Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Canadian Election

Hey there hosers,

Canada just had an election and the results are interesting. First some background: The large majority of Canadians (and seats in the Canadian Parliament) are from Ontario. Quebec is the second largest province and its politics are heavily influenced by the Bloc Quebecois - a party with the goal of an independent, francophone nation of Quebec. Canada uses the same electoral system as the USA and UK. This tends to mean that in each district (Canadians call them ridings), seats are only contested seriously by two parties. Which two parties are competitive in any riding varies, however.

The big news is in Ontario where the ruling Liberal Party (something akin to the American Democratic party) won 75 out of 106 seats. Sounds impressive but in 2000 the Liberals won 100 out of 106 seats. In a sense, the Liberals had no where to go but down in Ontario. The Progressive Conservatives (aka "the Torries") won 24 seats and the New Democratic Party (a new left party) won 7 seats. Most press is interpreting this as a rebuke for the Liberals and especially Paul Martin, but one could also view this as the Torry party making a solid come back from an annomolous near extinction. In Quebec, Bloc Quebecois won 54 seats out of a total of 75. The Liberals won the remaining 21 seats. In 2000, the BC had 38 and the Liberals had 36. The Torries had 1 seat in Quebec in 2000 and lost it this year. In the Atlantic Provinces, the Liberals made substantial gains going from 19 seats in 2000 to 21 seats in 2004. The Torries won the remaining 7 seats in those Provinces. The Torries (who recently merged with a regional party called the Canadian Alliance) did best in the West.

Total Seats for Parliament: 308
Lib: 135
Torries: 99
BQ: 54
NDP: 19
Independent: 1

All this means that the Liberals have lost their absolute majority in Parliament. However, Prime Minister Paul Martin will continue as the head of a minority government that will count on support from one or more of the smaller parties on an issue by issue basis. In many respects, this will not matter much to the Liberals in terms of the policy they can pass. They will be able to play the Torries, BQ and NDP off against each other to good effect. Any influence the Torries and BQ will have will depend on their ability to maintain party discipline, something that can be difficult in countries with Canada's electoral system.

If any of you out - sorry - oot there have some special insight into Canadian politics feel free to share!


The Law Talking Guy said...

The fascinating news from Canada was the geographic split. The Western provinces voted for the Conservative party, a party that opposes bilingualism. Quebec voted for the Bloc Quebecois and/or the Liberals. Ontario votes for the Liberals, Ontario's party. The news was that in the Atlantic provinces, the Liberals gained, rather than lost (as was anticipated). So the liberals maintain a somewhat national coalition.

Raised By Republicans said...

And the only reason the Torries did so well in the West is that they just merged with a party that was sort of populist regional party of the Western Provinces.

We'll see if this makes the Bloc Quebecois ally itself with the Liberals against the populist "Conservatives" from the West.