Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The state of the federal parliament

In the last few weeks there have been three resignations from the federal parliament.

  • Dawn Black of the NDP, now a provincial MLA
  • Bill Casey Independent
  • Paul Crete - Bloc Quebecois - he is running in the provincial election
This means that at the moment the standings in the house of commons are:

  • CPC 143
  • Liberals 77
  • Bloc - 48
  • NDP - 36
  • Ind - 1

You need 153 votes for a majority at the moment. The Conservatives are slightly closer to having the votes to pass bills without anyone else. If ten members of the opposition are out of Ottawa, the Conservatives have a bare majority.

Eventually there will be by-elections for these three sets.

Realistically this seat will be won again by the Bloc. The Conservatives came second in the last two elections with this being one of the few places in Quebec where they showed a significant improvement in 2008 from 2006. But given current polling, I see the Liberals coming second.

Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley
With Bill Casey's resignation this seat will most likely return to the Conservatives. There is an outside chance of the Liberals winning. Elizabeth May might run here but is unlikely to win.

New Westminster - Coquitlam
This riding will most likely won by the Conservatives. I expect the Liberals to have a strong resurgence but not to be able to win. I see the NDP and Liberals fighting for second place.

After these by-elections the house of commons will be as follows:

  • CPC - 145
  • Liberals - 77
  • Bloc - 49
  • NDP - 36
  • Ind -1

155 votes needed for a majority with the Conservatives ten seats short. In the 39th parliament the Conservatives went from being 31 seats short of a majority to 26 seats short.

I doubt that the Conservatives will be able to entice any more people to cross the floor.

I do expect to see between five and ten Liberals to retire in the next year to 18 months. There is a reasonable statistical chance of some deaths, most likely a Liberal and a BQ MP.

I do not see the Liberals pushing for another election, the party needs to do a lot more building to be ready and the polling numbers are not good enough to indicate a strong possibility of winning an election. I do not see the issue out there that will fire up the public and that would lead to a boring and status quo election. That sort of election works well for incumbents being re-elected.

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