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Canadian Federal Elections

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  • Canadian Federal Elections

    Most people won't care what the results of the Canadian general elections are. But some of you out there with poli-sci interests may find the new Canadian political landscape somewhat interesting to follow from a distance in the next 6-12 months.

    After 3 straight stong-majority terms in government, the Liberal Party is now in a position of minority government. Of 308 seats in the House of Commons, 135 went to the Liberals, 96 to the Conservatives, 54 for the Quebec seperatists, 22 to the social democrats, and 1 independent. The Liberals lost seats to everyone, but surprisingly the Quebec seperatists made massive gains, largely causing the minority government. IMO, the seperatist vote may turn out to be more of a protest vote, rather than pro-seperation. Minority government is not common in Canada. The last one fell in 1980 after just 9 months in office. On the other hand a minority government survived fairly well in the early 1970s. It is widely believed that the Liberals will have to seek the support of the 22 social democrat seats, however the social democrat leader is fairly charismatic and may drive a hard bargain. Personally, I don't see the current Liberal Prime-Minister as the coalition building type, so we may be heading back to the voting booths within a year.

    Some interesting times ahead, as the government will actually have to work for its pay!
    Last edited by Martin Schenkel; 29 Jun 04, 00:28.

  • #2
    i've been following the canadian elections to some degree. I'm not too familiar with the details of the system, but hopefully quebec will finally be allowed to secede.
    "Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well, it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own Michael Moore, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities." - Christopher Hitchens


    • #3
      Originally posted by kid kool
      but hopefully quebec will finally be allowed to secede.
      I don't know if it's a matter of 'allowing' them to seperate. Two provincial referenda (1980 and 1995) have failed, and popular support (in Quebec) for seperation at this time seems to be relatively low (having peaked in the mid-1990s). While they made big gains in this election, they didn't campaign too strongly on seperation, and even their leader admitted that a vote for the party wasn't necessarily a vote for seperation. The seperatists also lost their position of government in the last provincial election.
      Last edited by Martin Schenkel; 29 Jun 04, 08:24.


      • #4
        Okay, but it seems the Canadians were trying to send some type of message to their government. What is it?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Don Maddox
          Okay, but it seems the Canadians were trying to send some type of message to their government. What is it?
          The Liberal government has been in power for the last 11 years (they won the last 3 elections). That’s long, and inevitably people get tired of seeing the same people governing. Also, especially in Quebec, there was a huge corruption scandal among liberal ranks where government money was funnelled out to friends of the Liberal regime through the so-called “Canadian unity sponsorship program”. Basically, it was a kind of political propaganda campaign that was trying to convince Quebecers with not too subtle political advertising to stay in Canada and not secede. Friends of the regime got generous and illegal contracts throught this program. In some cases people were paid even if no work was done at all.

          So the message sent by Canadians was basically that they did not have enough confidence in the Liberals to give them a majority mandate, while on the other hand they did not trust yet enough the Conservative Party to give them a majority mandate too. So we end up with an interesting minority government, where the liberals will need to find allies in the Parliament in order to maintain themselves in power...

          In Quebec, the political landscape is different. The federal sovereignists of the Bloc Quebecois (BQ) are simply the brothers in arms of the provincial Parti Quebecois, who was in power in the province of Quebec for most of the last 25 years during which 2 referendums on Quebec independance were organized. The BQ was able to capitalize on the huge wave of outrage against the liberals and made impressive gains. But as Martin said, it does not mean that Quebecers are now again thinking about seceding from Canada. Some people who are in fact against Quebec independance voted for the BQ out of disgust of the Liberals. Moreover, this was not a referendum on independance, this was a federal election so Quebec is not about to secede tomorrow (especially since the Parti Quebecois has been replaced last year by the provincial Liberals at the helm of the province).

          The main loser in these elections is Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party. Although he was leading and had a good chance of forming a minority government just 2 weeks ago, he lost it in the last days of the campaign with big communication mistakes. For Americans, let me say that the current Conservative party is like a diluted version of the American Republicans. They represent the Canadian right, although they are not as far right as the Republicans can be on social issues.

          Still, the backbone of the Conservatives are currently made of Western Canada conservatives, who are among the most right-wing people in Canada, especially on social issues. That is a problem for a party with national aspirations since elsewhere in the country, Canadians are usually moderate and centrist on social issues. So if the conservatives ever want to aspire to true national leadership, they will have to tone down their conservative rhetorics on social issues. Although Harper threaded carefully on stuff like abortion and gay weddings, some of his far-right backbenchers did not hesitate to lash out on these issues and it reduced the appeal of the Conservatives across Canada.

          In fact, Harper's adversaries often used the argument that Harper would be Canada's "George W. Bush", with despicable and reactionary politics
          Last edited by Tzar; 29 Jun 04, 10:48.


          • #6
            Very nice analysis Tzar for those of us who are less informed about Canadian politics.
            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942


            • #7
              Originally posted by Deltapooh
              Very nice analysis Tzar for those of us who are less informed about Canadian politics.
              My pleasure my friend

              I know Americans don't have a lot of opportunities about hearing what your friends north of the border are up to


              • #8

                I agree. A nice executive summary there.
                Get the US out of NATO, now!


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