I’m going to go out on a limb on this and call last week’s federal election a win-win situation.
Whether we like it or not, Canada’s electoral system has delivered a Conservative majority and an NDP opposition.
For Stephen Harper and his cohorts a majority provides them a chance to build upon promises made and chart a course for the country.
The naysayers certainly cringe at Harper’s additional clout. But in contrast to the previous two Parliaments, we might finally have our government doing something rather than threatening each other with finger-pointing, election calls and non-confidence votes.
Sadly the previous minority governments saw more snipping than success. Parties were no-shows at votes to avoid the appearance of support and avoid the risk of an election. It was as if politics was over-taking politics, as disturbing as that sounds.
So now, with a majority government making decisions, there might actually be some things accomplished over the next little while. The litmus test will be to see how Canadians accept those accomplishments.
The Tories may not have received the majority of the country’s support but our system is what it is. And until people rise up and challenge it, we have to accept it and move forward.
While the electoral system may not be changing anytime soon, there is still a wind of chance blowing into Ottawa.
The NDP has injected some much-needed new blood in our country’s government.
One has to wonder if the veteran Conservative machine will steamroll the NDP newbies in question period but regardless, the election has brought a renewal of hope in some small way.
Perhaps the constant drum beat of the Bloc Quebecois will subside for a few years.
Perhaps the new MPs won’t carry the nastiness and disrespect that the old codgers were displaying year after year on the news.
Perhaps there will be some form of progress for all Canadians with the stability of majority government.
And perhaps, in some small way, developments halfway around the world somehow struck a chord in this country’s electorate.
Oppressed citizens in Tunisia and Egypt rose up against dictators. Sparked in part by social media, word spread, people became united and empowered and brought about change.
It wasn’t a war, it wasn’t a coup, it was the power of the people on full display.
Certainly there’s no parallel in issues in our country. But watching people come together and bring about change, in as peaceful process as possible in that part of the world, certainly captured our attention.
Sadly in other countries, like Lybia and Syria, the call for change has been met with brutal force. Nevertheless, the will and resolve of the people has been heard and seen around the world.
In that sense, the Canadian voter’s appetite for change was fueled by the prospect of possibility. That their voice does count.
The NDP made big gains in Quebec, and those will be very tough to maintain in four years. But just witnessing that voters can reshape Parliament bodes well for our future and for the next generation of voters.
That prevalent voter attitude of “it’s out of our control anyway,” might be subsiding somewhat.
While having the NDP and Conservatives does threaten to turn Canada into the U.S. version of Red and Blue states, here’s hoping the Canadian attitude prevails.
New blood, new ideas, a veteran at the helm, it all has the potential to be promising.
But whether politicians deliver on that promise is always the lasting question following any election, isn’t it?
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Daily Times