January 24, 2006
Canadian Vote a 7.2 On the Political Richter Scale
The magnitude of the just-concluded vote in the Great White North is more stunning that most of us realized, and certainly of more moment than the American newsies have admitted. Consider this: before the vote, when the last government of Paul Martin was dissolved, the Liberals led the Conservatives by thirty-five seats: 133 to 98.
But the best guess, with nearly all the votes tallied, is that in the new government, the Conservatives will lead the Liberals by twenty seats, 123 to 103. That means a swing of twenty-seven and a half seats from Liberal to Conservative, out of a total parliament of 308 seats... a flip of nearly 9%. (The "half a seat" is just an artifact of having more than two parties in parliament.)
The equivalent in the U.S. House of Representatives would be seventy-eight seats going from one party to the other... something that has happened only once in my lifetime: in the 1994 election that swept out the Democrats in favor of the Gingrich Republicans, fifty-four seats switched party; but that's out of 435 representatives, which is 12.4%... bigger than this election, but not by that much.
Even though Stephen Harper will not have an absolute majority -- that would be 155 -- he has a very strong plurality and can probably form a stable government for at least a couple of years. And as Bush's first term showed, a lot can happen in two years.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that the Liberals don't simply dig in their heels and try to prevent any legislation at all from occurring, as the Democrats are doing here. It would be decent to give Harper at least one chance to make good.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 24, 2006, at the time of 5:56 AM
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The following hissed in response by: David
"It would be decent to give Harper at least one chance to make good."
And there's the fly in the ointment. Do you know one person with more than two active brain cells who expects any more decent behavior from Canada's liberals than from U.S. liberals?
I'd give it a great big Canadain snowball's chance in hell.
The above hissed in response by: David at January 24, 2006 7:27 AM
The following hissed in response by: radarbinder
Canadians see this, generally, as a trial period for Conservatives. I figure anything less than 140 seats fails to meet the criteria for a mandate. Plus, the NDP made big gains as well. The Liberals are going down but many who had voted for them went NDP this time. Big losers? The Bloc, which lost seats and thereby momentum in the quest to break off Quebec from the rest of Canada. Slithering out...
The above hissed in response by: radarbinder at January 24, 2006 12:26 PM
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