January 24th, 2006

Canada: Tories win, but it’s not a conservative country

The Canadian election results are in, and the conservatives have won.

Sorta. Kinda.

Or at least we can say that the liberals have lost.

Kinda. Sorta.

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.

14 Responses to “Canada: Tories win, but it’s not a conservative country”

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  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Woah, George Bush didn’t even say one God Smacking word about Harper. What a bunch of propaganda lies, and BAD PROPAGANDA at that. Which is inexcusable.

  3. nittypig Says:

    The important implication of this election for US policy is that knee-jerk anti-Americanism, for once, failed to pay off at the polls. The Liberals were running ads saying that Harper is George Bush’s choice for prime minister. And it didn’t work! (Well outside the three biggest cities it didn’t work). This is very good news.

    And the conservatives did win seats in the GTA. 905 is very much a part of the GTA. They just didn’t win any seats in the city of Toronto.

  4. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Liberals rely on a small number of large donors, while the other parties fund themselves mainly through many small individual donors.

    For some reason that sounds really familiar to me.

    When a democratic party only represents the rich, then I’m pretty sure they are no longer a representative of democracy anymore.

  5. Sean Pelette Says:

    van der leun:

    The nanny state will probably be decentralized. The Conservatives favour stripping the federal government of many of the responsibilities it has assumed over the years, like health care or more recently day care. The BQ are largely in agreement on this and together the two parties can get something done on this issue. See pedro’s comment about the devolution of power.

    Also the proposed Federal Accountability Act is acceptable to the BQ and possibly the NDP but its passage will seriously hurt the Liberals because it will outlaw donations from corporations and unions and also limit personal donations. The Liberals rely on a small number of large donors, while the other parties fund themselves mainly through many small individual donors. They are currently heavily in debt

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I think if Canada were forced into defending themselves, alone, against an invasion, I think things might change. But that’s not likely.

    “I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”
    — Ronald Reagan, 1988.

  7. Patriot News Says:

    I think the change is good…in the long run. While, correct me if I am wrong, the eastern part of Canada tends to be more left than the Western area, I see a need to have conservative media outlets in the Eastern Provinces from Manitoba and farther in order for the newly installed government to recieve more support.

    NOTE: I feel this story is overplayed by too many. :)

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    I can’t help but wonder at the fact that if Germany and Canada had the American pluralist system of winner takes all, A Jacksonian tradition, they would be in much better shape. Politically, as well as foreign policy and domestic policy wise.

    Is it luck, national destiny, the will of a mercurial God, that the US has such a perfect balance of powers?

    If the Founding fathers had ditched the Electoral System, and favored Majority Votes only and all that it entailed (think Socrates), where would the United States be right now…

    There was a very good reason to balance large states vs small states. As Americans should have studied in their Civics classes. That debate created a balance of powers, where small states could not be leeched of resources and power by bigger and more populous states. The defense of the weak, as well as the rule of the strong.

    Even 2 centuries afterwards, we see the very real effects of the Founding Fathers.

    Which is why george soros, Michael Moore, Syndey Sheehan, and all others of their ilk show such dishonor in not repaying a cent in blood or vigilance, to repay the debt the Founders of this nation paid in full.

    What worth is a man or a woman that does not pay their debts? And how does Canada ever go off the path of British doom.

    In some ways, America has benefited from the Athenians, the Spartans, the Romans, and the British common law. Including all the immigrant cultures, from East to West, from Ireland to Africa and India.

    Yet, the synthesis is very weird. Britain itself was overrun by Saxons after the Roman Empire left them to fend for themselves. So Britain held their heritage as much to Rome as we do, yet… their synthesis didn’t come out right.

    Somehow after WWII, the British convinced themselves that national unity and national character could be produce by the government what a fatal mistake. And Canada, probably suffered from this cultural miasma infusion until independence.

    I think if Canada were forced into defending themselves, alone, against an invasion, I think things might change. But that’s not likely.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    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.

    There will certainly be a more tactful diplomatic relationship:

    A tribute to America’s Ambassador to Canada [comedy skit]

  10. Anonymous Says:

    … what has Canada given the world besides hockey and cold weather?

