Tuesday, May 3, 2011

While the American media slept, Canada voted; a look at the victory of the Tories and the strong results by the NDP

Canadians went to the polls yesterday – not that you would know it here in the U.S., as very few media outlets bothered to even mention it, let alone report on the results. And those results were interesting, indeed.

The main headline is that Stephen Harper, the head of the Conservative Party, will remain as prime minister after the party swept into the majority yesterday with 167 seats. This new majority will mean that for the next few years Canada will be moving to the right.
But much of the news in the Canadian news media is around the strong showing by the New Democratic Party (NDP) which jumped up from its traditional third place finish to end up second with 102 seats. The Liberals, on the other hand, were trounced, retaining only 34 seats in Parliament. As a result Michael Ignatieff has resigned as leader of the Liberal Party saying the “only thing Canadians like less than a loser is a sore loser.”

But the Liberals were not the only losers yesterday as the Bloc Québécois, the separatist party of French-speaking Quebec, only were able to retain four seats as many Quebeckers voted for the NDP in an attempt to hold off a Conservative majority. Party leader Gilles Duceppe has also resigned, as a result.

Ironically, there are those who think that the prospects for a separate Quebec may have just increased. With the Tories now no longer needing partners to pass legislation, the prospects of more rights-wing governance may push the French part of the country further away.

"We will implement what we laid out in the budget, our plan for jobs and growth without raising taxes," Harper said last night, sounding very much like a Republican. High on the Conservative agenda are bills to toughen crime laws, more foreign ownership of businesses, and looser firearms regulation.