Since the economic crisis in 2008, Bay Street has craved a majority—either Liberal or Tory—to force through an austerity agenda, while ordinary people have wanted an alternative to Harper. These forces have ripped the Liberals apart: their right-wing base gave Harper his majority (endorsed by nearly every mainstream newspaper and media outlet in Canada), consolidating the corporate vote in one party, while those on the left ditched “strategic voting” and voted NDP.
Harper’s stronger regime in Parliament obscures the steady erosion of the combined Liberal/Tory vote as result of what has happened outside Parliament. In 2000, the combined corporate vote was 78 per cent. After the anti-capitalist mobilization against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Quebec City in 2001, the G8 protests in Calgary in 2002, and the historic demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2003, the combined corporate vote fell even more: to 66 per cent in 2004 and 2006.
With growing anger over the war and the start of the economic crisis, it slipped down to 64 per cent in 2008. Now, after three years of austerity and growing resistance—from Egypt to Wisconsin—the combined corporate vote has fallen to 58.5 per cent. Meanwhile, Parliament’s disconnect from ordinary people led many to continue voting with their feet: despite a higher turnout than last election, it was still the third lowest in Canadian history—another reason why Harper has a majority without a mandate.
It goes on to cite successful mass movements here and elsewhere. Predictably, it calls for more organizing and more activism.
Well, heck, it made me feel (a little) better.