We have been reminded frequently this last week that only 5.2 million Canadians voted for Conservatives in the election seven weeks ago.
But now, as Liberal and New Democratic MPs begin daydreaming about ministerial posts, it's time to remember that their two-and-a-half-legged coalition received 5.2 million fewer votes than the Conservatives. Nobody voted for this. Before Canadians are saddled with it, they should be able to vote for it - or against it.
This coalition prime minister would be Stéphane Dion, who just led the Liberals to their poorest share of the vote ever and whose party dumped him like a rotten mackerel within hours thereafter.
Those Canadians who did vote Liberal voted for Dion, not a leader-to-be-named-later. Some of them backed him for his "green shift" which, although it vanished halfway through the campaign, did remain official Liberal policy. Now it has been jettisoned, because power is so much more alluring that principle to Dion's caucus. (How, we wonder, will Montreal MPs like Irwin Cotler and Francis Scarpaleggia sell this pact with the Bloc to Canada's most anti-separatist voters?)
NDP supporters, meanwhile, will be mourning Jack Layton's much-repeated promise to suck an extra $50 billion out of corporate Canada. Absurd as it was, that was NDP policy, but now it's been sacrificed to the great god of cabinet positions.
Surely at least some Bloc voters, meanwhile, will be chagrined to think that Bloc MPs will now rise, at each confidence vote in the Commons, to support federalist champion Stéphane Dion. The Bloc has abandoned its founding principle, just to get a share in steering the next budget - and to derail the Conservatives before they become any more firmly rooted in Quebec.
Having each scrapped key principles, then, these three odd partners will stand for what, exactly? Well, we know they're courageously, unshakably in favour of receiving subsidies from taxpayers. But what else?
Well, "stimulus," apparently. But as Jacqueline Thorpe noted in the National Post Monday, Canada is "already swimming in stimulus" thanks to Liberal and Conservative tax cuts and spending. Now even deficit hawk Jim Flaherty, the finance minister, is poised to dive into deficit when necessary. But so far it's not necessary: Canada's economy grew at a respectable clip in the three months to Sept. 30, we learned last week. So what are this triumvirate's principles? What's the coalition's real agenda here? And where is its legitimacy?
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell grumbles that the opposition won't even wait for the Jan. 27 budget before pouncing. Silly premier; he still thinks this is about principles.
Party Votes MPs elected
Conservative 5,205,334 143
Liberal 3,629,990 77
Bloc 1,379,565 49
NDP 2,517,075 37
Ind./Other 1,104,408 2
Lib/Bloc/NDP 0 0
source: elections canada