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Four parties enter, two parties leave

A vote for Layton today was, objectively, a vote to return to a two-party system


 

The odd truth about Conservative HQ: the crowd is cheering NDP victories almost as vigorously as it’s cheering Conservative ones. I don’t say it is cheering them AS vigorously, but… there’s a sense that these people, most of them Calgarians, know the score. You remember how the Soviets used to use that adverb “objectively”? “Voting socially democratic is objectively fascist [because it supposedly tends to help the fascists].” Well, a vote for Layton today was, “objectively”, a vote to return to a two-party system. And as far as this room is concerned, the Conservatives have much the stronger hand in a head-to-head fight.

They are probably right. For now. We have about 100 New Democrat MPs. 64 will be small-N new. Of these, let’s say 20 will be half-daft or culpably undisciplined or just plain silly. (Harper and other Old Reformers know alllll about this.) But more of these candidates than you think are starting out with strong Quebec Inc. backgrounds in the civil service, or in technologies of civilization like banking and engineering. And Darwinian pressure acts fast to beautify and strengthen a population. Indeed, this is part of a possible rationale for very frequent elections. But I guess those days are over for now, aren’t they?

One day, this Calgary audience may regret its applause for the instantaneous transformation of the New Democrats into the most broad-based national party since Mulroney’s PCs. Or, Jack Layton could get sick and be gone in four months, and the events of this night will, in retrospect, seem to have been writ in water.


 
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Four parties enter, two parties leave

  1. the most broad-based national party since Mulroney's PCs

    I disagree.

    The NDP won a grand total of 4 seat out of the 55 seats in Alberta/Sask/Man. The NDP won just 6 of 32 seats in the maritimes. That's just 10 of 87 in 7 of Canada's provinces. Not so sure that can be called broad-based. They won 60 of their 102 seats in a single province, out of the 75 in Quebec. They are lopsided heavily in Quebec.

    The Cons won 5 of 75 in Quebec.

    They are equally broad-based, at the very least, but the Cons appear to be more broad-based at the moment, unless you give some special significance to Quebec seats, even though Quebec's proportion of seats will decline in the next election, should the Conservatives pass that reapportioning bill that gives more to Alberta and Ontario.

    Those numbers are all approximate at this time, of course, since the final results not yet in.

    • The NDP will be more competitive once they absorb the Liberals. In particular, seats the Conservatives take for granted in rural Ontario and the urban Prairies would become competitive.

      • Absorbing the Liberals would drive some of their voters to the Conservatives. It's not as simple as you say.

        • I agree 100%, but there are areas where the NDP-Liberal vote splitting is *so bad* that even if they shed significant votes to the Conservatives they'd remain the favourite: principally much of Southern Ontario.

          • I am in K/W. We had a real chance here. The vote split is like a knife in the chest.

          • I'm originally from Chatham-Kent, and without the vote split I'd expect a United Left to pick up all the seats between Windsor and London, including those cities. And I'm a Conservative supporter.

            I'm less familiar with the territory but I'd expect much the same across the rest of SW Ontario: it's only blue because it's not obvious to left-leaning voters which of the NDP or Liberals to rally behind. I think the same applies increasingly to all of Metro Toronto.

          • With the rise of the Greens (Lizzy handily defeated Gary Lunn tonight) there's a new vote-splitter in town. A newly united Dipperal party might still have to contend with an ascendant Green.

          • I wouldn't call it a rise. I expect the Green's to disappear eventually.

          • Disappear to where?

          • To the same place Social Credit went, the political party graveyard.

          • Social Credit also were the provincial governments in multiple provinces; they were a major force in the political landscape in their time.

            Let me elaborate on that question:
            I'd guess people vote Green because they don't find that other parties address their concerns. In order for those voters to change their mind and for the Greens to disappear, either some other party has to make a clear grab for them or the Greens need to abandon the positions that make them appealing to their current base.

            I don't see either of those happening any time soon.

