In my previous post I commented on Canada’s election, which was held yesterday. A reader named TangoMan kindly posted a primer of Canadian politics. I thought it was important to post the entire comment here in case anyone would like a thoughtful and brief analysis of political forces in Canada.
Here’s a primer on Canadian politics for those who don’t live close to the Canadian border.
Total of 308 seats in Parliament and a party needs 155 to have a majority and follow its own policies. Less than 155 seats and the party needs to make a coalition with another party in order to muster the votes to pass legislation.
Here’s the final vote:
Liberals – 135
Conservatives – 98
New Democrats – 20
Bloc Quebecois – 54
Independent – 1
The Liberals have to make a deal with the NDP, who are the socialists-lite. The leader of the Liberals, Prime Minister Martin, wanted to foster closer ties with the US, was agreeable to joining the US on Missile Defense. Sadly, these closer ties will not come to be for the price of forming a coalition with the NDP will be disowning and fighting against Missile Defense, more anti-Americanism to make the socialists happy, more social spending, less fiscal prudence, basically moves towards socialist nirvana and away from reality. However, a saving grace in this is that Martin doesn’t really have a gun to his head. The NDP can push but Martin can also resist, both to a point. They need to find common ground and make it work for a year or maybe two, before there is another election.
What did the Conservatives in was allusions to a hidden agenda because they are a recently merged party and haven’t had a constitutional cnvention, so they had to run without a party platform and just on the assurances of their leader, Steven Harper. If he had won, then the Canadian public could have been surprised by a forthcoming convention where the ring wings-nuts (hey, every party has their extremes) would have pushed forward an agenda that the public would find distasteful. The Conservatives are a party borne of the West, which is a culture more fiscally and socially conservative than the rest of Canada. Stand on your own two feet, etc. This philosophy is working it’s way eastward but slowly. Now the Conservatives have time to have a convention, rid themselves of the charge of a “hidden agenda” and make the platform palitable to the rest of Canada but still holding to their core principles.
Some interesting observations. The separatist Party in Quebec won a lot of seats not because people are voting vote separation but as a place to park their votes and not vote for the Liberals. Because the Conservatives are a Western borne party they really had no presence in Quebec, so the historical choice (for the last decade or so) has between Liberals or separatists. This time, because the Conservatives had candidates in every riding, they did garner a surprising number of votes in Quebec, splitting the “Federalist vote” and actually putting more separatists into office. This doesn’t bode well for the Liberals in the next election when the Conservatives will be more formidible.
The Separatists won only 7% of the popular vote and got 11% of the seats. The Liberals got 36% of the vote and 44% of the seats. The Conservatives got 30% of the vote and 32% of the seats. Now this is important, the NDP got 16% of the seats and only 6% of the seats. They are the ones that are pushing for proportional representation. If the Liberals agree to this demand as a price for NDP support in forming a government, then at the next election the influence of the NDP willl increase and the influence of the Liberals will decrease. Now don’t think that there really are 16% socialists on our border because much of the vote was a protest vote and not a vote of validation. It’s hard for me to believe Martin will pruposely slit his own throat with PR, and more likely he’ll opt to keeps things chilly with the Americans and that’ll keep the anti-American NDP nuts happy enough. Afterall, the thinking will be that the Canadians can always make nice with us after they dump the NDP after the next election.
In the most Western province, the NDp made some gains, and this is most likely a response to the the performance of their provincial gov’t, which is very pro-market, and with the exception of two seats in their provincial legislature held by the NDP, they hold all of the other seats. However, that prov. gov’t is more ideologically sound than competent. Their moves towards privatization pleases the ideologues but they always have chosen services which are better performed by gov’t. In order to make the deal attractive to the private sector the gov’t offers bargain basement terms and this gets the people wondering why you’ve got to give away the store in order to get a public-private-partnership. This incompetence and adherence to blind ideology is alienating the citizens and many think that the gains of the NDP in BC is a result of a protest at this incompetence and blind ideology.
So, 135 Liberals and 20 NDP gives EXACTLY the MINIMUM number of seats needed to form a government but if they lose even one person then they have to go to the Bloc or poach one Conservative vote. That could get dicey, for making common cause with the Bloc tends to piss off the real Canadians.
Alberta: 28 / 3,164,400 / 113,014
BC: 36 / 4,158,649 / 115,518
Manitoba: 14 / 1,164,135 / 83,152
New Brunswick: 10 / 750,460 / 75,046
Newfoundland and Labrador: 7 / 520,170 / 74,310
Northwest Territories: 1 / 42,040 / 42,040
Nova Scotia: 11 / 936,878 / 85,170
Nunavut: 1 / 29,357 / 29,357
Ontario: 106 / 12,280,731 / 115,856
Prince Edward Island: 4 / 137,941 / 34,485
Quebec: 75 / 7,503,502 / 100,046
Saskatchewan: 14 / 995,003 / 71,071
Yukon: 1 / 31,371 / 31,371
Considering that Alberta, BC and Ontario give more tax revenue to the Federal Government and the remainder of the provinces are recipients, you can understand why the culture of BC and Alberta are at odds with the powers of the East. Ontario, although it pays unfairly, compensates for this by the sheer dominance afforded it by population.
Look at how Alberta and BC are bled dry, are shortchanged by the other provinces in how many elected representatives they can send to Parliament, one MP per 115,000 for BC compared to one MP per 34,000-100,000 for Quebec and East) and then factor in the cultural distance (they pay and the rest gets the socialist dream – hey, it’s always great to have aspirations for social welfare programs when someone else foots the bill) and growing ties with Cascadia and tell me why anyone wouldn’t feel alientated.
Hope that gives you an insight as to what’s happening, why and what we can expect in our relations with Canada over the next few years
Here are some links that I’ve been following. CBC, Canadian Electoral Reform.