Now normally, I consider anything to do with politics to be a happy occasion, but as this race closed on Tuesday, I saw a lot of sadness. I saw disappointment. And I saw humility.
Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, whenever it was), I saw a lot of humility from the winners. Whether it was Stephen Harper glumly accepting the election results and the fact he just might have to get along with the other parties, or, more locally, with Frank Valeriote's words of co-operation that probably stem from the fact he's the only Liberal MP from Mississauga and North London.
But mostly I remember the disappointment; like the day after "Keep on Truckin'" e-mail from the Department of Culture or the melancholy looks of Green and NDP supporters, especially after they tasted victory during the care-free, summer days of the by-election.
As for the sadness, that's probably all me, I think. The by-election made Guelph special, more special than we usually think it is, anyway. I loved the cavalcade of special politician appearances and the regular chats with leaders and high profile MPs, and townhalls and press conferences and such. It was awesome! For a time. And then Harper canceled the whole thing and we had to start from scratch with much less fanfare.
So it goes.
But now it's time for my final thoughts.
1) I hope Frank Valeriote's sincere about working to build bridges with the other parties, though I have no reason to doubt he isn't. Over 60 per cent of the country voted for someone who's not a Conservative, so it's important that the centre-left parties work out their petty differences to focus on their greater commonalities.
2) Maybe next election, Jack Layton should focus on a different battleground than Ontario, Western Canada. The NDP won 9 ridings in British Columbia, 8 in Central Northern Ontario, 4 in Manitoba, and most importantly, one in Edmonton-Scrathcona. Plus the party finished second in a great many ridings, a distant second mind you, but it's a base to build on nonetheless.
3) Don't get Stéphane Dion angry. You won't like him when he's angry.
5) Stephen Harper liked to brag about leadership, well now he has to show some. No provoking the parties into bringing down Parliament. No making every vote a confidence motion. And no jockeying and fronting like you've got a mandate from the Canadian people, especially when 62.37 per cent of those people don't want you there.
Anyway, that's all for now. Before signing off I want to thank all of you who read my blog and especially the ones who went so far as to leave comments. It's been a heck of a commitment, but it's been a blast. Keep following my stuff in Echo, which I hope will be more municipally focused in the weeks to come. And who knows, maybe we'll try this again in a couple of years.
From all of us at Guelph By-Election '08, and by 'us,' I mean 'me,' I say, "Good Night and Good Luck."