The 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.
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.