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The view from here

I know all of Canada has been waiting to hear what I had to think about Monday's election.... I can't say I'm terribly glad to see the Conservative Party win a minority government. I'm not inclined to be pessimistic, though. CBC's The National had two different commentaries that indicated the voters wanted a change, but not that much of a change, which showed why the Conservatives only won a minority government and the Liberals still had over a hundred seats. The fact that it's a minority government means that Stephen Harper, the new prime minister, will have to work with members of the other three parties, all to the left of his own. So that will place a limit on how much damage he can do, I would think.

It's interesting that in Canada, as in the U.S. in 2004, voters in the urban centers went Liberal, while voters in suburbs and rural areas went Conservative.

It's possible that Harper's government will last but a short while and then meet the same fate as Paul Martin's did. I did come up with one nightmare scenario, though. Suppose Harper does very well and builds his popularity. Then he calls an early election with the purpose of obtaining a majority— and succeeds. I've heard of this sort of strategy in parliamentary systems. I'm not sure that's likely, but the prospect is worrisome.

Just remember, though... Canada's conservatives aren't quite as reactionary as America's. At least that's what I've heard.

Comments

(Anonymous)
Jan. 25th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC)
Well, one poll shows that 61% of Canadian voters would prefer to let the gay marriage situation stand as it is now, but perhaps as many as 83% of Harper's supporters want it repealed. It's certainly on shaky ground.

There are other issues of equal or greater concern overall. Will Harper be able to push Canada into full-fledged participation in Bush's oil wars? Will he push for a renewed abortion ban? Will he allow some of his more right-wing supporters to try to dismantle or severely reorganize the national health program? How will the Tories treat immigration policy? Minority rights? Equality for women? It all seems to be up for grabs now.

Of course the NDP gained a few seats too and will probably oppose anything of this sort. The Bloc Quebecois isn't going to be a pushover either. But the Liberals may be rather disorganized after this defeat and I wonder how many will support Harper's programs in an attempt to regain some kind of popularity. Because Harper must join with the Liberals or the BQ in order to form a government it seems likely the Liberals will be the choice. And will the Liberals trade away gay marriage in order to get some other choice goal of their own?

All things considered, it isn't nearly as bad as what we have right now in the US, with one party calling all the shots on everything. On the other hand, hearing several Canadian friends refer to Harper as "Hitler" doesn't make me feel good, and neither does the "notwithstanding" loophole. In order to regain our balance here in the US, we do not need a Bush supporter rally north of the border.
altivo
Jan. 25th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that was me. I'm getting really tired of having LJ expire all the cookies over and over again.

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