A funny thing happened while we were all standing around bemoaning the failure of the various provincial PC parties. In P.E.I., Manitoba, and Ontario, the Liberals lost seats. And in Newfoundland, the Liberals now barely cling to Official Opposition status.
In B.C., the Liberals are on the defensive after the HST revolt. Jean Charest in Quebec is facing a tough challenge in the next election and may also see his majority chiselled away.
The Liberals are non-entities in New Brunswick, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the North, and Nova Scotia. Federally, the situation for them is bleak.
It is too soon to count the Liberals out. But if the past year is any indication, we're getting there.
And if we are getting there, why are we getting there?
I've long argued on this blog that the Liberals owe their success to fuzzy, happy memories of a past Canada, when everyone trusted the government to do the right thing. Now, as their leaders cling to power or watch it fall into the hands of the NDP or the Conservatives, the tide is slowly turning against them.
McGuinty used every trick in the book to stay Premier of Ontario. He copied Harper's campaign. He courted unions. He pushed the federal Liberals away. He conscripted what was left of the federal Liberal staffer corps. And it worked....for now.
When I was knocking on doors during this election, people wanted to vote against McGuinty. But, ultimately, they fell back on the fantasy of the calm, quiet province where we all move forward together. So they made excuses for themselves, or bought into McGuinty's excuses.
These people, the ones who voted for Harper and Ford but not for Hudak, still believe that the Liberal way is the right way in some corner of their minds. They are like the old woman who believed the earth stood on the back of a turtle, and when asked what the turtle was standing on, she said another turtle supported the first one, and so on, turtles all the way down.
Before the election, I thought we had reached the breaking point. It certainly looked that way. But when Dalton refused to go down without a fight, the cities rallied to him. They seized on our mistakes and ignored his. But now, with a reduced mandate, he seems to be going it alone. He's running out of room, and people will find it harder to ignore errors when he can't brush them off as easily.
We must find a way to get enough people in the province to this breaking point, where they cannot ignore Dalton's failures anymore. Then and only then will they vote for us.
Nobody, not even Dalton himself, can believe in his heart of hearts that this turning point will never occur. It will happen.
It will happen.