Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Glass is Half Full

Barring some unforeseen miracle, we are about to see a Conservative government take the helm. Assuming it is a minority government, hopefully a bare one at that, I am searching for the positives in this otherwise bleak picture.

We have all digested the pitfalls of what a Conservative mandate means for Canada and I don't wish to rehash the negatives. Instead, in the spirit of a "the glass is half full" attitude, I will try to point out some positives if we in fact see a Conservative minority( a majority is an entirely different animal):

* The growing sense of western alienation will be tempered. I have always felt that another Liberal government, under the present circumstances, would bring the Alberta seperatist sentiment to the mainstream. On my last visit to the province, the overriding sentiment seemed to be that this election was a line in the sand moment. Electing Harper would contradict the supposed "anti-western bias", which is used to bash all things eastern. We would see a renewed sense of commonality that the west desperately needs.

* The seperatists in Quebec would lose their favorite whipping boy, the federal Liberals. The Liberal government, under Chretien, and now Martin, is a lightning rod of controversy in Quebec and clearly has helped the seperatist cause. The Bloc has become a permanent fixture in Ottawa, largely a result of Quebecers having no faith in the Liberal Party. A Conservative government, in the short term, would blunt the main seperatist criticisms.

* The Liberal Party would be forced to re-invent itself, cull the old guard and get back to a grassroots approach. Political scientists often argue that what we see with the Liberal Party is a common predicament for an entity that governs too long. Parties need to redefine and the best impetus for this progression is some time spent in the political wilderness. I believe that on the issues, the Liberal Party speaks for the majority, however the party has lost the ability to articulate this to Canadians- this last campaign should serve as proof of how idea challenged they have become.

* The overt negativity that Canadians feel towards the workings of parliament would be quelled. Harper would be given a "honeymoon" period where issues such as corruption, illegalities and diversions wouldn't register. A sense of change, a new start would allow people to reinvest in their system.

* Assuming a minority, and the subsequent Liberal leadership race, the Liberal Party would be in a position to force a non-confidence vote outside of two years. A strong NDP and a renewed Liberal Party would better expose the right wing agenda. The Conservatives would have to answer questions, instead of deflecting issues onto the corrupt regime. These conditions could allow for a strong Liberal return and a possible future majority that could well unite the country. This vote is one of the desire for reform, not an endorsement of conservative philosophy.

* Bush would visit more.

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