Since Tuesday, catching up on sleep has taken precedence over catching up on blogging. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot to say about the outcome of the vote. So, somewhat belatedly, here is my take on the highlights and lowlights of the 2008 Federal Election results.

The good

Jack Harris winning three-quarters of the vote in St. John’s East (the highest percentage of the vote gained by any candidate in any riding) and Thomas Mulcair holding on to Outremont. This election marked the first general election that the NDP has ever won a seat in either province (they had won two previous by-elections in Newfoundland and one in Quebec, but did not hold the seats in subsequent elections).

The NDP winning all but two seats in Northern Ontario.

Niki Ashton reclaiming Churchill for the NDP (she had lost in 2006 when the previous incumbent decided that hating gay people was more important than respecting the outcome of a democratic nomination process and ran as an Independent).

Linda Duncan cracking fortress-Alberta and sending Rahim Jaffer to an overdue retirement.

Don Davies winning in Vancouver-Kingsway. I guess that appeals to vote Liberal to stop the Conservatives don’t work that well in a riding where the Liberal MP became a Conservative cabinet minister.

Jack Layton consistently scoring second in “best Prime Minister” polls (and first in Quebec) throughout the campaign.

Stephen Harper falling short of a majority (although we can probably count on the Liberals to let him govern as if he had one).

37 seats for the NDP. Not as many as I’d hoped for, but the third consecutive increase in the party’s numbers.

The bad

Francoise Boivin losing in Gatineau. Thomas King losing in Guelph (a riding in which I spent some quality time over the summer). Marilyn Churley losing in Beaches-East York. Paul Irngaut losing in Nunuvut. Michael Byers losing in Vancouver Centre. They, and many other New Democrats who lost, would have added a lot to the NDP caucus and to Parliament.

Peggy Nash and Catherine Bell – two outstanding Members of Parliament — losing their seats.

Nettie Wiebe losing Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar by less than 300 votes. I guess that Bob Rae must be pretty pleased with the outcome of his visit to the riding (during which he called on New Democrats to switch their votes to the Liberals to stop the Conservatives).

Louise Lorefice, who has dedicated a lifetime to serving the citizens of her community, being swept aside by a coalition of the Greens, Liberals and the national media. And, Peter MacKay still won his seat by a wide margin.

Media coverage throughout the campaign, but especially on election night.

The ugly

The number of female MPs creeping up only marginally (although the NDP still has the highest percentage of women in its caucus, at 38%).

The advocates of strategic voting getting it wrong, wrong, wrong in many ridings. South Shore-St. Margarets is still Conservative because of their recommendation to vote for the Liberal (who ended up a distant third). Oshawa is still Conservative because they were unable to figure out that New Democrat Mike Shields was in second place.

Ujjal Dosanjh’s graceless election night speech. First of all, if Tommy Douglas is rolling over in his grave, it’s not because Jack Layton dared to run for Prime Minister, but because his party once allowed people like Dossanjh to hold a membership card. Secondly, the Liberals might want to think about how their own actions (and inaction) contributed to their worst showing ever before looking to other parties to find a scapegoat.


Scott Piatkowski

Scott Piatkowski is a former columnist for He wrote a weekly column for 13 years that appeared in the Waterloo Chronicle, the Woolwich Observer and ECHO Weekly. He has also written for Straight...