January 23, 2006


Canada's Major Media Predict Harper Win (BETH DUFF-BROWN, 1/24/06, Associated Press)

Canada's major media predicted a victory for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, in an election expected to dramatically change the country's political landscape. [...]

With all voting stations officially closed from Atlantic Canada to western British Colubmia, the Canadian Broadcast Corp., the Canadian Press news agency, Global and CTV national television networks all called the election for a Conservative minority government led by Harper, whose party was expected to win seats for the first time in French-speak Quebec and make sigificant gains in the Liberal stronghold of Ontario.

Conservatives win minority; Martin to step down as leader (TERRY WEBER, January 24, 2006, Globe and Mail)

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was headed to Parliament Hill as Canada's next prime minister after capturing a fragile minority victory in Monday's election, picking up votes in Quebec and making inroads in Ontario but failing to scale the heights early polls had predicted.

"Tonight, friends, Canadians have voted for change," Mr. Harper said, speaking to supporters in Calgary.

"And Canadians have asked our party to take the lead in delivering that change. I tell Canadians we will respect your trust and we will stick to our words."

Fragile minority for Tories: Paul Martin will step down as Liberal leaderL Harper faces a tough House of Commons (SUSAN DELACOURT, 1/24/06, Toronto Star)
The Conservatives have toppled Prime Minister Paul Martin's government, winning a shaky minority and ending his long career.

Martin conceded defeat late last night and announced he would step down as Liberal leader after an orderly transition.

"I will not take our party into another election as leader," Martin, 67, said at his LaSalle-Emard headquarters in Montreal. The crowd of supporters cried, "No," but last night spells the end of a decades-long political journey for Martin and his team.

By winning a couple of dozen seats more than Martin's party, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and his party have ended 12 years of Liberal rule and drawn the West and Quebec into a radically altered federal political landscape.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2006 11:25 PM

Hey Lefties, still going to move to Canada? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA!!

Posted by: Amos at January 23, 2006 11:37 PM

Look at the breakdown, Amos, if Harper's lucky, he'll get 2 years.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 24, 2006 12:00 AM

Can I get a hell yeah???

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 24, 2006 12:03 AM

But its gratifying that in the end, Canada found a way to remain Canada: by not only by returning Belinda Stronach and 100 other Lib weasels, but even putting Svend Robinson back in action. So the polls before the weekend raised the possibility of a majority, this morning people were saying 130-135, and it's 125 right now. If the election has been this Wednesday, the Libs would have been back in power. For once the Stupid Party did nothing to lose that support, it was just natural Canadian instincts kicking in.

So let's just say that as a whole the country is on probation, and it going to have to work hard not to backslide. A lot depends on how the non-governing parties behave. The NDP is going to take their increase showing as a sign people want hard Left politics (except all they seem to have really gotten are the people who didn't like the corruption that went with their Leftism).Let's hope the Libs tear thems selves apart and the NDP concentrates on picking up some of the crumbs they missed today. But I think most interesting will be the Bloc reaction: could this be the beginning of their end for them? Would be nice to see the Conservatives work to increase their totals there.

So the result is nice, but could have been a lot better.

Posted by: at January 24, 2006 12:21 AM

Sandy -- one step at a time. Harper made a major breakthrough because his highest unpopularity was in B.C. (normally Westerners are feared by Easterners, especially scary conservative evangelical Christians). If he can prove a solid prime minister, Ontario will swing his way in a year or two.

Conservatives appear to have lost a few seats in B.C. but swept Alberta, made gains in Ontario and Quebec.

This was a big win because it will get the creaky Conservative machine lubed and ready for the fight in Quebec and Ontario (which should be in 12-18 months). They were saying that it was so bad in Quebec, much of their voter lists were unusable, etc.

Oh, and Peter, too bad those corrupt voters in Toronto didn't stay home ;-) I could be opening the 18 year old single malt instead of the 12 year.

Posted by: Randall Voth at January 24, 2006 12:24 AM

Conservatives appear to have lost a few seats in B.C.

Lost a few seats while going up in percentage about 5 points. Not that surprising, though-- you have to admit that the 2004 BC results were about a perfect result for the Tories-- they won a BUNCH of close three way races with scores like 36-31-31 and closer. Better tactical voting by the left meant a few lost seats.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 24, 2006 12:51 AM

I voted Conservative today, in my Quebec riding of Borduas. The guy I voted for got blasted out of the water by some Bloc dude. Hey, at least I voted...

The Conservative showing in Quebec says nothing about the Blocs future as a party. The Bloc is a provincial party. Duceppe is basically there to promote Quebec on the Federal stage, but the party itself cares little about federal matters. Most Quebecers are willing to vote Conservative just to oust the ultra-federalist/corrupt Liberals, but come Provincial elections, they will be back on the bandwagon.

Although I am happy Harper won, I fear that canadian voters are just giving a "Time-Out" to the Liberal party, much the same way Quebec voters gave the Parti Quebecois a slap on the wrist during the most recent Provincial elections. They population was weary of the PQ fighting amongst eachother, so they put Jean Charest to power. Charest proceeded to shoot himself in the foot on several different occasions, and now he will likely lose in a landslide during the next Provincial elections.

I sincerely hope Mr. Haper can hang on, because Canada needs a government to bring them back to reality. We dont need a vaguely anti-american Liberal government that is bent on creating a leftist state. Unfortunately, I feel that canadians just wanted to teahc the Liberals a lesson, and will probably usher them back into power shortly.

