Conservative PM Steven Harper has pulled off what some said was the impossible, and has not only been re-elected, but as a majority Government.
There are five “major” parties in Canadian politics. they are:
- Conservatives (a merger of predecessor parties that often fought each other)
- Liberals – traditional centre-left party, but business-friendly. Been in Govt most of the time.
- New Democratic Party – a hard left party, mainly with support in Vancouver and Toronto
- Bloc Québécois – the separatists in Quebec
- Greens – support has ranged up to 10%, but no seats in Parliament yet
So what happened:
- Conservatives went from 143 seats (38%) to 166 (40%)
- Liberals went from 77 seats (26%) to 35 (19%)
- BQ went from 49 seats (10%) to 4 (6%)
- NDP went from 37 seats (18%) to 102 (31%)
- Greens went from 0 seats (7%) to 1 (4%)
The Liberals have gone from being the natural party of Government to a minor party. The only consolation is the Conservatives have been there and done that previously. Their leader, Michael Ignatieff, is a former academic and never came across as a strong leader. He has lost his actual seat in Parliament, as has the BQ leader. It is not unknown for PMs to lose seats as they get swept from office, but almost unheard of for an Opposition Leader to lose his seat. I suspect Ignatieff now regrets forcing an early election.
The BQ are basically wiped out, and this is a huge blow to the separatists – but good for Canada.
Harper is the big winner. He has been pilloried by the left since he became leader. They said he was unelectable. But he has now won three elections, and increased his number of seats at each election.
Jack Layton is a big winner, and at the age of 60 is now the Leader of the Opposition. He may be the next Prime Minister also. But he will need to watch out for the Libs and BQ who will target him as much as the Conservatives.
The NDP are pretty hard left. They wish to ban private healthcare for example.