Canadialand election thread



By request.

Apparently other countries have elections too.


[Edward Potthast (1857-1927) – Souvenir of Canada – Bigger image with wonderful brushstrokes here.]


88 replies
  1. 1

    They have some nerve to have their own elections, don’t they? The United Snakes invented democracy, & why should we share it?

  2. 2
    Brachiator says:

    And apparently Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party leader, has won the election.

    I look forward to analysis from posters from the North.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    And the Canuckistanis just fucked themselves royally too. Well medicare was fun while it lasted I guess…


  4. 4

    Quebec voters annihilated the separatist Bloc Quebecois in Monday’s election, sweeping virtually all its legislators out of office in a huge blow for those seeking independence for the predominantly French-speaking Canadian province. The party fell to just four seats from 47 in the last Parliament, cheering both those who want to keep Canada intact as well as financial markets fretting about the possibility of the country breaking up.

  5. 5
    LC says:

    Most of us are too annoyed for analysis.

    Basically, more people voted socialist, so the conservatives won.

    That’s actually only part of the story. Canadian politics get complicated and twisted up because of the Quebec situation.

    This was absolutely one of those cases of the nature of the system giving us the result. Just like you can have a roughly 51-49 popular split in the US but have a large majority in house or senate depending on how those votes break for you in districts.

    We saw a chain reaction:

    The Cons barely improved their popular vote but won 20 more seats. Almost all of those were in Ontario, at the expense of the Liberals. The Liberals lost because a lot of people voted for the New Democrat Party, splitting the left-centre anti-Conservative vote. Those people felt emboldened to vote for the NDP because the NDP made massive gains in Quebec, where the separatist Bloc Quebecois and the Liberals had a massive collapse in favour of the NDP.

    The reasons for that whole cascade would be a long post, but now Harper has a majority government and in a parliamentary system, a majority government can get very dictactorial if they want to. If Harper is the idealogue we think he is, Canada is going to have a very bad few years. The silver lining is that it is possible we will have a real progressive opposition that will perhaps be ready to pick up the pieces.

  6. 6
    Wintermute says:

    We have elections. They did not go well.

    Or, without the flowery prose, my Canada is broken. The vote split so badly that two thirds of the 44 ridings in the greater Toronto area went Conservative. 166 seats for the CPC, 103 for the NDP, 34 for the Liberals, 4 for the Bloc Quebecois and 1 for the Green Party.

    So the next four years, Stephen Harper, the Hagfish with a Haircut, can do whatever he likes.

    We’re currently suffering from an unexpected reality failure. Please help us find our information card and receipt so we can get prompt warranty service.

    Or invade us and install some democracy. We promise to put warning signs around our booby traps and to make appointments to ambush your troops. We’re polite that way.

    Anything, anything at all but this. I feel like someone took a shit in my heart.

  7. 7
    Loneoak says:

    I hope Canada Observer comes to explain the moral superiority of their country, now with a strong majority for Bush-lite Harper.

    Dumb-ass Canuck troll.

    Edit: I say that with all due respect to my many Canadian friends, of course. Seriously, I know a lot of Canadians. There are more of them in California than Saskatchewan.

  8. 8
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    The United Snakes invented democracy, & why should we share it?

    Mr. Bouffant? Copyright counsel for pissed off Athenians on line two!

  9. 9




  10. 10
    TheColourfield says:

    We Canucks are now more royally fucked than Kate on her wedding night.

  11. 11

    Hold that call.

  12. 12
    Yutsano says:

    @TheColourfield: Not unless you can somehow snap election him sometime soon. And I honestly can’t think of any way of doing that short of a massive political scandal that should have ended Harper’s career already.

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:

    And we know what else they invented, don’t we?

    Kiddie buttsecks?

  13. 13

    @Villago Delenda Est:


    And we know what else they invented, don’t we?

  14. 14
    freelancer says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:

    Thanks for the hat-tip last night. I updated by the way. More than once.

  15. 15
    kdaug says:

    Y’all wouldn’t happen to vote on Diebold machines up there, would ya?

  16. 16
    Wintermute says:

    @Yutsano: We’ve had massive scandal after massive scandal. The investigations are constant, ongoing, omni-fracking-present. None of it seems to matter.

