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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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2006 Canadian federal election results: Conservative minority government under Stephen Harper


Canada Federal Election Results 2006
Well, I couldn't be happier with the result. I was sick to death of the 13-year Liberal reign, and I was completely fed up with Paul Martin. I, apparently like many other Canadians, was ready for a change. I was also very glad to hear that Martin will step down after this campaign. He's good and ready to go, and many will be glad to see him leave.

Granted, I'm not an ardent supporter of Harper and the 'new' Conservatives, but they're the only other party that could have realistically formed an alternative government to the Liberals. I'm also not as scared of their apparent values as a lot of people seem to be. (Now that same-sex couples have the same civil rights as opposite-sex couples (as they have for a few years now), I think that the same-sex marriage issue is a non-issue.) Plus, having the Conservatives form a minority government should also effectively hold them in check, as it were, and give the country a chance to see just how skillful Harper will be at governing. Even if they'll be a bit hamstrung by virtue of their not holding a majority in the House of Commons, the fact remains that if their policies and governing style are good enough, then they'll win enough support in the House to achieve their objectives.
As could be expected, the Bloc Québecois holds the balance of power. I would have rather seen the NDP in that position, and with an extra couple seats for either the Conservatives or the NDP, this would have been possible. But my impression is that the Bloc has some key strategies in alignment with the Conservatives, especially pertaining to the fiscal imbalance between the federal and provincial governments; decreasing the size and power of the federal government (i.e. decentralizing power and funding to the provinces); and electoral and democratic reform. If some or all of these issues are addressed in a Harper government, I'll be extremely pleased. I won't even care how many right-wing freaks out West call for a free vote on abortion. (Such a vote wouldn't even make it second reading in the House anyway, so who cares?)

I hope that electoral reform makes some real headway. The split between seats won and popular vote is too wide, especially in the regions. At the national level, the NDP won 17% of the popular vote but only 9% of the seats. The voting results for Nova Scotia are even more telling of the imbalance: the vote split between Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats is 37%, 30%, and 30%. Yet the seat split between those three parties is 55%, 27%, and 18%. It's obvious that there's something wrong with a system that so heavily distorts the popular will of the electorate.

(On a personal note, I voted for Alexa McDonough, former head of the NDP, since she's in my riding of Halifax and I wanted her to be back in Parliament. Another fairly close race in my area was in grammardog's riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, which re-elected Mike Savage, the Liberal incumbent and son of former Liberal Nova Scotia Premier John Savage. Lawyer Peter Mancini was the NDP candidate in that riding, and I believe that it was previously held (i.e. before 2003) by New Democrat playwright Wendy Lill.)

One thing's for sure -- last night's results were a cliffhanger, and I think that they engaged more people than usual in a political campaign. I mean hell, grammardog actually went to an all-candidates meeting in her riding and even asked questions! That's saying a lot right there. :)