Ding dong, the witch is dead. Sauron has vanished from Middle Earth. Palpatine has plummeted down the shaft of the Death Star. Take whatever metaphor you like. All across Canada, the munchkins, hobbits, and Ewoks of the electorate danced around our humble fires in celebration last night, cheering the demise of Stephen Harper’s evil empire—whoops, I mean, majority government. Or, to quote Beaverton’s Alexander Saxton, “after a ‘wild night’, where emotions and alcohol ‘may have gotten a little out of hand’, the nation has woken up with a splitting headache, next to Justin Trudeau.”
Well, that can’t be a bad thing, and I’m not talking about how pretty Trudeau is, though he clearly takes after his mum. When Harper pulled his majority in 2011, he promised we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was done with it—and that was one promise he looked like keeping, unfortunately. Now Trudeau has a chance to undo some of the damage, because he has…a majority.
That’s an interesting thing: this election gave us a virtual repeat of 2011’s numbers, but with the names changed. Last night, the Liberals won 54% of the seats, with 39.5% of the popular vote. In 2011, Harper’s Parcel of Rogues won 54% of the seats, with 39.62% of the vote. The numbers are similar right down the list, right down to (the entirely redundant, in my view) Elizabeth May of the Green Party.
Now, we spent the last four years bemoaning the fact that Harper had a free and dictatorial hand with less than 40% of the popular vote, and here we are again in a similar situtation; so why am I not sunk in apprehension that Justin and his merry crew will go down the same road? Hell, I voted for the NDP. Why am I so happy?
There are many reasons, a good number of which have to do with the Untergang of dead-eyed lego-haired Harper and his toxic mix of evangelical fundamentalism and Chicago School ideology. Many of them have to do with Trudeau, and the Liberal Party’s apparently sane promises. I’m also quite pleased that we’re no longer heading for a virtual theocracy. But a major reason is that I hope Trudeau, as promised, will finally do the right thing by our daft electoral system, and bring in the long-mooted shift to proportional representation—even though he has just benefited from first-past-the-post.
Why, we’d be like a real grownup democracy then….