    Hell, he captured 40% of the popular vote after five years of incompetence, scandal, waste and lies. Another four and he’ll probably be crowned MaplePope.

    @kdaug: Nope, paper ballots in a cardboard box, carefully supervised and counted by Elections Canada representatives. It’s a simple, elegant system with much to recommend it.
    But like most simple, elegant systems it goes very wrong when you hand it to the average voter.

  17. 17
    Peter J says:

    Splitting your vote in a winner-takes-all election. That’s how you win an election!

  18. 18
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator: Shame that Canada continues down the path of imperialism and rejecting progressivism. I had hoped when a Canadian took leadership command in Libya that it would satisfy the bloodlust of Canadians, but apparently they want more conservative policies. Why, oh why can’t they see the error of their ways and elect someone on the left to the leadership slot and control of the upper chamber as the US has.

  19. 19


    Kiddie buttsecks?

    And olive oil. And feta.

    Often all three at once.

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall: Throw in saganaki and spanakopita and we got ourselves a wedding!

  21. 21
    Martin says:


    I feel like someone took a shit in my heart.

    Welcome to America, 2004.

    Sorry, we didn’t mean to share that.

  22. 22
    Loneoak says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:

    And we know what else they invented, don’t we?

    Doric columns?

  23. 23
    LC says:

    @Wintermute – I think he’s got the same sort of situation the right in the US, a hardcore base that won’t leave him but I can’t see him getting much more. He gained, what, 2% of the popular vote over last time? It’s the vote splitting that got us.

  24. 24
    Peter J says:


    Considering that the Conservatives only got 40% of the vote, I don’t see much approval of conservative policies. Maybe the leaders of the other parties should get some information about winner-takes-all elections…

  25. 25
    MattR says:

    Dammit. It looks like I need to develop a backup plan for my backup plan.

  26. 26
    Wintermute says:

    @Martin: I remember watching with tears in my eyes in 2004. I couldn’t believe it. To this day I still don’t believe it.

    And now I get to relive it all over again. Closer to home. Yay.

    It’s days like this that my inner nihilist comes and whispers in my ear.

  27. 27
    Peter says:

    I’m extremely annoyed at Harper’s new majority. However, I’m willing to look on the bright sides:

    1. The Bloq basically doesn’t exist anymore. They’ve always been a waste of parliamentary space, and nobody not actually affiliated with the party will mourn their passing.

    2. The Green party finally won a seat. I honestly thought it’d never happen, which is bullshit, as they garner a double-digit share of the vote in every election.

    3. The NDP are the official opposition. I never thought I’d see the day, but I sure am glad to see it. The Liberals have been crippled as an effective party ever since they gave Chretien the boot, and it was only inertia and the common wisdom that the NDP don’t matter that was preventing Jack Layton from filling the void.

  28. 28


    I do like a nice Doric column. Heavens, that takes me back.

  29. 29
    Wintermute says:

    It’s not the approval of Harper’s and the CPC’s policies and it’s not the percentage of the popular vote that he captured that killed us. Urban Ontario (a longtime Liberal stronghold) shifted significantly to the Conservatives while at the same time the NDP peeled votes out of both the Bloc and the Liberals’ hides.

    But the bitterest pill is just how happy and cheerful the NDP crowd was on seeing the result. Hurray, we’re the official opposition, we dismantled the Bloc Quebecois and still failed to deny our most bitter opponents a majority.

    The hubris makes me weep. Almost as much as the shit-eating grin on Harper’s vile gob when he gave his triumphal address.

    Did I mention that I’m bitter? I’m a little bitter. I’ll calm down, eventually, but right now it’s a little raw.

  30. 30


    well speaking as an american, i am sure you want my opinion on what canada can do to restore its national honor.

    i have to tell you, i saw this day coming. i knew canada was in trouble back in spring 2006. that was the first stanley cup playoffs after the lockout, the oilers were in the finals, on the surface everything would have seemed to be fine.

    then the shocking news that the city of edmonton was running out of beer. i knew y’all were doomed from that moment on. this is really no surprise, its what happens when a country lets one of its most important(they have an nhl team ergo) cities run out of beer.

    almost forgot, my solution, more beer, and a half-quarter if you got it.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    @Wintermute: Well, 2008 proved that it can get a lot better in a hurry. Chin up, work harder.

