When I say I found the election results depressing, I mean it literally: when it was announced, I burst into tears. Events that might otherwise have cheered me—the collapse of the Bloc Québecois, the election of Elizabeth May, even that entertaining bunch of new NDP MPs from Québec—were completely eclipsed by that Majority result. I had trouble sleeping, trouble eating, was given to random bursts of anger: The whole week has felt like a bad dream.
I’m only now starting to feel like I may be in recovery.
As with ScotchNeat, the thing I found most alarming in the result, and in the polling numbers throughout, was just how many Canadians were willing to vote Conservative at all. 25% of the population; 40% of the electorate: That’s a hell of a lot. Ultimately, you can’t blame this result on NDP vote splitting, or even the Liberals’ lacklustre campaign… Hate to be obvious, but the real problem here is the people who voted Conservative.
Because of those voters, will Canada remain as the worst Global Warming offender, not only doing nothing ourselves, but also trying to prevent other countries from making progress. Civil servants will continue to be fired if they dare to tell Canadians a truths the Conservatives don’t want us to hear. Aid to Africa will continue to decline, though it’s in Canada’s long-term economic interest that the continent prosper. More young men will go to jail longer, and learn to become better criminals. (And Conservatives will continue to hide how much that costs.) In this more dangerous Canada, police will no longer be able to rely on the long-gun registry information to help them solve crimes. The quality of Canadian social, scientific, and business research will continue to decline, not only because of funding cuts, but also because those groups no longer have reliable census data to work with. And so on, and on.
People who voted Conservative not only approved of all that, but asked for more, please. They watched all those horrible, negative ads and thought, “That’s for me! Those are my people!” I mean, I’d almost feel bad for them, and their dim view of humanity, if they weren’t dragging me down with them.
But, OK, fine, I’m in recovery. So, what the hell did happen in Québec? Damned if I know; I haven’t lived there in 20 years. But Chantal Hébert has an interesting and positive take on it.
And what the hell happened to the Liberals in Ontario? Don’t know either, but here’s a clue, maybe, in Glen Pearson’s report. He was a popular Liberal MP, expected to win his seat. In the end, he lost it to the Conservatives. But as he notes, the loss wasn’t completely a surprise.
Yet I’d had something of a premonition of the outcome during the last few days of the contest. At doors I canvassed I kept hearing certain stories about how I spent too much time in Africa, or that my voting presence in the House wasn’t too impressive. When I informed them that I only spent one week a year on that continent (Sudan), and that I take it on my holiday time over New Years and on my own dime, I could sense the hesitation in their voice. “Oh … that’s not what we heard when the Conservatives phoned us last night.”
It was frustrating, but I didn’t know who to talk to. It was only when the election was over that a good Conservative friend informed me that they had actually been utilizing a central office for phone calls and that none of them emanated from London itself. They had poured big money from afar into influencing my riding.
I’ll paraphrase for Mr. Pearson. In his riding, the Conservatives ran a centralized campaign to call people up and lie about him.
But, probably only in that one riding, right? Surely their central office didn’t call up other Ontarians and tell them “creative truths” about their Liberal MPs? Nah. I’m sure that had nothing to do with it…