The New Regional Party in Canada
The Liberal Party is now the runt in Canadian politics. They only recently accused the Reform/Alliance/Conservatives of being a regional party, but they themselves are now mostly based in three urban cores. Taking into consideration their smatterings of support on the coasts (20 seats) and the sparsely populated northern regions (11 seats), the “party of the centre” is no longer the party of Central Canada.
If you look at the electoral breakdown map provided by Elections Canada, you’ll see a massive red swath cutting across the top and middle of the country.That’s those 11 seats. In those seats, the Liberal margin of victory was significant in only four (24.7% in Yukon, 12.2% in Churchill, 10.2% in Nipissing-Timiskaming, and 9.5% in Nunavut). The rest were all very close races, with the Liberals winning by less than 5% of the votes. If the Liberals had lost about 3300 votes (total) to the runners-up in those close ridings, the map would look more like this:
[pardon the sloppy-looking image; I’ve never pretended to be a Photoshopper]
Yet even then, the Conservatives would still have a minority of 127, the Liberals 96, and the NDP 33. But looking at the eroded Liberal support across Canada reveals that they have been reduced to occupying the holes of the Blue Donuts around the cities (about 0.01% of Canada's surface area). 69 of the 103 Liberal seats are in big cities in Ontario, Quebec, and BC, and they have 3 seats in Regina and Winnipeg. Who’s a regional party now?
When Paul Martin announced during his concession speech that he was resigning, I slapped my forehead in disbelief. I don’t want him to resign – I think an angry old man in charge of the Liberal Party will do the Conservatives and Canada a lot of good. It’s going to take time to undo the damage the Grits have done to the country – not withstanding whatever good they have admittedly done – and a functional Liberal Party will make it difficult to find that time.
My hope for the new Liberal leader is Allan Rock. He’s an old fashioned Chrétienite, and has an arrogance and bluster that will further break up the Liberals. I’d think he has a good shot at taking the leadership too – the core Liberal base must be frustrated with the incompetence of Martinism.
One of the many tidbits I picked up during this election was that not only is it illegal to spoil one’s ballot, it’s pointless because nobody notices. Yet the election results do include the number of ballots marked incorrectly. With the simplicity of the Canadian ballot, I find it hard to believe that many people spoil them accidentally.
Here’s an interesting fact: Winnipeg South’s Conservative candidate Rod Bruinooge defeated Liberal veteran Reg Alcock by 111 votes. There were 111 spoiled ballots in Winnipeg South. If those voters who spoiled their ballot voted Liberal it may have spoiled Rod’s victory party.
Although the official count of rejected ballots isn’t fully available as some of the results are still preliminary, an interesting trend emerges with what’s already been counted.
You’ll see that of all disenfranchised voters, Albertans are the least disenfranchised. As you move up the scale, it’s plain that when any ballots are spoiled, it’s generally worse in the provinces that vote more to the left. Note that in the above table I’m considering the Conservatives as right, and the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc as left-leaning. I’ve factored out the minor parties from the left/right equartion, mostly because math is hard enough without trying to figure out where a Libertarian, Green, or Independent stands on the spectrum.
Les Têtes du Bloc
The Bloc should hurry up and close up shop already. They’re the ultimate election-promise breakers. One term, remember? Their existence within our national Parliament is so ridiculous that it defies analogy.
But I’ll try.
It’s like a pickle going to a party for cats. There’s no similarity, and no real direct opposition, so what’s the point of it attending? I could understand if a dog wanted to attend, for it would have a real agenda. If a mouse were to be invited, that too would make a bit of sense. But a pickle at a cat party is pointless. Cats don’t like pickles, and pickles are indifferent towards cats.
Of course, the Bloc won’t leave Parliament until it’s “good for Quebec” to do so. Here’s hoping the Conservatives can improve provincial relations enough to cause that condition to be met.