Friday, August 7, 2009

Federal Election?

I am not convinced that we are going to see a federal election in the near future. The numbers for the Conservatives and the Liberals are too close and not allowing either Harper or Ignatieff to feel like they have a shot at a majority government.

Three Hundred Eight dot Com provides excellent tracking of all the national polls, Eric does a wonderful job of staying on top of it all and providing detailed analysis as to what it means for election results in the country. His work continues to indicate that any election at the moment would lead to either a very weak Conservative or Liberal minority government.

Short of some massive blunder by the current government, I do not expect there to be anything dramatic on the federal scene till the next budget in early 2010. At this time I am assuming that this budget will be broadly acceptable to the Liberals and will pass.

My current prediction for the next election is in the fall of 2011, though there is a potential for one in the fall of 2010 if the Conservative numbers look good enough. In either case this will make for another long minority parliament. If we get to the summer of 2010, we will have gone through the longest period of minority government in Canadian history.

We were under minority governments from June 1962 to June 1968 previously. This was the core on an era from 1957 to 1979 when we had nine elections and only three majority governments. This era was caused because we had three national parties and one Quebec based one, making it very hard for one of the two major parties to win a majority.

Since 1993 we have had five parties elected federally, due to the direct competition between the PCs and the Reform/CA, the Liberals managed majority governments for three elections, but since 2004 no one has been able to get a majority. I believe we are in an era where a majority will be very hard to achieve as long as there is a Bloc Quebecois winning 40 to 50 seats. To win a majority you need to win more than 60% of the seats that are 'federalist' in the nation.

Normally in a minority parliament situation, one of the major parties is looking for a moment to get their majority. The nature of the political landscape in Canada at this time makes this unlikely and therefore we are likely to see minority governments for several more elections.

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