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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

6/25/2004

Even but angry

The polls are being reported on other blogs but, essentially, they are coming out as a sawoff between the Grits and the Tories. Which will not translate to a saw off in seats depending on Quebec.

Throughout this election Quebec has been the wildcard. If the BQ swept Quebec leaving a Liberal rump in Anglo Montreal then it was unlikely that the Liberals could form even a minority government; but now there seems to be some movement to the Grits. Grrr.

What has been striking about the election is just how far apart the left and right have grown in Canada. And, more interestingly, how unrelentingly negative the Liberal campaign has been.

What it suggests is that the Liberal orthodoxy in Canada is brittle and liable to collapse. If not this election than almost certainly in the next one which will follow in no more than a year or two.

The Liberals have had to claim that any deviation from the Liberal orthodoxy on abortion, gay marriage, gun registration, capital punishment, culture or the military amounts to extremism. And they have had to claim this in the face of the fact Canadians are evenly divided on virtually all these issues.

The Liberal campaign was perfectly characterized by David Herle when he relied to MPs concerned that going negative early would look desperate, "We are desperate."

It is a desperation borne of the knowledge that if the Tories take power the patronage and pandering of the Liberal era is over. And the certainty that the Tories in office will begin the process of devolving power to the provinces leaving Ottawa less and less able to impose the Liberal orthodoxy on Canadians.

The "hidden agenda" of the Conservative Party is, and always has been, a refusal to treat Ottawa as the font of all wisdom. It is an agenda which recognizes the diversity of all the Canadas.

Letting Alberta or British Columbia or PEI determine the shape of its people's destiny without the Central government interfering is, in my view, critical for the next several decades of Canadian development. Recognizing that a one size fits all healthcare or education or cultural policy is out of step with Canadian reality is the first step towards unlocking the real strength of Canada.

Vote early, vote often and don't be afraid.