Granted, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives won an outright majority last night, bagging 167 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons. But the real winners were Jack Layton, his New Democratic Party (NDP) party progressive Canadians.
The NDP made the biggest breakthrough in its 50-year history, winning 102 seats to take the Official Opposition crown in Ottawa. But what gives Layton’s breakthrough more weight than Harper’s surprising majority?
The NDP’s breakthrough is a breakthrough by progressive Canadians. The NDP espouses a progressive stance on various political and social issues. Its breakthrough was born out of the persistence and hard work by Canadian progressive activists. Now Canadian social democrats can proudly call themselves government in waiting.
Of course Jack Layton’s strong leadership played a central role.
There’s little substance in the “historic” Conservative majority. Right-leaning parties have formed majorities and governments throughout Canada’s history. Most importantly, Harper’s majority resulted from a campaign of fear-mongering and character-assassination of political opponents, particularly Liberal leader. Economic stability also played a party.