In Canada, Stephen Harper led two minority governments before his 2011 win gave him a solid majority. Britain's David Cameron became prime minister in 2010 by virtue of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and would clearly prefer a majority of his own. By imitating Harper's Canadian Crunch, he may have improved his chances.
One could wonder how the 1980 and 1995 referendums would have turned out with a Joe Clark or a Preston Manning as Prime Minister rather than Pierre Trudeau or Jean Chrétien. One could point out that Madame Marois was elected in 2012 through denouncing the Harper government's ultraconservative policies. One could well denounce the unilateralism, lack of dialogue and boondoggles that marked federal-provincial relations under Harper, as well as the Conservative government's hodge-podge of ill-advised political decisions with respect to health, justice, training, old age security, immigration... decisions which are proving costly to the provinces.
As a proud Canadian, it bothers me that NDP leader Tom Mulcair -- who had no qualms about interfering in previous Ontario by-elections on the side of NDP candidates -- refused to take a side in the Québec election. The NDP dodged a bullet this time -- fortunately! -- but such an irresponsible position should not be rewarded in 2015.
Elections Canada is tasked with ensuring that Canada has free and fair elections. Part of this responsibility includes communicating with Canadians, encouraging voter turnout, and ensuring voters can exercise their democratic rights. The Fair Elections Act, however, is an attempt to muzzle Elections Canada's ability to promote voting among our youth and other marginalized groups in society.
The talk about Justin Trudeau taking the Liberal leadership always comes down to the same points: It's not his time, he's too young, his last name is poison in parts of the country, he hasn't run a successful business, he hasn't accomplished anything noteworthy. If any of these arguments sound familiar, it's because they were the same things said about senator Obama back in 2008. Can Trudeau, like Obama, incite some excitement into Canadian politics?
It may still be true that changes to voting structures and constitutional changes may not cause millions of Canadians to beat a path to our door -- but for the people here, the enthusiasm is palpable. And it is the enthusiasm of Liberal activists which will garner the enthusiasm and support for liberalism in Canada.
For the first time since Confederation, the once mighty Liberal Party of Canada was neither the government or official opposition. Layton became the first New Democrat to be sworn in as Her Majesty's Official Leader of the Opposition, another historic moment brought to us by May 2nd's election.
I can safely assert that the Liberal Party is as good as dead. In all their history, the Liberals have never had to face an opponent like Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He is intelligent, ruthless and calculating. And right now Harper is using all his power and all his skills to exploit to the fullest every Liberal weakness.
There is good reason why most prime ministers avoid Senate reform: it is contentious and divisive. A reformed Senate could provide a check on the Prime Minister's Office, though there is also the potential for gridlock with feuding houses, something seen in the United States system of divided government.