Finally, some real opposition in Ottawa
Dave Coles03 May 2011
Jack and Olivia are moving into Stornoway.
The Conservatives may have their majority, but New Democrats under Jack Layton will form the official opposition for the first time in Canadian history. Re-elected in Trinity-Spadina, he and wife Olivia Chow, can move into the official residence of the leader of the opposition.
It’s a huge victory for progressive politics, and a seismic shift in the politics of this country.
One-hundred and four New Democrats will be in the House of Commons – the most ever. Among them will be two CEP members: Mike Sullivan in Toronto’s York-South Weston riding and Guy Caron in Quebec’s Rimouski-Neigette-Témiscouata-Les-Basques. In Leeds-Grenville, CEP Local President Matthew Gabriel has rebuilt the NDP to come in second.
Together, the New Democrat opposition will show Canadians they no longer have to chose their governments from among the Tories and the Liberals. From this day on, Canadians have a real alternative.
Harper proved during the election that he’d lost touch with the Canadian people – if he ever had it. He figured no one cared about his abuse of power, his contempt for democracy and his spending on G20 excesses.
He thought Canadians were so cynical about politicians and the electoral process that they’d hand him a majority simply to avoid having to go to the polls again before long.
Layton proved him wrong with his message of hope. He forced Harper to squeeze up the middle, grabbing a majority through split votes – and despite 60 per cent of the country voting against him.
The real story of this election is that in the last stretches of the campaign, Canadians responded to Layton’s message of hope and a positive future for the country.
Despite cancer and a broken hip, Layton inspired people to believe that a better world is possible and that they need not be ruled by cynicism and fear.
He rode that message to the strongest ever results for progressive politics in this country.
And, for the first time, Harper will face real opposition in the House of Commons from a party that offers a real alternative to the government.
A Harper majority is no reason to celebrate. But the promise of real opposition to his government is good news.
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