Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"With all of its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it's still a beautiful world. Strive to be happy."

I don't think I'm in a position to offer much insight right now. It's hard to give a speech when you've been punched in the gut repeatedly.

I'd accepted it would be bad but...wow. I'm not sure I've ever been quite this devastated by an election result. Like...wow...

There will be lots of time in the weeks ahead for a thorough post-mortem, so let's stick to the obvious for now. This is a total victory for the Conservatives and the NDP, and a total defeat for the Liberals and Bloc. There's no other way to spin it. In one fell swoop, Harper has his majority and will go down as the most successful Conservative leader since John A. MacDonald. Not just that, the Liberal Party has been marginalized, opening the door for a Conservative dynasty. Could Stephen Harper be Prime Minister for 20 years when all is said and done? It's not impossible under the new electoral dynamics we now find ourselves in.

For the NDP, Jack Layton has accomplished what Ed Broadbent and Tommy Douglas could not. He's the leader of the official opposition, winning three times as many seats as the Liberals. Quite simply, Jack is a now an NDP god. Twenty years from now, every debate drinking game out there is going to have Jack Layton's name under the NDP leader's column.

For the Bloc, this is an ignominious end to Gilles Duceppe's political career. They have lost official party status and could now fade into irrelevancy. As Andrew Coyne said on the National, "Good Ridance". I do think the NDP sweep of Quebec may come back to haunt them down the road, but for now, Canada wins big by the complete destruction of the Bloc.

And that brings us to the Liberals. I'll have much to write about the Liberal Party is the weeks ahead, so all I'll say tonight is this: There's a lot of work to do over the next four years, and every Liberal I talked to tonight recognizes there are no quick fixes. People get that the future of the party is a jeopardy and that it's a long road back. A lot of work is needed and I know I'm willing to do what it takes. I hope others are too.

52 Comments:

  • Oh, yes. The NDP sweep will come to haunt all of us in a few years, one to be precise.

    2012 is Quebec`s provincial election and boy, do people hate Charest. Not only that, but most Quebecers will think that since a federalist party represents Quebec in the HOC, it will be safe to vote for the PQ en masse.

    They will get a landslide majority and could push another referendum.

    Watch out, Canada!

    By Blogger Owner and Doggy, at 2:38 AM  

  • Liberal decline all comes back to Paul Martin's destructive, self-serving, back-stabbing ways. Thanks Paul!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:59 AM  

  • I think what all Canadians and I'm sure readers of this blog are asking is, why? Why will you work to rebuild the Liberals? What makes you a Liberal? Why does Canada need the Liberal Party? The answer to this question is the key to the future of the party in my own opinion. People don't care that Laurier and Pearson were great Prime Ministers. Frankly people don't even know what the Charter means to their lives. The Liberals have to move on from the past and build for the future.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 3:01 AM  

  • Message me CG. The work starts tomorrow.

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 3:09 AM  

  • NDP supporters need to learn how to be magnanimous. I was shocked how the NDP strategist still continued to take shots at Libs eventhough the Libs were clearly defeated. NOTE to NDP supporters: Kicking someone when they are down is not an endearing quality and just makes you look like an asshole.

    By Anonymous WinnipegGrit, at 3:30 AM  

  • Stephane Dion - heart but no brain.
    Iggy - brain but no heart.

    Who's next?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:35 AM  

  • "I'd accepted it would be bad but...wow. I'm not sure I've ever been quite this devastated by an election result. Like...wow..."

    Why were you surprised?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:39 AM  

  • I'm with you Arnold, time to roll up the sleeves and put in the work.