          • It's already happened somewhat. The Green's popular vote is actually declining from last two elections. May won probably more on dissatisfaction over her exclusion from the televised debates than any other reason. Also, May does not even talk about the environment anymore. She's all about electoral reform now – which would benefit her Greens more than anyone. As Macleans called it two weeks ago – an exercise in political narcissism.

          • Lost in the "rise of the Greens" narrative: this is the worst performance of the Greens in the popular vote since 2000. They lost over a third of their support from the 2008 election. But in Saanich-Gulf Islands there was absolutely no vote-splitting against May: there was a reason she decided to run in that seat rather than in an area where she'd lived or worked. Very strong Green territory which received huge resources from the party.

            May's election is a great moment for the party, but if you're a Green candidate not named Elizabeth May you just had an awful night at the office. Maybe she can capitalize on this momentum, but the Greens had an MP heading into 2008 too and that didn't work out for them.

          • The greens benefited from the great global warming scam. Now they're hurting. Single issue parties don't last long.

          • I don't think it is an anti-global warming bounce (hey, what's the NDP's position on anthropogenic global warming? How'd they do today?).

            Some of the lost votes are, as Elizabeth May insistently says every time there's a microphone within ninety feet of her, that she wasn't in the debate so she had less exposure. But they weren't in the debates apart from 2008 and did fairly well anyway post-2000.

            Anecdotally, I know a few Green-sympathetic voters who just don't like Elizabeth May. People who wound up going Dipper or anybody-but-Harper. There's definitely a perception in parts of the Canadian environmentalist movement that the Green Party of Canada is increasingly in the Elizabeth May business, not the environmentalism business. Well, now May's an MP representing a party whose campaign, if Gary Lunn hadn't completely self-immolated, would have been considered a colossal disappointment.

            We'll see what happens.

          • As Macleans pointed out recently, the Greens hardly talk of the environment anymore. They're all about electoral reform. An exercise in political narcissism, as that would benefit the Greens more than any other party. May is so hung up on electoral reform that she no longer even pretends to present an actual platform.

          • yup…and leftleaning voters in metro toronto are going to be mentioning 'merger' pretty frequently tomorrow….that orange spot in the middle of toronto would be much, much bigger with only one anti-harper candidate on the ballot.

          • Yes, Cons are aware of this issue. They were particularly aware when Chretien won a majority with 38% of the vote. Harper was the one who altered that dynamic by merging the PCs with the Canadian Alliance. Did that ever pay dividends.

          • There's knock on consequences. One is a substantially increased probability of an NDP government. You'll have to take the good with the bad when the time comes.

          • Assuming the NDP can hold on to their gains.

          • No party hold on to government forever, especially in complex and diverse places like Canada. If the Conservatives are thrown out eventually, someone will take their place. If it's not the Liberals, it will be the NDP.

          • The Liberals were in power from 1963 to 1979.
            They lost power for 1 year and then governed for 4 more.

            Could happen again. Harper's young – he could be around that long. That would be 11 more years of Harper from today, 1 year of the NDP, and another 4 years of Harper after that.

            I could live with that.

          • I'm sure you could. Given that the political leanings in this country are not in the Conservative's favour this is a rather unlikely scenario.

            You're being rather delusional if you think Canada is now Alberta.

          • Andrew notPorC,
            Delusional is what happened over the past four weeks in the media.
            Given what? political leanings of this country you have evidence for other than faint hope and the surety the Cons will develop the same arrogance the Liberals had.
            Don't worry, they will.
            And you guys still have no clue why what happened last night!
            Take comfort nurturing that chip on your shoulder.

          • Arrogance is already just there. It's the discipline they'll lose.

            60% of the vote was centre-left to left. 40% is right to centre-right. That's not a recipe for one-party conservative rule.

          • That is such a ridiculous fallacy. 18% of Liberals voters voted Liberal knowing that the NDP were the only party close to the Cons. Yet they voted Liberal anyway. The opposition parties are not an amorphous blob of progressives. The most you can honestly claim is that 37% voted left of center – the combined vote of the BQ and NDP. The LIberals voters who refused to vote NDP were obviously not on the left.
            The Greens are not a leftist party and never have been, in fact they were started by a conservative-leaning individual.

