A Harper majority is very bad. However, I have trouble imagining it cutting public programs more than Chretien’s majority did. The Conservatives and Liberals have long been rather similar on economic issues.
The NDP replacing the Liberals as one of the two predominant parties is hugely positive. Canadian social democrats have been striving for this realignment since they founded the CCF in 1932.
Of course, the NDP cannot take anything for granted. Much hard work will be needed to consolidate its unprecedented gains in Quebec and its countrywide position as the main alternative to the Conservatives.
In the next election, progressives should no longer feel that they must choose between voting NDP because it is progressive and voting Liberal to stop Conservatives. The resulting concentration of progressive votes for the NDP would produce substantial gains in English Canada. If the NDP can gain as many seats there as it just gained in Quebec, it would form a majority government.
The next four years will be tough. But there is a bright orange light at the end of the tunnel.
- Erin Weir is Senior Economist with the International Trade Union Confederation and a CCPA Research Associate.