But for all Mr. Harper’s success, this was Jack Layton’s election — one that has broken the mould of Canadian politics by taking down the Liberals and the Bloc. The NDP scored a record seat count — 60 from Quebec alone — and Mr. Layton is now heading for Stornoway, as leader of the Official Opposition.
John Ivison, National Post
The runaway win in Quebec was the surprise in this election. Jack Layton courted Quebec voters by promising them his party could deliver the things they wanted from the Bloc, but would never get by virtue of that party never gaining enough ground in federal politics.
I can't help but see a parallel between Quebec's voting in this election and the difficulties facing the Catholic Conference of Bishops. The country is held to ransom by petulant citizens who think they should be able to get things their way.
An interesting take on Canadian politics is a recent article by Conrad Black, written just two days before the election.
But to the extent there was a kind of two-party system (after the Progressive Conservatives and Reform united), the chances of a majority government were sharply diminished by the almost assured election of about 80 Bloc and NDP MPs. It has been an absurd state of affairs, whereby the second largest province was chiefly represented in the federal Parliament by a party whose raison d’être was the disassembly of the country and the secession of Quebec.
Though Quebec finally has soured on the BQ, it cannot return without embarrassment to the traditional parties, after such a lengthy dalliance in the independentist asylum. Quebeckers are naturally quite conservative, the descendants of avaricious, hard-scrabble Normans and Bretons, but affect social democracy chiefly as an intellectually presentable method for soaking the Anglo minority within. By moving en masse to the NDP, they can effectively take over that party, and seem likely to provide its next leader, while continuing to sing their pious, dubiously motivated, socialist fables.
The next phase of this very successful, majestically gradual political evolution is already announced: After the proverbial decent interval, the Liberals and no-longer-New Democrats should merge — with the political centrists among the Liberals and Quebec nationalists joining the Conservatives — giving the country two parties, one 10 yards to the right of centre field, and the other 15 yards to the left.
This happened in England, and the Liberal party there faded away after years of being a strong force. It will be interesting to see how Parliament works with these two parties that are so diametrically opposed to each other on so many issues.
Still, I am thrilled that Harper got a majority in Parliament and relieved that the Liberals were ousted so soundly, especially from populous Ontario. Perhaps Dalton McGuinty should realise his days are numbered too.