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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recti Dissects the Canadian Elections

 A thumbnail critique of the Canadian federal election, May 2, 2011.

LIBERAL PARTY: In the past 10 years, the Liberal Party of Canada has been reduced to its base constituency. This consisted of urban and ethnically-identified voters (Toronto, Montreal), the Quebec constituency, and parts of the Maritimes. In this election, the ruling Conservatives targeted the immigrant vote and the Quebec vote turned its back on Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. Mr. Ignatieff was clumsy at the outset of the campaign, but that cannot account for his historic defeat. Although it’s too early to predict the demise of the Liberal Party of Canada, it is in limbo for the next 5-7 years. Note to Liberals: do not enter any sort of “coalition.”
BLOC QUEBECOIS: The Bloc’s vote was Identity politics personified, combined with a strategic vote for a regional party. In both those cases, this was more conceptual than real: the Bloc’s presence helped push through some measures that appeased Quebec, but, at the constituency level, Bloc members would not have translated their presence in the House into local advantages for Quebeckers. That would be reserved for ridings where Quebec Tories were elected. In this election, the phenomenon of Identity voting gave way to a more permanent thing, ideological voting: so-called “Quebec values” are social-democratic in nature. At any rate the Bloc, being nothing more than a strategic vote, is now dead because the nationalist strategy requires different tactics.
[UPDATED May 8] It now appears that, in many ridings won by the NDP-Quebec, voter turnout fell by as much as 6%; this would point to a collapse of interest in federal politics, not a renewal. Total turnout in Quebec was 61.96% of the electorate; if you factor in the vote for other parties, NDP winners may have received between 28 and 32% of the vote in many ridings (but around 42% in the entire province). 
   With regards to the Bloc and its motivations, we have some serious questions to look at. For example, did it really want to win? Reports suggested that Duceppe was not even campaigning except in his home riding, which he lost. The frantic recruitment of Marois and the elderly, discredited Parizeau, end of campaign, cannot have been to expand the Bloc base, but only to constrict it and ultimately kill it. Can it be that the Bloquistas felt themselves played out? Were they bored with answering constituent emails in that god-forsaken town on the Ottawa River? Just happy to pick up their luxurious MP pensions and look for employment in real estate? Time will tell...
GREEN PARTY: Ms May does not lead an actual pan-Canadian party, she heads up an amorphous trend. Her party’s identity has been blurred by sharing it with the NDPers. Ms May is more accurately labelled a Green Independent. It was therefore fitting that her movement abandon its local candidates to concentrate on getting her, and her alone, elected. Also significant is that her party’s entire vote was cut in half. Ms May is a narcissistic enthusiast; she was shut out of the federal Debates because she talks over other speakers and can’t keep her mouth shut; and, since she’s a female, no debate host was willing to silence her. Ms May’s constituents feature European roots, and are often wealthy retirees on Vancouver Island. Canadian gentry who love Dr. Suzuki hug the Island's shores and vote Green. The constituency also has Insular oddities, such as a colony of lesbians who have always inhabited that region.
NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY: The NDP’s success (official opposition) is due to the collapse of the Bloc and the Liberal Party. The NDP’s breakthrough is logical but highly problematic for the NDP itself. It has swept into the House a band of nobodies from Quebec that includes ex-Communists, a beardless youth, and university students. All sorts of ridicule will follow from that, as these tadpoles get their tails snipped. The NDP’s Quebec vote is still a “protest” against English Canada, so that will have to be accounted for. But a Quebec that is a new base for the NDP has no shelf life at all.
   The NDP still has no responsibility for any sort of governance. Indeed, it has less responsibility for the grounding of its policies than it had before, since there is now a Conservative majority which does not have to govern with one eye over its shoulder. The NDP will make much noise, but it remains to be seen whether this election results in permanent progress and proximity to power.
CONSERVATIVE PARTY: It conforms to Canada’s wishes that the new Tories will be able to rule by themselves. Mr. Harper is a relatively cautious leader, and his policies will be middle-of-the-road, to slightly right-wing. Mr. Harper will not address the claims of man-made Climate Change by funding hard scientific research. His party will not address the tectonic shift in political culture that happened under the Trudeau Liberals: the replacement of personal liberty with court-mandated rights; collectivism; state-ism, and privileges for Identity groups. He will do nothing to halt the destruction of fathers' rights; the corruption of the courts by feminist judges; and the continued soft terror of “Human Rights” councils that pander to group and individual blackmail. He will not address the anachronisms of state institutions like the CBC, which was once an instrument for national identity, and is now a make-work project for feminists, arts wannabees, and the Utopian left. Similarly, he will never face down the droning and corrupt Aboriginal elites and their autonomic supporters. In short, Mr. Harper will be another Brian Mulroney -- but without those Quebec carpetbaggers. It remains to be seen how he will balance his regional affinities and basic political sympathies, against the demands of people in the new media, who are now more influential than traditional voting groups and newspapers.
ON BALANCE: Canada has gone back to the future; it is now more of a traditional body politic than ever. Canada now has a Christian-Democratic government*; a Social-Democratic opposition, one Green MP, and a fringe of remainders. Canada is more than ever a European country and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
*Christian Democrats were the major force in capitalist Europe, post-World-War II. Their mildly conservative ideology combines Christian social principles and market economics. Among major countries with Christian-Democrat traditions are Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and Italy.

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