  32. 32
    burnspbesq says:

    Can someone explain the Liberal Party’s inability to come up with a leader that anybody wants to be led by? Ignatieff lost his own seat, for fuck’s sake. Guy makes Dukakis look good by comparison.

    Maybe you could ask Kathleen Edwards to quit making records and go into politics. At least she’s smart and charismatic …

  33. 33
    Peter says:


    Party leadership races are pretty inbred, is basically what it comes down to.

  34. 34
    Warren Terra says:

    From what I can tell, Harper is thoroughly disgusting – comparing him to the Conservatives that ran Canada twenty years ago is like comparing today’s crop of insane Republicans to Poppy Bush.

    And Michael Ignatieff: what possible excuse is there for his existence, let alone his selection as party leader? I’ve known inanimate objects I’d pick over him, some of them disposable – heck, some of them soiled. If he had a sense of shame, he’d have read David Rees’s epic essay on his Iraq warmongering and retired to live the life of a hermit in Nunavut. The only possible bright side to this electoral travesty is that he will presumably be turfed out. Although I read that he’s not planning to resign … I can only assume that he’s proud of his showing.

    Oh, and an hour ago I couldn’t find the Canadian election on the New York Times website: nothing above the fold, and nothing in the top three stories in the “World” section. Now, it’s there: one line of small print in the “also in the news” section above the fold. Hell, it’s just the government of our neighbor, our biggest trading partner (4:3 over China), people who mostly speak the same language as us, who share with us a “National Hockey League” (theirs) and at one time a “National Basketball Association” (ours), and the folks with whom we share the longest undefended border in the world. I can understand why our only real national newspaper initially didn’t notice and now barely notices that they’ve elected a government.

  35. 35
    Wintermute says:

    @Warren Terra: Harper is thoroughly vile. A full list of his accomplishments would take weeks, but even a cursory amount of research turns up scandal after scandal on the last five years in Canadian Governance.
    One of my personal favourites is our Environment Ministry falling so far behind in submitting annual reports that the Minister resigned his post rather than face up to a possible finding of Contempt of Parliament. Hardly even made the news, at the time.

    To be perfectly honest, NONE of our prospective leaders are terribly good. Harper is (as I said) thoroughly vile, Ignatieff strikes me as an ambitious careerist, Layton has lost me forever after his performance tonight… so happy to be second best that he failed to remember that Canada has been delivered into the hands of our enemies.

    I’m not terribly surprised that a Print News Organization is behind the curve on Canadian Current Events, either. They’ll likely have something up tomorrow. Personally, if I ever pick up a newspaper again it will be to burn it. After the performance of the Canadian Press in the last month (even the CBC, for Buddha’s sake) I may never watch any news ever again.

  36. 36

    Yes and the US needs more Parties and a Parliamentarian system. Ummm….

    But then Democrats are at least three parties…

  37. 37
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall:

    And we know what else they invented, don’t we?

    The Epitaph of Seikilos! The oldest extant complete piece of music.

    Given a broad definition of ‘invent.’

  38. 38

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    That’s quite lovely, dear. Thankyou. I’m always astounded by the things people know.

  39. 39
    RedKitten says:

    I don’t recognize my country anymore. I just want to cry.

    WTF is WRONG with people?!?

  40. 40
    Jack Canuck says:

    I’ve been watching this from afar (I live in Australia at the moment), and I’m as thoroughly depressed by the Cons winning a majority as you are. Harper & Co were vile and damaging enough with a minority. With a majority, it’s going to be very very ugly. It’s not going to be a good four years for Canada.

    That said, I think you’re being too harsh on Layton & the NDP. Two different things happened today, and one of them they can be legitimately happy and excited about: the NDP’s best ever showing nationally, taking over the position of official opposition, and redrawing the electoral landscape of the country by essentially replacing the Bloc in much of Quebec. Those aren’t minor things, and deserve a celebration by the NDP and its supporters.

