Well the election is over and the Liberals have a vast majority. Granted it is, by popular vote, less of a mandate then Harper’s majority, but a majority none the less under our first past the post system.
How did they get the majority? Was it Justin’s can do attitude? His hair? His campaign?
All of those things certainly were the reason the Liberals won. They ran a strong campaign that avoided most mud slinging and as a result, blunted the mudslinging tossed at them. They made clear promises, didn’t overstep, and did not have nearly as much problems with candidates stepping out of line or being proven to be complete loons.
But the majority was someone else’s responsibility.
When the election was called there was an overwhelming desire for change in Canada. We were sick of the corruption, the big brother style and the arrogance the Harper government was showing us. At that time the NDP, the moral conscience of the nation, always seeming to be on the side of fair, even when fair is unpopular was the saviour we were looking to.
Mulcair and the NDP had been a remarkable force as opposition in a hostile parliament that crushed any and all opposition by any means possible. They were a David to the Conservative Goliath, and when they finally had the chance to strike down the giant, they misfired the sling stone, and then started throwing stones erratically at anything that moved.
From day one, the NDP forgot who they were and tried to rebrand the party during an election, it frustrated their supporters, it alienated their base and outright confused the voters.
Refusing to attend debates that Stephen Harper would not attend, as if this were a battle between two champions regardless of the public. It made Mulcair look weak, following Harper around rather then leading. It also gave people their first impression of how Mulcair and Harper may have similarities.
When Mulcair didn’t take questions at the start of the campaign, it reinforced that comparison, and 72 hours into a long campaign, the NDP leader was operating from a persieved position of being Harper lite.
It tainted all further press and impressions of the campaign. When he started dropping candidates for strongly held views that were NOT actually against party positions he was seen as a muzzling leader, not a unifying one. When he weakened the opposition to existing government policy, he was seen as supporting the Conservatives, not as a moderate. When he started to campaign on subjects that would appeal the the conservative voter he was seen as a sell out, not an inclusive leader.
If Mulcair had shown leadership from the beginning, held fast to the persona that he had developed in the House of Commons he would have done his party proud.
Show up for important debates, make Harper follow you or showcase the arrogance of the Conservative party to the nation by addressing the empty chair. Don’t argue with the other leaders, listen to their points, and address them as if they were advisors to you and that you would take their points under consideration the moment you were elected. Don’t try to entice voters from the Harper camp, they are either completely devoted to him or at least brainwashed enough to never ever consider the NDP as an option, regardless of the promises made. They are not interested in promises, as you can see they don’t care if the Conservatives keep theirs. They are interested in dogma. That the right is somehow better regardless of indescretions. Some disheartened might go green or liberal, but they were not going to come all the way left to the NDP and you could not meet them halfway because the liberals stand on that ground already.
Stand fast on the party ideals while pointing out that while some of your candidates had strongly held views that were not cookie cutter copies of the party, the one thing all your candidates agreed on was Mulcair as a leader, and that they could bring diverse views into a situation, and create policy that was formed after being considered by multiple angles, and not just the dogmatic opinion of one man who ignored advice.
Mulcair and his advisors handed the liberals their majority, and quite frankly rightfully lost their position as opposition by ignoring their base. The base that created and supported the party for decades.
Many of the lessons Harper taught us were bad policy, they should not be emulated by someone claiming to be better then that.