2011 CANADIAN ELECTION May 2, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Global Electoral Politics.
Canada, in effect, has a three party system framed by a first past the post voting system. Today Canada goes to the polls to elect a new parliamentary national government.
This has given that country a minority Conservative Party, led by Stephen Harper, that has managed to steer through the Global Financial Crisis because of existing banking regulations, but may see a government elected with a mandate committed to deregulation and the politics of austerity. This outcome would be made possible by an possible alliance between the Conservatives and the Liberals. The difference with the UK is that that Liberals in Canada have been part of the two party system, whereas in this election the National Democratic Party – social democratic labor party – seems to be making the running in this election.
It is not exactly clear to me why the Liberals if they held the balance of power would form an alliance with the Conservatives and not the NDP. Electoral systems aside forming coalitions across the political spectrum can be both damaging to the party brand and alienating for the party support base, as their is evidence in both Britain and Germany.
The leader of the Liberals, Michael Ignatieff is said to be cerebral but not politically personable, unlike for example Barack Obama or Bob Hawke. Such awkwardness is shown up in media presentations and becomes a problem, even if the person has qualities that might make them an effective political and national leader. Electors seem not to be good judges of balancing personal strengths and weaknesses in the personalities of those they elect giving rise to remorse and anger. Media that sees its main function as entertainment has no democratic discernment to offer, except as Lindsay Tanner has suggested to “the dumbing down” of the democratic process.
According to Sam Knight writing at Truthout, the Conservatives are using the techniques of segmentation and polarization, some common now and so destructive to democratic process, very effectively in individual “ridings”. He seems to predict that the Conservatives will be in position to form the next government of Canada. One implication is Americans will be looking for other places of sanctuary to escape the oppression of “reduced government” and reduced government services.
Nothing was said of the parties position on climate change and the reduction of the ice sheet in the Arctic Ocean. The retreat from civilized values and human decency is in full flow across the world, so why should Canada be different?
At Blogtariat, Poll Bludger gives a more quantitative assessment, including giving recognition to Bloc Quebecois.
There are still no results, not unexpected since Western Canada is about 17 hours behind us. Tomorrow then.
It looks as if the Conservatives have won a victory winning 167 seats with 40% of the votes cases. The NDP have 102 seats with 30%. The Liberals have 34 seats with 20% of the vote. BQ have 4 seats with 6% of the total vote, although presumably concentrated in Quebec. The Greens have one seat with 4% (which is a pretty good result).
That is Simple Plurality in operation. A party that attracted 40% support of the voters can win government, even though 60% voted for other parties. Long story short: the Conservatives appear to have won comprehensively.
It is possible to compare the percentage to total vote to the percentage of seats and that gives:
CPC; 39.62% of votes – 54% of seats. NDP 30.62% -33%. Lib 18.91% – 11%. BQ 4% 1.3%. GRN 3.91% -0.3% (there is a rounding error in the percentages of seats)