Breaking: The 2011 election was maybe a real thing that actually happened

The CBC investigates.

After the last federal election some observers felt the NDP had reached its peak based on the popularity of then-leader Jack Layton and the surprising success of the “orange wave” in Quebec. Since then, the party has seen the death of Layton and a leadership campaign won by Thomas Mulcair, and recent polls have shown the NDP leading the federal Conservatives in national support.

What is happening with the NDP — is it turning into a possible national government alternative?

Meanwhile, Don Braid is struck by a profound realization.

Prime minister in-waiting Thomas Mulcair comes to town fresh from a visit to B.C., where he told his many admirers the Northern Gateway pipeline should simply be cancelled, period. OK, that “in-waiting” part is calculated hyperbole, but here’s the point: this guy is not a joke or a bad dream, or a momentary political diversion.

He’s the federal official Opposition leader whose party is ahead by two percentage points in the national polls. The latest numbers show that if an election were held now, the Harper Conservative would barely squeak out a minority. Albertans cannot just wish Mulcair away; in fact, 18.5 per cent of us want to vote him in. At some point (starting today would be good) he has to be taken seriously.

In fact, 16.8% of Albertans actually voted for the NDP just a little over a year ago.

Have we wrapped our collective minds around the NDP’s 2011 election result yet? Or do we just think it was a fluke?

It is tempting to discount those numbers. The party’s rise in the polls was sudden, it seemed heavily dependent on a party leader who is no longer with us and the party’s success in Quebec was stunning (and, in some ways, preposterous). The result in Quebec though probably overshadows what happened elsewhere, specifically that the NDP finished second in popular vote in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. (Polling suggests the party was the second choice of another 28% of Canadians.) Those numbers weren’t entirely without precedent—in 2008, the NDP finished second in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia—and they haven’t crashed in the 14 months since. But regardless, the NDP won 103 seats and so until the next election it is the official opposition and, by unwritten definition, the “government-in-waiting.” The NDP is, until further notice, the primary alternative on offer. Especially when the other opposition party is still looking for a leader.

It is possible that 2011 was a fluke, but that won’t really be known for sure for another three years. Put another way: It is possible that the Liberals will find a popular new leader, regain their footing and get back in front of the NDP, restoring the political order that ruled federal politics in this country for the first 144 years, but it is also possible that the NDP will be the next non-Conservative party to form government. As weird as that may still seem. And as weird as it might be to feel that it might still be necessary to point that out.




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Breaking: The 2011 election was maybe a real thing that actually happened

  1. The reason for the rapid acceptance was that for years a lot of people hoped for the NDP but didn’t vote for them because they perceived the party had no chance to ever form a government (largely based on the guidance of the same pundits who are just now beginning to grasp that they can no longer just recycle their old columns dismissing the NDP).

  2. Canadians have become hugely more ‘progressive’ over the last few years in spite of what Harper claims…..in fact Harper himself has become more progressive, much to the chagrin of his caucus I’m sure. LOL

    So except for the vageries in our voting system that can produce a Bloc Alberta effect, any reasonably progressive party can take the country. Libs are drifting at the moment, so that leaves the Dips.

  3. There is also the possibility that once the Liberals choose a leader, they begin to eat away at Conservative support (which has slowly but steadily eroded since the election) and the result is that the two primary options in the next election are the NDP and the Liberals.

    As the Conservatives drop in support, they eventually reach a tipping point where those fiscal conservatives who recall the balanced budgets of Paul Martin take another look at the Liberals, and those old Progressive Conservatives who recoil in horror at the thought of an NDP government realize that the Liberals aren’t so bad. Result: Harper drops to a distant 3rd place…

    • I’m not Conservative, but I think this scenario is far-fetched.

      • Burn in hell, PMO stooge! #DenounceHarper

  4. >”In fact, 16.8% of Albertans actually voted for the NDP just a little over a year ago.”
    Keep in mind that was before Mulcair. As was every other vote the NDP received. People were voting for Jack not the NDP. It was also before Mulcair announced that Alberta all be sacrificed to save Quebec.

    The Liberals have learned a lesson that the NDP hasn’t yet. The PC party can run 24x7x365 attack adds on your leader. It is smart of the liberals to hold off on electing a leader as the leadership convention will have give them buzz closer to the election and it will give the PC party less time to sling mud at them.

    The press keeps picturing the Liberal party as dead just like Wild Rose was going to have a majority in Alberta. My guess is the Liberal party will be the official opposition after the next election. BTW does Mulcair have ANY policies of other than screw Alberta?

  5. The EU pressuring the press is behind it. There is no reason for Mulcair to be so popular. He’s done nothing. However, Mulcair is a citizen of the EU. Mulcair wanted Canada to donate billions to the IMF to help the EU. The EU has made no secret of the fact it would like to see a regime change in Canada. The EU also has a slush fund for “outreach”. Connect the dots.

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