It was only 15-years ago. The Tories were led by Kim Campbell and she called an election she looked likely to win. When it was over there were but two Tories standing. They're certainly back, after a decade in the desert and a humiliating capitulation to the Reform/Alliance movement of Stephen "Uncle Joe" Harper.
So the Libs need to take heart in that the Dion loss, bad as it was, is still about 35 times better than the drubbing the Tories took way back when. We don't have nearly as much to do to rebuild. The core support of Canadians hasn't been lost, just temporarily displaced. Find the right chord that resonates with the electorate, start making Harper own his gaffes and excesses, and the Liberals will be back.
We have to face hard facts. We need a significantly different leadership than what we had during the first Harper administration, one that doesn't back down from him (or flee the Commons on tough votes), one that pins him to his own record. We need someone who connects with the Canadian public, a communicator and a fighter.
I can't entirely blame the Tories for smirking. They got cleanly away with so very much. Imagine Harper, who sat mute during the campaign, announcing less than one day after the polls had closed, plans to stack the Senate in order to force his notion of reform through the upper house. The guy was too cowardly, too craven, to seek a mandate from the voters on that one. He just pulled the wool over their eyes and he couldn't wait to make that plain, not even for 24-hours. Breathtaking.
No it's time to find a leader who'll put the boots to this scoundrel at every turn, time to form another rat pack to hound Harper relentlessly until everyone sees this character for what he is. It's time.