Review-Mirror column on the morning after the election

October 20, 2015

On August 14 in a column in this newspaper I asked, “Would Canadians support a coalition between Tom Mulcair and Stephen Harper?”

“If it came to a hung Parliament, I would suggest that Thomas Mulcair would find more in common with Stephen Harper than either would find with Justin Trudeau. Trudeau seems unwilling to compromise his Federalist, pro-constitution, pro-charter of rights position. This may leave him in a strong position as leader of the opposition against the strange bedfellows across the aisle in the next parliament.

“But would 63% of Canadians still support a coalition if it involved Stephen Harper’s Conservatives?

“Perhaps more to the point at this juncture of the campaign: will Mulcair’s cooperation in Harper’s boycott of the national debates cause him trouble with his supporters?

“According to the August 14th Ekos poll, 81% of NDP supporters stand firmly in favour of more large-scale debates, televised nationally with all four national leaders in attendance.

“Thomas Mulcair may have to decide whether it’s better to forsake Stephen Harper and face Liz May, Justin Trudeau, and an empty chair in debate rather than to risk the loss of the university graduates, that critical 14% of his support which this spring parachuted in from the Trudeau camp during the height of the attack ad campaign. If he slips up, these activist voters can just as easily return to the Red Tent and carry election victory with them.”

No doubt the blame for the demise of the NDP dynasty in Quebec will go to the niqab controversy and the highly questionable practice of strategic voting, but I would suggest seeds of the Liberal romp across the ridings of Eastern Canada last night lay in the 25 million dollar program of attack ads against Justin Trudeau and in Tom Mulcair’s tacit support of Stephen Harper’s boycott of syndicated leaders’ debates.

When just before the election NDP candidate Andrew Thomson commented that the NDP could work with the Harper Conservatives to form a government, something clicked in the minds of millions of voters. This election was all about weeding Stephen Harper’s strain of divisive politics out of the Canadian garden, and the potential of a missed root cropping up and re-infesting our Canada was more than progressives could bear.

They came out to vote in droves. First Nations polling stations ran out of ballots. What we saw last night on CBC was the product of many, many individuals deciding that they wanted no more of Stephen Harper. Thomas Mulcair’s NDP was swept away in the rush.

___________________________________________________

The real nail-biter for me on election night was the race in Burnaby North-Seymour, a suburb of Vancouver, where our son Charlie Croskery managed newcomer Terry Beech’s campaign. Strategic voting sites had unanimously favoured NDP candidate Carol Baird Ellan, a retired provincial court judge, claiming that Terry continued to poll in the mid-teens in a two-party race between Ellan and Conservative, Mike Little. Charlie told me last week that he had to decide whether to devote their advertising to correcting the misconception or competing with Mike Little.

Yesterday morning when I wished him well he responded that it all depended upon how good a job they could do in getting out the vote. By 1:30 a.m. my mental math had improved considerably as I watched the differential in the votes steadily grow as Terry’s lead increased from under a hundred to almost 2000, at which point Canada.com stepped in and declared Terry Beech the MP-designate for Burnaby North-Seymour. CBC followed shortly after.

I’ve no doubt Charlie, Roz, Ravi and Terry were door-knocking dynamos, but the Liberal wave floated a lot of boats in B.C. In politics you take your breaks where you can get them.

Congratulations, Terry Beech M.P., your courageous family and your dedicated crew.

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