Conservatives Gain Strength North of the BorderAs promised, here are the results from yesterday's Canadian national General Election:
|Party||Elected||Leading||Total||Vote Share (%)|
|Updated: Oct. 15, 2008, 3:53 AM EDT|
The Conservatives gain 19 seats, while the Liberals have an absolutely disastrous night, losing 27 seats to both the Tories and the New Democratic Party, which picked up eight seats last night from their previous parliamentary total. Once again the Conservatives cannot capture a majority (155 seats are needed to achieve a majority government), and like deja-vu, the Bloc Quebecois is what keeps the Tories from a majority, because outside of Quebec, the results were a Tory tide almost everywhere there was a significant population center except Newfoundland (and there were good reasons why the Conservatives fared poorly in the land of some of my anscestors and cousins, and where my maternal Grandmother was born).
In the Westminster System, a minority Government collapses and forces the dissolution of Parliament when either a major piece of Government Legislation is defeated in the House of Commons/Lower House, or a motion of no confidence in the Government passes (or a motion of confidence in the Government fails). In theory, if all of the opposition parties voted together, they could still bring down the Conservative Government and force Parliament to be dissolved-and they could do it on the very first day of the new Parliament by rejecting the Speech from the Throne.
However, the Conservatives are in a very good spot after these results, because the Official Opposition, the Liberals, have sunk to numbers so low that it is the least amount of seats won ever recorded for the Liberal Party in Canadian electoral history. The Bloc Quebecois does not campaign outside of Quebec, and the New Democrats have become a party-at least for the purposes of the federal parliament-of the inner cities and the downtown bouroughs. Unless the Liberals can canvass enough support to threaten to remove the Conservatives from power, there is unlikely to be any move to dissolve Parliament any time soon. This was the fourth Canadian General Election in six years, and if the opposing parties move for dissolution, they may get blamed at the polls for taking the country into another election far too early.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is almost certainly out of his party leadership post. In a weakening economy under a Tory Government, the Liberals had the best opportunity they were going to have for some time to regain power, and Dion failed to deliver. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the other hand, may be safely living in 24 Sussex Drive for some years to come.
Canadian elections have never been the same as their American counterparts, but they sometimes indicate larger political trends, and they certainly have sent signals in the recent past as to the direction the continent may be moving over the long haul. If you support the Republican ticket in this country, and you are hoping for an upset in three weeks' time, this result might give you a bit of hope that the polls are not accurately reflecting the situation on the ground. If that were to prove to be the case, it would be a bittersweet victory-expect Democrats to gain Congressional seats regardless of the presidential outcome.