            Arrogance is already just there

            The only arrogance I'm sensing is yours.

          • In order for the NDP to form the government, they need to persuade a lot of people they'll be reasonable *and* the Conservatives have to do something stupid enough that their current supporters decide to ditch them.

            I think Stephen Harper (and most Conservatives) are perfectly fine with that.

          • They just need to pursuade another six or seven percent. Yup.

          • Well, they are going to have to take it all from the Liberals, because I've seen little sign that the NDP are interested in crafting policy to appeal to conservative voters, even though those voters had been NDP supporters in decades past.

          • Well, one of those consequences is that the Conservative Party no longer particularly reflects the principles of the Reform Party.

            The New Democrats and the Liberals would face the same obstacle if they merged. The Liberals would tone down their pro-business attitudes, the New Democrats would forfeit their traditional union friendliness, for example. They'd lose some of what made them Liberals and New Democrats in the first place.

            Is it worth getting power if you can't spend the power on what you think is right? I'm not sure. I might be the last guy on earth who thinks uniting the right was, arguably, not worth it.

          • Libs+NDP would inevitably become the Liberals again within a generation. The Conservatives aren't quite back to being the PCs yet, but by their next leader there is a decent chance they will be back to where they were in the mid '80s.

          • I'll note, that I too miss Reform. I miss principled fiscal conservatives.

          • Easy to be principled when you're a perpetual opp'n party, like Reform was. Heck, they weren't even a party so much as a movement.

            The NDP as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is about to find this out, as well.

            Say goodbye to the NDP we knew and loved (?).

        • quite true. i'm not an ndp supporter – too socialist. i'm also not a conservative supporter, at least this iteration – too ideological and reactionary.

          given a polarization between the two choices, I really have no idea what I would choose. if the tories abandoned some of their idiotic tough on crime crap, maybe them.

          oh well, at least we're getting some cool new planes.

          • Reactionary?
            Man, those justice reforms have just flown through.
            Anything else?
            Yeah, that long-gun registry was gone the next day!
            Universal health care access? Well we'll see about that. User pay clinics on every corner! Don't you see them all?
            As Good Will said, your intro history courses taught you word regurgitation well!
            Have you ever actually lived under a reactionary government?

  2. Jack did everyone a favour by getting rid of the Bloc. Good for Canada

    And with the wishy washy Liberals down and out, Canada now has a clear choice between right and left.

    Good result for Canada.

    I'm still listening to Ignatieff's speech. He's still talking as if the Liberals matter greatly. CBC media should stop pretending too. They too should have been able to read the writings on the wall.

    • I think English Canada also known as the ROC would make a big mistake in assuming that this gets rid of the Bloc. A lot of the NDP vote entails soft Separatist voters who cared enough about the whole of Canada to vote for alternative to Harper. Its good news that Quebec voters were interested in Canada, but there will be a fair amount of disillusionment since that didn`t happen.

    • I'll agree with you *IF* the Conservatives and NDP *BOTH* move closer to the centre as they scavenge the Liberal the Bloc corpses.

      • Nope. Canadian voters are sick and tired of a mushy middle. That is the point. That is why the Liberals are toast.

        • I humbly disagree. The Conservatives won only because of vote splitting: in a two party system they'd be COMPLETELY noncompetitive. Still, they're much closer to the national centre than are the NDP.

          • You don't understand the new Canada. Canada is not what it was over a hundred years ago but the central Canadian media still thinks it's 1911 instead of 2011.

            The CPC is a very competitive party and you can tell by the precentage of votes received in this election. It was not just vote splitting. Some of it was, but other leaders have won majorities that way too.

            No, this election is historic in a sense that the Canadian political landscape is changing because Canada itself is changing but some have not caught on to that fact, while some of us have been noticing it for quite some time.

