Conservatism may be a busted flush south of the border (as the experts assure us), but up north Stephen Harper has survived as Prime Minister and modestly improved his position by some 20 or so seats. He was on course for a Tory majority government until the global financial Armageddon hijacked the news cycle halfway through the campaign. Still, he’s an incrementalist and he’ll be reasonably satisfied not just with the Conservative gains but also with the vote-splitting among the opposition. After all, one unstated goal of his campaign was to weaken Canadians’ assumption that the Liberals are the country’s natural governing party and that any spell out of office is therefore little more than a long weekend off from their hammerlock on power. After tonight, the once mighty Liberals are reduced more or less to downtown Toronto, the Yukon and the Atlantic provinces, which means they’re going to be consumed by leadership contests and anguished debates over the direction of the party.
In a parliamentary system, incidentally, there’s an argument that a strong minority government is better than a weak majority government. The former puts the pressure on Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition: They have to figure out with every important bill whether it’s really in their interests to oppose it lest they accidentally precipitate an election they’re not ready for.
On the other hand, from my own point of view, Mr Harper’s failure to sweep the land probably means that this inherently cautious politician will be unlikely to champion any serious reform of the country’s ghastly ”human rights” commissions that consumed so much of my time and money this last year. He was awfully non-commital when I spoke to him about it back in the summer, and I’d imagine he’ll be even more so now.
The bigger lesson is that the Euro-Canadian social democratic states continue their modest right-of-center trend. No “community organizers” from the William Ayers school seem to be tickling the public fancy in Canada, Britain, Japan, or the Continent. Obama is thus a peculiar example of American exceptionalism.
More over in Frumistan.