Conservatives In… Barely
In Canada’s federal parliamentary elections last night, the Conservatives returned to power for the first time since 1993, almost 13 years in the political wilderness caused in large part by the West’s more hard-line ideology and the decade-long split between two conservative parties.
Stephen Harper will be the next Prime Minister, but his minority government will be weaker than Paul Martin’s was… I suspect we’ll have another election in a year or two. The length of time before the next election will depend on how fast the Liberals can select a new Leader, now that Paul Martin has resigned.
Conservatives won 124 seats (+25)
Liberals, 103 seats (-32)
Bloc Quebecois, 51 seats (-3)
New Democrats, 29 seats (+10)
Independent, 1 seat (unch)
The Conservative advance didn’t go as far most pundits expected, especially with several polls suggesting a 10-point lead in the popular vote when it was closer to 6pts on Election Day. It was reminescent of 2004, as most pundits were shocked at Liberal resilience in that campaign, too.
The Conservatives did make breakthroughs in rural Ontario and Quebec outside Montreal – they won 10 Quebec seats, a major resurgance in the province. As their seats came from both federalist and separatist areas, mostly rural but some urban, it’s clear some dividing lines in Quebec are breaking down – and that can’t be good for the Bloc, who lost seats and votes in an election everyone expected them to make gains in.
But the Liberals held their ground in Toronto and Atlantic Canada, raising a curious question: If a party so battered by corruption and longevity in power and one of the worst campaigns in history cannot be reduced in their heartlands, cannot be taken below 100 seats, can they ever get the true beating they deserve, the kind that would help rebuild their party anew? Why are Canadians so keen on supporting the Liberals as much as they have, despite all of the scandals?
Interesting, Canada’s future is….