Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Election result: Barbarians at the Gates

You know Canadians are getting way unruly when they reject a lawyer as Prime Minister and bring in an economist instead.

Congratulations to Stephen Harper and his merry brand of Conservatives. Ontario and Quebec are trusting you to govern as if you have a minority. Rest assured that if you don’t, you won’t.

I’ve talked to a number of people who feel very sad about Paul Martin’s career arc. There was always a feeling that he was going to turn into someone of quality, but he never did. The man who entered public life to avenge his father’s political defeats (PM Senior ran twice for the Liberal leadership, losing to Pearson and Trudeau) has now failed even more utterly. To get the office he wanted so badly, he chose to split the Liberal party down the middle – and then he did nothing with the opportunity when he got it. Nothing to justify the faith so many people had in him, the personal effort he’d expended, or the damage he’d done to his own party.

There’s a lesson there for all of us.

And if the very act of pursuing ambition changes who you are, that may be good news for the dawning Harper era. He seemed very restrained and statesmanlike last night.

If the rest of his gang can be mature enough to hold off the witch burnings until the second term, we may get a good government out of this.

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