The New Solitudes
Most Canadians my age (ahem, no comment...) remember the Two Solitudes: English Canada and French Canada, non-communicative and slightly dysfunctional. Fast forward a few decades, and I believe we are on the cusp of a different transformational change in Canada: the New Solitudes, if you will. As the NDP surge (and yes, I really want to write RCMP "serge" instead...) continues, it seems apparent to me the Canadians are abandoning the traditional middle ground, the safe centrist political space we have lived in for the past few decades. Instead, we seem to be gathering at polar opposite sides of the political spectrum.
The NDP has traditionally occupied the far left of our main political spectrum.They have had their best days in minority governments, where they held the balance of power. That's how they've always thought they could get things done. Then we have the far right - the Harper Conservatives. I say "Harper" because the party is the man here, and conversely the man is the party. Never have we seen this kind of control over a party - a Machiavellian grip that has not lessened throughout this election.
The NDP are the party of the poor and working middle class; the Harper Conservatives are the party of the rich and upper middle class. And that gap between rich and poor in Canada is growing. Is it any wonder that we are playing this out in Election 41?
The NDP actually have a chance to significantly and substantively change the political landscape in Canada in this election. Even if they only form the official minority, this would be groundbreaking. But if the unthinkable happens, and they form a government with the Liberals, with a PM Layton leading the country, it will seismic - nay, biblical. And the country will entrench yet further into left and right.
The New Solitudes - the New Normal.