Conservatives take back Canada…

The Conservatives in Canada have rolled back into power, even dumping the Deputy Prime Minister out of parliament and wiping out Liberals in Alberta, though Canada has a way of exaggerating the political fortunes/misfortunes of it parties. Mark Steyn blogged it. Michael Ignatieff takes up a career on the Liberal backbenches, and gives a good outline of how his party lost the election (sound file), rather than how the opposition won it per se. A serious boost for the rising confidence of the Tories in Westminster! See The Agonist for more background!

  • Is it just me, or is the way the issue of Quebec is an insoluable source of political chaos in Canada a pretty strong reason why FF, FG and Labour will never back Irish unification (whatever the rhetoric)?

    To that point, I’ve been asking pol pros to weigh in on a hypothetical. Can you envision a plausible scenario, over the next five years, that sees Fianna Fail’s dominance of Dublin politics end for at least a generation, ala Tories in Canada or Britain or to a lesser extent the Dems in the US?

  • slug

    Richard

    Good question.

    I think its one of the advandtages of the First Past the Post system that a significant switch of public opinion can do big damage to an establishment party, while in PR-STV it tends to be much less dramatic.

    BTW how did the separatists do?

  • slug

    To answer my own question, the Quebec separatists have fallen below 50%.

  • darth rumsfeld

    insightful point from Richard. A good night for Canada, though Mark Steyn as PM would be even better-he is a truly brilliant columnist, marginally falling short of deranged.

    On a parochial front ( this IS a website about NI after all)watch for UUP politicos trotting this out as an omen for their comeback in ..er,well, 2020 actually, if its an exact comparison.

    Smile knowingly as they studiously ignore the fact that this is an entirely new Canadian Conservative party, growing out of the corpse of the party which went from Government to two seats.

    Chortle as they gloss over the fact that several leaders, a complete new party structure, numerous false dawns and unimaginative makeovers later it was only an epoch of inept Liberal leadership that pushed them back into power- so no comparisons with Combover man and his acolytes there then.

    Sigh as they assure you that new touchy feely Unionism, a cross between Trevor Ringland, Sylvia hermon, and a cream puff, will save their party.

    Then knock back a few Coors in tribute to another family in the vast right wing conspiracy, and start praying Uncle Don runs for Pres in the Great Satan in 2008

  • slug

    Darth:

    Well if I recall right it wasn’t the UUP that started using the Canadian Tories as a comparison.

  • oceallaigh

    The election of the Tories in Canada was seen as a protest vote against Liberal corruption and scandal whereby hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars found their way into companies allied with Liberal party members .The Gomery inquiry is still under way and has so far come down on the Liberals as they were under Jean Chretien leaving Paul Martin his successor to take the heat even though he was exonerated by the inquiry.The Conservatives have a minority government and will be walking on eggs for a while until the Liberals get restructered and another election could be imminent within 2 years or less .The Conservative`s win also signals a power shift to the west of the country and with the oil boom in Alberta it would seem it could be a new era for the west .

  • oceallaigh
  • Ben A

    A fantastic day for Canada! Well cone, Canuckistan. Steve Harper may be marginally less shady than Richard Nixon, but some good things come from this result to make Canada a wonderful political and social model. It’s like the jigsaw has fallen into place.

    Here’s hoping for more Tory victories.

  • oceallaigh

    Harper has a lot more in common with Bush than a lot of people realise .No doubt we will be hearing a lot more Harperisms.
    The world is now unipolar and contains o-nly o-ne superpower. Canada shares a continent with that superpower.
    Stephen Harper

    There is a Canadian culture that is in some ways unique to Canada, but I don’t think Canadian culture coincides neatly with borders.
    Stephen Harper

    This party will not take its position based o-n public opinion polls. We will not take a stand based o-n focus groups. We will not take a stand based o-n phone-in shows or householder surveys or any other vagaries of pubic opinion.
    Stephen Harper

    Toryism has the historical context of hierarchy and elitism and is a different kind of political philosophy. It’s not my favourite term, but we’re probably stuck with it.
    Stephen Harper

  • Who knew Canada could get so many people riled up?

    Nobody going to bite on the FF question, then?

  • slug

    Richard I did bite on that.

  • oceallaigh

    sorry, I was a member of the NDP and worked in Canada as a union organiser with the auto workers so I know the Tories are no friend of the working man .During the election campaign the Liberals alleged the Tories got a lot of money from very right wing supporters in the USA.

  • Ben A

    oceallaigh; I was president of a national union, and I’m no friend of the working man, either. And your Harperisms all made sense, so thay’re a category different from the idiot Bush’s frequent misunderstandisations.

