Canada fraught with unstable voter coalitions -

Canada fraught with unstable voter coalitions

Tease the day: None of the country’s major parties can be certain of its voter bases in the next election


Canada’s chock full of fragile voter coalitions, these days. When Tom Mulcair’s NDP lost a member of parliament to the Bloc Quebecois, questions arose—though not so much in Quebec—about the strength of the party among its twin voter bases in English and French Canada. When the Liberals convinced almost 300,000 people to vote for that party’s next leader, questions arose about the regional weaknesses hobbling the party, not to mention the challenge of getting all those people to register to vote. And this morning, Postmedia‘s Andrew Coyne explains his skepticism that the country’s coalition of conservative voters, that varied bloc of libertarians and social conservatives and progressive conservatives and anyone else who claims to be conservative, can last much longer.

So much can happen between now and the next federal election. So many voter bases can collapse, amalgamate or otherwise remain about the same. The only thing we know for sure is that various party leaders all have something to worry about.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the Northwest Territories taking more responsibility for resource development. The National Post fronts efforts to honour Albert Goering, the brother of Hitler’s second-in-command, with an award that recognizes efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the first day of the papal conclave in the Vatican City. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Canadian efforts to seek international assistance to finance a military satellite project. iPolitics fronts the propensity of right-leaning political figures to be punished more severely for off-colour remarks. leads with cardinals entering the papal conclave. National Newswatch showcases Andrew Coyne’s column in the National Post about the survivability of Canada’s conservative movement.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Child welfare. The feds have underfunded child welfare programs on First Nations, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled yesterday over the objections of government lawyers. 2. Civil liberties. A new bill that would allow shopkeepers to make citizens’ arrests of alleged shoplifters could lead to abuses of power by private security companies, warned critics.
3. Charbonneau commission. The head of the inquiry that’s investigating corruption in Quebec’s construction industry is seeking an 18-month extension of her mandate.
4. Anti-homophobia. Quebec’s government has launched an ad campaign meant to change attitudes towards homophobia in the province, part of a $7-million plan to eliminate homophobia.

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Canada fraught with unstable voter coalitions

  1. The reason Coyne is having trouble finding an intellectual centre to the Conservative Party is that, despite the speeches there never was one. The unifying principle in the Conservative Party of Canada is a visceral hatred of the Liberal Party of Canada, that’s it, nothing more.

    • To an extent, I agree with you… Harper has been able to hold together a fragile alliance of many competing interests and beliefs – to the extent I dislike a lot of what he’s done as far as governing, this is certainly a big political achievement. Many commentators these days talk about a lasting Conservative coalition; I myself have a hard time seeing anybody within the current CPC ranks able to hold together all the branches of today’s conservative movement (e.g. fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, progressive conservatives, etc) the way Harper has. I think the coalition will only last so long as Harper is in power. When the day eventually arrives that the CPC must choose a successor, if it’s anybody currently in government today, I forsee this coalition falling apart.

      • I would agree with that only if the Liberal Party revives and deigns to appeal to one branch of conservatism or another (libertarians or fiscal conservatives would be the likeliest targets), or there arises a grassroots challenge (ala the Reform Party or Wildrose).

        Without either of those things happening, Conservatives will likely just grumble and vote with their noses held as they are used to doing.

        • Not necessarily. You could instead see a dynamic where certain Conservative voters just stay home because they don’t think anyone represents them. Or, you could see populist conservatives moving back to the NDP (which was the home of many of them prior to the rise of the Reform Party). Or left-leaning Liberals could move to the NDP while centrist Conservatives move to the Liberals. There are a lot of possibilities.

  2. That short leading paragraph is the best summary of the current Canadian political dynamic I have seen.