Saturday, April 30, 2011

PoliticsCanada: 2nd & 3rd parties switch: Conservs still in lead, but chance of majority very shakey

Reuters (Apri30,2k11)

Pollsters have calibrated the prospects of Canada's Conservative Party, now the governing party based on a leading minority status in the House of Commons, the party having inched back into a 38% status 3 days before the May 2 national elections.  This leaves them 2 percentage points short of the 40% threshold that ordinarily results in a majority of seats in the Commons, and thus into stable full term governance.  The Conservs had dipped to 36.4% yesterday.

These minute fluctuations come after an amazing upsurge of voters turning to the New Democrat Party, which had held a perennial 3rd place status in the total national vote and in the Commons.  One outstanding proposal tending toward greater electoral justice in the Canadian federation has been its present leader's advocacy of proportional representation; but another stand registers as on the deficit side of the goal toward stable democracy that has long been advocated by the Conservs -- namely, an elected Senate (instead of simply enduring forever the serious flaw in the repatriated Constitution that provides only for Senators by appointment of the Prime Minister).  The NDP erroneously wants to steer the country into instability by abolishing the Senate.  Still, there's the NDP's advocacy of PropRep; in refWrite's opinion, that's an advance beyond present Constitutional arrangements.

The main surprise of election trends is neither the statistical path in the polling thru-out the campaign toward a minority Conserv govt again (it woud be the third such, each time headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper), nor the upsurge of the NDP (which is more clearly socialist than the other two left parties in the Commons), as startling as that NDP upsurge has been in the polls. But the real shocker is the now obvious degeneration of voter support for the Liberal Party at the federal level.  Two Liberal leaders now have, in succession, failed to capture the imagination of voters sufficiently to carry their party into even a minority-governing status.  Besides the long history of fraud and other scandals attached to the Liberals before the latest phase of that party's leadership by eggheads (Stéphane Dion and presently Michael Ignatieff), motivated by grandiose Green schemes, ever increasing spending and national debt (etc), there has been the recent gaffe by Iggy where he at least attempted to balance his promises of spending splurges with a resolute proposal to increase sales taxes.  He thus set himself off from Jack Layton, the NDP leader, who insists no increase in sales taxes.  The amazing thing is that Layton woud instead increase taxes on "the rich" -- and thus on those among them are the main source of job creation.

Were we only to concentrate on one factor like economic policy, we can now risk saying with reference to the latest polls that voters are leaving the Liberals in large part for New Democrats, and the country is polarizing into a clearer left vs r+t split.  But some nuances of such a judgment and forecast are necessary.  One of them being that the Liberals have always had centrist and mild-r+t tendencies among its "big tent" membership and parliamentary representatives.   Some voters for Liberal candidates are moderates or left-of-center on fiscal policy, but social conservatives on family, r+t to l+f, sexuality/marriage, transgender use of women's washrooms in public places, etc.   These voters may be trending to switch support to the Conservs, who are not the raving ideologues the left parties try to paint them to be -- the main concern of the Conservs has been to stabilize the economy, encourage investment within Canada, job creation, ease the tax burden on all wage-earners, stop the rise in government indebtedness, and actually pay down the debt to free up the oncoming generations.

In  closing, I can only note that the Green Party has not yet found a seat in Parliament.  It's 900,000 segment of the voters in the last federal election was denied representation in the Commons (Canada's constitutional flaw) due to the dispersal of its voters across the country; on the other hand, the Bloc Québecois whose voters are much more densely concentrated in one province and who had less than Greens in total votes gained over 50 seats federally for their separatist cause.  Ironically, the rise of the NDP which peaked this time around at 31.2%, and now has slipped a bit to 29.6%. The separatist Bloc Québecois, on the other hand, does not gain from the federalist Liberals in Québec where Libs are losing voters to the NDP (up to a whopping 39% there!, leading the field) and to a lesser extent to the Conservs.  It's possible that the expected 2nd (NDP) and 3rd (Libs) parties in the federal Commons will unite to try to deny the expected 1st place Conservs the role of forming the new government, altho in the electoral campaigns the NDP and Libs both parties swore each woud never enter a coalition govt with the other.  In 3 days time we'll know where all these mysteries take us.  Long live Canada!

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