    Then, of course, you’ve got the HarperCons disastrous win of a majority. Do I wish the G-G hadn’t allowed Harper to prorogue, and that the Liberals & NDP had sorted out a coalition government before? Yes, I do. Very much so. But Layton and the NDP are not responsible for the Cons’ win. I’ve seen a fair bit of complaining (and I’m not saying you’re one of these people, mind you) that the NDP basically “stole” votes that somehow are the property of the Liberals, and if they hadn’t been all mean and taken advantage of a huge surge in the polls, then the “proper” result would have occurred. And that’s nonsense. If anyone deserves “blame” – which I don’t actually think is the case – you could make a good argument that it’s Liberal supporters who refused to switch and support the NDP when they proved to be the stronger challengers. (I do think the Libs & NDP should have made an agreement to not compete in favour of the strongest party in each riding, but that horse has long since left the barn).

    That’s how I see it: a historic NDP success that changes the electoral landscape (depending on how they do in keeping the Quebec support) along with a devastatingly bad overall result with the HarperCons winning their first majority. On balance, I’d rather have avoided the latter even at the cost of the former. But if I had to have the Cons in government (which, especially given the Liberals’ poor showing in the campaign and voting, was IMHO always likely, either as a majority or minority), then at least I’ve got the NDP boost to sweeten a very bitter pill indeed.

    As an aside, SBS news down here mentioned the election briefly on the evening news, and mentioned Harper’s “hat trick” in winning a record (for a Con?) three elections in a row. They didn’t see fit to mention that he’d also performed the unprecedented feat of failing to win a majority twice in a row. I suppose I should be happy it rated a mention at all.

  41. 41
    Shalimar says:

    @MattR: I hear Ireland is a free-market paradise.

  42. 42
    Hypnos says:

    So 60% of Canadians are, broadly speaking, left wing.

    Therefore, you get to be governed by regressive conservatives.

    How any country can put up with First Past the Post is beyond me.

  43. 43
    Yurpean says:

    @Hypnos: Here in Britain, we’re likely to continue putting up with FPTP after our referendum on Thursday :(.

  44. 44

    It seems that the Plurality Voting System – which Canada uses – once again failed to recognize that a majority of voters rejected one party… and yet that party “won” because the districting process gave them enough “winning” districts because of the multiparty campaigns within each district prevented one candidate from an absolute majority.

    Good luck with being run by a political party that’s gonna privatize your health care system into a for-profit mess, and deregulate your environmental protections, eh?

  45. 45
    PIGL says:

    @Peter J: The thing is, those 27%-ers? We got them too. People who proudly state that they will vote Tory, no matter what. People who support Harper for the very reason that a power mad authoritarian. In Canada, a ruthless motherfcker can parlay those viscious idiots into a permanent majority, which I think has now happened. We got played, and the Peaceful Kingdom is very unlikely to survive, in my view.

    I’ve voted NPD almost every election ever, but they are treating this like a victory, instead of a catastophic defeat. Much good their status as official opposition will do faced a majority governement which parliamentary institutions in hatred and contempt.

    WTF, Canada?

  46. 46
    PIGL says:

    @Jack Canuck: I agree entirely….my sentiments’ are Wintermute’s, but this analysis seems correct to me.

  47. 47
    PIGL says:

    @Hypnos: Try getting rid of it once it is established. May as well wish for the Moon.

  48. 48
    Face says:

    Dudley DoRight will fix everything.

  49. 49

    my son’s mom, an Anglo living in Montreal, said she voted for the NDP because the Liberals have been as bad as our democrats: talking pretty to the base, while sucking up to the corporations and doing nothing to inspire a vote. She’s wanted to vote for the NDP for a long time, and finally said “fuck it” and did so, as did quite a few canadians it seems.

    The conservative victory is tragic, but tempered by the fact that the REAL left wing party did quite a bit better then the mealy mouthed centrist corproate libs.

  50. 50
    Hypnos says:

    Really, the political shift was from center-left liberalism to left socialism (the NDP are affiliated with the socialist international and are a social-democratic party, which is what passes for socialism to day), and as a consequence the government moved more to the right.

    It’s so fucking ridiculous! It’s totally undemocratic. Shit, I’m from Italy and when Berlusconi wins, I can at least take solace in the fact that the majority of the country actually voted for him, and they will be getting what they deserve. But left wing Canadians (who are 6 points short of a two thirds majority) get shafted and that’s it. Dreadful.

  51. 51
    stuckinred says:

    @brendancalling: In America we call that cutting off your nose to spite your face with lipstick on a pig.

