Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Morning After

I suppose the title of this post is a bit misleading; after all, its also the title of a movie about a post nuclear holocaust world. That description hardly fits the situation today.

As we all know by now, the Conservatives won a minority government, a small one. This is probably, from both a Canadian and Conservative standpoint, the best possible outcome. The reasons are several:

1) Canadians get to punish the Liberals without decimating them. This means that the Liberals will have time to renew their party while eliminating the situation that has plagued Canada the last decade: no effective opposition. The Liberals are very experienced and will be able to hold the Conservatives in check.

2) The Conservatives will not be tempted to govern like they have a majority. We will not have a repeat of the incident with Joe Clark. This means that Conservatives will be forced to govern relatively moderately, from the political center. That will go a long way to easing the fears of those who fear the "conservative social agenda." That should also make it easier for the Conservatives to get re-elected, and with a majority, in a couple of years.

3) With the announced departure of Paul Martin, the Conservatives have an excellent chance of making Parliament work. With no Prime-Minister-in-waiting, there will be not so much concern about the government being toppled.

On a local level, former Liberal MP and cabinet minister was defeated again, and by a larger margin, I believe, than last time. Bob Speller was not able to live down his party. Bob ran a solid campaign (even if I do think the "Bring Back Bob" slogan was campy and amateurish), and worked hard. Bob should not see this as a personal rejection.

That said, Diane Finley will likely give this riding a prominent voice in Cabinet. One of the relatively few women in the caucus, and from Ontario to boot (her husband being on Stephen Harper's personal staff won't hurt) pretty well guarantees that. She is very capable, and will serve the riding well.

On a final note, the departure of Paul Martin Jr., while not surprising, is still worthy of some pathos. His entire political life was geared towards being what his father was not: Prime Minister of Canada. Once he achieved his goal, he found himself, and was found by Canadians, to be lacking. That is going to weigh heavily on his mind for a long time. He is not solely responsible for the outcome of the election, but he made errors, serious ones. In the long run history will judge him to be perhaps Canada's best Finance Minister. That won't be what he wants; it isn't what he wanted. He will have to settle for that though. Most people would say it is enough.

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