A few final, not-so-random thoughts, on election night.
McGuinty's acceptance speech – Has to rate as one of the most uninspiring ever. We were all waiting for McGuinty to burst out of his bubble and lay out a vision for the next four years. The guy just finished winning the first back-to-back majorities for the Libs since the dirty 30s, and the best he could muster was a veiled threat directed at the federal conservatives about fixing the fiscal imbalance, an issue that wasn't on the radar during the campaign. Is McGuinty signalling to the feds that they'll have to do their part to defray the costs of those services he promised to upload from municipalities?
Hampton's teary goodbye – The NDP head insists he's going nowhere, that he plans to stay on as leader, despite the party's disappointing showing. But his teary reminiscences to supporters in Fort Frances election night suggests otherwise. Of the three elections he has fought as party leader, Hampton's performance in this latest runoff is by far his worst. The fire is gone. Only once during the campaign could he summon the kind of enthusiasm needed to capture the media's imagination and on that occasion he was blasting the media for not giving the NDP platform enough attention. After 20 years in the political trenches, and his most powerful and trusted ally his wife Shelley Martel retired from politics, it's obvious that Howie's heart just isn't in it anymore.
Seeing Green – The NDP can't afford to ignore the Green party anymore. Garnering eight per cent of the popular vote, a little less than half the NDP's 17 per cent total, it's folly for the NDP to continue to pretend the Greens don't exist. Had the NDP taken more time to explain to voters why they, not the Greens, should be seen as the eco party of choice, a few more seats might have gone the NDP's way. In Davenport, for example, where the vulnerable Tony Ruprecht hung on by 1,503 votes against NDP star Peter Ferreira, the Greens counted 3,061 votes. Had the NDP been able to pry half of those – or conversely, bled fewer votes to the Greens – Davenport may have finally turned the NDP's way. Similar scenarios played out in three other ridings in the province, York South-Weston being the most notable. There, where NDP incumbent Paul Ferreira was narrowly knocked off by 500 votes in a re-match against Liberal Laura Albanese, the Greens counted 1,225 votes.
Colle fired – The Tories were looking in all the wrong places for their coveted Toronto breakthrough. Neither of the two so-called "stars" running for the PCs in T.O., leader John Tory or Willowdale wannabe David Shiner, came as close as unknown Bernie Tanz to winning a seat. Tanz lost by just over 2,000 votes in Eginton-Lawrence to disgraced former Grit minister Mike Colle, which is saying something. Colle won by more than five times that many votes over his main PC rival in 2003. If it hadn't been for Tory's flip-flop on funding for faith-based schools, this would have been a seat ripe for the picking. Quite a come down for Colle, who as citizenship minister was forced to resign after getting slapped by the provincial auditor for doling out millions in grants to Grit-friendly ethnic groups. If McGuinty has any sense he'll relegate this political opportunist to the backbenches and keep him there.