For just a few minutes on Monday night, right after the election counters on SunNewsNetwork, CBC and CTV went over 155 seats for the Conservative Party, a lot of Canadians like me might have thought they could finally look forward to four years of parliamentary peace and stability. Well, that was clearly wishful thinking on my part because, while we can certainly expect stability, the peace not so much.
In fact, the grandstanding started later that night when the new Official Opposition Leader, the NDP’s Jack Layton, gave his acceptance speech. Without a doubt, he implied that all he had promised Quebecers would come to pass simply because he was going to pay a visit to the prime Minister and negotiate.
Negotiate what? I mean, the Conservative Party did not run on the NDP platform. Yet, yesterday I heard Layton’s Quebec Lieutenant Thomas Mulcair refer to the NDP election results as a “mandate.” Pardon me? Well, perhaps it’s not surprising they are so confused. I mean, with the Liberal and NDP election platforms being so closely aligned, I think both the NDP and Quebecers got so used to the idea of a coalition government, they haven’t yet realized they have no mandate at all — a parliamentary privilege that only falls to the political party that gets the most seats.
But that is not all. Yesterday, I personally heard Elizabeth May suggest to Evan Solomon on CBC that all 308 MPs should be treated equally. Plus, she also mentioned she needed a bigger budget because she is the leader of a political party. One seat and she is already “entitled to her entitlements.” Honestly, from now on, I am just going to hit the mute bottom when I see her on television, no matter which network she is on.
In any event, while Elizabeth May, Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair may not like it, that is how our Canadian parliamentary system works. As Marilla Stephenson writes in her Chronice Herald column today, “Layton should check his illusions at Stornoway’s door.”
Illusions indeed. Meaning, that May, Layton and Mulcair should get used to their role as opposition members and accept the obvious reality that Canada now has a Conservative majority government!