Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Canada goes to the polls

Another American election to watch: Canada's liberal government has lost a confidence vote following a split with its coalition partner, and so they'll be going to the polls sometime in January.

I don't know very much about Canadian politics - but this will be a good excuse to learn.


I meant America in its geographic sense. See here for other elections that will be taking place in the Americas in the near future.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/29/2005 04:09:00 PM

So, Canadian politics...

First off, the Liberals didn't have a coalition partner. :) It's definitely not like New Zealand with formal agreements. Agreements are very much on a confidence vote by confidence vote basis, with a lot of horse trading.

It's a first past the post system.

There is a senate, but it is appointed, not elected, so they aren't part of the election. :)

Currently parliament is very much divided on regional, instead of political boundaries. The parties are all pretty much of a muchness (slightly left or right of center). However, the NDP is more left than the others.

Instead we've got the Conservatives which are centred around western Canada and the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

The Bloc is very much about separatism, with the formation of an independent state as their primary goal.

The Conservatives feed on anti-Quebec feeling in the west, since Alberta, and British Columbia feel (probably rightly so) that they aren't getting a fair piece of the pie. Especially since a lot of it _appears_ to go to Quebec to keep them happy.

It's all fun when you've got a country spanning 6 time zones.

Oh, and they're probably going to be in the same situation after the election, only poorer. :)

Posted by Anonymous : 11/29/2005 04:14:00 PM

Yeah, the Liberals had more of a NZF/UF type supply arrangement with the NDP rather than a formal coalition partner, which led to the use of the speakers vote in a supply motion for the first time at the previous attempt to topple the Libs.

Current polling indicates a similar result (Liberals leading by 4-6%), with the Bloc gaining more of a stranglehold on Quebec, which would pretty much remove the chance of a majority government unless one of the major parties takes chunks out of their opponent's heartlands (Libs being the urban areas, Ontario and the Maritimes, Conservatives being the West and the Prairies)

One of the biggest questions will be the turnout, given that it is being held at the coldest time of year, with only Vancouver and Victoria being the only large cities averaging above 0 in January? It could be that turnout decides who wins.

Posted by Gareth Robinson : 11/29/2005 07:39:00 PM

There is also talk of a low turn out due to the amount of rancour between the Liberals and the Conservatives, with each side accusing the other of corruption and dirty dealing. Apparently, the Conservative Party Leader, Stephen Harper has accused the Liberals of being in bed with organised crime, which has led to the Liberals threatening the Conservatives with legal action if this is said outside of the parliament.

There is a fear that all this 'muck raking' will alienate Canadian voters.

As commented above, judging on current polling neither the Liberals or the Conservatives will have a majority in the new parliament.

Even though, its pretty weak compared to its European social democratic counterparts, I would like to see the NDP pick up more seats. I believe that the party has been more active under Jack Layton and has recovered from the electoral mauling it received in the 1990s.

Posted by Comrade_Tweek : 11/30/2005 11:14:00 AM


Liberals- roughly similar to the Nat social liberals of the
nineties. To the right of the UK
Lib Dems. To the left of John
Howard's Australian 'Liberals.'

Conservatives: Social and fiscal
conservatives. Strong in Western
Canada, weak elsewhere. Too
socially conservative for Eastern
Canadians. Riddled with hardcore

New Democrats: Social democratic
party. More akin to the Alliance
of the nineties here than Labour.
Strong trade union representation,
socially liberal. Third party.

Parti Quebecois: Separatist/
nationalist party of Quebec.
Francophone, socially liberal.
Aiming for a decisive referendum
on the constitutional status of
Canada. If yes, would secede from
the Confederation.

No federal proportional representation. However, Canada has a written constitution, the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which dates from 1982.

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2005 02:29:00 PM

Calling a Canadian an American, it's like a Kiwi being called an Aussie.

It's just not done.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/30/2005 03:23:00 PM