  • My bad, slug. It’s an interesting point, which I’ve been coming around to. Growing up in a FPTP system one is taught it’s the best route to political stability (stable two-party system anyway). But PR actually seems a good way to lock in a status quo.

    But the question is, then, under a PR system, can anyone think of a dominant party being wiped out?

  • oceallaigh

    Which Union was that Ben ,the Teamsters ,your last name wouldn`t be Hoffa by any chance?

  • “Can you envision a plausible scenario, over the next five years, that sees Fianna Fail’s dominance of Dublin politics end for at least a generation, ala Tories in Canada or Britain or to a lesser extent the Dems in the US?”

    I would draw a similar parallel with FGs slow demise. There is a shortage of quality in the FG front bench (excepting, for example, Richard Bruton). FG probably need a radical leader who can maintain a credible and interesting opposition to FF who, in spite of the long time in office, do not seem as tired as the opposition would wish.

    At the moment the nearest we have to radical progressive parties are the PDs and SF. The PDs have painted themselves into a corner somewhat and the progressive or radical tendencies in SF is a thin veneer.

  • slug

    Michael

    “the progressive or radical tendencies in SF is a thin veneer”

    Can you spell that out a little more for those of us not familiar with the world of Dublin politics?

  • Henry94

    Fianna Fail’s pragmatic capacity to change makes it a hard party to knock out.

    What causes parties to be decimated is sticking rigidly to ideological positions when the voters have moved on. It gives the impression they are not listening.

  • Mickhall

    Any one know if Michael Ignatieff was elected, he was bad enough as an intellectual but as a politician, Ahhhhhhhhh.

    Regards.

    I see the left of centre NDP gained 17 percent and 29 MPs which does not really reflect the number of people who voted for it. I presume it is first past the post in Canada? Anyone know the percentage the conservatives gained, was it a minority of the votes cast.

  • slug

    “Any one know if Michael Ignatieff was elected, he was bad enough as an intellectual but as a politician, Ahhhhhhhhh. ”

    Yes. He was.

  • oceallaigh

    Its becoming harder to tell the difference between a lot of parties anymore if you examine their policies,they all seek the centre and latch on to what they think might be popular issues like same sex marriage for example to win undecided voters and sometimes it just comes down to which candidate projects him/herself better .As long as the southern economy continues to barrel along I dont see any party threatening F.F.

  • slug

    “What causes parties to be decimated is sticking rigidly to ideological positions when the voters have moved on. It gives the impression they are not listening.”

    When they’re in government they can get wiped out if people associate them with slease or incompetence – even if they’re flexible on ideology.

  • oceallaigh

    Ignatieff result and NDP won almost 18% of vote
    http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/riding/131/

  • slug

    I had dinner with Ignatieff once.

    Nice guy, very bright.

  • George

    Agree with Henry. Fianna Fail’s capacity to move with the times makes it a harder target to hit.

    Slug has a point about sleaze and the closest FF ever came to being skewered was in the 80s under Charlie the bad.

    But FF’s ability to move on has seen them completely reinvent themselves as the party to be trusted with the economy.

    Hell, two “socially caring” budgets in a row and you can see the electorate looking for a more lefty Green or Labour tail to wag the FF dog rather than a total clearout. Jettison the PDs is more likely than FF out of government.

    If FF does go into meltdown, it isn’t going to happen in the next election with full employment and growth rates tipping 6%. It’s the economy stupid.

    Ahern is also head and shoulders above the opposition so the only hope is for a lightweight to replace him in FF.

  • Holt

    “When they’re in government they can get wiped out if people associate them with slease ….”

    Haughey, Bourke, Flynn, Lawlor, Dunlop etc etc

    How much slease does it take?

  • I would draw a similar parallel with FGs slow demise. There is a shortage of quality in the FG front bench (excepting, for example, Richard Bruton). FG probably need a radical leader who can maintain a credible and interesting opposition to FF who, in spite of the long time in office, do not seem as tired as the opposition would wish.

    At the moment the nearest we have to radical progressive parties are the PDs and SF. The PDs have painted themselves into a corner somewhat and the progressive or radical tendencies in SF is a thin veneer.

    Even though the main principals strongly deny it, I still think a FG-PD merger would make the most sense for both parties, now that the PDs have accomplished everything they’re going to from their original agenda.

    I think there are a lot of radicals in SF’s top echelon, but increasingly their southern base are actually culturally conservative nationalists. They can keep their new voters if those voters don’t believe there’s a chance in hell they’ll get their economic package. The new voters are about as far from socialism as you can get.

