October 15, 2008

Four More Years! More Or Less!

In my last post (which just goes to show how often I'm not blogging these days),I wrote:

I'm projecting a Conservative victory, though I'm not going to commit to predicting a minority or majority government at this stage.

Safe bet, I guess, because after the polls closed and the votes were counted, Stephen Harper and the conservatives had won a second term, albeit another minority government. However, they were only shy of the majority by about a dozen seats; possibly only another percent or two of the popular vote would have netted them that majority.

The Tories were the big winners last night, gaining 19 seats over the 2006 election; all but one incumbent cabinet minister were re-elected - including former Foreign Affairs minister Maxime Bernier, he of the loose lips and biker-chick girlfriend. The NDP also gained 8 seats.

On the other hand, the big losers were the Liberal Party; they lost the seats that the Tories and NDP gained. My hometown riding of Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing - Lester Pearson's old riding - has elected no one but Liberals since 1935. Last night, the NDP candidate upset that streak with nearly half the votes. I live in Ottawa South which I assumed was a safe riding for the Liberals, but if they can be upset in northern Ontario, then who knows what could have happened here. Needless to say, Stephane Dion will be polishing up his resume soon.

But the big, big loser this election was Elizabeth May and the Green Party. Despite all the moaning and legal threats to get May into the leaders' debates, the Greens failed to pick up a single seat, and lost the one seat they did have (one independent MP joined the Greens during the summer break and never actually sat in Parliament as a party member). Now we'll be listening to May whine about proportional representation until the next election. (There's a reason we use the first-past-the-post system, Liz: it makes you try harder.)

Because Canada now has fixed election dates, the next national election under normal circumstances would be October 16, 2012. Of course, the Prime Minister retains the power to request an election at any time, and in a minority-government situation, there is still the possibility of a no-confidence motion forcing one. Either way, the next few years are going to be fun.