Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Jack Layton has got to be the happiest man in Canada today, he is headed back to Ottawa with 102 MPs and will have this nice new house to live in.  Not in my wildest dreams did I honestly think the NDP could have this degree of a breakthrough in Quebec.

In the election the NDP gained 68 seats, held 34 and lost 2.   57 of the 68 seats gained were in Quebec.

Seat gains of losses by province

  • BC +3
  • Manitoba -2, they lost one seat earlier in a by-election and did not win it back
  • Ontario +5
  • Quebec +57
  • Nova Scotia +1
  • Newfoundland +1
The NDP went from a caucus where 26 of 36 MPs, 72%, come from BC or Ontario to one in which 58 of 102 came from Quebec, or 57%.   The last time a party won more than 58 seats in Quebec was Brian Mulroney in 1988 with 63.

This huge win for the party does mask the degree to which the Orange Crush did not deliver in the rest of the country.

In 1988 Ed Broadbent won 43 seats in the election, all of them Ontario and west, which is 22.9% of those seats.  In the same area Jack Layton won 36 seats, 17.9% of all the seats.

The big change from the Broadbent NDP and the Layton NDP is that the party is now a national party.  Only PEI and Saskatchewan did not return any NDP MPs.     

In Saskatchewan the NDP took a third of the vote and did not win a single seat.  They came within spitting distance in Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Pallisar and Desneth√©—Missinippi—Churchill River.   It would have only taken about 2500 votes to tip those three to the NDP.

Realistically about 50 of the new MPs from Quebec are not ready to be MPs, had no expectation of being elected, and likely have not been really vetted by the party for who they are and what they believe.   Job one is going to have to be to teach the new MPs what it means to be a New Democrat MP and to get them to connect with the riding they are representing.

BC still remains an important province for the NDP and will become more important as the new seats are added to parliament for the 2015 election.   The NDP has about three to five more seats that they could win in BC in the next election, the problem will come how much they are leaning towards Quebec and how that will play out in BC.  In 1993 the NDP lost more than half their vote and 17 of 19 seats, the federal and provincial NDP support for the Charlottetown accord was one major reason for this huge fall in support.
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