Ottawa’s new power couple

Harper’s is the first majority to rely equally on Ontario and the West

Year Winning party West Ontario Quebec Atlantic
1867 MACDONALD 49 47 2
1872 6 38 37 18
1874 MACKENZIE 5 61 34 30
1878 MACDONALD 6 60 45 23
1882 9 52 52 22
1887 13 54 36 24
1891 14 47 30 30
1896 LAURIER 9 44 49 16
1900 10 34 57 27
1904 21 37 53 26
1908 17 37 52 26
1911 BORDEN 17 73 28 16
1917 54 74 3 21
1921 KING 7 21 65 25
1925 MEIGHEN 20 68 4 23
1926 KING 24 24 60 9
1930 BENNETT 27 59 24 24
1935 KING 33 56 59 25
1940 42 56 64 19
1945 18 34 54 19
1949 ST LAURENT 41 56 68 26
1953 24 51 68 27
1957 DIEFENBAKER 21 61 9 20
1958 65 67 50 25
1962 48 35 14 18
1963 PEARSON 10 52 47 20
1965 8 51 56 15
1968 TRUDEAU 27 64 56 7
1972 7 36 56 10
1974 13 55 60 13
1979 CLARK 57 57 2 18
1980 TRUDEAU 2 52 74 19
1984 MULRONEY 58 67 58 25
1988 48 46 63 12
1993 CHRETIEN 27 98 19 31
1997 15 101 26 11
2000 14 100 36 19
2004 MARTIN 14 75 21 22
2006 HARPER 65 40 10 9
2008 71 51 10 10
2011 72 73 6 14
Liberal
Conservative
Reform/Cdn Alliance
Bloc Québécois
NDP
Progressive
Anti-Confederation

Here’s a little chart that might help to explain the significance of what happened Monday night. It breaks down every election since 1867 according to whether the winning party carried a majority (50% plus 1) of the seats in each region, as indicated by their party colours (white indicates no party won a majority ): The numbers show how many seats the winning party nationally obtained in each region. The years with shaded bars on them denote minority Parliaments.

Only very rarely – three times under Macdonald, twice under King, and once each for Diefenbaker and Mulroney – has a party carried all four regions. Usually majorities are won with majorities in two regions, sometimes three, with a smattering of seats elsewhere. Very occasionally – Borden in 1911, Chretien in 1997 – it’s been done with just one: Ontario.

No party has ever won a majority without carrying at least one of Ontario and Quebec. Before Chretien, only three majorities were won without Quebec (1891, 1911, and 1930). After Laurier, only King (1921, 1945) and Mulroney (1988) have won majorities without Ontario. Before Harper, Atlantic Canada voted with the majority in every election but five: 1896, 1911, 1968, 1988, and 1997.

I’ll be going into this in my piece in tomorrow’s Maclean’s, but for now you can see how the winning power blocks have evolved. In the early years of the Liberals post-Macdonald dominance, after Laurier took Quebec for the first time in 1891, their majorities were essentially based on Quebec and Atlantic Canada, with growing help from the West. Conservatives won with Ontario and Atlantic Canada under Bennett and Meighen.

The next watershed year is 1935, when King carried Ontario for the Liberals for the first time in 60 years. For the next 45 years, Liberal dominance was assured: win a majority of the seats in Quebec all of the time, and Ontario most of the time, and you will win a lot of majorities. In 22 elections from 1935 to 2006, the Liberals carried Ontario 15 times; on four other occasions, it gave the Liberals enough seats either to sustain the Liberals in power, or to hold the Conservatives to a minority. Looked at another way: before 1935, the Tories won 9 majorities. After, only 3: Harper is the fourth.

But over time the forces of opposition to Liberal rule began to amass. The West, which for many years after Laurier split its vote among a number of parties, was united under the Conservative banner by Diefenbaker in 1958. Conservative parties, whether in their Progressive Conservative, Reform, Canadian Alliance, or reunited Conservative guises, have dominated the region ever since. Indeed, the last time the Liberals carried the West was in 1949.

Worse was the loss of Quebec in 1984. It proved possible, just, for the Liberals to carry on winning majorities under Chretien largely by sweeping Ontario, with help from Atlantic Canada and whatever seats the Bloc left on the table in Quebec. But they were increasingly running on fumes.

