Four years of minority governments, and counting. The consequences have been serious. The Canadian dollar has swung wildly, completely rudderless for four years. The result has been the near destruction of Canada's manufacturing and lumber industries. We are seeing the nationalizing of home mortgages. The government now holds the paper on Canada's best mortgages because our financial institutions are failing.How much did the Conservatives end up spending in negative ads attacking Mr. Dion since his ascent to the leadership and continuing on during this past campaign? I'd love to know the answer to that one. Perhaps some enterprising journalist might find out whether it was closer to $5 million, $10 million or perhaps $20 million.
Democratically, we just saw the lowest voter turnout in any one's memory. We have elected a government with the support of only 22 per cent of the eligible voters. Equally seriously, we just saw that millions spent on attack ads, appealing to our lesser side, worked.
We also just saw the public vote down the environment as a serious issue, possibly removing the environment as a government priority for years to come. We also just saw an election where health care and its erosion had no serious place.
By any standard, Canada is hurting and adrift.
In the midst of all this, the Liberals appear to be about to embark upon months of navel-gazing. If the news that Mr. Dion is stepping down on Monday is true, they best ensure they have a solid parliamentary leader in the interim. Strategic focus on the policy steps the Conservatives are taking needs to be prioritized, consistently making the case against Conservative thinking. There's got to be better positioning in the House that shows deftness, that Canadians can respect and rally around. The last session was a failure in that regard. People not distracted by leadership politics need to be fully devoted to the task, they need to be present, coherent and keep the Conservatives on their toes. Harper unchecked is the last thing we need.