    And they certainly don’t agree with stated SF policy on immigration. That last is a fundamental contradiction for them, and I don’t envy them in trying to sort it out.

  • slug

    Holt I was thinking more of the UK’s Tories rather than Ireland’s FF. Someone from Ireland (Republic of) would be better placed to comment on why FF didin’t suffer more from these stories.

  • Hell, two “socially caring” budgets in a row and you can see the electorate looking for a more lefty Green or Labour tail to wag the FF dog rather than a total clearout. Jettison the PDs is more likely than FF out of government.

    If FF does go into meltdown, it isn’t going to happen in the next election with full employment and growth rates tipping 6%. It’s the economy stupid.

    Ahern is also head and shoulders above the opposition so the only hope is for a lightweight to replace him in FF.

    Can’t disagree with you there. And I don’t have a team to root for. I’m just trying to look around the corner and see.

    I’m guessing it would take a serious economic dislocation, maybe energy-driven. I think FF would be crazy not to bring in the Greens this election as insurance if nothing else.

  • PaddyCanuck

    The tories got 36 %, they only enjoy a majority of popular support in one province, oil rich, greed ridden Alberta.

    A majority of people in the West, voted for parties other than the conservatives.

    The NDP had a very strong showing in BC. Not a single tory was returned in the major metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Montreal, or Toronto (416, and 905).

    Canadians are breathing a sigh of relief this morning that the Conservatives have done worse than expected. They will be hamstrung in parliament. One of the downsides of doing so well in Quebec, is that the BQ will not want to deal with them in parliament, as the conservatives are now their main opposition in the province.

    Alot of bible belter, rednecks from the fraser valley I have spoken to this morning are real pissed off that they will not get their agenda pushed through, they are very vitriolic in their displeasure at the left wing urbanites here in greater vancouver, who have solidly rejected Harpers agenda.

    Harper ran a very good campaign, he kept all the loonies silent, I am not sure he can keep the lid on though. The liberals will have time to regroup, and if they can find a new leader (Ignatief is one of those tipped) whom the party can rally behind, then Harpers days may be numbered (I hope so anyway!). I think the NDP will hold the ground they have won in BC and Ontario.

  • harpo

    ‘Who knew Canada could get so many people riled up?

    Nobody going to bite on the FF question, then?’

    Richard. I think you have it backwards regarding FF and the Canadian election result.

    The natural ruling party in Canada is the Liberals, and this election result is basically them being punished for being a complacent, arrogant lot with a leader who had the attitude ‘you can’t blame my Liberals for this scandal – that was those Liberals’.

    Martin was the Finance Minister during the sponsorship scandal – the guy who handles the money – but he claims he knew nothing about the distribution of funds that led to the scandal. he basically blames the previous Liberal leader (and PM) for it all, and pretends he had nothing to do with it. Of course that means he was incompetent as he didn’t see what was going on while he held the purse, but such are the excuses of politicians.

    In the same way that the Liberals are Canada’s natural ruling party and get themselves punished once in a while, I see FF being in that role in the ROI. The Liberal’s always bounce back after a defeat, as does FF, precisely because they are the natural ruling party.

    So if FF get punished soon by disillusioned voters they will be in the same position as the Liberals are in Canada – the natural ruling party out of office for a while. But I’m sure they will bounce back.

    As for the Tories in the UK and the Democrats in the US, I’m not so sure that either of them are the natural ruling party in those countries. But just like the Canadian Liberals both certainly have been punished recently. So maybe FF will end up being punished in the next ROI election.

  • Whoa. Let’s not get too carried away with the significance of Canada turning to a Conservative government.

    Less than a quarter of Canada’s voters chose a Conservative candidate yesterday. Two thirds of voters chose centre-left candidates. We have four major parties and a first-past-the-post system that distorts things like a funhouse mirror.

    In British Columbia, we recently came inches away from adopting an Irish-style transferable ballot, and we’ll be voting again in a referendum on that soon. With luck, proportional representation will be on the national agenda in the next year or so.

    One lives in hope.

    -TGlavin

  • Richard Dowling

    Interesting observations from Richard Delevan. However, the
    Irish system allows for huge over-representation.

    Take Laois-Offaly (please!). It returns FIVE deputies to the
    Dail. While Trinity-Spadina (in downtown Toronto), with
    roughly the same population and electorate, returns just ONE
    member of Parliament. Congratulations to Olivia Chow, by the
    way, who has finally taken the seat from the outgoing Liberals.