For one thing, the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Harper is not the Conservative Party led by John A. Macdonald through to Joe Clark. Indeed, it is not a conservative party at all, but something sui generis in Canadian history, a radical neoliberal party in the mould of the modern American Republicans, clever at political tactics but scornful of Canadian history, contemptuous of Canadian values, disloyal to the idea of a Canadian nation-state and proudly disdainful of science.
There may be differences in tone and style between the Conservative parties of Prime Minister Harper and Hudak, but they are quite alike at base and quite different from anything we have seen calling itself Conservative in Canada before. Moreover, in Ontario they shared the same electoral machine -- which has just been handily defeated by a government that voters had every reason to punish, and which also shares a demonstrably more effective electoral machine with its federal party in the same territory.
The Harper Conservatives have become, as Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says of the Republicans, a party whose "intellectual devolution seems to have reached a point of no return" at which "allegiance to false doctrines has become a crucial badge of identity."
Conspiracy theories, hatred for unions, kowtowing to the gun lobby, witch hunts against scientists, and hostility toward science in general and climate science in particular have become mainstream in both parties, and it is increasingly obvious to everyone.
It's scary indeed that, as Tim Harper suggested, Prime Minister Harper is actually more moderate than Hudak!
The assumption that Central Canadians will continue to vote blue in Ottawa when they have voted red at home is based either on the notion that one of those parties offers a moderate reformist instinct and the other a quiet resistance to potentially harmful change, which is demonstrably no longer true, or that Central Canadians are too dumb to see it, which the circumstances and results of Thursday's Ontario vote manifestly suggest they are not.
So the first problem with the Red-Blue Axiom is that Canadian Conservatives are blue no more, and it's becoming increasingly hard to deny.