Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And We Spent $300,000,000 For What Exactly....?

2008 Voter Turnout:
59.1% of registered electors (or about 41% of all Canadians)
- one of the lowest in recent history

Total Conservative vote percentage:
2006 - 36.3%
2008 - 37.6%
- A 1.3% increase after governing for 2 years
- From 127 to 143 seats (gained 16 seats)

Percentage of Canadians who did not vote for Harper's Conservatives: 62.4%

Times Stephen Harper has attempted to get a majority and failed:
Three times (in 2004, 2006, and 2008)

Overall Seat Count 2008:
Conservatives: 143
Opposition: 163

Liberal vote percentage:
2006 - 30.2%
2008 - 26.2%
From 95 to 76 seats

NDP vote percentage:
2006 - 17.5%
2008 - 18.2%
From 30 to 37 seats

Bloc Québécois
2006 - 10.5% (Canada-wide)
2008 - 10% (Canada-wide)
From 48 to 50 seats

Green vote percentage:
2006 - 4.5%
2008 - 6.8%
No seats

Under a Proportional Representation system, the seat totals would have been:
Conservatives: 116
Liberal: 81
NDP: 56
BQ: 31
Green: 24
When a party like the BQ gets 10% of the vote and 16% of the seats, while the Greens get 7% of the vote and no seats, that clearly shows the flaws of the current first-past-the-post system.

All five party leaders have some thinking to do this morning. While many of them had a bright side to look at, none of them really got anything they wanted.
The Green's Elizabeth May got her wish: she was in the debate. The Greens increased their popular vote more than any other party. And were still nowhere near electing anyone. The Greens need a leader who will run for Prime Minister, not offer up advice on strategic voting.
Speaking of running for Prime Minster, that's what Jack Layton of the NDP did. He took dead aim at Harper's job. And finished fourth. Yes, the NDP did gain some seats, but how many more fight does Jack have in him?
Then there's Gilles Duceppe, The Man Who Would Not Be King. He's got to feel good. His party gained a couple of seats, and clearly his plea to Quebeckers to stop a Harper majority worked. It's too bad for him that all those voters who listened to him chose to block Harper by voting Liberal. How many more elections does Duceppe have in him? Can the Bloc survives if he leaves, or has it become irrelevant and does it survive only by the force of Duceppe's personality?
The only bright side to the Liberal's performance is that they did make some gains in Quebec, but otherwise it was a dismal show. Dion is toast. The knives are out. The Liberals need to make some big changes soon, or they will disappear has a force in Canadian politics. Who will be the next leader? I'm thinking Ignatieff. But the leader after him will have a familiar name: Trudeau.
Harper and the Conservatives had a reasonable night. But this is Harper's third time at the plate and he couldn't close the deal with a majority. And if he couldn't do it this time, with the center/left vote split three ways, an ineffective opposition leader, and an economist's perfect issue dropped into his lap in mid-campaign, can he ever? The knives may not be out yet for Harper, but I'm sure some Tories are going through the knife drawer.

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