The Conservatives fell 12 seats short of securing a majority government in last week's election. The question being asked is how will the Conservatives respond to the new mandate. Anti-Harper supporters fear that the Conservatives are going to act as if they have a majority government. Some have called for Harper's resignation. If Harper can't beat Dion how is he going to beat a more competent Liberal leader.
Bill Casey has been re-elected after being thrown out of the Conservative caucus last year for opposing the budget. He will likely support most Conservative bills and there is a possibility that there may be room for reconciliation in the future. The Conservatives did not field a candidate in order in a Quebec riding which helped the incumbent independent get re-elected. Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams has offered reconciliation after running a successful ABC campaign to drive the Conservatives out of Newfoundland. The Conservatives lost 3 seats in the Province.
Harper learned some important lessons. Michael Fortier who was appointed to the senate in order take on a cabinet post was defeated. Wijad Khan the Liberal MP who was Harper's special advisor on the Middle East before being drawn into the Conservative caucus was also defeated. All the other MPs who faced heavy hitting from the opposition from former Environment Minister Rosa Ambrose, from Defense Minister Gordon O'Conner were re-elected as well as the rest of the current cabinet. The Conservatives also made a breakthrough by electing journalist Peter Kent in Thornhill just north of Toronto. These results send a clear message that Harper needs to stick to a more tradtional governing role.
There are a number of open cabinet positions and around 35 rookie MPs at Harper's disposal. This gives Harper a deep talent pool for improving his government. He now has enough man power to prevent opposition parties from taking over commitees to rewrite entire pieces of legislation to their own partisan views. It will be more difficult for comitees to focus on partisan witch hunts instead of focusing on preparing and reviewing legislation to benefit all Canadians.
Some people are afraid that Harper is going to use the lame duck Stephane Dion to continue to bully the oppositon parties to push through his agenda. Harper will spend the next 2-3 years focusing on capturing 12 more seats. Such an attack will not be to their benefit. This year will probably not have very much controversial legislation to allow the Liberals time to choose their new leader. They will try to offer stable fiscally responsible government to navigate through tough economic times. If they prove they can weather the storm Canadians will be ready to deliver a majority government.