        • I think they're toast because they're filled with unethical hacks, craving power and nothing more. They are the most shrill, the most unethical, the most untrustworthy and dishonest, and the most uncivil party.

          • The CPC? Yes they are – yet somehow they won anyway. A sad commentary on the state of the nation.

          • LOL
            You lost, and for a good reason. I doubt you'll do better in 2015 with that attitude.

          • They do seem reluctant to learn important lessons don't they? Oh well, that bodes well for us.

          • Absolutely.

          • The lesson learned, sadly, is that lying, having contempt for Parliament, hiring criminals, and breaking elections laws is all OK with Canadians. That relying on gut instinct rather than empirical evidence is just fine. Etc., etc.

            A CPC majority, after the last five years, means Canadians either don't really like our democratic institutions, or don't care enough to pay attention ad are easily flim-flammed by negative ad campaigns.

            Enjoy the next four years. It will be interesting to see (among other things) if Harper wil obey his own elections law this time…

          • sad really, that you would rather tar the entire electorate as stupid dupes than take one moment to consider, just consider that what your party stood for was vacuous selfserving, self deluding crap. all the trumped up mini-scandals were ignored by the voters. Why? because they were manufactured out of meaningless pap. Face it that is what the Liberals have stood for for years. Meaningless pap.

          • It's been a progression. First the Liberal's just hated Alberta. Then when they started losing seats in rural Canada, they started making fun of rural Canadians. After losing more seats in Western Canada, they basically wrote off half the country as too dumb to vote Liberal. And now, they are where they are, calling EVERYBODY stupid.

  3. Am I correct in assuming that even without official party status the Bloc and Greens collect their voter subsidy? (until Harper removes it anyway)

    • subsidy is based on percentage vote not elected MPs

    • The Liberal's free ride is over. Harper will want to nail the coffin shut.

      It'll be time to put up or shut up for the remaining Liberals.

  4. Of these, let's say 20 will be half-daft or culpably undisciplined or just plain silly. (Harper and other Old Reformers know alllll about this.)_

    … But Rob Anders is full daft and completely undisciplined and wins again and again. What could any student NDP MP do that was half as stupid?

    • I'm thinking that assistant bar manager who can't speak French in an almost completely French riding opens her mouth, we could find out.

  5. Jack will have a very raucus caucus to deal with, which may not bode well for the party over the long run.

    Jack won in Quebec because he promised them the moon. Next time aroundNDP will have to stand on different terms to win as many seats.

  6. As I've said before, for Ignatieff and the Liberals to have been the ones to actually trigger the election by putting forth the no-confidence vote, that will go down as one of the worst political calculations of all time.
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/27/stephen-harper

    • Contempt? What contempt?

      • The Canadian people have just shown they share the Conservative contempt for Liberal MPs.

    • Maybe, but it was the ethical thing to do.

      Apparently, ethics no longer count for much in Harperland.

      • You appear to live in an alternative universe, not Brampton. Enjoy the next four years.

        • Speaking of Brampton, I wonder how Ruby Dhalla is feeling right now. She's my very favourite Bramptonite after all. Doesn't look like reducing OAS qualification to 3 years is going to happen anytime soon. Shame that. :) Seriously, if NOTHING else happened last night other than Dhalla, Volpe and Drynden losing their seats, I'd have been happy. Perhaps, with that dead weight so ungraciously shedded, the Liberals can start rebuilding for real, and provide an attractive viable alternative for the next election. I'm a Conservative, but that doesn't mean I want them in power for the next 30 years uninterrupted. And I sure as hell don't want the NDP. we need a strong Liberal party in this country.

          • Maybe the Liberals will finally shed the hacks and shysters that have infiltrated their party and get some people with principles.

  7. This has been interesting, and will continue to be interesting for years to come.

    I can't wait to see how the new nuts in the NDP behave. The press should have a field day.

    Congratulations, Steve.

  8. Congratulations Harper!!!

    Good night for Canada!!

    • you know Harper only won because of vote splitting, right? for most voters, it's a bad night for Canada.

