The recent misjudgement by Stephen Harper may be more costly than initially feared. In addition to potentially being cast ouf of government in the short term, and being replaced by a tenuous coalition, there is a much greater danger for the Conservatives.
The Liberals and NDP have been forced to set aside their differences, and come up with a compromise that most would not have thought possible. The threat posed by the first real signs of Stephen Harper's real agenda has united the Left. Could this be the beginning of a much greater level of cooperation between the two parties - eventually culminating in unification?
We have now seen what Stephen Harper will attempt in a strong minority government. This is only a prelude to what he must be considering were he to obtain a majoirty government. The claws and fangs have been retracted for as long as he could tolerate, but now we are seeing a first glimpse - and it is fearsome indeed. Eliminating pay equity, union's right to strike and the funding equation that helps level the playing field, is only the tip of the iceberg of what a majority Conservative government might be capable of.
Canadians had been fooled by Mr. Harper - many of the moderates thinking that perhaps he wasn't all that bad. He didn't do anything drastic in his first two years, perhaps he had changed from his days or ranting about socialist plots 'Kyoto' and referring to Canada as a Northern European welfare state. Perhaps he had matured. But, no, unfortunately he has not, and fortunately, he has chosen to reveal that before being assured of his power.
Now then, the other parties finally understand the risk that is before them. A majority Conservative government will push through changes to electoral funding that will cripple the other parties, essentially guaranteeing a Conservative reign rivalling that of Fidel Castro. Once they have that lock of power, there is really no telling where they will take Canada. Everything is on the table - labour rights, women's rights, treatment of the poor and aged.
So, perhaps this misplay will result in both the Liberal and the NDP parties not only recognizing the threat, but joining together. The combined voted of the Liberal and NDP supporters would absolutely crush the Conservatives.
Now, there are no doubt many naysayers on both sides who point to the fact that there would be too many ideals they could not compromise for power. Well, those ideals and a $1.95 will get you a cup of coffee, if you're not in power. The fact of the matter is that the NDP are about to have more federal power than they have ever had in their history. The Liberals who are a stones' throw from financial obliteration, are going to regain the reigns of power that seemed unobtainable three months ago.
Unless Canada wants a Conservative government reshaping Canada into a country we barely recognize - there are only two choices - merge or bring in electoral reform. However, a temporary merger might be necessary just to bring in the reform. Let's all stop being uncompromised purists, and start recognizing the extent of the threat in front of us.