Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Canadian Election Results - Good and Bad

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 Good:

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 Bad:

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?

The Reason:

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.

The Silly:

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.


  1. Thanks for supporting me in the election.

    But please, it is not just me. I have an all-star cast of unionists, restaurant servers, and farmers to help me keep Harper accountable.

    Here is my shadow-cabinet:
    Alexandrine Latendresse - foreign affairs. Being a recent university graduate and anti-american is perfect for this position.

    Pierre-Luc Dusseault - sports. Being unqualified to work at Mickey D's, at least he is qualified to be MP for Sherbrooke.

    Ruth Ellen Brosseau - tourism. Who cares that she can't speak french and spent all her time during the election in Vegas. That is irrelevant.

    Thomas Mulcair - deputy leader and defense minister. I totally agree that Osama's death is as credible as the moon landing.

    Just because most of my members are from Quebec, doesn't mean I won't be limping my way to help Canadian families!!

    (PS: If you voted for me, you are a fucking retard).

  2. First of all, Red, congratulations on having your own troll. That's a great way to know that a blog is growing up.

    I think your good section is a little off, though. This election might have moved us into a two party system rather than away from one. The Liberal party seems to be dying out, and we'll end up with our own left vs. right situation.

    While the Bloc getting smashed is all well and good, we have yet to see whether that is bad for separatists. The PQ is probably going to win the next provincial election, and the election result could hardly be a bigger gift to those who want to make a case for separation. Outside of Quebec the Conservatives won nearly 75% of the seats, inside Quebec the NDP won more than 75% of the seats. There has never been a better time for people in Quebec to feel like they really don't belong in Canada.

    Did you catch any of Harper's victory speech? He committed to continuing to work with the other parties to make parliament work in the same way he has for the past five years! I don't like that guy, but I have to give him props for that great line.

  3. @Jack. You lead off with the explicit statement that only people in jobs you approve of can possibly have the intelligence, knowledge and charisma to be part of an effective government. Could you do us a favour and give us your precise list of the professions that allow for political skill and acumen so we don't have to guess? There is correlation between education/profession and political effectiveness but there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to think that a farmer, unionist or restaurant server cannot be an effective MP.

    You then follow up with a motley collection of unsourced personal attacks and ageism displaying your prejudices for the world to see. The final blow is a blanket statement that 30% of Canada is 'a fucking retard' for voting for the NDP. There are probably places where such offensive, blatantly false statements are welcome but here isn't one of them.

    A warning: You have made two posts so far here and both have contained baseless personal attacks and irrational venting. The next time you post tripe like this it is going to get itself deleted immediately. You can support whatever party or platform you like as long as you do it with reason and logic and without mudslinging.

  4. @Sthenno

    You have a point. I think the interests of Canada will be much better served with a federal government that does not contain a separtist party as a significant entity. I don't claim to know what overall effect this will have on Quebec's desire to separate from Canada. I haven't put much effort into evaluating internal Quebec politics at all but I do know that I like a Parliament where a coalition could occur that doesn't have to include a party whose only desire is to bust up the country.

  5. My apologies.

    I seen a lot of funny stuff in my riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie (Yes, Gil's riding) from NDP "activists". I guess I should not label everyone with the same brush.

    But on a serious debate note, Thomas Mulclair's comments about Osama will unfortunately (or fortunately) show the NDP do not have the maturity for government.

  6. When weaker political parties have meteoric rises they often find themselves full of people who are less than ideal for positions of power. I think the NDP was fortunate to rise to a strong official opposition rather than to a majority (as Bob Rae's NDP did) because it means that these inexperienced politicians will have several years to get used to being a politicians before they have to be put to a real test. It also means that the NDP will have a better chance of attracting stronger candidates in the next election.

    Thomas Mulclair sure said something dumb, and I think it definitely shows his inexperience. In the same interview where he apparently denied photos of bin Laden's death exist, he referenced the pictures, suggested that they were being holding them back for reasons of human decency, and clearly implied that he believes in them. That's not to say that he didn't make a fairly big - and stupid - mistake, but it was probably just a mistake, not evidence that he's totally nuts.

    It's also important to note that the house is full of incompetent idiots who would say far stupider things if people gave them a voice to do so. Let's not forget Maxime Bernier who said idiotic and diplomatically damaging things *while he was the foreign affairs minister*.

    For Brosseau in particular I think people should give her a break. Yes, she was on a vacation in Vegas for part of the campaign; a vacation that was planned and paid for before she became the candidate. This was probably a bad thing to do from a campaigning standpoint, but from that standpoint she should have really had no chance of winning. She barely speaks French and she was running in a primarily Francophone riding. While this is not exactly a complement, I think it is fair to say that it's not her fault she was elected.

    Again, all political parties have ridings where it is hard for them to find someone to run - usually because they have no hope of winning there. In Oxford County the Liberal candidate didn't even bother with pamphlets or lawn signs for "environmental reasons." In my riding I literally never knew the name of the Conservative candidate. When people who thought they couldn't win go on to win, it makes some weird situations. If the NDP settles in as our long term opposition then they will have much better candidates and MPs, and somewhat more sensible policies, in eight or twelve years.

  7. Sthenno -

    I think you are giving Brosseau too much credit. It seems like she is an accidental candidate. An unqualified person at the right place at the right time. Warren Kinsella has been doing a good job exposing her as a fraud. Someone who can't speak french but runs in Quebec? Come on.

    Unfortunately the NDP is not ready for prime-time. As a centralist, I hope the Liberals pick a competent leader to go head-to-head against Harper. I am confident that within 4 years, the noobs in the NDP will expose themselves to be incompetent and the Liberals will go back to the federalist alternative.

  8. I'm not really giving Brosseau any credit at all. But unless we agree that democracy (or at the very least our particular election system) is just plain stupid, the fact that she won the vote in a landslide makes most of the other stuff totally irrelevant.

    Apparently she never even set foot in the riding. For all we know she ran on a dare or as a joke. But she can hardly be accused to trying to win, and the outcome is probably as much of a shock to her as it is to anyone else. People voted overwhelmingly for someone who spent the campaign in Vegas, who has never been to their riding, and who can't even communicate effectively with the vast majority of the riding's constituents. But people can vote for whoever they want.

    I think "unqualified person in the right place at the right time" describes probably the majority of politicians including several premiers and prime ministers. Incompetence is absolutely not a reason to disqualify someone for office, whether we think it should be or not.

  9. If you need people to put in your prisons, we have plenty of poor/minorities that we would like to put in prison, but don't currently have the capacity.

    PST with response.