One Year Into the Harper Minority

Jonah Goldberg


One year later, Stephen Harper is still smiling. He has every right to be; after all, he is all but guaranteed to lead Canada for three or four more years. A year ago, the Conservatives were elected to their first majority government in twenty-three years, and they have used their increased power to massively alter the Canadian political landscape.

In a mere year, the federal government has added more seats to the House of Commons, scrapped the long gun registry and the Canadian Wheat Board, changed the requirements for Old Age Security, cut taxes, reduced the budget deficit, and passed sweeping new criminal justice laws. For years, Liberals have warned that a Conservative majority government would destroy Canada, and reveal a hidden agenda to the nation. Today, we see a government that, for all its faults, has pretty much done what the conservatives said they would do. That may sound simple, but it’s pretty rare
in politics.

It’s not only the government that has changed immensely in the last year; the opposition has as well. After leading the NDP to become the Official Opposition for the first time in Canadian history, Jack Layton succumbed to cancer, and had to be replaced. We saw a
woman, Nycole Turmel, serve as the Leader of the Official Opposition, and now a
feisty Thomas Mulcair is leading the opposition cause. The Liberals are reduced
to a rump in the House of Commons, and continue their quest for a leader who
can restore the party to its glorious past. For now, Bob Rae is filling in as

Provincially, we saw the re-election of the Dalton McGuinty Liberals to a minority government, and their dealings with the NDP to stay in power. Alberta’s Progressive Conservative dynasty was extended another four years after forty one years in power, and the province elected its first female Premier in history. The right-wing Wildrose party rose to national prominence. The BC Liberal government seems to be collapsing. Mayor Rob Ford’s hold on Toronto seems to be slipping, as he
suffers through many setbacks.

As we end this glorious school year at North Toronto, a lot has changed. We will have a new student council, new students, and many (including me) will leave NT for summer vacation for the last time. But a lot has changed across Canada as well. Whatever you may think of the current political situation, you cannot argue that nothing has changed
since last spring. For better or worse, North Toronto and Canada are being