And yet, as solid as the Tory lock was on Western Canada, they, too, could not win a majority so long as they were unable to carry any other part of the country, as they have been unable to since 1988.

But now all that has changed, with the addition of Ontario to the Tory column. This is an altogether new majority coalition: the West and Ontario, and only them, for the most part. Before Monday night, there had been only two majorities in Canadian history that did not include majorities in Quebec or Atlantic Canada: Borden in 1911, and Chretien in 1997. But both of those were essentially Ontario operations. This is the first to rely equally on Ontario and the West.

The Diefenbaker and Mulroney sweeps included both regions, of course. But because they were so broadly based, with such divergent interests and values, and because they flared up so quickly, they proved unwieldy and unstable. A nearer example is Clark in 1979. Yet even though he carried two-thirds of the seats west of Quebec, plus a majority of Atlantic Canada, Clark did not have enough for a majority. Today, that would be enough.

So the West is very much in. This is the first majority government, and only the third of any kind in our history, in which the West has more seats in the governing caucus than Quebec and Atlantic Canada combined. The Ontario half of the partnership, moreover, far from the hasty marriage of opposites that undid Diefenbaker and Mulroney, has been built slowly, over several elections, and on a coherent ideological base. These are, after all, historically the most prosperous parts of the country, the ones most likely to be attuned to a tax-cutting, growth-oriented agenda. Just possibly, this could prove to be a lasting combination.

Of course, the Tories can’t expect to take three-quarters of the seats west of Quebec every election. But even if they take no more than about 60-65% — typically, that means 40-45% of the popular vote, rather than the nearly 50% they won this time — it gives them a base from which to reach out to Quebec and Atlantic Canada. They don’t have to make the kind of extravagant pass that Mulroney made at Quebec: it would be enough to take 20 seats or so, plus 10 or 15 in Atlantic Canada to secure a majority most years— especially with the coming addition of 30-odd seats in Ontario and the West (which would still leave them under-represented). Win two-thirds of the seats west of Quebec, and you’ll win a lot of majorities.




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Ottawa’s new power couple

  1. This comment was deleted.

    • And if the Tories do man up enough to force that issue this time, it will be very interesting to see how Jack responds – and how it effects the NDP's future prospects.

  2. Looks like the other parties are going to have to start running campaigns in the west in the future whether they want to or not.

    That will be good for westerners.

  3. If they want our vote in the West they need to stop saying one thing to our face and another to Quebec.

    • Well the Liberal's could start by not calling us mouth-breathing-inbred-redneck-oil-junkies to start with.

      • A modest and decent beginning, to be sure.

      • And what do Cons call the Libs and Dippers?

        • Lots of things. But they are careful not to call their supporters that, which makes the difference.

          Libs and Dippers not only attack Harper and his the Conservative leadership, but Conservative supporters as well. Not a good electoral strategy if you want to win their votes.

          So for example, don't criticize Harper for having evangelical supporters, even if you dislike evangelicals. They vote, and they have friends and relations that also vote.

          • Oh wait, I'm replying to Emily. What the hell am I thinking?

          • LOL Cons call Lib and Dipper supporters every name in the book

            But you'll have to source leaders doing that.because I've never heard it.

          • Anyone who has been on these boards for any length of time would know that many of the CPC supporters here were prolific in calling Torontonians all kinds of names and Quebecers corrupt. I suppose their attitude may change towards the Torontonians.

          • Do Torontonians like Torontonians? I don't think ragging on Toronto is limited to CPC supporters. And I do believe they stuck to calling the Quebec government corrupt for the most part, not Quebecers.

  4. If the NDP can consolidate its gains in Quebec, that could provide a solid base to establish itself as the predominant progressive party in Ontario, where a majority of voters did not vote Conservative. (The NDP is already the main alternative to the Conservatives west of Ontario.)

    • Any recovery of the Liberal Party though is going to have to include the West and the North. They can't count on Ontario alone to carry them to government anymore.

    • Wouldn't that be something… An NDP majority! My, how the politics of Canada have changed so quickly in the span of about a month.

      It's almost like this election performed CPR for Canadian politics and there's "new life" in it. With the BQ down to 4 seats, I wonder if they "fold" as a party and are absorbed into the nether? Do the Liberals re-brand themselves and come back or do they look to merge with the NDP?

      So many questions… Looking forward to watching it all play out!

