Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A few observations

Well, CTV called it at about 9:45 at a Conservative minority. CBC is now finally projecting a minority Conservative government at 10:45. $300 million for this. The big wild card to me is how Harper reacts to this. There is some discussion tonight that he will recognize this as a defeat, that this was his chance for a majority. That's a further away calculation it seems to me. In the near future, I expect him to attempt to characterize this as a victory, as a stronger mandate and to continue to treat this minority as his personal majority through more bullying posturing. We'll see if he's learned anything. The partisanship is hardwired into him, I'd be shocked to see anything else. Whatever he does, the Liberals should immediately stake out their position and say no, we will oppose. Exercise a strong leadership position. Tell Harper he's received a minority, you have to work with the parliament or face an election. Draw a line immediately. There is no appetite for an election and Mr. Harper must respect the results.

The overall percentages in votes so far are very interesting. 2006 results had the Conservatives at 36%, Liberals at 30%. Tonight thus far, it's looking not too far off those percentages with a slight uptick for Conservatives (+1%) and a slight downtick (-2%) for Liberals. That slight movement has nevertheless resulted in many more seats for the Conservatives and fewer for the Liberals. The seat counts are yet to be finalized but clearly, they're not as good for the Liberals. Harper's got more and he has a win in that regard but to use his own construction, a minority is a minority.

If I were the NDP, however, I would be happy but tempered in celebrating the results. NDP are up 1%. It's not the historic number of seats they thought was in reach. They've received a lot of plaudits for a well-run campaign and spent the limit for what look to be 9 additional seats.

Speaking of which...Parkdale-High Park is not at all as close as I thought it would be. Kennedy's won pretty handily. The talk was that Nash would hang on. Gerard is clearly a star to knock off Peggy, who is beloved by many here. He led all night.

Elizabeth May didn't pull off the big upset and perhaps some will question the merit of that seat choice. She's clearly made her national name, however and given the Greens a profile from which there is no turning back.

It's a rough evening for Garth Turner and other Liberals in the 905. Halton, Burlington, Oakville have all gone for the Conservatives. Three close 2006 ridings where voting strategically was thought to have been a possibility to make a difference, but if you look at the numbers, that really wasn't the case tonight. The margins are much bigger. There would have had to be a massive concerted movement on the left-centre as the Conservatives won by comfortable margins. That seems to me a big development from Ontario.

Conservative "stars" being re-elected. Tony Clement. What a democracy we have. An absentee Health Minister during one of the most deadly health crises of recent years and no problem, he's back. Gerry Ritz. See previous comment. Maxime Bernier. Need I say more? We're so fortunate to have such bumblers back! Throw in Flaherty, Baird and Oda too. Help us, it's the same awful line-up of Conservative mediocrities.