Jim Furlong: Post-Election Thoughts

In the narrow sense of the word the Liberals won the recent election. Why? Because they have more seats than any other party. That’s how the score is kept in politics. They were the winners. There is no constitutional crisis no matter what PC leader Ches Crosbie says. 

The Liberals are one seat short of a majority government and with a recount to come and a co-operative spirit in independents and one time Liberals Eddie Joyce and Paul Lane, plus the promise of co-operation from Alison Coffin and the NDP, I don’t expect this government to fall in a week or two. It has perhaps become humbler and will go on to govern us.

‘The will of the people’

No doubt there has been a lesson sent to the government and it is surely ‘the will of the people’ that there is now a government that can only govern through some form of consensus. It’s a refreshing change. It’s too bad the New Democrats weren’t better organized and had more candidates. Gerry Rogers, who helped depose Lorraine Michael, resigned as NDP leader back in March leaving the party leaderless with an election, if not looming, then certainly approaching. They did well despite that. There were predictions the NDP might get shut out at the polls this time round, but that didn’t happen by a long shot. 

As of this hour, despite having nothing like a full slate of candidates, they have three seats and talk from them is not about toppling the government but rather: helping to govern. That will serve them well in the long run. 

The big disappointment for me on election night was Ches Crosbie. Dwight Ball, when the ballots were counted, thanked everyone in sight and all candidates from all parties who had run for office. That is the right thing to do.

 It is the high road and in politics it is the best place to be seen. NDP leader Alison Coffin for her part thanked her candidates and offered congratulations to Dwight Ball on his minority government win and promised to work with the government. Again, it was the high road and again it is the right place to be. 

Didn’t take the high road

PC leader Ches Crosbie however didn’t take that road. He offered no congratulations to opponents on election night and instead refused to concede victory. Mr. Crosbie said the Liberals would have to struggle to hang on to power and wouldn’t last a year. He did issue a written statement the following day but in election nights like in life you only get one chance to make a first impression. 

By the time you read this more editorial writers will have weighed in on what happened election night and the performance of the political parties and their leaders in particular. There was no revolution. There was no constitutional uncertainty. There was instead a minority government which is the democratic expression of the people. Tanks didn’t roll in the streets and the army wasn’t called out. There were winners and there were losers. That is always true in politics.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]

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