    -J Singh

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 AM  

  • @JimTan: Well, you could find a leadership candidate that has both heart and brain. Or you could go for one that has neither, but has a lust for power and a hint of evil. I hear that sort of thing works quite well with ~40% of the electorate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:05 AM  

  • At the risk of sounding like I'm piling on, the current situation the Liberals find themselves in goes back a lot further than the Martin-Chretien wars. I'd say, in fact, that it goes all the way back to the adoption of "Screw the West, We'll Take The Rest" as an electoral in the 1970s. By writing off an entire region of the country (the fastest-growing region, mind), the Liberals set out on a slow, irrevocable path of steady decline. The party's Quebec base collapsed after the repatriation of the constitution and never really recovered (save for a brief moment in 2000). Chretien managed a few slim majorities with less than 40 percent of the vote thanks to the fracturing of the right, but for the most part the Liberal party has been an Ontario-Atlantic Canada party since 1984. Now Ontario is pretty much gone and they are basically an Atlantic rump, with a few urban outposts in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

    Unless the Liberals can start to be competitive in all regions again, they will never regain status as a national party. That requires more than a change of leadership and a couple policy conferences.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:48 AM  

  • I think "The collapse of the Bloc means sovereignty is dead" (or is "good for Canada", as you said it) is the biggest misread of the night. In reality, I think the Bloc supporters thought, "We're going to be in opposition. Let's at least be part of a united opposition" and voted NDP, because even with all of Quebec behind it, the NDP weren't going to form the government. Plus, I think a common refrain of the electorate was, "I'm sick of elections". Non-Tories support coalescing around one party was one way of addressing that without voting Conservative.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 6:21 AM  

  • My condolences to all my Liberal friends. I'm glad the Conservatives won a majority. They've governed well and Canada needs the stability.

    I'm glad the NDP wiped the floor with the Bloc. Good riddance to them!

    But for my money it's a national traedy that the NDP sits as the official opposition rather than the Liberals.

    For rebuilding the Liberals, job one will be to get past people like Anonymous who describes Stepehn Harper as having neither heart nor brains but only "lust for power and a hint of evil."

    That's the arrogance - the baseless belief in their own intrinsic superiority - that's reduced the Liberals to 34 seats.

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 6:55 AM  

  • "For the Bloc, this is an ignominious end to Gilles Duceppe's political career."

    I wouldn't count him out just yet. His speech didn't sound like someone no longer committed to the separatiste cause.

    Watch the rise of the PQ now.

    By Blogger Party of One, at 6:59 AM  

  • Yee-haw! Looks like we get to destroy democracy afterall!

    By Anonymous Chuckercanuck, at 7:48 AM  

  • What the Liberals need is people like Calgary Grit to rebuild the party.

    "Unless the Liberals can start to be competitive in all regions again, they will never regain status as a national party. That requires more than a change of leadership and a couple policy conferences." Anon 4:48

    That, among many things will help the Liberals to grow. We are a whole country - not just Ontario and Quebec. Iffy was declared leader - next time elect your leader, listen to grass roots - and if Bob Rae is your leader, you will have 1/2 the seats you have now. Ontario do not have "Rae Days" for nothing.

    When it comes down to it, do like the Cons did: rebuild from scratch, listen to what voters really want. don't tax and spend like before; abd get rid of the "entitlement" attitude.

    You know when the next election is, that is a good goal - get rid of NDP as official opposition, then after another four years, try to take the Cons on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:04 AM  

  • Im now one of the oldtimers who was around in 84, and it was awful. It is so hard to believe, but this is worse.

    So many of us were abruptly told we were no longer welcome in our party and told to leave by the Paul Martin thugs.

    Many of you know what I am talking about. For all of you; For all of us it is time to come home, and roll up our sleeves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:39 AM  

  • THE ROAD BACK . . . . .

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/decision-canada/Liberals+darkest+hour/4714862/story.html

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:52 AM  

  • By the way, I think I won best seat projection:

    Conservatives: 155 seats (12 off)
    NDP: 105 seats (3 off)
    Liberals: 24 seats (10 off)
    Bloc 18 seats (14 off)
    Greens: .5 seats (.5 off)

    Total seats +/- my prediction: 39.5
    Or 40.5 off if you count that I made no prediction about Independents.

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 9:01 AM  

  • My simple analysis:
    -vote is Quebec is volatile
    -Obviously, new Liberal leader is mandatory
    -Like to see a prominent female for next leader or well know male
    -need prominent leader to meet fundraising targets
    -if next leader can't poll high before next election, will be almost impossible to keep Liberal Party going
    -I and other Blue Liberals WILL NOT merge with the NDP.

