The Canadian population, like India’s a few months ago and Spain’s before that, has stared into the abyss and decided not to jump in.
To do so, they had to hold their nose and vote in a system of lousy choices. But even with all their limitations, elections often reveal a kind of democratic genius on the part of people when they have the space to express it. So Canadians managed to humiliate the corrupt Liberals quite a bit, by handing them a minority. They managed to humiliate the despicable Conservatives a lot by handing the Liberals far more seats than the Conservatives. They managed to express why they are humiliating both of these gangs of crooks when they voted for social democrats and Quebec sovereigntists in more seats than before. In the context of a pretty abysmal system (although it doesn’t compare to the US system for being a farce of a democratic system) it is really as good an outcome as could have been hoped for.
The CBC story reporting the election outcome discusses what I think is a serious issue as well: the polls lied. This is no isolated incident for Canada nor is it a small thing. Someone will have to look into it, but it seems obvious that polls are increasingly done to be self-serving prophesies: the polls predicted a Conservative minority government and a much closer race than actually happened. It might be that that polls intended to strengthen Conservatives by reporting artificially high strength galvanized people into voting liberal out of fear of Harper’s potentially disastrous agenda.
There is still plenty of trouble on the horizon, both for Canadians themselves and in terms of the mischief Canada will be doing in the world, accompanying the US. But things are much better than they could have been today, and there is more space for movements, if we can figure out how to take advantage of it, than there would have been.
NOTE: Samer Elatrash from Concordia University pointed out to me this morning that Jeffrey Simpson from the Globe and Mail has analyzed the Canadian election in terms of fear and loathing. Coincidence? Hmmm…