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • Assuming the NDP does not implode (yeah, a huge assumption), I would also think that the Liberal vote in the West would simply collapse (even more). They have not been major players in the West for 30+ years, but their nationwide collapse may finally be enough for their remaining voters in the west to just vote NDP (sure, some will go to the Conservatives, but since the Conservatives dominate, I assume most have already decided ABC).

      As for Ontario, I wouldn't assume that the 2011 election results are indicative of the future. Sure, it shows what the Conservatives *can* do in Ontario, but not necessarily what they *will* do. True, some Lib voters will probably bleed to the Conservatives rather than NDP, but it's not going to be enough to save a lot of the GTA seats won via vote splitting.

      All of which is to say that maybe the Conservatives continue to win a majority of seats in the West and even Ontario, but those majorities won't deliver the same number of seats.

  5. Fascinating chart and analysis. Conservatives have carried the entire country at a rate of 2:1 compared to the Liberals. Those 30 extra seats are no small deal.

  6. This all makes a lot of sense. I just hope we don't get Vancouver getting worse still and spreading nation-wide, with latté drinking stay at home Moms driving their Escalades past dead junkies in front of a boarded up insite, telling her kids, don't look.

    I fear that the inequity that has grown in my home province under the Liberals, who are unchecked by a thoroughly discredited NDP, will spread. And that inequity isn't good for the mom, her kids, or the dead junkies.

    • I think we can assume Insite will be shut down. The Harper government doesn't believe in harm reduction.

      • Doesn't BC have something to say about that? Sounds like a constitutional skirmish brewing.

  7. Interesting. One error: St. Laurent won the 1949 election, not King, and therefore he should get the credit for winning all four regions. I'd like to point out that Diefenbaker didn't lose Ontario in 1962 because of West/Quebec tensions. (Nor did Mulroney lose Ontario in 1988 for that reason, though the division obviously led to them losing everything in Ontario in 1993).

  8. "The numbers show how many seats the winning party won in each region. "

    I'm confused. Doesn't the NDP have 59 seats in Quebec, not 6? And didn't the Bloc before them have around 50? Why does the table say 10?

    • The numbers are how much the government won in that region, while the colour represents the dominant party in the region. The conservatives won 6 seats in Quebec this election, but the NDP orange carried the province.

      • Yes. Sorry, it's a bit confusing, I admit. But it seemed useful to show both who won each region and how many seats the national winner obtained in each.

        • No it's not confusing at all Andrew. Your para 1 explains it very clearly! Great work.

  9. Greg Lyle, at Innovative Research Group did an interesting article on this today – makes sense. If Harper can woo Atlantic Canada with ship building and follow through with the promise to back NL lower Churchill plans – who knows.

    Canada's new electoral divide: It's about the money

    The newly drawn electoral map is split, but the cleavage is not left versus right, nor is it Quebec versus the rest of Canada.

    The true divide, the new reality of Canadian politics, is between the economic heartlands that the Conservatives now dominate throughout the country and the economic hinterlands won by the NDP.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/cana

    • An interesting observation, too bad it'sbollocks. Harper's focus on naval capital spending and NL hydro development didn't pay him any dividends. Newfoundlanders went their own contrarian way on Monday (they also voted against Trudeaumania in '68) and the four seats the Tories have in NS have been in the Tory fold almost constantly since John Diefenbaker was overheard whispering to a colleague "Did Howe really say what's a million?"

      Tory strength in Atlantic Canada resides in NB, which has neither a shipbuilding industry (any longer) nor any benefit from Danny's mad dream on the Lower Churchill. What New Brunswick does have have is recent experience with a Liberal government that had all the answers and no reason to listen to voters. It also had an addiction to overspending, running the deficit up by 50% in four years.

      The secret of success for Stephen Harper in Atlantic Canada is to be the polar opposite of Dexter, Graham and Ghiz on any issue. The votes will follow from there.

      • That Liberal government in NB also had the brilliant idea to sell the provincial power company to Hydro Quebec. After saying it had no intention of doing so.

