This is long time NDP stalwart Gerald Caplan, in Ŧhe Globe and Mail, on the fate we will have in store for us, unless progressive forces unite. The important part is at the end in bold:
On the other hand, the night did not change the key dynamic of this election - that Mr. Harper will win handily, and whether he sneaks his elusive majority or not, he will govern for the next several years as if he has a majority. He will do whatever he wants in his lifelong quest for a smaller social state and larger security state.
Why? Because Mr. Dion will certainly be forced to step down, if he hasn't the wit to do so on his own. Mr. Duceppe may well join him, knowing that Mr. Harper helped him pull off his great political comeback, allowing him to leave on a high note. The NDP will be deeply in debt, having gambled a fortune in this campaign, and will be incapable of even muttering the word "campaign" for a long time to come. And Ms. May might have as many as one MP in the next House prepared to vote against the government.
Even though it is clearly a violation of parliamentary conventions, if it's a minority Mr. Harper can stoop once again to labeling every vote a non-confidence vote, since in our system there's no one to slap him down. But really, he'll hardly need to do so. No one will be looking for another fight for the foreseeable future. The Liberals, already a shell of their former selves, are likely to tear themselves apart as Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae go after whatever carrion is left on the dying bones.
I have no idea how it can ever happen, but unless the more-or-less progressive anti-Harper forces can come together in some form, conservatives who accumulate anywhere between 36-40% of the popular vote will continue to rule this country. Ask Jean Chretien. He won his three majorities exactly this way. Ask Stephen Harper. He recognized the secret of Mr. Chretien's success and is now busily exploiting it.