Recent poll numbers made it unsurprising that Canada's Conservatives won yesterday's federal election, but the scale of the win was impressive. The severity of the once-mighty Liberals' drubbing was even more so. Previously either in government or constituting the main opposition party, they were reduced to a dismal third place behind the more left-leaning, pro-labour New Democrats. The NDP and the Liberals both advanced the cap-and-trade approach to greenhouse gases. This is hard to sell (especially west of Ontario) in a country that is a big energy-exporter with hopes of expanding the industry still more.
Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals' leader, said, "We have seen tonight, I think, the emergence of polarisation in Canadian politics." He lost his own seat, resigned as Liberal leader, and appears to be quitting politics altogether. That seems a shame.
I am a bit of an admirer of Ignatieff. He was the main reason, to be honest, why I followed the election--a comment that will rightly infuriate Canadians (most likely including my wife, who is semi-Canadian). He was, as you know, a scholar-journalist-broadcaster in Britain and the US before returning to his homeland to take up politics. He is a likeable man of impressive intellect. His book on Isaiah Berlin, a hero of mine, was excellent. I know, you don't need to tell me, that is no kind of qualification for a career in politics--as we now see confirmed.