New political landscape

The Canadian political landscape shifted significantly this week with the Conservatives landing their majority status finally, and the NDP shooting to unheard-of opposition status in the House of Commons.

Jack Layton, NDP leader, is reveling in the thought of squaring off against the Conservatives from the vantage point of being the official opposition – at long last.

His victory is absolutely amazing – and surprising. And it shows that Quebecers had decided they were pretty much done with Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Quebecois. That bodes well for not just that province but for the rest of Canada. It’s good to see the people of Quebec putting their confidence in a federalist party, and hopefully it turns out to be a positive move for all.

In Ontario, typically a sea of Liberal ‘red’, the party lost a sizable chunk of their support to Tory ‘blue’. Another shift in the political make-up of this country which will certainly see conversations, arguments and demands on MP collaboration take on new meaning in the years to come.

Ultimately, and although it’s not to everyone’s liking, it’s good to finally see a majority government. Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief knowing we don’t have to trek to the polls for at least another four years. It feels good to know there is some stability in Ottawa – for a predictable number of years. It will also be interesting to have a fresh opposition party in the House as well. For so long it’s been a back and forth battle between primarily the Liberals and the Conservatives.

And they could rarely seem to agree on much, particularly of late. So that sense of getting anything accomplished essentially ground to a halt over the past of couple of years. We can only hope the NDP provides a challenging tone while still being something of a team player.

Locally, the numbers relating to voter turnout were about 54% for the Red Deer riding. While that’s a whole lot better than municipal turnouts which last fall were a mere 25% or so, it’s still a disappointment. Who knows how things would look if every eligible voter took the time and the few minutes needed to cast a ballot? We’ll never know.

Ultimately, we ended up with an exciting election especially towards the end – considering it was an election that few wanted in the first place. Somewhere, Michael Ignatieff must be thinking maybe he shouldn’t have tried so hard to stir up election fever when there was no appetite for it.

He wasn’t alone in that. Canadians answered back, and he, along with Duceppe, have certainly paid a political price.