  52. 52
    Xenos says:

    @PIGL: It is a victory of sorts for the NDP, no? And what would you have them do, make the Liberals the official opposition?

    And what sort of gerrymandering lead to 40% of the popular vote being able to take a clear parliamentary majority? That sort of thing does not happen by accident.

  53. 53
    Ash Can says:

    I think this is the first time I can remember a reasonable centrist/left-ish government in the US offset by a yee-haw, rootin’-tootin’ right-wing-asshole government in Canada. In the past, it’s been the other way around, or mitigated by such factors as the “right wingers” in Canada actually being quite moderate (cf. the PCs). I’d suggest a pool on which great Canadian asset gets wiped out first — education, health care, stable and reliable banks, or the environment — but that would be too depressing.

    (Edited to correct sentence subject fail.)

  54. 54
    RedKitten says:

    @Xenos: A lot of it was vote splitting, unfortunately.

    Let’s say in my riding, the Conservatives got 15,000 votes, the NDP got 14,500 votes and the Liberals got 8,000 votes. The Conservatives would win that riding, and that riding goes towards Harper’s total tally. He has to win 144 ridings to make a majority.

    So the stupid-assed way that our system is set up, it allowed him to win a majority even though he won less than 40% of the popular vote.

  55. 55
    PIGL says:

    @Xenos: I would have preferred substantial NDP gains, but not a total route for the Liberals. An NDP opposition with a Tory minority government might have led somewhere. An NDP opposition with a Tory majority is a pyrix, purrhiclka…one of those victories that really isn’t. The only power centers that can oppose the Tory’s agenda now are the provincial governments of Ontario and Québec.

  56. 56
    canuckistani says:

    Well, we survived the Muldoon years, and we’ll survive this.

  57. 57
    PeakVT says:

    @Xenos: The US experiences the same thing on occasion, most notably in 1992 when Clinton won with ~42% of the vote. But Canada and the UK experience it a lot more often in their parliamentary districts for reasons I don’t fully understand. Live runoffs or some kind of transferable vote system (eg, IRV) can solve the problem if the citizens are willing (and able) to modify their election process.

  58. 58
    Don K says:


    A case in point is Scarborough Centre: Conservative 35.5%, Liberal 32%, NDP 29.9%. In a straight Conservative-Liberal fight, no doubt the Liberal would win. I’ll let actual Canadians opine on whether a straight Tory-NDP election would go to the NDP. My sense is that there are a fair number of Liberal voters whose preference would be Liberal, then Tory, then NDP, because they’re convinced that the NDP is a bunch of Canadian DFH’s who would wreck the country.

    Any opinions on whether there were some Liberal voters who voted Conservative once it became clear the Liberals were in third place, because they were scared to death that the NDP would be in a position to gain power? Maybe we’ll have to wait for some analysis (like from ThreeHundredEight) to get an answer to that one.

  59. 59
    Gozer says:

    Maybe most of Canada can join the US? We’d be glad to have you and I’m sure it’ll be a partnership to our mutual benefit.

  60. 60
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    So the Conservatives DID end up winning roughshod over the Liberals and NDP? They have a majority now?

    Well, fuck. My condolences, canucks, for your equivalent of our 2010s. At least it seemed more a bork up of your system rather than straight up propagandic nuttery taking over the public like here.

  61. 61
    PIGL says:

    @Gozer: Maybe you could just take Alberta. Please. I’m from there, born and raised, and I hates it to pieces.

  62. 62
    Gozer says:

    @PIGL: No thanks. I went to college in the US equivalent.

    I was hoping BC, some part of QC, or maybe a Maritime or two.

  63. 63
    RedKitten says:

    As a friend of mine put on her Facebook: Conservatives are like Nickelback. I don’t know anyone who likes them but they always seem to do well.

  64. 64
    PeakVT says:

    Also, too: thanks SP&T for the thread.

  65. 65
    me says:

    @Sarah Proud and Tall: Suddenly Quebec separatism makes sense.

  66. 66
    Shalimar says:

    @RedKitten: I finally found someone who admits liking Nickelback. We are no longer friends, though I swear that isn’t the reason.

