Is it time for the Liberals, NDP, and Greens to unite against Harper's Conservative machine?
Early returns indicate this has been a very good election for the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, which have won their third victory since 2006.
Harper has been the beneficiary of a fragmented vote on the centre and the left.
The NDP will be the Official Opposition, whereas the Bloc Quebecois vote collapsed and Liberal support plummeted.
Harper is enjoying the same type of luck that former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien experienced on his way to three straight victories between 1993 and 2000. In those years, the right was fractured between the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform party/Canadian Alliance.
Harper's repeated electoral success will likely lead to serious soul-searching over whether more progressive Canadians should come together under one party.
The Conservatives' strength in Ontario, in particular, should scare the bejesus out of those who feel that Harper is creating a meaner country.
In this election, the NDP moved somewhat to the right and the Liberals shifted somewhat to the left. The Greens continue to play a spoiler role, and it remains to be seen if either the leader, Elizabeth May, or the deputy leader, Adriane Carr, will get elected.
Public financing of political parties discourages centrist and left-wing parties from combining under one tent. That's because people who work for the parties, including unelected officials like May and Carr, can keep their jobs with the help of the public subsidies—and those jobs could disappear if the parties were folded into one larger organization.
Isn't it ironic that Harper wants to get rid of those subsidies when they could, in fact, be helping him retain his hold on power.