeau would make a good leader, for what it's worth, but I think he deserves credit for a great ground game. Garneau has also been a really effective critic, and an intelligent voice in caucus. And I am just chuffed that Dion has stuck it out in politics, even through the hard times.

5) Dan McTeague (& probably others). I can't say I'm unhappy when socially-conservative Liberals lose their seats.

6) NDP in Scarborough?? I figured that the NDP would pick up seats in downtown Toronto, but it's nice that at least some of the weird shifts and vote-splitting around the city didn't necessarily lead to Conservative wins in all instances.

None of this overcomes my overall disappointment in the outcome of this election. There will need to be a very active civil engagement and critical media to keep this new government in line. But I'm trying to look on the bright side of life this morning - it's going to be a long 4.5 years in any case, and despair is not productive.


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At 12:12 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

I was surprised by May, and I admit that I was way off before the election on her chances of success. I'm also happy for those Liberal winners, particularly Dion (who has been treated so badly in recent years). I'm actually quite optimistic. The Liberals have 4 years to rebuild, and the party has an opportunity to grow in a meaningful way...

At 12:27 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

Also, I somehow missed the Simpsons reference. Just one word - awesome.


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