  10. I would agree that this current Conservative coalition looks more stable than Mulroney's but at the same time it also looks pretty marginal. This was a pretty narrow majority and the Conservatives basically maxed out everywhere except Quebec. The victories in Toronto and Winnipeg seemed like an historic high water mark. I don't think it will be easy to replicate that in the future. Saskatchewan is also a looming question mark. Those rurban ridings have really helped the Conservatives these past few elections. They will not remain forever; in fact, I doubt they will survive the results of the 2011 census. Between 2001 and 2006 Saskatchewan lost a great deal of people, a trend that has since reversed, while Saskatoon and Regina gained a not insignificant number of people. Had Saskatoon and Regina each had three seats instead of four, there could easily have been 8 Conservatives, 5 New Democrats, and 1 Liberal sent to Ottawa this election.

    Really this majority was built on some pretty marginal showings. If the Conservatives cannot broaden their appeal, I would not bet on repeats.

    • A political party that isn't growing is dying, for sure. There is going to be attrition of seats before the next election, especially the ones won because we were lucky. To hold on to even a smaller majority they are going to have to make gains somewhere else.

      Which means all of us have to get on our knees for Quebec again, damn it all. I don't mind Quebec screwing us, but I wish we were on top once and awhile.

      • I expect them to pass Bill C-12, and if they're smart they won't wait long. At the same time it won't be one of the first things they do.

    • Con support has maxed out? Pretty sure I've heard that once or twice before.

      • In Toronto. It's really doubtful they'll hold all of their seats in Toronto proper, especially after a decade of Harper in power. Things start to stick to anybody after that length of time. There is still a potent Liberal machine in this city.

  11. When Brian Mulroney won a second majority mandate in 1988, he and his party looked invincible. Five years later, there was little left of the Progressive Conservatives.

  12. I've been around for less than 1/3 of the period you cover. I doubt I would recognize the Canada today from my childhood. Lots of things have changed – for a number of reasons- so I'm not sure how valid this analysis is – but it does tell an interesting historical story, nonetheless.

  13. If you're an optimistic Liberal like me, you'll note that the Liberal Party has been without majorities in any region in the past. Only Macdonald was able to make it last more than one election.

    • Yep….history means you'll be back in power next time. Just pick some cute leader and get ready to take back what you truly deserve.

    • You ARE optimistic, that's for sure. Weren't you going on about Martin's upcoming majority two elections ago?

  14. And here I thought that it was going to be an article about Jack and Olivia. It might be in tomorrow's article, but what is missing to give the analysis more context is the relative weight of each region in the House of Commons.
    In 1873, with a 6-province and 2-territory federation, the House of Commons had 206 seats distributed as follows: the Atlantic provinces sans Newfoundland: 21%; Québec: 32%; Ontario: 43%; West and North: 5%. The Atlantic provinces and Québec could gang up on Ontario and the West and win every time. But they didn't.
    In 1907, two years after the creation of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan from most of the North West Territories, the number of seats increased to 212 distributed as follows: Atlantic provinces: 16%; Québec: 29%; Ontario: 39%; Western provinces and North: 16%. Ontario and Québec could gang up and beat the Atlantic provinces and the West hands down. Which they did most of the time! A manufacturing sector protected by high tariffs trumps natural resources.
    By 1907, the Western provinces and the North had the same importance in terms of seat count as the Atlantic provinces. Seven years later, 1914, the number of seats is increased, with Atlantic provinces: 13%; Québec: 28%; Ontario 35%; West and North: 24%. Here things get a bit more complicated. Hard for only two, unless it's Ontario and Québec, to gang up and control all the others. Which they continued to do.
    The trend of increasing number of seats in Western Canada continues throughout the 20th century. At the beginning of the 21th, in 2003, the number of seats increased to 308, with the Atlantic provinces at 10%; Québec at 24%; Ontario at 34%; and West and North at 31%. If you lump the Atlantic provinces with Québec (just for the sake of argument and not to start an argument), you almost have an even 3 way split. It takes two, any two, to govern. “Two-thirds of the seats west of Quebec, and they'll win every time.” you say. Yes but, two-thirds of the seats east of Manitoba, and someone other than the Conservatives could win. Two-thirds of all the provinces except Ontario, and someone could win. Regional coalitions anyone?

  15. So… how did Laurier and King carry the west vote?

    • St Laurent too for that matter…

  16. Can Mulcair use the expanded BC caucus to confirm Sasquatch sightings?

  17. The "culture of lying" belongs to the post-Enlightenment, which has been the case since World War I shattered the dreams of universal reason. Mythologising narratives have displaced reasoned discourse. You can't regulate it by an Act of "Truth in Politics". It would be better to refer to it as "the culture of untruthfulness" rather than "the culture of lying". For all sorts of reasons, these are not synonymous. It is simply one of the symptoms of Nietzsche's forecast for "two centuries of nihilism" and the decadence of the Modern Era — all higher values devalue themselves.