    Excellent beer.

    When you get down to it beer and hockey are all that matter anyway, so we pretty much rule your ass.

  11. Pedro el Gris Says:

    N-NC!

    Thanks for the recogntional tip of the hat towards the Canadian election, eh!

    Your comments and those of your selected guests, Vodka and PP are solid.

    As a rabid Liberal / NDP opponent, who lives in Calgary, I am somewhat melancholic about the results. To think that the Liberals were able garner over 100 seats in our Parliament is just unbelievable to me. Their recent record of almost continuous unethical behaviour is so shocking to me that I further grieve for my nation’s moral and ethical compass!

    As an admitted social conserative, it is obvious to me that that whole side of the Conservative Party should be practically dumped, ignored, whatevered!! One poll item that really stunned me came via the Global Network’s release that in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) fully 80% of those polled favoured the buzz words: “a women’s right to choose”. This data speaks directly to likelihood that a “principled” candidate trying could gain a seat in this very populous area. The Conservatives were shutout completely from the GTA … admittedly much to the surprise of many a pollster.

    Given the election weariness within the Land, and the Libs need to select another leader, the Conservatives have perhaps 2 years to show the nation effective government. Their ability to change the inbred, destructive machinery of the government and those thousands who waiver at voting Liberal … but do anyway, is highly limited.

    The few things I would like to see accomplished:

    1. movement towards electing senators. Ultimately I think this move would be profound if Mr. Harper can get enough Provinces to do “it”. A “check” that has been perverted by the (not totally but largely) the Liberals, could re-surface. This “check” was suppoesed to be regional voice of balance to weigh against any excesses of a ruling (and often highly regional) majority in our style of representative government.

    2. I hope for more open votes in the House of Commons that do not have “confidence” implications. E.g., if the Conservatives bring a law and order bill forward … let Parliament vote yeah or nay, on its merits, without having the significant overhang that the government will fall if this bill fails a vote.

    3. I for one would not mind a de facto coalition with the separtist-minded “Bloc Quebecois”. Devolution of power from Ottawa to the Provinces is not to be feared in any way ……. as compared to the highly destructive and (to me)frightful trend of centralization of power (especially in the Prime Minsiter’s office) in Ottawa under the Liberals.

    Finally .. this devolution of power via electing senators and giving powers back to Provinces, would sow the seeds of a much better, and oddly, close-knit Canada. Ironically, it would show many tens of thousands of Quebec voters that supporting the separtist “Bloc” does not need to happen. That would make that one wonderful outcome of last night (the true breakthrough of the Conservatives in Quebec)a trend that indeed would be so positive in the years to come!

    Double finally …. can the Conservatives start affecting a sea-change of attitudes in places akin to GTA. I doubt it. I’d be over the moon if it happened but I’m from Missouri on this election being anything but a blip in Canada’s recent electoral history!

    Go Flames go, eh??!!

  12. Van der Leun Says:

    Times like these with an apocalyptic tone seem always to call for apocalyptic elections. The disappointment with the lack of such results stems primarily, I think, from a mistaking of tone for a mature democratic process. Canada is a long, long way down the road towards the nanny state and it is impractical to think that radical change can come about once so many are invested in the state structure as it currently exist. The best that can happen is a slowing of and slight reversal of the general electoral tendency. Which is precisely what happened here. Change doesn’t come overnight except under the most dire of situations. Instead, it comes in fits and starts and slowly over a number of elections.

    All in all, it is a beginning. Small, but significant.

  13. Sean Pelette Says:

    Bah, you posted this while I was busy commenting on your previous Canadian election post. I’ll be back.

  14. Goesh Says:

    The world needs more Canadian jokes. I realize I’m a bigot at heart and very prejudiced against Kanucks, but what has Canada given the world besides hockey and cold weather? Where do you think most of our cold fronts come from?What national Army has a ratio of 1 rifle for every 50 men? It starts with a C…
    What nation taxes tobacco so high as to generate very lucrative southern smuggling operations? It starts with a C….
    What nation loses millions to said smuggling operations yet foots the bill for health realted problems associated with tobacco dependence? You probably guessed it by now, eh?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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