The Canadian election results are in, and the conservatives have won.
Or at least we can say that the liberals have lost.
The conservatives garnered the largest share, about 36% of the total vote. But in interpreting the results, we have to remember that Canada’s system is different than ours, both in its majority voting (no electoral college), its parliamentary nature, and its party structure. The latter resulted in a split of the liberal vote and opened the door for the conservative victory.
As Vodkapundit Stephen Green points out:
The countries two lefty parties, the Liberals and the NDP, together garnered about 48%. If you think that sounds like a victory for the righty parties, think again. Ten percent of the vote went to Bloc Québécois – a party that doesn’t stand for much other than getting privileges and tax dollars for Quebec. In that, the BQ is a lot like the Mother Country.
So, yeah, Harper will probably be the next PM. But so what? He’ll preside over a shaky coalition or an even-shakier minority government. If Harper steps into the Liberals shoes by allying with BQ, he’ll foster more resentment in the Canadian West. A Conservative-NDP coalition might very well clean up some of the Liberals’ corruption – but wouldn’t change much else. And a Grand Coalition with the Liberals, ala Germany, would mean that only the names had changed.
Publius Pundit has more to say:
Canada remains an ultimately liberal nation in that regard and many certainly take pride in that. This victory was handed to them in large degree because of corruption in the ruling party, so the Conservatives should definitely take the hint and clean up the government and implement other system reforms. Pushing a social agenda that very likely the majority of the country opposes will result in an election loss that will lead to promised reforms being lost.
Publius does see some plusses that are likely to result from this election:
# No more America-hating Prime Minister
# Democratic reform (elected senate?)
# Lower taxes (slightly)
# Not enough Conservative MPs to crack down on gay marriage, dope, etc.
# Funding the military again
# No more gun bans? No more CBC? (never mind…)
# No capital gains tax when re-investing sale proceeds
And also the following minuses:
#Health care still on a par with Cuba and North Korea
#Weird concessions to retain power…
o Continue the Kyoto madness?
o Stay soft on Iran?
#Another election in a few months (or does this belong in the last grouping?)
Canada has joined the list of nations with post-Iraq-war elections that have ended up favoring the parties who sided with (or probably would have sided with, had they been in power) the US position: Britain, Germany, and Australia (it can be argued that Spain would have been on that list had it not been for its pre-election terrorist attack and the fallout from it).
However, it’s difficult to interpret these Canadian results in terms of US policy, because they seem mostly driven by internal Canadian politics and especially the corruption of the current liberal administration there. The most we can say is that the election may end up resulting in improved US-Canadian relations. Whether or not that was a goal of the Canadian electorate, it may be an unexpected and unintended consequence–a positive one, IMHO.