As a progressive, it is hard to endorse any government that has the Conservatives at the helm. However, when I look at the current political landscape, as well as the future prospects for Canada, I wonder if the best post-election scenario isn't a Conservative minority government. Strange request I know, but bear with me.
The Liberal Party is a mess of patronage, corruption and old cronies that has become detached from the grassroots. This situation is not historically unique, most parties that hold power for prolonged periods suffer this fate. Martin looks the tired politican, who seems increasingly idea challenged. With these facts in mind, another Liberal government would only serve to further institutionalize this bloated legacy. The only way for a substantial purge to occur is electoral defeat- the party needs to cleanse itself. New leadership, fueling a new vision, and a renewed sense of purpose. A Liberal victory means the status quo and that is increasingly unacceptable.
Now factor in the overt feelings of alienation from the west and you begin to see a timely solution. I am not speaking to the merits of western alienation, merely to its existence. With this election, we are witnessing some sort of "line in the sand" mentality, wherein another Liberal victory and subsequent rejection of the Conservatives is seen as a watershed moment. Albertans in particular view this election as a turning point, where we either embrace their ideas or force the talk of seperation to the fore. It really seems a dangerous time in the history of Canada. Seperation has historically been Quebec's domain, now it has found an interesting ally.
Solution? A small Conservative minority. This outcome accomplishes many things in the short term. The Liberal Party will reconfigure itself and emerge relevant again. The feelings of western alienation will be tempered and a sense of inclusiveness will emerge. Quebec will still be Quebec, irregardless of whether the Liberals cling to power- you could argue a short term fall from power may be the key to blunting the seperatist movement.
Also, and most important, a Conservative minority has the added benefit of a relatively neutered Steven Harper. The Conservatives would be unable to enact a bold right wing agenda and in turn would be forced to temper policy to appease a predominately moderate house. Shortform, the Conservatives would accomplish little. A minority government would have a shelf life of two or three years, within that time the Liberals would have ample time to morph back to a real party for the people.
If we think longterm, a tiny Conservative minority in the near may be the best medicine for a country increasingly in disarray.
Disclaimer- I still can't actually see myself pulling the lever for shark eyes.