Count on Gerard Kennedy being distracted by the renewed Lib leadership war.
My plan is to cab it up to Dundas West to Gerard Kennedy's election party, soak up a few losing vibes there and then head back down to Bloor for the Peggy Nash victory bash.
The atmosphere is muted just after the polls close, a few dozen Kennedy faithful and some television cameras sitting around in the Flamingo Banquet Hall on what I presume is Kennedy's political death watch.
Soon, however, Kennedy is 1,000 votes in front of Nash. Suddenly, there are more people in the small hall, the volume is louder, the beer caps are popping and, oops, looks like I went to the wrong party first.
Yet it's a victory that comes with mixed feelings, and those are on display. The crowd cheers when Kennedy arrives, but there's none of that unbridled enthusiasm usually on display at election-night victory celebrations, especially unexpected ones.
Kennedy dodged a bullet here. If he hadn't won Parkdale-High Park, not only would his political career have been over, with hundreds of thousands of dollars still owing on his leadership campaign, but history would remember him primarily for his decision to back the hapless Stéphane Dion.
Perhaps the reason for the muted enthusiasm here is the Liberal bloodletting ahead.
Kennedy's victory is a loss for Parkdale-High Park. Sure, he's a compelling figure - he's hard not to fall for. But he's going to be subsumed by the Liberal psychodrama in Ottawa whether he wants to be or not.
And sadly for Canadians, the Liberals will be too distracted to deal with Harper, just as they were in the last Parliament. Unless Dion does the right thing and steps aside soon, the leadership will be too weak to act boldly and hash out an accord with the NDP and the Bloc to, in time, replace Harper and form a government.
Down on Bloor, the hall Nash booked is about three times bigger than Kennedy's. There are balloons and a huge spread of food, and even though she lost, her supporters still seem in a more festive mood. Oddly, this seems to makes sense.
The NDP gained ground in this election, notwithstanding two heartbreakers in Toronto, and Nash, who ran a great campaign, was a superlative representative for the area. Sidling up to the bar at the Lithuanian Hall, local counsellor Gord Perks just shrugs his shoulders. "Elections can be weird things," he says, consoling himself with a large glass of red.
No doubt there. Hell, we just spent $300 million on an election that resolved nothing. Harper will now start doling out the goodies to Quebec, which the Bloc will be only too happy to embrace. I fear we are staring at a very long future with Stephen Harper.
But the most troubling result tonight, the biggest indictment of the political establishment in this country, is that 10 million Canadians chose not to vote.
As I head to the subway, I peer in the window of a pub to see if I can catch the latest update on the TV. Nope, the patrons are watching an American talk show. Time for bed.