  67. 67
    Comrade Mary says:


    Nope, paper ballots in a cardboard box, carefully supervised and counted by Elections Canada representatives. It’s a simple, elegant system with much to recommend it. But like most simple, elegant systems it goes very wrong when you hand it to the average voter.

    I was one of the people counting (and re-counting, and re-re-counting) paper ballots last night. I was in a Toronto riding where the Liberal candidates had galloped away with huge wins for a couple of decades, at least. Everyone thought the riding was still a lock for Liberals, even with the NDP surge.

    My poll (one of many within the riding) ended up giving a small lead to the Liberal, with the NDP candidate in second, one mere vote ahead of the Conservative. When the rest of the polls in this riding were counted, the NDP candidate had won.

    Just a simple swap of orange for red, right? But as I counted the ballots, I was really surprised by the very strong showing for the Tories, when that party usually is an ass-kicked third.

    Lots of elderly people, mostly Italian-Canadian, coming to my poll yesterday, as well as some younger people (with tiny, adorable children). I think a lot of these people got scared thoroughly by Harper’s pronouncements, and they voted their fear.

  68. 68
    lurkergirl says:

    @RedKitten: FTW!

  69. 69
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I guess this is why I don’t like having multi-party systems: it seems like a microcosm of the left wing purity wars we occasionally see here-yay, we finally have a resurgent NDP! Yay, the conservatives won?

    What good is it having a genuine left wing party as the opposition if the cons are going to royally fuck the country over in four years?

  70. 70
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Don K:

    Yeah, your explanation is why my sympathy for Canadian liberals is…well, its high, but not that high. The whole vote splitting thing seems like a colossal exercise in shooting yourself in the foot for the sake of political purity.

  71. 71
    lurkergirl says:

    I’m not breaking out the sackcloth and ashes yet. THe NDP taking over as official opposition is a big f*cking deal, to quote the delightfully blunt Joe Biden. I’ve always liked Jack Layton, and while I am a little worried about Layton having to fashion a united opposition out of a bunch of newbies (many of whom never expected to win), he was a really effective consensus builder when he was a city politician.

    As for the Liberals, y’all had it coming. Get your sh*t together already or just merge with the NDP. You have just been shown that people want a genuine alternative to the Harpercons. Take the hint!

    In the short term yes, Harper will make our lives hell, but I’m anticipating Republican-style scorched earth overreach that will really poison the well for next time around. What I’m really curious to see is whether he’s finally going to let the hard-core wingnuts and god-botherers out of the closet they’ve been stuffed in until he got his majority. That’s when thing will get interesting, because hardcore right-nuttery has never played well outside the base.

    And though it annoys the hell out of DFHs like me when the voters who got snookered because they don’t pay enough attention suddenly get woken up to what they’ve inflicted on us, it will happen eventually: here’s a couple reminders of what happens to Tory governments when they overreach

  72. 72
    Tom Hilton says:

    Apparently other countries have elections too.

    And at the current exchange rate, the vote totals add up to 105%.

  73. 73
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Tom Hilton: No they don’t!

    #cries and runs out of room#

  74. 74
    lurkergirl says:

    I’m about to endanger my lurker status here, but one more thing: despite the very obvious shortcomings of our first-past-the-post voting system, I would not in a million years trade it for that Rube Goldberg mess of a system south of the border.

  75. 75
    Adam C says:

    The Con majority is a product of two things, IMHO. An electoral system that is the worst in the democratic world, and, evidently, fear of the NDP. How, the Cons managed to convince people that they are good economic managers still escapes me; they have a long track record of large deficits and a stated plan of corporate income tax cuts.

    I don’t know of any reasonable excuse for a modern country using FPTP balloting, other than apathy and inertia. It’s stupid, and it leads to unreasonable results far too often. The only thing that may arguably make our system better than yours is a lack of gerrymandering (although some boundaries are still rather unfortunate, e.g. Saskatchewan). In Canada there is a long tradition of non-partisan (as very much opposed to bi-partisan) agencies, and Elections Canada is one of them. Unfortunately Harper shares the hyper-partisanism of the Republicans (he copies them as much as possible) and he’ll probably start forcefeeding them unqualified hacks as soon as possible.

    Still, 40% of the electorate chose a track record of lies and corruption rather than a very reasonable social democrat alternative. Maybe they were misinformed, but it doesn’t look good on us as a county. We had a nice run.

