Friday, September 28, 2007

Federal by-election results

This is something that I should have talked about last week, but time has passed and I have had some time to think about what the results mean.

We now have a federal parliament that has the following composition:

  • Conservatives 126
  • Liberals 96
  • BQ 49
  • NDP 30
  • Independent 3
  • Vacant 4
At the moment 152 members are needed for a majority as opposed to 154 when there are no vacant seats (I am assuming one less because of the speaker). The Conservatives need to find 27 other MPs to support them to get a majority on the floor. At the time the government was formed they needed to find 30.

The three independents are all ones the Conservatives can expect to support the government on a moderately regular basis.

What we have now is a rather stable minority government as you need to have all three opposition parties agree to defeat the government.

The win for the Conservatives in Roberval was an important step forward for Harper. The Conservatives seem to be able to gain the vote of the bleu in Quebec, a vote that has gone the the BQ and the Credistes in the past. It means that Quebec should start to deliver a consistent 25 to 30 seats in the Conservatives in the next few elections. Together with the 60 or so seats the Conservatives can count on in the west, this means that the Conservatives are sitting at about 90 seats before the writ is dropped. There is a major political realignment coming in Canada and I believe we will see the Conservatives as the main governing party for the next generation.

Roberval itself has only elected a Liberal in 1980 since the 1950s and that was the election when the Credistes died out in Quebec. This loss is not good for the BQ - they can not afford to lose the bleu of Quebec. This result mirrors the provincial election where the ADQ has become the new bleu party and pushed the PQ into third place.

Outremont is in my opinion a one off by-election win for the NDP. I expect the Liberals to find a better candidate in the general election and retake this stronghold. I see the result as an anybody but the Liberal result. the New Democrat was the best choice to win.

Saint-Hyacinthe Bagot is the only riding that did not change hands, but the result should not be one the BQ is happy with. The Conservatives are close to them, too close for comfort. The Liberals should note that in the 2006 election they were relegated to third party status in the Eastern Townships.

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