October 14, 2008

Conservatives Win a Minority, but no mandate

CANADA - The Conservative Party of Canada has won 143 seats but failed to reach the number needed to form a majority government. The Liberals won 76, the BQ won 50, the NDP 37 and there is 2 independents. Massive vote splitting between the Liberals, NDP and Green parties crippled the Canadian left, but Canadians fearing a Stephen Harper majority still managed to vote and prevent it from happening.

Harper ran on a campaign of nothingness. Its easy to keep your promises when you don't make any. The party had no platform, no mandate and was basically arguing that Canada should do nothing special. No changes, despite huge economic and environmental concerns. Many people criticize this, suggesting Harper has a hidden agenda and doesn't want to reveal his platform of privatizing healthcare, more military spending and continuing to ignore Canadian schools and universities.

The Conservatives still could not break into the heartland of Ontario or Quebec, but did make some progress in British Columbia due to vote splitting between the NDP and Liberals and unusually strong support for the Green Party. This is the third time Stephen Harper has failed to win a majority government, prompting suggestions that he is a poor leader. If he was going to win ever it should have been this time.

The vote splitting has cost the Liberals heavily and some are whispering about replacing Liberal leader Stephane Dion. In other news Justin Trudeau won his seat in Papineau Montreal, winning the seat back from the BQ which won it in 2006. Trudeau is a potential prospect for leader of the Liberal Party.

Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe lost seats to the Liberals, but still claimed victory for preventing a Harper majority. Duceppe had campaigned on comparing Harper to George W. Bush and saying that the only way to stop a Harper majority is for Quebecers to vote BQ.

Voter turnout however was only 61%, sparking more talk about making voting mandatory or giving people who vote an income tax benefit. Voter turnout is the lowest amongst young people who feel jaded and pessimistic about politicians... but frankly if you don't vote you get what you deserve. Politicians that don't serve your needs.

In the pre-election polls the Green Party was estimated to get 11% of the vote, but ended up only getting 7%. In other words roughly 40% of Green supporters either voted for a different party or didn't vote at all. The Green Party didn't win a single seat, confirming that anyone who votes Green is basically throwing their vote away.

That 7% could have made a huge difference to the Liberals or NDP.

While we were in the voting booth we also noted something funny. The Communist Party and the Marxist-Leninist Party... why does Canada have two parties going for roughly the same thing? And frankly, who votes for them? A complete waste of a vote.

What Canada needs is for the NDP, Greens and Liberals to combine into one party, perhaps under Justin Trudeau's leadership. New ideas and a new future.

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