  76. 76
    Adam C says:

    They use FPTP in the US too. It’s a better system than ours in that there are checks and balances in governance, so corporate interests have to buy the House and Senate as well as the President – so it’s more expensive to corrupt than our system where the PM is all-powerful. It’s weaker because of the bipartisan gerrymandering, which leads to a 90% incumbency return rate even in ‘transformative’ elections.

    Otherwise, if we collapse into two parties, IMO we’ll end up with the same ‘corporate right vs. crazy right’ mess they have in the States.

  77. 77
    PeakVT says:

    @Adam C: I don’t see where the Canadian electoral system is any different than the US, which uses FPTP as well. What is it in Canada that you think is so bad?

    ETA: N.m. on that. I think you’re underestimating the problems of the US Senate, which is horrifically gerrymandered (California has 57x the population of Wyoming) and a co-equal of the House of Representatives.

  78. 78
    Munira says:

    @Hypnos: I’m a duel citizen of Canada and the US and I live in Quebec. The problem with Canada right now is the fact that there’s one party on the right and two on the center left. There were three before the Bloc was decimated although I don’t count on them not coming back in the future. Quebecers are fickle. The US system is crazy and inefficient but at least there are checks and balances. The Repubs in the House right now are limited in the harm they can cause because they don’t have the Senate and the Presidency. In a parliamentary system, it’s winner take all. Harper will now be a virtual dictator and God only knows how much damage he can do now that he’s unleashed. Hopefully, the Bloc will go away forever – that would help, but the Liberals and NDP may have to unite to ever stop the Cons.

  79. 79
    Adam C says:

    Yeah, it’s the gerrymandering that really pulls the US system down. The US Senate is a problem too, but the Canadian Senate has become nothing but a tool of the Prime Minister.

  80. 80
    lurkergirl says:

    @Adam C: having watched the checks and balances in action for several decades now, it sounds good in theory but in practice it’s been severely bent out of shape, at least lately.

    And then there’s that electoral college nonsense in the presidential elections…

    Recent history doesn’t support the notion of Canada collapsing into a two-party system, but nothing is forever in politics.

  81. 81
    someofparts says:

    This passage from Nixonland floored me last night,

    “Youth’s vanguard might be left-wing, the professors wrote. ‘At the polls, [though] the game shifts to one man, one vote, and this vanguard is unmercifully swamped within its own generation.’ ”

    Reagan’s landslide win drove that ugly point home to me here in the States. Hate seeing it happen in Canada, although I envy you having the NDP at all.

    Culturally, it’s like finally admitting that my body politic is stuck with this huge right-wing tumor the size of a basketball, hanging off the right side of the body and dragging everything back. Like it or not, for the rest of the time my body politic has to walk this earth and impact policy, whatever happens will have to be done with this ungainly tumor dragging us back.

    So, tumor of fascism notwithstanding, what can we salvage that the young can build on after the fascist lump metastasizes and ends it for my generation?

  82. 82
    lurkergirl says:

    @Munira: two centre-left parties? You can’t be including the Liberals in that. They’ve been a centre-right party since the 1990s.

  83. 83
    Adam C says:

    Eight years ago we went from five parties to four. Last night we may have gone from four to three. You’re right – nothing is forever in politics – but certainly people are calling for a “Unite the Left” movement as we speak.

    While I don’t like it, IMO a two party system is an inevitable result of staying with the FPTP system. Many ridings last night were won by less than 100 votes while the third place party sucked up several thousand.

  84. 84
    Amanda in the South Bay says:


    Well, if it is left wing purity you are after, you’ll get it, at the expense of the next four years.

  85. 85
    Tyrone Slothrop says:

    It’s completely understandable why the Layton and the NDP would be wearing those shit-eating grins last night – it’s a historic elevation for their party, which has always been the third-ran up here. However, the vast majority of their gain was made in Quebec, and Layton is going to discover for himself how fractious this province, with its neophyte MPs, can be.

