Election day in Canada, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Right about now the polls should be closed in the east and the shape of the next parliament should be obvious quite soon. I've been away from Canada for some time and this election was quite boring, but this is what I'm hoping to see:

-A slight gain for the Conservatives. I like Stephen Harper well enough and don't see any reason to rock the boat now. I'm also curious what relations will be like with an Obama administration.

-A slight drop for the Liberals. Dion seems like a nice enough guy but I don't see him as the next prime minister. It's good for a party that has governed the country for so long to spend a little more time in opposition and thinking about renewal. The Conservatives eventually coalesced into the party they are today, and the Liberals right now still seem to be a bit miffed that they're not the governing party as they feel they should be.

-A gain for the NDP. I'd never want to see them in power but Jack Layton at the helm is lots of fun and I think they're good in opposition.

-A gain in percentage for the Green Party, but no seats. I really like the Green Party, but I'm not much of a fan of May's leadership. She's a bit too risky (challenging Peter McKay for a seat when she could have gone for a seat she could have actually won instead) and doesn't make as good a case for the party as she could, always seeming to portray it as a party you might want to vote for, but hey, Liberal's pretty good too so vote for them if you want. I don't see much of a future in a party that is willing to throw away votes that easily. Let's not forget that votes = party funding in Canada, and there's no guarantee that Green Party support is going to go up again next election. For all we know there could be a split vote, the Conservatives will gain in seats and those that voted for the Green Party will think: 1) Voting for the Green Party = more Conservatives, and 2) The Green Party leader believes that a vote for the Liberals is just about as good, so why not vote for them next time?

So I'm hoping for just a small increase in the vote for the Greens, enough to bring them more funding but no seats in order to bring about questions about May's leadership, and perhaps next time there could actually be a leader that will have the party's long-term prospects in mind.

Edit: So far the Greens have increased their vote from 4% to 6% (though they've usually done best in Alberta and the West so that'll probably go up a bit) and May has lost her bid for the seat to Peter McKay, coming in second. Had she gone for a safer seat she could have been in Parliament this time.

Edit 2: Wow, the election has turned out exactly the way I had hoped. There's been precious little news about the Green Party so I'm not sure what the talk is inside there about May's leadership but nobody seems to be happy with the election today except Jack Layton so I don't expect they'll be all that content with these results either. It's good to see that Marc Garneau was elected as well, considering that he was the first Canadian in space and the country needs more people that understand the importance of space development. I'd love to see him as the next leader. I don't know enough about him to ascertain whether he would be a good prime minister, but so far so good.

Edit 3: This is also going to be the last election where the opposition party was able to try to tie Stephen Harper to George Bush. Assuming that Barack Obama is going to be the next president, there'll be no anti-Republican drum to beat next time around.

Edit 4: Silly article here on the Greens that has the following: "The party even made an impression in oil-rich Alberta, receiving nine per cent of the popular vote with most polls reporting results." <-- What's with this "even in oil-rich Alberta"? Alberta is where they had their best showing last time as well with 6.5% of the vote. It's places like the Maritimes and Quebec where a good result would warrant using the word even. Newfoundland gave them a pitiful 0.9% of the vote in 2006, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick just over 2%. The assumption that Alberta would not vote for the Greens because of its oil is completely unfounded and there's not a shred of evidence to back that up.


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