– This is how Canada voted yesterday. Red is Liberal, blue is Conservative, orange is NDP (an old labour, now progressive party), light blue is Bloc Quebecois (Quebec sovereigntist), and green is Green Party. You might be wondering why, for a Liberal victory, there is not a lot of red on the national map. Here is a better representation of the proportion of seats won by party:
– The Liberals took the urban areas, and the more rural you got, the more you were likely to see Conservative victories. Maclean’s did an article on this in September. The urban areas where Liberals were successful have relatively high immigrant populations. Note all those cities in Saskatchewan and Alberta which went true blue. The demographic changes in Canada’s metropolitan centers has a huge effect on elections.
– Alberta went almost full conservative, and turfed its four Liberals, in part because of Trudeau’s tomfoolery with the oil and gas industry, including declaring he’ll shut it down ‘cuz muh climate change’. His father put in the National Energy Program in the early 80s, which amounted to economic rapine, and memories linger. I suspect it is also for cultural reasons. Toronto Tories (Conservatives) speak in a way more suited to the Alberta and Saskatchewan volk. The Far West does not like those damn Montreal
Yankees Whigs, which is the core of Liberal power. You will likely not see any sustained Liberal presence in Alberta in the near future, except maybe the cities. Same in Saskatchewan.
– You notice the Maritimes (PEI, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) went mostly Liberal. My suspicion is the area was settled by folks either from or similar to those in Yankeedom, and so the Liberals fit right in.
– Newfoundland and Labrador also went almost all Liberal. You will likely never see a sustained Conservative presence in Newfoundland because that party shut down the cod fishery in the region in the early 90s, which hit Newfoundland hard. (Cod populations had collapsed and have failed to recover since.)
– I am not sure why Quebec votes Bloc Quebecois, but I suspect it is because the Conservatives are seen as the party of Ontario and the west, and Quebecers like the Bloc because they are a conservative alternative that reflect Quebec’s New France values. (I wonder if the Bloc would have any success in northern New Brunswick? Did you know New Brunswick is the only Canadian province that is officially bilingual French and English?)
– Trudeau has a minority government, which means should he face a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, he would not have enough support to survive without help from another political party. Minority governments typically last about 2 years before another election is called (recently, Trudeau Sr. in 1972, Paul Martin in 2004, Stephen Harper in 2006 and 2008. Joe Clark’s was the exception, lasting 9 months in 1979.)
– A new election will happen if the Liberals lose a vote on a budget or other non-confidence motion. Or, Mr. Trudeau could walk up to the Governor General’s residence and ask him or her to dissolve Parliament, also forcing an election. (If in Ottawa, go see the Governor General’s (GG’s) residence. It’s quite lovely.)
– In spite of the temptation to stick it to Trudeau, there is a good chance the other parties will be very cautious about forcing an election. Voters in Canada typically punish the party that caused the government to fall and ANOTHER election. We Canadians like going to the federal polls roughly twice a decade.
– What is likely to happen is the Liberals will find an issue that voters are concerned about, and propose a solution which the other parties cannot support for whatever reasons. The Liberals could then claim they need an election to get a firm mandate to deal with the issue, meaning, “give us a majority”. Such an issue could be climate change or immigration, but it must be one that appeals to voters a mari usque ad mare. I guess that the issue will be gently ratcheted up, starting in about a year, leading to an election about this time 2021.
– Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservatives, seemed to punch right a lot before and during the campaign. There are now allegations his party hired a PR firm to go after the other right wing party in the election. This is a problem for Scheer because the Conservatives are the only strategic option for those on the right wing in Canada, and so are captive voters if they are convinced to go to the polls. Scheer however has signalled he’ll throw those voters under the bus in order to court votes from the center-left of the spectrum. Most Canadian voters are there anyway, so it’s not a bad idea per se. However, the more he punches right, the further left he pushes his party to get support, and the further left you go, the more you contend with three other political parties, the Liberals, NDP and Greens. This was a mistake on his part. He’ll have to fix this error, especially if he wants PPC voters and those to the right of center to come back into the fold.
– Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh (NDP) are most likely to lose party leadership before the next election. Scheer for his alienation of those right of center. He should also be turfed if he does not renounce his US citizenship and therefore get himself off the US draft-roll (although, being drafted is highly unlikely, but I could see Trump, for instance, pulling a stunt like that to knock Scheer off balance.) Singh, because he’s never seemed to fit into the party, and a lot of those loyal to past NDP leaders Layton and Mulcair see Singh as an inexperienced interloper.
– The Greens hardly went anywhere, the People’s Party flopped, and the NDP lost many seats, largely due to a resurgence of the nationalist Bloc Quebecois. Yet, in the media, all of these parties were supposed to surge, changing the power dynamic. I think this is a case of letting a sensationalist press manage expectations. This election was once again a struggle amongst Toronto Tories and Montreal Whigs for the keys to Confederation.
– Given the need not to rock the boat, look forward to a couple of low-risk years of milquetoast governing, baring an epic crisis, followed by an election the demos does not want.