The morning-after the 2011 election party has me in a hangover. I am beginning to suffer from the election blues. Yes, pun intended. With a new majority Conservative government calling the shots (and by gov’t I mean PMO, not the cabinet) I’m considering my options – moving back to Egypt looks pretty good. At least the official opposition is the NDP, some say, taking an astounding 105 seats in Parliament. Perhaps it is hopeful, but to me it looks more like American political polarization than anything else. Most likely the massive Liberal and Bloc defeat “will prompt more talk about a possible merger with New Democrats to create a united centre-left party capable of defeating the Conservatives.”
Harper’s strategy to gain seats through immigrant supporters seems to have succeeded – only I can’t figure out why. The Conservative platform doesn’t give a shit about immigrants and former Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney has made it clear that they aren’t welcome here. Perhaps Harper’s emphasis on the economy gave immigrants hope for new and better jobs. It seems Berthold Brecht was right when he wrote “erst kommt das Fressen dan kommt die Morale” (first comes a full stomach, then comes ethics/morality). I don’t doubt that with a Tory government we will have economic stimulus, but immigrants will still be getting table scraps. The Tories are interested in corporations, not you and your family. Of all the platforms, only the NDP have the capacity to raise minorities and people on the fringes of society (low income families, jobless, elderly, disabled, etc.) up to the table, where they actually have a voice and stakes.
As for the Bloc, I don’t mourn the fall of Quebecois sovereignty but it will be interesting to see the dynamics between former separatists and the new NDP stronghold in the province play out. If Layton doesn’t meet their expectations over the next 4 years I think we could easily see the Bloc return rather forcefully.
And the Liberals…well Iggy, you win some you lose some.
As we wait for our new government to dictate our country, you can prepare yourselves for more military spending, less for healthcare, more tax cuts for corporations, less for families/immigrants/NGOs, and so on.
You can also read this article by Sheldon Wolin entitled Inverted Totalitarianism. Though it was written in 2003 about American democracy, I’m sure you’ll find several resonant moments.