So here we are, a couple of weeks after The Unnecessary Election ™, dust has settled, and the world hasn't ended. A Conservative majority, an NDP Official opposition, a decimated Liberal party, and one Green member. The count now stands at Cons 166, NDP 103, Lib 34. There was an overwhelming run to the NDP, especially in Quebec - possibly just to get away from the Bloq. That suprise success meant all those candidates the NDP traditionally stuffs into non-winnable ridings - the young, the students, women - most of them got elected! So of course the media attention has shifted from how do we engage the youth to how young and inexperienced and "unqualified" many new members are.
As for the public, I think many are trading the worries of possible Conservative demons with the relief of not having to read or worry about an election for five years now. And therein lies the problem. I have no doubt that Harper and the Conservatives will now use their power to gradually shift Canadian society to the right of centre. Even more Conservative Senators, a quick passage of a tough on crime package, subtle pressures by the right to life groups. Replacing empty Supreme Court slots with justices that support a more conservative program in general, as well as an unfettered Parliament and less reliance on the Charter of Rights. The NDP assures us they will hold Harper accountable, a nice phrase that many are exhorting Canadians with, but with no real power or consequence, as they have no veto on this. Other than a re-alignment in the next election in five years, the only hope now is that the Conservatives will be sensitive to public opinion.