    Harper is not a vile man – he is a market ideologue who, one can hope, has been slowly learning the cold, hard fact that Canada demands its governments shift to the centre. The reason he won a majority can be attributed in large part to both a desire for the stability of a majority government, especially during a tense global period, and to the simple fact that the thought of a soshulist Prime Minister – a possibility if another minority government had been the result of yesterday’s election – leaves a majority of Canadians deeply disturbed. Harper has an experienced cabinet and caucus; he must know that he faces decimation if he tries to swing too far to the right. I thought that his victory speech last night gave a hint of promise that he might realize he is now in a position where he can ease up on the pettiness and embrace a more magnanimous interaction with his political rivals. We’ll see. His penchant for secrecy is alarming, as is his tendency to centralize all power into his office. Myself, I would take a PM Harper over a PM Layton at this particular moment.

  86. 86
    lurkergirl says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: who said I was after left-wing purity? The NDP surge surprised the hell out of me – crazy Quebec voters, switching allegiances en masse again! The Liberals are in a mess that’s mostly of their own creation. They failed to function as an effective opposition when they actually had some leverage, and now look what’s happened.

    I’m a pragmatist at heart but right now I’m stuck with a doltish Chris Farley impressionist for a mayor, the strong possibility of the provincial government being taken over by Mike Harris the Second, (more fake populism with a side of extra wingnuttery!) I’ll cling to whatever shreds of hope I can find. Purity is not a factor.

  87. 87
    Adam C says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: @lurkergirl:
    This is what you get in a US-style two party system. Two right wing parties, and if you dare point that out, you get sneered at for wanting “ideological purity”.

  88. 88
    Ecks says:

    @Loneoak: “Bush-lite Harper.”

    Not inaccurate. Except Bush had to cope with other people controlling the legislative branch. As PM Harper gets the executive AND the legislative under his thumb. We’re pretty well fucked here. In fact, @TheColourfield just about nails it.

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench @Warren Terra: : Too soon for the non-gallows humour. Too soon.


    Although I read that he’s not planning to resign.

    CBC says he has quit actually. Good.

    at one time a “National Basketball Association” (ours)

    No, we still share the NBA… Toronto has a team that stil… who am I kidding, you were right the first time. Once shared the NBA (yours) sort-of.

    @Hypnos: Well historically it was fine, because the liberals and conservatives were largely indistinguishable sane centrist, if somewhat uninspired, parties who just traded back and forth power, while the NDP were a minor left-wing party who never got elected, but slowly had their better ideas absorbed by the other two and implemented. But since Harper took over the conservatives (actually it’s a long story, but that is probably the key moment in it), the conservatives have become Republicans North – importing the dirty tricks, contemptuous manipulation of press and parliament (congress equivalent), blatant negative campaigning, the whole lot.


    what sort of gerrymandering lead to 40% of the popular vote being able to take a clear parliamentary majority? That sort of thing does not happen by accident.

    No, it’s not really gerrymandered, it’s just how the politics break down regionally. The splits are mostly by province – especially if you count Toronto as its own province (which in some ways it is).

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    your equivalent of our 2010s

    No, really much closer to 2004 I’m afraid. We knew what we were putting in full federal power, and we did it anyway, to our everlasting shame.


    As for the Liberals, y’all had it coming. Get your sh*t together already or just merge with the NDP.

    This is my vote. FPTP works just fine in 2 party systems (or things that are close enough). These guys need to suck it up like the PC’s and Reform did, and get this travesty back on track.


    US Senate, which is horrifically gerrymandered (California has 57x the population of Wyoming)


    Uh… that’s not what Gerrymandering means. That’s what having “2 senators per state regardless of population” means. Gerrymandering is when you fudge where the exact boundary of an electoral district lands, so that you concentrate all of the opponents votes into one area, and spread your out over several, meaning you tend to reliably win more seats than them.

    @Tyrone Slothrop:

    Harper is not a vile man

    He’s a walking hotbed of corruption and exerting of government control over non-partisan organizations. his party put out a MANUAL for fucksake on how to circumvent parliament. Seriously, the list of bad stuff he’s done is long and damning.

    I thought that his victory speech last night gave a hint of promise that he might realize he is now in a position where he can ease up on the pettiness and embrace a more magnanimous interaction with his political rivals. We’ll see.

    Yeah, we will. Who knows, maybe this time compassionate conservatism really will be compassionate. And conservative. I’d be delighted if you were right, but think you’re a fool to expect it.

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