NDP have a Great Night
This is why I'm a pundit and not a meteorologist. Back in December, I predicted lots of snow and cold. My bad.
My original intention was to provide frequent 'live' updates of the election as it was unfolding, from my vantage point at the NDP Camapaign party for Layton, Chow, Churley, and Shapcott. Unfortunately, the internet Gods were not smiling today, and the promised wireless connection was beset by signal problems - not very helpful for an online medium. Nevertheless, I was busy at work looking, listening, and scruming, preparing my thoughts on the events just for you.
Despite falling short of their target of 30 seats, it was a good day for Jack Layton's NDP. They tripled their seat total in Toronto, doubled it in Ontario, and picked up a total of 11 more seats than two years ago.
Early rumours on the networks of a possible NDP-Liberal coalition to scuttle the notion of Prime Minister Harper were quickly put to bed when Layton announced that he would work with the Conservatives to make Parliament function. As he thanked outgoing PM Paul Martin for his dedication and service, Layton made it clear to all around him that he wasn't going anywhere - he, as well as everybody else in the room, considered the NDP showing an unmitigated success.
Later in a press scrum, Layton told reporters that he recognized that Canadians didn't want another election anytime soon, and that he would find common ground with Steven Harper to find ways of improving the situation for working families. When asked about his priorities, high on the list was democratic reform. While it may be an overly tall order to completely revamp the electoral system in this minority Parliament, expect progress to be made in making MPs more accountable to their constituents, and removing some of the power from the PMO.
Still, in the end, this election turned out to be a mirror image of the one 18 months before. Again a minority government. Again a large third place Bloc Quebecois, and again a fourth place NDP just a seat or two short of being able to play kingmaker. The only difference, as mirrors are wont to do, is that what before was centre-left, is now centre-right.
It's going to be an interesting few years.
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