Why Harper Failed

canadaThe Conservative Party is still in power in this country and Stephen Harper is still our Prime Minister. That makes Harper the victor, but in a greater sense he has failed. Here's why Stephen Harper lost.

Toronto is Still Without a Conservative MP

Remember my $50 bet back in 2007?

I have a $50 bet with a friend regarding our next federal election. I say Stephen Harper's Conservative Party will be completely shut out in the 416. My friend says they'll win at least one seat in Toronto. I'm so confident they won't, I would have bet up to $500.

Once again, all of Toronto is Liberal red except for the two seats won by Jack Layton and Olivia Chow. Harper has never won a seat in Canada's largest city and he never will. You can dupe what I wrote here three years ago. In fact, the only seat that changed parties is my riding of Parkdale-High Park which was won by Liberal Gerard Kennedy last night. Harper hasn't made a dent.

Harper Failed to Win a Majority During the Perfect Storm

This was Stephen's best shot at a majority. Let's face it, the only reason he dissolved parliament in the first place was because he knew this was true. The leader of the Liberal party failed to inspire anybody, and the left was split by a strengthened NDP and Green Party. I once wrote that Dion made Harper seem like Winston Churchill by comparison, yet Harper is exactly where he was when this campaign began.

No Gains in Quebec

If Harper wants to win a majority without Toronto, he needs Quebec. The belief was the Bloc was going to lose seats and Harper would be the beneficiary. This never happened. It's as if Quebec came to the realization that the Conservative Party doesn't share their social values and respect for the arts. Harper actually lost one of his 11 Quebec seats last night, while the Liberals gained. Reports of the Bloc's demise were greatly exaggerated.

What's Next?

Stephane Dion has to go, and he will. I see someone like Michael Ignatieff assuming leadership of the party as sort of a bridge to Justin Trudeau. Trudeau has a great deal to learn and needs seasoning, and Ignatieff is ready today to improve upon the lousy 76 seats won by the Liberals. With a suitable leader, the Liberals have nowhere to go but up, and that's bad news for Harper's Conservatives.

Hundreds of millions were spent so 59% of us could give Harper another minority government. Don't be fooled by headlines stating Harper won. He lost, and he knows it.


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Comments (15)

Argie

The fact that an entire city with so many ridings cannot elect a single Conservative is so disturbing. It just shows how left and delusional the majority of the citizens of this city are. The Conservatives are not even that conservative – they’re more like the Moderate Party.

I’m so glad I picked up and moved out of this vast liberal wasteland last year.

As for Quebec, who the hell cares??? Should Harper have pandered even more to Quebec? Please. That province showed how much they care about staying in Canada by electing so many Bloc candidates. Next election I’ll be more than happy to campaign for the bloc here in Ontario.

October 15, 2008 / 10:14

Andrew

I agree that Harper lost. I disagree that he knows it.

He's arrogant and thinks he is better than he is. He was against weak opponents and won. He would never win in a true election.
I wonder how long this government will last. Harper said that is was dysfunctional before which is why he called an election. How will it be better now? And if he starts to sink in the polls and the Liberals get a strong leader will we see that election call in 4 years? Time will tell.

October 15, 2008 / 10:14

Al

I'm satisfied with the result as it was the only way it could have gone IMO. So now, we need to look at getting a better Liberal leader in place. I don't know much about Ignatieff to comment either way, but it occurred to me that Ken Dryden would make a compelling choice. The man is super-intelligent, level-headed and somewhat of a hero in Quebec. He could be a good uniter. I wonder if he would even be interested.

October 15, 2008 / 10:44

Argie

Because of the power and the xenophobia nature of Quebec, the next leader of the lib party will have to be Quebecois. It’s the same reason they chose this clown Dion despite the fact they had about 3 better choices to be leader. After all when was the leader of the Lib party not from Quebec? I think John Turner was the last one from about 30 years ago.

Iggy, Rae, Dryden, Kennedy? Forget it the next leader is likely Justin Trudeau. Experience isn’t necessary as we’ve seen in the US with Obama.

October 15, 2008 / 10:54

Toronto Mike

Dryden did run for leadership last time, but he failed to gain much traction. It might be that super slow delivery of his... his time has passed.

Trudeau is too smart to go for the gig this time. He'll put in a few years as an MP first. They need a bridge.

October 15, 2008 / 10:58

Mike from Lowville

Mike I like your summation. Harper just signed his own termination papers. Michael Ignatieff should have been the front runner and this election would have sent Harpo packing. Justin has a way to go but, will be there in the near future. Argue, of course as always is on another planet. Pssst, Argue, nobody cares.

October 15, 2008 / 14:21

Anonymous

Mike - lack of experience seems to be working for Sarah...oh wait...nevermind.

October 15, 2008 / 14:54

Argie

Mike from Loserville – You’re so laughable (and I don’t mean ‘laughable’ in a good way…) because you’re this aging hippy who’s life has past him by due to way too many drugs, not enough hard work and unjustifiable sense of accomplishment.

I would respect you more if you were at least a Liberal – but being a socialist at your age is really sad. Seriously.

October 15, 2008 / 15:15

Freddie P.

