The good news is that Harper lost. Sure, they will spin it by saying they expected to win a minority but they are just lying to themselves. And us. There was nothing to be gained from this little exercise if all they wanted was another minority. For all his faults, Harper is far too smart to do something that foolish. Fortunately for the rest of us, even a smart man is not immune to hubris. That is why we are sending another minority back to Ottawa.
The irony is that this minority victory is a very bitter defeat for Harper. He picked the right moment - before our economy starts to follow the American economy over the ledge - and faced a Liberal leader that was even less charismatic than he is. Add to this the fact that Dion was bound and determined to chase a grand unpopular ideal in his green shift and you had a victory that even the foot in mouth conservatives couldn't screw up. But they did.
As for the green shift, here are my thoughts. The world is a mess right now. Something needs to change or we will watch our affluent lifestyle slowly slide away. For better or worse, the green shift was a shot in the dark, an attempt to jumpstart us and point us towards a better future. Sure, there were some ugly realities tied up in the plan. It was going to cost us a lot. It was going to make things harder before they got easier. It was going to force a society accustomed to ease and convenience to work a little harder, do a little more. What's more, even then we couldn't be sure it would work.
The one thing we can be sure of, though, is that we can't take much more of the status quo. Even ignoring global warming - which far too many people seem willing to do - we have created a terrible mess with our willingness to pollute. Drugs in the drinking water. Smog related respiratory problems. Dangerous chemicals being found even in baby bottles. We haven't just paved paradise, we've paved everything else as well.
You have to give Dion some credit. At least he tried something different, even if it was political suicide. He at least tried to show some vision and daring - two qualities that are sorely lacking in most politicians these days - even if it fell apart. Of course, one of the main reasons why his vision and daring went unappreciated is because he really is not a leader. A smart man, yes. A leader, no. It wasn't just the language issue. Even with his much mocked accent, Chretien could still make himself understood. Not that I'm a great Chretien supporter, but one has to admit that he was a politician and a somewhat adept one at that. As a politician, Dion made a good academic.
When it came to choosing between the Cons and the Libs, it really was about choosing between safe for now and prepping for the future. Canada chose safe for now. Me? I chose neither, but that's another story. . .