- Catherine Porter offers another defence of the NDP's wave of new MPs, with a particular focus on the group elected from McGill:
They don’t know everything yet. They all seem to know that they don’t know everything yet — a big advantage over first-time middle age politicians, who feel they have to “hit the ground running,” which is code for faking it. They’re bound to ask questions and listen to answers. That is a trait we all miss in politicians. Experience brings wisdom, but it also often breeds contempt.- Meanwhile, Chantal Hebert notes that based on the precedent of previous waves in the province, there's little reason to think the NDP can't maintain its success in Quebec for some time to come:
(T)hey are young, when the world still seems black and white and the noble causes are not dimmed by bills and midnight trips to the emergency ward, sick babe in panicked arms. Most of them were members of the McGill NDP club. They must be passionate about big causes like poverty and climate change. We’ll need their untarnished idealism to wrestle the heavy boom of a Conservative majority.
Over the past forty years, every Quebec federal fling has ended in a spectacular breakup. But the province’s political love affairs have also amounted to more than a string of one-night stands.- Sixth Estate is duly skeptical about a Con-friendly interest group declaring that Stephen Harper has free rein to dismantle public delivery of health services.
Under Pierre Trudeau, the Liberals owned Quebec for the better part of 15 years.
Brian Mulroney dominated the province for a decade.
It took seven elections before the Bloc finally hit the wall.
That is not to say that the NDP will necessarily be able to repeat Monday’s stunning Quebec feat in four years’ time.
The next election will likely bring a correction of sorts.
The Liberals usually alternate between francophone and anglophone leaders.
Under a francophone leader, they might become more competitive and regain some of their traditional Quebec clientele.
But both the NDP’s track record and the province’s past voting patterns suggest that the New Democrat presence in Quebec is not going to be a mere transient phenomenon.
- But Lana Payne is optimistic that the trial balloon and other efforts to further attack Canada's social programs will run into stronger opposition than ever:
For Canadians, the choices are about to become very clear and quite stark as we are presented with two completely opposing visions for our country.- Finally, Erin offers his take on the problems with strategic voting:
Jack Layton and the NDP will put forward a vision of Canada that really does talk about people’s issues — like the high costs of medicines and how we can collectively do something about it. We can expect ideas and policies that lean towards how we can collectively work together so everyone benefits.
I fear the social fabric of my country is in danger. I fear all of the things I believe in are about to be under siege. I fear for the damage the Conservatives will inflict on our great nation.
But mixed with that fear is a burst of hope. Hope that the progressive forces elected in such large numbers to our Parliament will be able to temper the carnage and build for tomorrow.
Among progressives, the Canadian Auto Workers union has probably been the most prominent and consistent advocate of strategic voting. Outside of Quebec, it has been endorsing NDP incumbents and NDP candidates deemed to have a sufficient chance of winning. But two days before the vote, the Auto Workers also reaffirmed “supporting 34 Liberal candidates in identified close ridings, where they have the best chance of defeating the Conservative.”
In fact, many of these ridings were not especially close and six were actually NDP-Conservative races: Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Brant, Kenora, Miramichi and Saint John (where PEF-member Rob Moir doubled the NDP vote!)
Another anti-Conservative effort, Catch 22, advised voting Liberal or Bloc in Brant, Huron-Bruce, Simcoe-Grey, Montmagny-L’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, Fredericton, Miramichi and Saint John, all of which ended up being NDP-Conservative races. (It also advised voting for the Liberal incumbent in Newton-North Delta, where the NDP won.)
Of course, this election was extremely volatile, so some incorrect projections are no surprise. But that’s the point: electoral politics are inherently unpredictable. Uncertainly about when and where a breakthrough might occur was, or should have been, a strategic rationale for progressive organizations to support the NDP.
The good news is that there should be much less confusion next time. In the great majority of ridings, the NDP will be both the most progressive option and the strategic anti-Conservative choice. Building a left majority is now clearly a matter of rallying progressives around the NDP and chipping away at Conservative support through effective opposition.