Work to do

Mind-boggling is perhaps the best word to describe Monday’s federal election that saw Stephen Harper finally deliver on a long-sought Conservative majority, the NDP win 100-plus seats (more than double their previous high) to form the Official Opposition for the first time in the party’s 50-year history, and the Liberals collapse to third-place nationally with a historic low of just 34 seats.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Bloc Quebecois being virtually wiped off the political map, losing official party status in the process, and the election of the first-ever Green MP to the House of Commons.
In a nutshell: wow!
Voters, clearly fatigued by four elections in seven years, opted to turn Canada’s political landscape upside down in a manner no one saw coming when the campaign began five short weeks ago. What remains to be seen now is how it will all play out over the next four years.
The Tories, pleading for the need of a strong, stable national government, certainly got their wish Monday night. No longer hampered by the constraints of a minority government, Prime Minister Harper and Co. will be judged on how well they manage our fragile economy, tackle the huge deficit, create jobs, solve the ballooning health-care crisis, and protect the environment.
No easy task to be sure—and with success or failure now resting squarely on their own shoulders.
The NDP, meanwhile, face perhaps the biggest challenge. Flush with political neophytes, their job now is to convince voters they are a legitimate alternative to the Conservatives as well as the new federalist option for Quebecers. Simply put, they have to prove their meteoric rise to Official Opposition wasn’t merely an aberration or flash in the pan.
For the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois, of course, their efforts must centre on resurrecting their respective parties from the brink of oblivion. And then there’s Elizabeth May, who has to find ways to use her tiny foothold in Parliament to revive the “Green” message which voters soundly rejected in the other 307 ridings across the country on Monday.
Each of the parties has much work to do—with all eyes already focused on the next election in 2015.