October 15, 2008

Canadian Election: Next Steps

By admin

Well, another day, another $300,000,000 down the drain.

Or was it?

Last night, Canada voted.  What did we prove?

Here are my thoughts.

The two ‘traditional’ parties (Conservatives & Liberals) are flailing:

  • The Cons got (nearly) the same vote as the last election
  • The Liberals got pounded and Dion has already made his ‘I’ll do what you want’ speech

The NDP & Greens did exceptionally well

  • Popular vote for both parties was up from 2006

Canadians are getting more and more apathetic about a right that few around the globe has.

So what to make of it all?  My gut reaction is that Liberal seats in key Ontario ridings were not necessarily surrendered to a desire to elect Conservatives, but to NDP & Green strength.  This will continue to happen in future elections.  In fact, I think we all knew this would happen this time and even feared it would be worse.

But again, what does it mean?  With the NDP and Greens getting nearly as much popular vote as the Liberals (25% combined NDP & Green vs 26.2% Liberal), and conceivably more seats than the Conservatives (because no one but blue-dudes seem to vote in Alberta and no one but separatists seem to vote in Quebec), I feel that the NDP and Greens need some way to get together and consolidate their views.  And more importantly, votes.  In time, I hope to do or find a full analysis, but supposition will hopefully do for now 🙂

I would go further and argue that with the Liberals being dead and dying (you’re either a middle-of-ground progressive like Dion who won’t make any progress with real progressive options or a hard-right red Conservative like Ignatieff), the Liberals might even want to join the party before they do another joke of a leadership race.  Save some money, save some embarassment.  Do what Canadians are asking you to do.

Next steps?

In the short-term, the greatest priority for both Layton and Dion should be the introduction of Proportional Representation legislation.  Show leadership.  It’s time we acknowledge that Canada represents a wide array of views and these views should be present in the House of Commons.

DON’T OVER-COMPLICATE IT.  We either vote for PR or we don’t.  Don’t create messy ‘formulas’ that will distract voters.

Longer-term (assuming we don’t get PR), Jack Layton needs to speak to Elizabeth May about merging parties to avoid more erosion of the progressive voice in favour of Conservatives.  Both parties would come out ahead because Greens would shed the notion that they’re ‘yellow blues’ and NDPers would earn a much stronger environmental platform.

Failing all that, we have to be happy with what we got.  Again and again and again and again.

Last thoughts?  I remain optimistic:  let’s start negotiating and get the ball rolling.