      • Chetien only ever won because of vote-splitting too. Were his victories somehow more legitimate? Even the 1997 victory in which he won with 37% of the popular vote – more than a full point less than Harper got last night? It is a bad night for progressives. And it's about time.

  9. My suggestion for all leftist and liberal parties is to temporarily unify into a Pro Electoral Reform party. Proportion reform or Condorcet reform, anything to kill the undemocratic abomination that is vote splinting. They can then split apart into more intellectually coherent parties once we have a system that doesn't punish having a concrete point of view. Even conservatives should like to vote for parties that actually represent their views.

    • You have a point. An SVT system is my choice. Anything but PR.

    • A lot of conservatives simply don't get the upside of PR. In all likeihood it will kill the LPC – there's little or no need for a non idealogical brokerage party where everyone's views are proportionately represented – cons would be among the winners. The difficullty is what form of PR? I no longer like the European models that remove the element of local accountability in our riding system. Perhaps a run off or something similar?

      • It would also kill the Conservatives. Christian Heritage, etc. would eat it alive.

      • I guess what you have to ask yourself is do you want to help the Liberal party or Canadians? In any decent electoral system, a party that tries to be all things to all people should not exist. In any decent electoral system, a party that routinely campaigns one way an rules another should not exist.

        Ultimately, in PR all existing parties would fragment and re-align. And that would be a very good thing.

        Preferential systems wouldn't be as drastic a change, but would still allow people to vote for their real first choice first.

        • Preferential is the term i was searching for.Thx. I'd like to see a made in canada system with wide appeal. What would a preferential system look like in this country i wonder?
          Just to be contrary. I think we've seen both the strength and the weakness of FPP on display tonight. The vote splits were awful, but the capability of turning everything upside down as it did so wonderfully tonight would be entirely lost in a PR system – this is a very good argument for keeping the big stick, so to speak, in the hands of the electorate, not in the hands of the party poohpahs alone. Not sure how preferential would affect volatility – if it retained it, i'm all for it.

    • Electoral reform is a bloody complicated question (even in British Columbia, a referendum to eliminate FPtP went down in flames a few years back). There's something to be said for local accountability and connections and, as I've discovered while campaigning for electoral reform myself, some Canadians approve of that. This isn't even a left-vs.-right thing for the most part.

      • Agreed. It needs a royal commision,now harper has his majority, no? :)

      • Schulze Method. Single-member constituency voting, monotonic, Condorcet-compliant. It comes closer than any other voting method ever devised to beating Arrow’s Impossibility. And quite simple for the voter; voters rank the candidates in their order of preference, and can rank multiple candidates equally if they like (any they don’t rank at all are treated as being equally disfavored over the ranked ones).

    • Another word for electoral reform PR, STV or any other – fair-play rule for mediocre adults.
      Can't compete with the elite athletes? Change the rules to let everybody play.
      Rewards mediocrity. Punishes excellence in ability AND effort.
      We'll get what we deserve if it comes about.
      European style stagnation.
      Sheesh, only the Germans have made a real go at it 'cuz of a homogenous ctizenry (am I allowed to say that?)
      Israel makes it work 'cuz they're in a constant state of war and fear.
      any successes of PR in a multicult nation like Canada anywhere?

  10. This whole split between left and right has me very worried. I hate both the NDP and the current CPC….

    • Good for you. CPC is not as right as the Liberals (and the media) make them out to be. That's the whole point.

      • And if the NDP is smart, they will make some moves to the centre as well.

      • I've got nothing against the "right wing": I just hate Harper. Our Minister of Science and Technology is a creationist, he gutted Statistics Canada and lied to us about it, he's openly pro-israel and against a two state solution.

        There's a million good reasons to vote Conservative. Harper being the leader, for me, trumps all that.

    • Sucks to be you tonight then.

      • That it does! Boston also won tonight….
        At least they got Osama!

        • And got him good!

          He's about the only person that ended up worse off then Ignatieff did.

          • I'd say Duceppe ended up worse than Ignatieff.