    We can't cure the culture of lying by regulating it. We will have to live through it and endure it… to the apocalyptic bitter end (it's what the word "apocalypse" means, the "shattering" truth disclosed once more — and the greater the depth of narcissistic delusion, the more shattering the truth when it does re-emerge.

  18. The colours on Coyne's map are deceiving. The Harper conservative coalition in the West owes far more to the Reform/Alliance legacy of the modern Conservative party than the old PC Party. Ontario is — at best for PCs — a wash between the Reform Alliance and 'old Tory' legacies.

    The old Red Tory Mulroney/Clark coalition was, and is, broke, rudderless and discredited. It has not existed since 1993. While Stephen Harper has masterfully expropriated the best parts of the PC brand and discarded much of Preston Manning's idealistic populism, the fact remains that the roots of the new Conservative coalition were born in 1993.

    This is a worthwhile lesson for Liberals every bit as big as the merger/non merger debate. Sometimes you have to push Humpty Dumpty off the wall before you put him back together again.

    • ya well ottawa is already serving omelettes

  19. Two points: first, we are about to have a redistribution of seats which will see BC, Alberta and Ontario gain seats while the rest of the country stays much the same.

    Second, just as Jason Kenny was "tasked" with ethnic outreach, it is a pretty fair bet that the CPC is going to target 20-30 ridings in Quebec. Roads will be paved, popular mayors will be courted, community centers and sports pavilions built. The CPC does not have to win Quebec out right, rather it needs to grow in Quebec.

    If you had said ten years ago that 2/3 of Cantonese speakers in Canada would vote CPC you would have been laughed out of the room. Kenny sold the goods. His counterpart in Quebec has four years and a majority government to sell 20 ridings on why that teenage MP thing is not leading to a happy ending.

    Harper is going to be around for a while.

  20. After the 2011 census, the redistribution of HoC seats will add 30 seats to Ontario, Alberta, and BC for a total of 338 given those provinces growth in population. That starts to change the balance of power.

  21. How long will the west continue to be in? Or will Ontario grow to be more 'in' over time, once again?

    Expect Ontario to get a disproportionate share of cabinet. Harper needs to hold Ontario if he wants another term. He can afford to take the West for granted, at least for a while.

    • If he crushes the long gun registry and makes the CWB voluntary, the west can bear with being taken for granted a little more. It will still be more representation than we are used to.

  22. It is a good day to be in the lumber, oil, wheat or auto industry… aerospace or the fisheries, not so much.

  23. Excellent to see the long view. Great article!

    Also good to see the mention of upcoming additional seats in regions which are likely overweight Conservative; that'll be a big factor for the future.

    I wonder though about Quebec; not good for the country if Quebec feels left out for too long.

    The Canadian balancing act continues….

  24. Increasingly the West and Ontario have more in common. They have been carrying the fiscal weight for our confederation and are becoming less willing to continue propping up Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

  25. Actually that would be good for everybody.

  26. Please stop the whining. Everyone is sick of Western feelings of entitlement.

  27. Free trade was part of it. Libs were the party of free trade in the early part of the 20th century. Also small government and provincial rights.

  28. No.

    Frequent references to how Torontonians are stupid

    Frequent references to corrupt and lazy Quebecers.

    • I have been on this site for a while, and can't say I have seen a lot of that, if any. Maybe I am not sensitive enough to it, and therefore don't see it, but I don't.

      I have seen a lot people bashing the west, though.

  29. This article is full of historical errors and I demand an editor takes a look at them.

    1) Borden's 1917 election win under the Union government banner carried the day without quebec, not 1911
    2)Laurier's govt. started 1896 onwards.

    Start from there.

  30. i think there's more to it than that no? New Brunswick as far as I can tell seems culturally Conservative to its bones even as it alternates lib-tory provincially. I remember all those Confederation of Regions people back in the day.. I'm curious to hear cultural explanations from Maritimers as to why it's so different from PEI and NS (Halifax increasingly seems to vote like inner Toronto). Is it just New Brunswick's small town/no big city feel? Protestantism? retro United Empire Loyalist culture that NB used to share with old Ontario, a quite different political culture from Nova Scotia's Joseph Howe tendency?

