Canadian elections: Minority government for a majority of socially progressive voters

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
June 28th, 2004 • 11:36 pm

It is of course rather difficult to analyze the results of yesterday’s elections here in Canada.

Paul Martin got the tap on the wrist that he deserved for all the scheming that led him to the position of being the Prime Minister without having been elected to that office. He also got a whack on the head for the sponsorship scandal that at some point threatened to end his political career. But he survived. Why?

My guess is that the majority of Canadians are socially progressive (on issues such as women’s rights, gay rights, etc.) and just couldn’t bring themselves to voting for a conservative party whose constituency clearly includes a significant number of ideologically-driven social conservatives. We might still, in the future, have a conservative government in Canada, but it will have to be won by a Conservative party that manages to convince people that ideological retards are just a small minority within their ranks. Steven Harper, himself a bit of a scary dude, just didn’t manage to do that, no matter how hard he tried to project a smoother image. And his stance on the Iraq war and on health care delivery was just too much to stomach for too many people.

The key thing here is that you need to add the figures for the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc québécois. That gives you a total of 208 out of 308 seats, or a 65% vote share. Even if you consider that some BQ voters might be socially conservative, it’s still a significant share of people who simply do not agree with the backward ideologies of the Conservative. And that’s encouraging for Canada.

The paradox of this system is that the BQ, with only a 12.40% vote share, has 54 seats, whereas the NDP, with a 15.69% vote share, has only 19 seats. This is clearly wrong, and one hopes that this minority situation will provide the impetus to bring about significant changes (although the BQ are unlikely to be willing to relinquish some of their newly found power).

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