    That's about all I know.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 AM  

  • "There's a lot of work to do over the next four years, and every Liberal I talked to tonight recognizes there are no quick fixes. People get that the future of the party is a jeopardy and that it's a long road back."

    Do you have any idea how unlikely it is?

    harper's going to cut your funding. You won't even have an office in most provinces.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:18 AM  

  • The Liberal Party needs to find its reason for existence. Every election they talk about the "modern" Canada they created, the Charter, etc... as if that is somehow a universal truth or something that matters to people in their everyday lives. Too many Liberal elites assume what matters to them resonates across the country (court challenges prgm etc...) when it really doesn't. That said merger isn't the answer. It took Reform/CA/PC 10 years to merge that was essentially the same party reuniting. The Libs and NDP are very different animals and I know many Liberal friends who don't consider themselves on the "left".

    By Anonymous Crocker Jarmon, at 10:18 AM  

  • Party merger. Already happened. The Bloc folded into the NDP. The senior partner is Muclair. The junior partner is Layton. Their majority wing (the pylonistes) wants the feds out of provincial responsibility. The minority wing want them deeper into provincial responsibility. Should get on like a house on fire.

    It's your party. But I'd let the NDP play with dynamite on their own and figure out why the NDP got 150% of your seat count outside Quebec. As for Quebec it will if anything be more in play for responsible adults that ever before. So check out your DNA. There's a lot more in there than driving strategic vote with diminishing returns.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 AM  

  • I would not like to see a merger, that would make us like USA. I would love to see Trudeau take over as leader of the Liberals.

    As a voter, here's my take on the defeat.

    By Blogger mezba, at 10:35 AM  

  • No Trudeau for leader-that idea is dead on arrival. We need a leader with some leadership experience either in business, government or some other area. What has Trudeau run or managed??
    Also, he is not a fresh name for Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 AM  

  • "For the NDP, Jack Layton has accomplished what Ed Broadbent and Tommy Douglas could not."
    HA HA. They were'nt fortunate enough to have an Iggy around to make them look good.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM  

  • Trudeau: shallow and callow, but he had a famous father. Is that all you want?

    Bob Rae: A non-starter because he's not a Liberal. He's already talking about folding your party into the NDP.

    You need someone with experience, with heart and smarts and who's paid her dues.

    Carolyn Bennett anyone? Any other serious suggestions?

    P.S. Is everyone conceding I had the best seat projection?

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 11:05 AM  

  • Carolyn Bennett? Is that a joke? She can barely string together a coherent sentence.

    Perhaps, a current MP needs to be the interim leader but the next leader needs to come from outside what is left of the caucus.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:12 AM  

  • I say Draft John Manley for leader-Bob Rae would just love that!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:18 AM  

  • I'm still amazed that Ignatieff would trigger an election with no policy, and no scandal.

    Kicking someone when they are down is not an endearing quality and just makes you look like an asshole.

    "But that's the best time to kick him! When are you supposed to kick him, when he's up?"
    - Bobby "the Brain" Heenan.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 11:32 AM  

  • Conservatives came back from two seats. It took twenty years, but they came back.

    So can the Liberals.

    By Anonymous Sean Cummings, at 12:37 PM  

  • In an odd way, this will be the best thing for the Liberals. Those that joined simply because it was the "safest" route to power (hello Mr. Rae) will leave. The Conservatives and NDP will now be under the fullest attention of the electorate and we will truly see what they are all about. I think the mandate each has been given will slowly force them apart to their respective ends of the spectrum. This will open the centre back up for a rejuvinated Liberal party. Assuming, of course, that happens. If the same old same old rules the inner workings of the Liberal party, then they are done. But, if they can truly renew the spirit of the party without constantly resorting to 'glories of the past' then the future is bright....eventually.

    By Anonymous hazzard, at 12:40 PM  

  • Time to get back to the trenches. Grits need fighters and people with heart.

