The election is over and the results are in. As is so often the case there are some pieces of good news and bad news but unfortunately I think the bad outweighs the good this time.
Conservative - 167 seats - Majority Government
NPD - 102 seats - Official Opposition
Liberal - 34 seats
Block Quebecois - 4 seats
Green - 1 seat
The Block Quebecois got ruined and is down to 4 seats. Having a large party in the House which is explicitly dedicated to promoting one province and in fact to promoting that province's secession is a disaster. I have nothing against Quebec in general but separtist parties getting 5% of the vote and having 15% of the seats is a real detriment to democratic rule. I can only hope that next time around we get rid of them entirely instead of just marginalizing them.
The NDP got 102 seats out of 308 which is an all time high for them. I think this is fantastic. I didn't vote for the NDP but I think shaking up the old parties and and showing how well a third party can do with a positive campaign strategy is great. Two party politics is a recipe for cronyism and corruption because you *know* you will get back into power once the people get sick of the current government so I heartily approve of a viable third party. I liked the Liberal platform better but I think everyone involved will benefit from increased competition.
The Green party won a seat! Unsurprisingly it was Elizabeth May, the leader of the Greens, who won her riding. The Green platform is incredibly narrow and they obviously aren't ready to be in charge of anything but I think that legitimizing them and giving them a voice stands to improve things in Canadian politics. The power structure could not change based on the results of her riding but the perception of the Greens as a real party instead of a joke like the Pirate party or the Marijuana party is a good thing.
My party won in my riding. The riding in which I live has been a safe Liberal riding for a very long time and nothing changed this election. I voted for them because I liked their platform but as usual it made absolutely no difference what I did.
The Conservatives got a majority government much to my disappointment. Despite numerous scandals and despite being in contempt of parliament the Conservatives got the nod to run the country in any way they see fit. Mostly everybody was predicting a Conservative minority which would have probably been fairly short lived. That would not be a great situation but it is much preferable to what we have. Now we get to see exactly how Stephen Harper's Canada will look when he has total control over everything and doesn't have to please anyone but himself. I expect a lot of really silly and foolish things out of this government like 'tough on crime, fill those prisons' policies and tax cuts that drive us further into debt. What I really wonder about though is if we are going to see a lot of religious, right wing social policy like banning gay marriage or criminalizing abortion. Neither of these things was part of the Conservative platform this time around but many of their candidates support them and many Conservative voters desire them. Harper is a canny politician so he clearly knows how controversial these sorts of things are and knows that they might well sink his next election but we have never had the chance to see him with unfettered power before... who knows?
I think the simple reason behind the Conservative push is people's fears about losing their jobs. Despite the fact that Canada already has incredibly low corporate taxes and the fact that corporate tax rates have been shown to have a miniscule effect on job creation Harper convinced Canadians that voting for anyone else was tantamount to being laid off because they would tax corporations more. Harper simply used the greatest fear floating around in the country right now to leverage political power even though his party can by no means be considered better than the others at dealing with the object of the fear. I personally am much more concerned about the legacy of debt we will leave behind in our quest to make sure corporations pay minimal tax but like it or not this is where we are.
Sthenno and I were talking about how Canada has both a Communist party and a Marxist-Leninist party (both get no appreciable votes) and he mentioned that this was a big problem because those guys just can't afford to split the very few communist votes that are out there. Of course that isn't the case - they can afford to split the vote more than anybody else on the ticket because the results are identical either way.