          • Although both lost their jobs!

          • Given the choice between an American Democrat and a New Democrat, Canadians preferred the New. Who coulda guessed?

  11. This is easily the best comment I've read or heard tonight. Nice post, Mr. Cosh.

    Personally, as someone who is seriously concerned about democratic reform, this is a depressing outcome; another minority would have been ideal as far as I'm concerned, but if the Conservatives can hold onto these gains (and I suspect they will), electoral reform may well be dead. Let's see if Senate reform actually happens or no.

    Ah well, here's hoping the Conservative majority is benign.

  12. So. Hopefully this will finally enable us to put to bed the cry of "The Liberals Made Them Do It!" that the CPC supporters have been using to justify Harper's actions to themselves for the past few years.

    I can only hope they were right.

    Of course I expect we'll be kissing any sort of transparency goodbye from here on out.

    Any one willing to take bets on how long before Sheila Fraser gets fired?

    • Did you listen to the Prime Minister's speech? We shall see how this government turns out. I'll take your bet. You seem to think you have pretty good odds. Will my 10 bucks pay me 10000 if she makes it to the next election?

      • I listened to Harper when he promised to end income trusts.
        I listened to Harper when he promised not to appoint unelected senators or cabinet members.
        I listened to Harper when he promised to demand that the US live up to their NAFTA obligations.
        I listened to Harper when he promised to guarantee wait times.

        Pray tell.. what's he saying now.. and why does it mean more than those other times?

        • Actually, they promised not to end income trusts. Personally, I'm still not sure about that decision. It may have needed to be done. But I believe they should have exempted natural resource companies. Oil was headed for $150 a barrel at the time, and this would have been political dynamite to exempt the strongest industries in the country, but it still would have been the right thing to do. Other than natural resources and real estate, the trust structure had very little to add to our economy, and probably needed to be ended as an option.

          • Fair point, and I mistyped.. "promised not to tax income trusts" was the correct line anyway.

            That said, I do agree that the decision he eventually made (taxing them) was the right move, I'm more just disgusted at how he felt comfortable promising that he wouldn't, and at how many people who believed him at first, just shrugged their shoulders when he pulled a complete 180 on it.

      • Harper made more or less that speech [ which was a very good one] in 06 and 08. Talks cheap. We'll see if a majority lightens him up.

    • I'm actually betting that PBO doesn't see the other side of this Parliament. 'Cost cutting', I'm sure.

    • Who do I talk to to nominate Sheila Fraser and Kevin Page to lead the new principled centrist party that we so obviously need??

  13. A great and historic day for the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister. It is my sincere hope that the Conservatives will be able to do great work with the majority mandate they have received. Even though I am a Conservative supporter, I hope the CPC will see the NDP's large gains as a sign of the great strength of the Left in Canada, and use it as an opportunity to moderate some of the excessive partisanship that has filtered into this Party (and all parties for that matter), and bring some civility back to the national Parliament.

    • Yes, the excessive, almost obsessive partisanship really needs to be toned down. And they could – you know – start respecting Parliament a little bit too. Wouldn't hurt. Still, I'm wearing a grin this morning a mile wide.

      • Most of the trolls, paid or unpaid, should be gone from Macleans within the week. Positive signs!

      • something tells me the Conservatives wont be found in contempt by this particular house of commons.

  14. Funny how this election in so many ways paralleled John Major's Conservative victory in Britain in 1992. The polls were predicting a minority squeaker between the Tories and Labour in that one too.

  15. Colby, you don't understand how much parts of Canada hate the party Trudeau built. The West has no fear of the NDP, they grew up here too. Preston Manning even touted some Reformers as being of CCF origin. Saskatchewan and Manitoba could teach the NDP how to govern responsibly. I agree with the NDP having to go through a period of 'hoof in mouth' … so they have time to get their stuff in order.

  16. How in the world is the NDP "broad based" now? They simply swallowed the Bloc last night. Their appeal outside of Quebec is still rather … lacking.

