Last night, Julian Fantino, former chief of Police in Toronto, and former Commissioner of the O.P.P. won the riding of Vaughan, a pick-up from the Liberals who, with Maritio Bevelacque, had held the riding for some fifteen years.
The Liberals picked up a seat from the NDP in Manitoba, and the Conservatives held onto another Manitoba seat.
And today, the Prime Minister is heralding the results as a full endorsement of his government's handling of both the economy and the law and order file.
Hold on, Sir. With a turn-out of merely 31% in Vaughan and even lower in the other two ridings, this can hardly be considered by anyone, or any party, as an endorsement of anything.
In fact, the number of voters would seem to indicate more of a rejection of everything "Ottawa-related" especially given the fact that the Conservative candidate in Vaughan conducted his own "peek-a-boo" campaign refusing to appear for public debates, and sliding into parliament barely ahead of his Liberal opponent.
Smoke and mirrors, inside the bubble of Ottawa mandarins and Ottawa media, may enable this government to slide along, without having to be accountable; certainly these by-elections do not either confirm Mr. Harper's contention nor do they condemn Mr. Ignatieff's leadership, although they do stink of voter apathy, and disaffection with the current government and with politics generally.
This country needs a full-scale election, with all parties submitting their best ideas, and their best way of proceeding to those objectives, with a debate on the future of health care, the environment, the travesty of building an additional 27,000 prison cells, the even greater travesty of purchasing 65 F-35 Fighter Jets at an estimated cost of $16 billion, the future of our commitment to Afghanistan, and the relationship between the provinces and the federal government especially with respect to the production and transmission of energy.
We need a government with energy, imagination, vision and compassion...and it needs to be a full replacement of the current administration, in personnel, in policy and in modus operandi.
And last night's results do not bode well for a rise in either participation or enthusiasm from the voters.