Geez Mike, it almost sounds like you're happy the Bloc didn't meet their demise.
How twisted is that, so against Stephen Harper you actually find yourself cheering for seperatists. Treaonsous unpatriotic bastards.
I love you Mike, but you need to wake up a bit.
And despite all your writings, I still don't exactly why you don't like Harper?
Is it the hidden agenda, or the new sweaters he wore. Or is it something of even less depth?
Meanwhile, if you want to talk losers, how'd your NDP hack do?

October 15, 2008 / 16:34

Toronto Mike

Freddie my man, you're reading stuff I didn't write. I wasn't rooting for the Bloc, just reporting the facts.

I'm going to steal something I wrote back in January 2006.

Stephen Harper's Conservative Party cannot win in Toronto because of how close to our hearts we cherish our socially liberal values. The mere suggestion of repealing our abortion laws or revisiting the same-sex marriage debate upsets the average 416er. Toronto, like Montreal and Vancouver, is a progressive, open-minded, accepting and sensible city that will not sacrifice these values at any cost. So long as the Conservatives can't make a dent in Canada's big cities they will never win a majority.

In a nutshell, that's my biggest issue with the Conservative Party. It's the social values they promote. That cannot be sacrificed in my Canada, at any cost.

October 15, 2008 / 17:34

Irvine

...Fred, Harper was interested in "firewalling" Alberta & did pen that famous letter he wrote to Klein years back advocating many of the SAME things that Quebec petitions Ottawa for. It's known at the Alberta Agenda & the signs that say "More Alberta, Less Ottawa" can be seen along the highway, usually south of Calgary toward High River or Turner Valley.

BTW Fred, read up, seeing your a Corus guy. Took this from Hutton's website (he's a radical Alberta as a nation guy)

An Angus Reed Poll released last week which was conducted for QR77 and the Corus network indicates 23% of Albertans believe they would be better off if they were a Nation unto themselves.

......

Alberta & Quebec are much alike Fred. Both have their faction of "separatists". The big difference is Quebec is about it's culture, Alberta is about it's money & it's resources. Remember the NEP Fred? Remember "Let the Eastern Bastards freeze in the dark". It was a common bumper sticker out here. It was Lougheed that told Trudeau he'd shut off the oil rigs. It was Klein that went after Ottawa regularly, including the PC's & even took Harper to task. In fact, he recently took Harper to task over the Income Trust fiasco.

In Alberta, we have two flags. The Canadian flag & the provincial emblem, aka Alberta Flag. You'll find this flag in nearly every place you'll find a Canadian flag. Out here in Alta, we don't have front license plates. It's not uncommon to see Alberta Flag plates on cars, far more than you'll see a Canadian flag. Same for little window stickers. I can't ever remember driving up to do work on a oil rig without seeing an Alberta flag on top *unless it's a Newfie flag*

So careful shooting off about separatists Freddie Boy. They don't all live in Quebec buddy.

October 15, 2008 / 20:10

A.R.

"The fact that an entire city with so many ridings cannot elect a single Conservative is so disturbing. It just shows how left and delusional the majority of the citizens of this city are. The Conservatives are not even that conservative – they’re more like the Moderate Party."

The Conservatives are moderate, but they're still out of touch with so many of the issues that voters in Toronto or Montreal care about. These cities aspire to compete with the world's finest. They need a vibrant arts scene to attract tourists. Yet they hear of cuts to arts.

When the city is interested in crime prevention, all they hear of is punishment in the advertisements. Both are equally important.

Encountering smog in the summer, they care about the environment and expanding public transportation. The Conservative funding received was for a subway line extension largely meant to win over suburban voters outside of the municipalities. Funding announcements were made several times, and the money was delivered before the election.

Some of these things haven't traditionally been federal issues, but they need federal attention.

Canada's three major cities are in a unique position, being exposed to many progressive ideas since they're competing internationally. They want improvement and progress.

When then Conservative Mark Warner spoke out on issues facing the Toronto riding he was running for (which includes both Rosedale and St. Jamestown), such as housing, he was kicked out of the party.

October 16, 2008 / 03:50

Torontonian

Harper has twice failed to form a majority government.
That's two failures in a row.
Time for a leadership review.

The numbers show that for every 2 votes Conservatives received, the other parties received 3 votes. In other words, 40% of those who voted chose his party.

The whole matter of voter apathy is something else and the first past the post system has to go. Making voting compulsory would help and we need to make major changes soon so that these disastrous results don't happen again.

Can anyone show me a charismatic, magnetic leader in Canada in the style of an Obama? Nosiree, Bob.

October 16, 2008 / 08:35

Argie

A.R. writes:

"The Conservatives are moderate, but they're still out of touch with so many of the issues that voters in Toronto or Montreal care about. These cities aspire to compete with the world's finest. They need a vibrant arts scene to attract tourists. Yet they hear of cuts to arts."

Are you saying these cities is full of gay people? I don’t know about that……

Mark Warner was kicked out of the party because he wasn’t a Conservative. He mistakenly joined the party but in reality was a Liberal. Nothing wrong with that but a Liberal nevertheless.

October 16, 2008 / 13:58

A.R.

A bit of a late reply, but that statement implying artists and those who enjoy the arts being gay was ignorant.

And was Warner a Liberal, or someone who simply saw the urban issues and couldn't find a way to address them through the Conservative party's strategies?

October 19, 2008 / 01:51

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