  17. How does that $50 bucks from Feschuk feel, Colby?

    • I hope Feschuk paid up.
      I have this fear they'll find his brain bits all over his office from the exploding head.
      Sorry, he doesn't deserve that. His support of the Liberals reminds me of the old SNL skit where the office guy keeps ramming the invoice peg violently into his ear.
      Funny (no pun intended), I don't remember Paul Martin spouting any good one-liners.
      Other than saying he would open constitutional talks right in the middle of the televised debate.
      Naw, I can't believe Feschuk actually wrote that one!

  18. Andrew Potter's article on the Greens' supposed narcissism had giant flaws; he treats the Greens like a single issue party that exist in a vacuum, for one. That is simply not the case, there is more to the Greens than environmental policy and people move to them out of dissatisfaction with other parties as much as because of the appeal of the Green platform (same as with any movement in vote from party to party).

    May can talk up electoral reform as much as she likes, I think it can be taken for granted that the environment would be a much higher priority for the Greens than it would be for any other party were they to be elected. They don't need to always go on and on about that one single issue. What they need to do, as politicians, is to pave the way for the Green party to get more seats in Parliament so they can push their agenda forward.

    The NDP being in opposition may represent a huge opportunity for the Greens:
    If the NDP isn't viewed as credibly able to deliver on a number of issues where the Greens are also strong, it is entirely plausible that the Greens could pick up votes. There were a lot of people who were happy to vote for the NDP in the past despite their non-existent chances of forming government; voters like that could easily move to the Greens if the NDP fails them.

  19. What remains to be seen is whether they'll still hold it in such.

  20. The list of the unethical &/or illegal acts committed by the CPC and promises broken would run several pages. and that's with the check that the threat of a non-confidence vote provides. That you consider them "trumped up mini-scandals" proves exactly my point; they weren't small – certainly not in the aggregate – yet a large percentage of voters chose to ignore them. That shows a complete lack of common sense.

    Rewarding bad behaviour doesn't stop bad behaviour; it begets more bad behaviour. So it seems highly unlikely that this electoral result will provide the nation with any kind of positive change. But we get the government we deserve. Low voter turnout and apathy gave us a CPC majority. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we'll all be kicking ourselves over this…

    • For some people, their party could feed people into gas chambers and they would shrug it off. I just don't get it.

      • No, if Harper starts feeding people to the gas chambers, or even musing about it, I will most certainly vote for someone else. We just differ on how serious the Conservative transgressions have been thus far. I myself am concerned about Harper's contempt for Parliament, and hope that he'll clean up his act. If he doesn't, Canadians will tire of it, and he'll be shown the door in four years. Might happen anyway, but if he doesn't grow up, it is all but assured.

  21. You and DPT have assumed I'm Liberal – and yes, I did vote Liberal this time. I have voted PC in the past, and consider myself blue liberal / red tory (the swing voter in the "sweet spot" both parties try to win over).

    I wasn't too thrilled with the Liberal offering this time around. But Harper absolutely turns my stomach. He and his Harris henchmen are the most unethical and untrustworthy bunch I've seen in office in this country – and yet, unlike the Liberals (who were justifiably booted out over adscam), people reward them with more support each and every time they breach the law, lie, or otherwise behave unethically. It defies explanation.

  22. It wouldn't kill the Liberals anymore than they've already been killed. I do believe that an SVT system could work. But pure PR is poison to this chimp. SVT contains some elements of PR without actually resorting to ranking and slates and all the perpetual career party hacks that leads to. The nice thing about FPTP is that tools like Joe Volpe and Ruby Dhalla to eventually get turfed. SVT maintains the riding system while allowing for a more proportional distribution of seats to match – though not exactly match – the voting percentages. It's a hybrid system that works in many countries. and depending on the formula used, it can lean more towards FPTP or PR, without being exclusively one or the other.

  23. It almost passed in BC the first time, with 59%. Had they not set the bar ridiculously high, it would be the law of BC by now. The second time around, though, it only got about 39% support. Pity that.

