Cost of a few more seats too high
As it is clear, no single party has gained 50% plus one (155) seats in the new parliament and as a result, not a majority but a minority government will be formed. Although the power has shifted from the previous Liberal government with 135 seats in the previous parliament, to the new Conservative government, it will still be a minority government.
During the election campaigns, my favorite party, the NDP, adopted a wrong and bone-headed tactic in order to achieve the strategy of defeating the Liberals in the elections. But defeating the Liberals to what cost? To hand the power to the Conservatives? Oh, how silly and how irresponsible of the NDP! As I wrote here, constantly attacking the Liberals while letting the Conservatives (the main party with the possibility of defeating the Liberals) have a free ride and even take advantage of NDP's political immaturity, only served the Conservatives by hammering the Liberals even harder. By slogans such as "Liberals are corrupt and do not deserve your vote" which was a powerful statement (and was aligned with the Conservative slogans) and the silly and empty slogan of "Conservatives are wrong on issues", the NDP In fact pulled more votes away from the Liberals either to its own favor or in favor of the Conservatives. Although adding to the popular vote, this campaign policy not only did not help the NDP gain seats in vast majority of the ridings where the main race was between the Liberals and the Conservatives, it just gave more chance to the Conservatives who in many of those ridings defeated the Liberals with small margins; margins as low as 21 votes in one case.
Yes, sure, NDP is celebrating the fact that it has increased its number of seats in the new parliament from 19 to 29. But how much of a difference does this really make? How would this make NDP any more effective and influential than it was in the previous parliament? Not much. In fact, even less; lot less.
First of all, it is a known fact that the NDP has more in common with the Liberals. Historically, many of the good fundamental Canadian laws came to life with a Liberal minority government with the balance of power in the hands of the NDP; "The Charter of Rights and Freedom" and "The Universal Health Care Act" are amongst the main ones. And most recent example was the second Liberal budget in last summer which was positively modified in favor of the low income and middle income families and in favor of strengthening the Canadian social safety nets, in return for NDP's support and thus, getting passed by the parliament. In short, by pushing the Liberals in power, some good works could and did actually get done.
NDP's biggest mistake was made when it forced the minority Liberal government to fall after withdrawing its support of the government back in November 2005. It was wrong because NDP knew every well that the new election would not bring a NDP government to power, especially with stupid and passive campaign slogans such as "Conservatives are wrong on issues" which bore no weight and no substance. Secondly, this would only provide the opportunity for the Liberals to perhaps win even more seats and form a majority government in which the role of NDP would be diminished. Another possible outcome that could be seen at the time, was a new minority government, perhaps a Liberal or even a Conservative government. Any brainless idiot could see that another minority Liberal government would bring not much change, except about $300 million waste as a result of the elections cost. Even worse could be the possibility of a Conservative minority (something that is now a reality) which could be far worse because of the fact that the Conservatives are pro-American, pro-Iraq war, pro- Ballastic Missile Defence system and against Kyoto accord, and this is in addition to their dangerous social conservative policies.
Now, with these possibilities in mind, how on earth the NDP and its leader Jack Layton decided to trigger an election? What did he think he would gain?
Let me explain why NDP's influence is in fact less than it was before; in the previous parliament:
Regardless of the fact that NDP has much less in common with the Conservatives than with the Liberals, NDP does not effectively have the balance of power in its hand anymore. Even if the Conservatives want to pass a law in the parliament, they need at least 31 additional votes on top their own to make any laws. Since NDP has 29 seats, it is 2 seats short of the condition in which the Conservatives would desperately need the NDP's support. Unlike the other parliament in which there were 4 Independent MPs, the new parliament will only have one Indepebent, so even getting him on board will not help passing laws. Well, that goes for the NDP and its "victory".
Now, the other scenario is the Conservatives' need for the Liberal support in passing any legislation. Well, Liberal support (with its 103 seats) can easily allow the Conservatives to pass their proposed laws. This might not be easy for a while, as there is so much bitterness between the Liberal and the Conservatives as a result of the nasty election campaign, but it can eventually start happening when things start cooling down. In that case, who needs the NDP's support anyway!
The third possibility is the great influence that the Quebec separatist party (the BQ) will have, as they have the number of seats the conservatives would need to pass legislations. Regardless of the fact that many economical and social policies of the BQ are progressive and very similar to those of the NDP's, they will only make deals if things help them to walk toward separation of the French speaking province of Quebec from Canada.
Looking at all the possibilities of the events of months ahead and with this current election results, with the so-called NDP's gains, it is clear that the NDP has "successfully" shut itself out of the position of influence and has left everything to be decided by the Conservatives and the Liberals (or the BQ) and forcing the NDP to sit on the side and watch what happens and keep recounting the new number of the seats over and over again and feel "joyful" and "victorious" about it.
Considering the above, I do believe the NDP, the party I still like the most, had lost its priorities during the election campaign and with its immature campaign policies it has now given Canadians a grave disservice.