Basically, for people who don't know about the wonderful mess that happened in the Canadian elections and specifically Quebec, the NDP ran up from one seat in the province to 58, crushing the separatist Bloc Quebecois by unseating their party leader, and pretty much reducing the Bloc to the hinterlands by stealing all of their seats.
The Orange Wave In Action
How this happened is still a little beyond me, though it seems to indicate that Quebec has finally tired of the Bloc and that the NDP had the right message and platform. Social justice has always been a strong theme in Quebec. It also doesn't hurt to have a charismatic and positive leader like Layton.
I volunteered for Mulcair's campaign in the Outremont riding, which had been the sole NDP seat after the 2008 elections. I met a few other volunteers---some of which are now MPs. Quebec elected a few student MPs, a bartender who doesn't know how to speak French and was vacationing in Vegas during the campaign, and other assorted randoms. It's a bit hilarious really. One of the MPs is the youngest MP ever elected to office at nineteen years of age, which I guess means you can't exactly say the youth are apathetic anymore when they're actually running our country.
I joined the campaign a bit too late, but I had a friend who was going to submit candidacy papers---but he didn't want to be sent to a random district.
Well, guess what happened to the people sent to random districts? They won overwhelmingly, despite the fact that sometimes they never stepped foot in the riding, were actually told not to speak in the media, and forbidden to actively campaign. Basically, they were a face and a name, and a nice still photo to put on posters and websites, but somehow they still carried entire districts. They beat cabinet minsters and parliamentary veterans despite the fact that many came into this race never expecting to win. I guess the old saying is true---a rising tide raises all ships.
If I had joined the campaign just a bit earlier, and if my friend had submitted his papers, this might have been a blog that would be written and frequented by two members of Parliament. While there's probably some Churchillian bit about the stupidity of the average voter embedded in the moral of this story, I cannot help but say that on that election day, Canada proved me to me that there truly were no barriers to election (age, race, sexual orientation, some would argue merit with how the orange wave progressed). Perhaps the one thing we can all take from this is that in Canada and other developed democracies, we are rapidly approaching the point where nothing will stop a good set of principles and ideas from blossoming into action and power.