  24. It was a foolish and irresponsible promise for sure. However, it would have been more irresponsible to carry through with that promise, instead of dealing with the problem. I wish he'd have backed off on his GST promise and cut income taxes instead, but it is difficult to level criticism for carrying through with at least one of his major planks.

  25. Do you really believe that some of us are paid? I'm a Conservative troll, though not a blindly partisan one, and nobody's ever offered me money.

    • Why buy the cow…

  26. It's easy to say the day after an election that had plenty of vote splitting that this reflects a Brave New Canada. My hunch is the NDP will have a tough slog maintaining soft nationalist support in QC while moving to the centre– because as the whole Alliance/PC merger proved in the first place, Canadians actually do quite like the mushy middle.

  27. Er, yes, QC does tend to gouge ROC for $$. But in this case, it's reasonable to expect that your MP speaks your language if it's English in ROC or French in QC. This newby is going to have trouble for reasons unrelated to money.

  28. Or they share the New Democrat contempt for Liberal MPs.

  29. But that didn't turn out to be a durable dynasty of Liberal rule for decades, did it, though it sure seemed that way at the time. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    • I am predicting no such durable dynasty this time round either. There are simply too many grievances that can build up against a sitting government in this era of 24 hour news coverage and sound bite politics. The Louis St. Laurents, Wilfred Lauriers, Mackenzie Kings and John A. MacDonalds would never have enjoyed the success they did if they had governed in the modern era. That's not to make excuses for anyone. It's simply a fact. Liberal or Conservative or otherwise, I think dynasties are fast going extinct. Maybe the dippers in MB and the Tories in AB, but even those things can change. Give it time.

  30. Well, they stole votes from Conservatives in BC and MB.

    • They snagged six seats from the Tories, and the Tories snagged 2 from them. The rest came at the Liberals' expense. When it comes to feasting on the Liberal carcass, apparently both Tories and Dippers can sit down to an amicable meal together.

      • The NDP only took one seat from the Conservatives outside of Quebec (Surrey North)

  31. Not sure you'd even need a merger for that to happen. Tony Blair dragged Labour kicking and screaming into the 21st century. If not for his Iraq foibles, he'd be remembered as perhaps one of the greatest Brit politicians ever. He never merged with anyone, he simply grabbed the centre from the Liberal-Dems and even the soft Conservative vote. He straddled the centre so completely and so responsibly that no one could touch him, at least for a time. The provincial NDP did the same march to the centre in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the provincial Liberals are nowhere in both those provinces.

  32. True enough. Like all good pets, Reform had to be neutered before they were allowed any freedom. The NDP will eventually discover the same. Either that or they'll never get near power.

  33. Nope. Any party with over 2% gets it. Or should I say got it. They won't be getting it much longer.

  34. I'm betting the Internet is just full of interesting tidbits posted by the Facebook generation that is now sitting in Parliament's orange section. Hell, if someone just grabbed a small sample of what I've posted over the years, Raging Ranter would be ineligible to serve as a tour guide at the House of Commons.

    The Conservatives wisely didn't bother using any of that this election, because no one would have recognized the names anyway. But once these MPs start becoming household names, lookout. Every utterance they've ever made on Rabble or any other site is going to be rubbed in their faces, at the most inopportune time – like an election campaign.

  35. I saw him hitch-hiking on the 401 this afternoon. He was holding a sign that read "Harvard Please".

  36. You mean if the press ever takes an interest in seriously covering what the NDP stands for. I saw very little evidence of that in this election.

  37. Those are 13 words I never, ever, EVER EVER expected to hear following my name.

  38. Quebec +57, Toronto +6, Rest of Canada +1

  39. But the NDP can be found in contempt. Daily. Personally. Every single member of their caucus who droned on about 'contempt' can now be forced to explain to the electorate that "oh, yeah, turns out you can do that motion just with a majority of MPs and it actually doesn't mean anything about the character of the group in question which is why you should keep voting Linda Duncan even though she's been held in contempt 247 times."

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