Well, Stephen Harper is in and Paul Martin is out…..way, way out as he resigns from his Liberal leadership position as well.
What does the new political position augur for Canada?
- Well, for one, relations with right wing America will definitely improve as the Conservatives are always kissing their ass.
- Religious issue like same sex marriage are going to be put to vote in the parliament although I am quite sure that it will be defeated. It will be interesting to see how Harper brings up the issue as majority of the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc are opposed to tabling the issue on the parliament. The not withstanding clause is definitely going to play out here. I expect that the Reform Act (abortion rights) will also be thrown into the air from the far right but it will probably raise a lot of controversy without really amounting to much.
- Expect big proposals like a health care privatisation plan, defense budgets plans and cuts for businesses. Also expect Liberals and NDP oppose each of these stands. I don’t expect that there will be any cuts on GST (something that Harper had been harping throughout the campaign) which in any case, to me, was a bad idea. A lot of social plans would have been hit.
- Canada’s commitment to Kyoto will be revamped in one form or another. Canada was never going to meet it’s cuts but pulling out of Kyoto proposal (which is what Harper wants to do just like his pal, Bush) is going to be a moral blow to the Kyoto plan.
- Gun crime in Toronto will receive little attention now that the election is over. Conservatives made a lot of noise about gun crime during election and now that they have been completely shut out of south Ontario, they will probably payback by ignoring Toronto.
- Manufacturing sector is going to continue to be hit. The governments have little control (apart from giving tax incentives) over the manufacturing sector even though they are perceived as having a say in the business decisions. It’s a shame that this sector is unraveling just as Conservatives take over. They are going to be blamed for all the ills faced by employees of the sector.
On the whole, I expect Harper to toe the ‘centrist’ line without really straying too much just like he has been advocating for the last 3 years. He is the prime minister but only just. Without the extra 20 – 25 seats that would have given him a comfortable lead he has to govern by consensus and not in a brazen fashion like his pal down south.