    • the national media pays barely any attention to the Atlantic, so it's hard to figure out what goes on there for those of use outside the region. The whole "culture of defeat" thing never lasted and meanwhile Halifax becomes Vancouver East, this lefty lifestyle bastion… or something.

  31. the prairies are an interesting case, but ultimately there are not enough seats there to make a difference. This victory was won in Toronto, and only half the Toronto wins were because of vote splits. The rest of the Tories' considerable vote gains were driven by ethnic outreach and anti-NDP sentiment.
    as for Saskatchewan and Winnipeg population gains .. is there any chance these new voters are NDPers? migrants to Sask taking part in the great resource boom don't seem like a terribly socialist friendly electorate.
    Winnipeg ridings like Transcona see the old Blaikie blue collar vote shrink every year and see new suburbia houses built in that empty zone east of lagimodiere .. that's why the Tories edged that riding out at last..
    Ball is in Harper's court – if he doesn't alienate this new 3% of the electorate he won over, he shouldn't lose them

  32. Yeah. Seriously. Just stop whining.

    The West whining about being locked out of Ottawa is almost quite as annoying as Quebec whining.

  33. I think everyone is generally willing to prop up Atlantic Canada, but Quebec is just annoying. There's "fiscal transfers," and then there's "fiscal transfers while threatening secession."

  34. But Ontario and Alberta actually have (and always have had) opposing economic interests, so if we are going to govern the country only based on short-term economics, (which is a pretty dicey boring and unsustainable proposition), we need to acknowledge that the "have" province, Alberta, has interests directly opposed to Ontario's. The major reason for the east west divide was always that Ontario was a manufacturing core, and the west provided raw materials. That hasn't changed, but the price of oil has. And will be going up. Everytime it goes up, Ontario bleeds. Everytime we sign a trade deal, Ontario bleeds. And as far as i can see Ontario hasn't recovered at all from the loss of manufacturing jobs last couple of years.

  35. The most interesting outcome here is that the "right of centre" liberals might just jump ship at the suggestion of a merger between the liberals and the NDP. Also, if the conservatives continue to show strength, the natural movement will be for the conservative to state "his/her" blue orientation more readily i.e. be accepted as politically correct. This is at least 1/3 of the existing liberal strength.

  36. The reason that Layton did so well in Quebec was because Quebeckers will vote for the devil before voting for a Westerner. Give me a break , Layton as a native son ? why was he in Toronto ? I was a Quebec native for the first 25 yrs. of my life, left because of the corruption. The NDP will have to learn all their tricks. (The exception to the westerner was Diefenbaker who ran against Pierson who was from Ontario ).

  37. Thanks for making the St-Laurent thing right. He was an underrated PM who presided over a period of great economic expansion and social improvement all while avoiding welfare state excesses. I was born during his time in office. Since then IMO we've had only two competent and ethical Prime Ministers — St. Laurent and Harper.

  38. And you are "ORIGINAL" Emily are you? Time to change your name methinks; not just because you plagiarize, but because you have posted so many inane, angry comments and your credibility is now in tatters regarding those and future posts. Oh well, we will recognize your baseless elitist and phony intellectual snobbery under any name you choose.

    • Funny….I don't recall asking your opinion.

  39. Cohen must have been drinking the poisonous Tea Party brew on the Hill!

    Herr Harper didn't get 50% of the vote! He got less than 39% of the popular vote from the 61% of eligible Canadian voters who actually voted.

    So, behold the tragedy of a man who, with ONLY 25% of voters, has become our Prime Minister.

    Proportional Representation will bring back Democracy. Right now, Canadian politics are a joke–better, a cruel farce played on unsuspecting earnest Canadian citizens.

    Soon, the dismantling of Canada will begin and we'll be joining the misery of our southern neighbors…alas….

  40. What's striking to me in the chart is the same thing that struck me in 2006:

    Harper won government in 2006 but the only region to give him a majority of seats was the West. That seems more novel than the Ontario+West coalition in 2011, and is a function of the relative gain in strength of the West since Confederation. That gain in the West was retarded by the seat allocation rigging under Trudeau and Mulroney that C-12 would partially correct after the next census.

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