    Too bad Holland and Kennedy went down.

    Canada rejected the over-educated and mediocre. Why should they vote for the mandarins in Ottawa?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:01 PM  

  • You have always been willing to do what it takes; imo it is/was the LPC execs that have failed repeatedly for years and years now.

    And the LPC's cheerleader squad. (The Conservative cheerleaders of the world will do in the CPC ultimately)

    I think everyone agrees that the LPC needs more Dan Arnolds and fewer Warren Kinsellas.

    Jack is amazing. One Devoir commenter called him the Anglo Rene Levesque today. He could be next PM, easily.

    It is not the end of seperatism; it could however be the possible beginning of a new franco-anglo progressive unity, depending how the next years unfold.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:24 PM  

  • Conservatives came back from two seats. It took twenty years, but they came back.

    No, the Progressive Conservatives died.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 1:26 PM  

  • WinnipegGrit provides immediate clarity on why the LPC lost:

    "NDP supporters need to learn how to be magnanimous. I was shocked how the NDP strategist still continued to take shots at Libs eventhough the Libs were clearly defeated. NOTE to NDP supporters: Kicking someone when they are down is not an endearing quality and just makes you look like an asshole."

    Yes it does!

    WinnipegGrit never wept over the LPC's past mean, fight-club tactics, and therefore cannot be taken seriously today with crocodile tears.

    You're either against dirty politics or you're a partisan; guess what "WinnipegGrit" is?

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:39 PM  

  • The LPC is a CENTURY older than the other federation parties and is the Only one to have never elected a female Leader.

    You gotta get with the times or Tme marches on without you.

    The Fedration's oldest and malest Old Boy's Club has been burned nearly to the ground by the citizens. Time for something new.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 1:46 PM  

  • THIS is the most telling comment of this thread:

    {From Anon 9:22}
    ////
    My simple analysis:
    -vote is Quebec is volatile
    -Obviously, new Liberal leader is mandatory
    -Like to see a prominent female for next leader or well know male
    -need prominent leader to meet fundraising targets
    -if next leader can't poll high before next election, will be almost impossible to keep Liberal Party going
    -I and other Blue Liberals WILL NOT merge with the NDP.

    That's about all I know.
    ////

    Notice how all of the ideas have to do with marketing. Of the significant problems the Liberal Party is faced with, marketing is least among them. You say, "a new leader is mandatory"; a leader of what? What does this party represent? THIS! This is the question that must be answered if any rejuvenation to begin.

    The Liberal Party, in my estimation, is unlikely to survive. Like the Progressive Conservatives, it will linger on for twenty years, but it will die. And the reason for that is that most die-hard supporters will continue to focus about five steps ahead (we need a new leader, it should be a woman, let's talk about polling, etc.), all before actually asking the question, "what do we stand for, and what ideas--specifically--do we represent?"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:13 PM  

  • I think most Liberals believe in centrist, compromise-seeking governance.

    There is however an unhealthy obsession with marketing, as you point out.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 2:28 PM  

  • "I and other Blue Liberals WILL NOT merge with the NDP."

    Go and join the Conservatives already, and stop pretending to be a Liberal, you hack.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:58 PM  

  • When Michael Ignatieff said, "Rise Up" he didn't mean get in the streets, he meant: get out of the coffin. He wasn't calling to arm; he was hoping for a miracle.

    The Liberal Party is dead. Iggy knew it after the debates and did with "Rise Up" what Jesus did for Lazarus. Only, Iggy - while a great guy - is no Jesus.

    Liberals are talking about "re-buidling" the party. They are going to "start tomorrow". The grassroots are busy building to-do lists. That'll it'll do it.

    You gotta wonder how many soul-searching Liberals are soul-searching out of brand loyalty?

    First on the to-do list, text all your friends:

    1) Answer the question: why bother?

    By Anonymous chuckercanuck, at 3:07 PM  

  • Answer the question: why bother?

    I agree with this advice, but not because I think we wouldn't get an answer.

