Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Canada did not shift right

A great piece in the Capital Times points out that the right-wing pundits and pontificators in Washington and the US media talking about Canada's supposed shift to the right are a little off base. It's correct of course; Canada elected far more centrist, centre-left and left-wing MPs than centre-right and right-wing ones.

Here's one of my favourite quotes:

"We are glad to see that Canadians have values-voters, too. We can be optimistic about the end of the social engineering as driven by the (Liberal) government."

Ah yes, as opposed to social engineering as driven by a Conservative government, which is of course just fine. (As an aside, this nonsense about "social engineering" is starting to grate my nerves - all governments socially engineer, that's what governments do. But it's got a cold, diabolic, almost totalitarian negative connotation about it, so it's used, particularly by right-wingers, to describe government actions they don't like.)

Here's some other interesting facts:

"According to a poll conducted for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 54 percent of Canadians who voted Conservative did so because they thought it was time for a change, while only 41 percent said they favored Conservative policies."

"Even with their move to the center, the Conservatives did not win anything akin to a majority of the popular vote. In fact, the Conservatives won only 36 percent support. Almost two-thirds of Canadians cast their ballots for more left-wing alternatives.

In democracies with proportional representation voting systems, which better represent the sentiments of the voters, the Conservatives would not be in a position to form a government. Because Canada, like the United States, maintains a single-district, "first-past-the-post" voting system, the Conservatives prevailed over a divided opposition. But Canada has a multi-party political system at the federal level; the United States does not.

If only 36 percent of American voters back conservative Republicans this fall, Democrats will dominate Congress more thoroughly than they have at any time since the Watergate era and perhaps since the New Deal."

"In fact, for the first time in years, the New Democrats won more seats in the western province of British Columbia than the Liberals, and the NDP made significant inroads in urban centers such as Toronto.

Even though they were operating in a political system that tends to drive voters toward the larger parties, the New Democrats dramatically improved their position by running as an explicitly anti-war, anti-corporate free trade and anti-corruption party. NDP leader Jack Layton explained after the election, in which his party achieved its best showing in decades: "While Canadians asked Stephen Harper to form a minority government, they also asked the NDP to balance that government.""

"The bottom line is this: Canadians have chosen to remove a scandal-plagued government that went by the name of "Liberal." But they only did so because the "Conservatives" promised not to be too conservative."


At 2/01/2006 9:17 a.m., Blogger ToryHitman said...

My God, man. The same could be said about the last Liberal government, who are you trying to kid?

You watch. Harper will DIE on that hill, and win a Diefenbaker/Mulroney sized majority government once they realize what liars the Liberals were and that Satan's minions won't scower the earth now that Harper's in charge.

Whatever it is you're smoking, may I have some?

At 2/01/2006 10:58 a.m., Blogger MHV said...

"In democracies with proportional representation voting systems, which better represent the sentiments of the voters, the Conservatives would not be in a position to form a government."

This is incorrect. If we had proportional representation everything would be the same, except the NDP would hold the balance of power.

At 2/01/2006 11:56 a.m., Blogger MHV said...

Also it's the Librals who are holding PR back.

At 2/01/2006 1:09 p.m., Blogger EX-NDIP said...

Libs have moved further and further left . . . I think they should join the NDP . . .

Proportional Representation . . . look at Italy . . . do we want 99 political parties?

At 2/01/2006 2:17 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

Also it's the Librals who are holding PR back.

Really? Because since June of 2004 (it is now February of 2006) the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc combined have had more votes than the Liberals, and now the Conservatives have the levers of government. You'd better get used to not blaming everything on the Liberals now - everything is the Conservatives' fault now!

At 2/01/2006 11:07 p.m., Blogger mAc Chaos said...

For the most part, I agree with this analysis, but after reading a few other reports which more thoroughly dissected the demographics and electoral trends, I'm starting to think that though this wasn't an endorsement of the Right, we're standing at the cusp of some more change towards the right in general. Certainly, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Canada beginning to move towards a more privatized economic model for healthcare? Most likely, for the reason that its sheer weight is simply impossible to bear. I remember hearing about a court ruling a while back that allowed choice between private and public healthcare. Ah, choice; what a novel concept.

At 2/02/2006 2:17 p.m., Blogger MHV said...

I think what we want is a system in which Canadians can vote for the party that they truly believe in without feeling like they're throwing their vote away.

blue grit:
Well I guess we'll find out over the course of this parliament, as Layton has said he's going to make it an issue. My understanding is that the Conservatives are pretty neutral to the whole thing. It will be interesting to see how the Librals and Bloc react.


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