Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final thoughts on the election

Polls and Outcomes:
We have had a whole series of polls come out today and they all seem to be saying roughly the same thing, the Conservatives at 35-37%, NDP 30-32%, Liberals 19-21%, Bloc at 5.5-7%, and Greens at 4-6%.

Based on a host of factors, I see the final vote for the parties being as follows

  • Conservatives 38.2%
  • NDP 29.8%
  • Liberals 20.0%
  • Bloc 6.7%
  • Greens 4.4%
  • Others 0.9%

I think that in my prediction of a week ago I am low on the NDP by, Conservatives by 5, high on the Bloc by and high on the Liberals by 10.   I still think the seat totals I predicted on Monday are still within the realm of possible.

I think that we are looking at another minority still, though a very large one for Stephen Harper.  If not that I see a majority as most likely, next a smaller minority.    I realistically can not see any other outcome and not have to ignore most of the information and history I know.

If there really is a complete collapse of the Bloc and the NDP and Liberals combined have more seats than the Conservatives, there could be an NDP minority government.   I do not see an NDP minority government supported by the Liberals being long term stable, I give it a year.

Issues for the NDP after election day
The NDP went into the campaign with about 70 serious candidates in the country.  Not all of those people will win meaning realistically the NDP will have about 50 MPs that have fought hard to win and have prepared themselves to be in Ottawa as an MP.   If we say 90 New Democrats get elected, that means 40 people will be elected to MPs that had no expectation of being MPs and did not really campaign at all.

In elections where parties suddenly elect a lot of unexpected people there is a period of a couple years in which a portion of the caucus is lost for various reasons.   The 1991 BC Liberals caucus went through the loss of a number members, the 1990 Rae government lost four of their 75 members.   The 1993 Bloc and Reform caucuses both had some loses.

I think it is not unreasonable to expect the NDP to lose some of their new MPs over the next two years, especially some of the ones from Quebec.   In a minority parliament the pressures could cause this to happen faster and to more.  I honestly I have no idea who this MPs will be or what they will be like.   What if a bunch of them suddenly decided to be the federal version of Quebec Solidaire?   I submit that no one knows what these people will do as MPs, no even themselves.

If there were an NDP lead minority government, this would be even worse and make the government even more unstable.

Can the Liberals Recover?
If the Liberals are reduced to third party status and about 20% of the vote, what would it take for the party to return to its former glory?

First off the party needs a new leader that is charismatic.   I have no thought on who that might be, no one is on my radar that would wow the nation.

Second the Liberals have to figure who they are and why they exist.   Are they a left wing party?  Are they are right wing party that has a social conscience?  They need to be something more than not the Conservatives and either being in government or waiting to return.

Since it is clear that the Liberals are unlikely to be a threat to be a government federally anytime in the next ten years, many of the Liberals that are elected are going to rethink their options for the future.  The 2011 election was supposed to be the start of the climb back to power for the Liberals.   Any potential for a return is now a long way and huge amounts of work away.

The Liberals are likely to see many of their MPs retire after the election.   Some may resign within the next year to take jobs that are on offer.   The small caucus is going to be further reduced in experience and institutional knowledge.

The rise of Layton makes the federal scene more of a traditional left/right split.   There are Liberal MPs that could potentially join the NDP and further reduce the caucus.   I doubt this would be Bob Rae.   At the same it is not out of the realm of reasonable to see some of the Liberals cross to the Conservatives.

Harper Hating
Harper is hated by a minority of the country in the same way that Glen Clark was hated in BC in the 1990s.   People may not love Harper, but most people particularly passionate about liking or hating him.

I personally see nothing about what Harper has done that makes him in any way, shape or form that he has been as arrogant a Prime Minister as either Jean Chretien or Paul Martin.   I also do not see a majority government under Harper as something to be afraid of, no government is going to destroy the country.  Honestly on a personal level I think there are many benefits that will come from a Harper majority government, not that I expect Nirvana.

Ultimately Stephen Harper is in politics because he is trying to make Canada a better place.   Focusing on hating him moves nothing forward.  Focusing all these websites on strategic voting is a waste energy and ultimately the worst of negative campaigning.   People should focus on the candidate they like and work for them.

I also have no fear of a Layton lead coalition government.     I suspect there is much they would do that would be beneficial.  At the same time I would be worried about the economic direction of the country.

My Core Issues
What really matters to me out of federal politics are a few core issues.

I want to see a retreat of the federal government from provincial areas of jurisdiction.   We have too much duplication and it has been increasing all the time.   It is not effective or efficient.   It also means we have less accountability on many issues because there are two levels of government that blame each other.

Reform of our democracy.   I would like to see most ridings have the same population.  I also would like to see a reform to the Senate that put it under the control of the provinces.   I would formalize the First Minister gatherings into national governance.   Electoral reform would be great as long as it is not a party based system.

An end to all public financial subsidy of political parties.

Freedom for First Nations - an end to the Department of Indian Affairs.   The time has long past in which the First Nations's right to govern themselves is recognized.

A solid free trade macro-economic policy works the best and needs to be protected.


Tim said...

One other historical shift which is not noted by many is the success of the provincial liberal party in Ontario and the decline of Ontario Conservatives from the Frost/Robarts/Davis dynasty era. While this might seem like small potatoes it is actually pretty significant as policies implemented by Ontario in areas of provincial jurisdictions over time tend to get copied nationally at least in English Canada. I suspect for example in the next few years nurse pratictioners in BC will be given the same powers they were recently granted by the McGuinty govt in Ontario notwithstanding whether BC is governed by the NDP or the BC Liberals. Going back I suspect Glen Clark was not able to able to run as left wing of a govt as some of his core supporters wanted due to the success Mike Harris' economic policies. As much BC NDP hate "private power" it really got started under Glen Clark who felt he needed to keep up with the reforms Harris was making to Ontario Hydro.

They are exceptions David Peterson and Bob Rae did not have much national influence but I would tend to chalk that up to the fact they spent much of the political capital on things like Consitutional reform which was just unpopular even in Ontario or opposing free trade which was simply bad economic policy.

Atlanta Roofing said...

Any thinking human that would vote NDP at this time in Canadian history will be viewed as an enemy of Canada if Layton becomes the government. Putting that opportunistic SOB at the helm for Canada is frigging criminal.