So, I started this morning reading Austin's and Jason's laments about the surprising Liberal win in last night's election. For those not aware, here are the final seat counts (pending a number of recounts):
Liberals: 135 seats
Conservatives: 99 seats
Bloc Separatistes (oops, I mean Quebecois): 54 seats
NDP: 19 seats
and one independent, Chuck Cadman, who apparently campaigned from a cancer ward in the riding of Surrey North after losing the conservative nomination.
There is one very important number to consider: 154. That is the combined total of the Liberals and the NDP. It's also NOT ENOUGH to form a coalition. Duceppe has clearly stated that he would never work with Martin, so that means that the balance of power just might rest with CHUCK CADMAN, who would bring the Liberals/NDP coalition to 155, the number needed to form a majority.
I was pretty happy with the results around Hamilton. I was thrilled with the win by David Christopherson who, while he runs under the wrong banner, is a politician who genuinely cares about the community he serves and has a great history of working for Hamilton. Hopefully, if the NDP and Libs work together, maybe one of the requirements will be to give Christopherson a cabinet seat. Also, it was good to see Tony DePaulo and Chris Charlton throw a good scare into Tony Valeri and Beth Phinney. Hopefully, they will learn from this and do a better job of serving their communities. I feel really bad for David Sweet, the ex-CEO of Promise Keepers Canada, who lost a tough race to Liberal Russ Powers.
Now, here's the commentary.....
Paul Martin was held, to a degree, accountable for the Adscam issue. However, many people seemed to be willing to forgive Adscam in order to avoid what has been presented by Martin and the village idiot, Jack Layton, as a "scary" new Canada. Stephen Harper was, I believe, wrongfully accused of having a hidden agenda that would involve massive changes to the Charter of Rights and Alberta-style health care privatization. Anybody who could think it through would know that, in a minority position, Harper would be unable to push through any of these changes. Layton and Martin would ally against Harper and Duceppe would giddily stand off by himself. Harper would have to step very softly during the remainder of 2004, building trust and a relationship with the voters in preparation for the next election in early 2005, which would happen immediately after the first budgetary non-confidence vote.
More importantly, Martin likely would have been ousted as Liberal leader had Harper delivered a Conservative minority. THAT's the fate he truly deserves, for the events of the past year. He does have to face a leadership review, but that should be a formality. However, a Martin-Layton alliance is not yet assured. i am not so quick to assume that those two can peacefully co-exist for long, and I expect that we're heading back to the polls in 2006.
I hope Martin comes through with a few things: renew the child pornography bill, go back to work on fixing health care, bring closure to Adscam. I also fully expect that, within a year, same-sex marriage will be legislated into reality, which should be a fun one to deal with, from the church's perspective.
Oh, well. I guess we certainly won't be bored watching the formation of the political landscape over the next few months.