    It's a great time to step back and remind ourselves why we bother. And then build on those core beliefs.

    And the answer can't be:
    - We want power!
    - Harper sucks LOL

    It has to be something of substance. And even the Liberals greatest detractors know that the substance exists, it's just been mixed up with all the garbage.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:19 PM  

  • Please do not elect Bob Rae your next leader.

    - Signed Robert, on behalf of everyone who lived in Ontario with us back when it was a "Have" province.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:20 PM  

  • I think "The collapse of the Bloc means sovereignty is dead" (or is "good for Canada", as you said it) is the biggest misread of the night.

    I don't think sovereignty is dead. But the Bloc brought nothing constructive to Ottawa. The country is better off without them.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:28 PM  

  • RV - I can't imagine Rae being the next leader after last night. Party will be looking for a complete rebuilt and Rae wouldn't represent that.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:28 PM  

  • Jim Tam - Ditching the subsidy might even help the Liberals at this point, given the vote totals from last night.

    The party raised $4 million this election.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:30 PM  

  • Sovereignty isn't dead - it's just a contagion that can be deadly to parties that catch it.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 3:31 PM  

  • I can't imagine Rae being the next leader after last night.

    How about if Rae crosses to succeed a leader who retires for health reasons?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:39 PM  

  • Wow Tarkwell....

    "Sovereignty isn't dead - it's just a contagion that can be deadly to parties that catch it"

    is THE election quote this time. Zing!!!

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 5:16 PM  

  • @Robert - if for any reason, Layton has to step down, I have no doubt that the leader will be Mulcair.

    As for the Liberals, they ran the same campaign, with the same speaking points about the Conservatives, that they ran in 1997 and in every election since. It's shocking to see Liberals hitting their heads against the wall wondering why this didn't work.

    If the Hidden Agenda(TM) doesn't materialize over the next four years, will the Liberals campaign on it again in 2015?

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 9:46 PM  

  • Did I miss it or can no one suggest a serious possible leadership contender?

    By Blogger Brian Henry, at 10:07 PM  

  • My take off on this election is that Stephan Harper will be the last Prime Minister of Canada.

    Here are my reasons. Quebecers bought a pig in a poke when they thought they would give Canada one last chance with a federal party. The NDP is utterly powerless against a fascist like Harper. And so Layton is doomed to fail, which will simply PROVE to Quebecers that Layton is RIGHT when he said that Ottawa is broken and does not work. With the Bloc out of the way, there is absolutely nothing stopping a defeat of Jean Charest as the Liberal Premier, and a victory for the PQ. That in turn will lead very directly to a renewed referendum, and this time without the need for a tricky question, the issue will be very clear that voting for independence is the ONLY way out of the Harper Dictatorship.

    And it will happen with breath taking speed because the Bloc will be able to simply say, "We told you so twenty years ago, now do you believe us?"

    And with Quebec independence will turn Canada into a North American Pakistan, which itself will then further facture in the East like Bangladesh to become the poorest nation in Asia.

    Ontario will NEVER fall in line behind the Calgary Oil Barons who take their marching orders from Houston, and they will likewise seek their independence, and return to Upper Canada and Lower Canada vis a vis Quebec.

    That leaves western Canada to be turned into an American protectorate like Puerto Rico, where the money can flow out of the country, but Canadians living here will not have the vote on their own affairs.

    What a sad end to a great country.

    If you do not believe that this scenario is likely, just watch how Harper and his professor Ted Morton start to alienate Quebecers in order to get the resources of Western Canada without paying for it.

    But this is not the first time in history that a "leader" gained power without winning a democratic decision from the majority of people. The author of Mein Kampf produced the road map on how to achieve this sort of result.

    Look for Harper to build concentration camps and watch him turn the CBC into a Propaganda Ministry where geologists in Calgary will have to swear under oath that the Earth is 5,000 years old in order to keep their jobs.

    It was no different for Geologists in Joseph Stalin's time.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 12:42 AM  

  • Really useful information, thanks for the post.

    By Anonymous muebles avila, at 9:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home