Posted by: Murf at January 24, 2006 1:33 AM

Can someone give me a quick lesson on how these coalition governments work? Is it merely the result of a viable third/fourth party meaning that a simple majority can't stick together and pass legislation without teaming up with others, or is there something more to it than that?

Posted by: RC at January 24, 2006 2:47 AM

There are no coalition governments in Canada (like Europe or Israel). Basically, whoever wins the most seats becomes the government. There are certain votes (called "Confidence Votes") that can bring down the government and then there is a new election, as we just had.

Stephen Harper is the new prime minister and the Conservatives are the ruling minority government. In order to pass legislation, he has to get members from other parties to vote with him.

Harper ran a great campaign and if the other parties bring him down, for instance, on cutting the GST tax or mandatory sentences for violent gun offenders, they will lose the next election.

Posted by: Randall Voth at January 24, 2006 2:54 AM

Pity it was a minority government result, but thank God we've returned back to the fold!

Oh, and for the previous poster, Svend Robinson was in fact defeated in his comeback bid.

Posted by: Steve Martinovich at January 24, 2006 3:40 AM

Randall informs us that the Conservatives were running on mandatory sentences for violent gun offenders, which is right out of the U.S. National Rifle Association playbook.

Could it be that the key to political victory in Canada is the same as it is here? I can hardly wait for my next issue of The American Rifleman to find out.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 24, 2006 5:16 AM

It's worth remebering that, as recently as two weeks ago, Randall would have been promising to open the 18 year old malt with this result. (It's also worth remembering that this party didn't exist three years ago). The "kissing your sister" sense of diappointment is only because of the media hooplah and some obviously dicey polling in the last two weeks. It would be nice to pretend the Liberal attack ads had no effect, but they did. Unsurprising, really, because Harper is a radical in Canadian terms. However, the general media support for Harper outside the CBC and Toronto Star distinguishes us from the States and bodes well for the future.

Toronto, especially suburban Toronto, saved the Libs. Randall reserves a special place in Hell for them,which is fine by me, and I'm hoping a few Maritimers join them. But the West/Quebec/small town-rural Ontario base will not be easy for any other party to crack and definitely has room for growth. Call it Tory Blue red Canada.

Harper will have to choose his issues carefully, but if he does he may be able to make big changes---the NDP are already talking warmly and openly about cooperating with him on "democratic reform", which is badly neeed here to stop prime ministerial tyranny. Sorry, Lou, we won't be packing heat anytime soon and social conservatives will have to be satisified with being a brake rather than a catalyst. Expect tax cuts, fiscal conservatism (which, to be fair, the Libs practiced), devolution to provinces, some steady, cautious moves towards the States on foreign policy without saying so too loudly and toughness on crime. Whether Harper will be able to do anything about healthcare remains to be seen, but it will be a minefield for him.

For me, the most exciting development will be the breaking of the incestuous "Starbucks" bureaucratic/interest group alliance that has has such a behind-the-scenes influence here for so long. The triple moccachino/global warming/human rights crowd and their bureaucratic patrons have damaged us horribly. I trust we have seen the end of Department of Justice studies promoting polygamy and the like. My goodness, what will we post about now?

Posted by: Peter B at January 24, 2006 6:57 AM

Maurice Strong & Fille should be good for a few posts, at least.

And maybe that can segue into Jean Chretien's son-in-law (and his father-in-law).

Suggestions only, not to be taken too seriously (i.e., to be filed under "boys will be boys"...)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at January 24, 2006 7:06 AM

There are no disappointing takeovers. This is the best economy that Canada has ever had and the Liberals still lost. It's Goresque.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2006 7:27 AM


The ten seats in Quebec have a psychological impact far beyond their numbers. I'll bet Albertans have never so loved Quebec as they did last night. They turn Harper's government from a Western-based protest into a Western driven national government. Although the Bloc held most of their seats and are putting on a good face, they lost significant public support and it's hard not to believe they are despairing of ever winning their big dream. If there ever was a time for them to sweep, this was it, and what happens? Some cowboy who mangles his French and who has no seats or organization roars in from Alberta, triples his vote and takes ten francophone ridings. Astounding. It also undercuts Ontario's beloved self-image as the reasonable national mediator between warring crazies on either side--the key to traditional Liberal strength there.

Posted by: Peter B at January 24, 2006 8:26 AM

So Peter B: congratulations, and when can we come visit, now that it's safe?

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 24, 2006 9:02 AM

Anytime, Joe.

Hey, Genecis, if you are there, are you thinking again about that retirement in Cape Breton? It's been a personal project of mine for a few years now.

Posted by: Peter B at January 24, 2006 9:04 AM

Don't forget your passport, Joe. You're going to need it.

W needs to visit Harper, not visa versa.

And beef up the border patrols.

I read the border guards are protesting cos they want to carry guns, right?

Posted by: Sandy P at January 24, 2006 10:48 AM

This is a serious question, where does BQ stand on social issues like gay marriage and gun owners rights?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 24, 2006 12:13 PM

I see my earlier statement about Svend Robinson was wrong. But I swear I saw him giving a victory speech last night.

What about the Bloc: they lost ten seats to the Conservatives while picking up 7 from the Liberals. I would assume they were part of the corruption protest, and so likely to head back to the Libs in a couple of years. They lost rural areas while picking up urban ridings, if I understand correctly. Which means Duceppe will be squeezed from both ends, if the Conservatives can keep what they won last night.

The most important thing, though, is that the Conservatives have to avoid those impulses to revert to their Stupid Party roots. If they can do that, the next election (fall 2007 or spring 2008 ?) should be more than interesting.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 24, 2006 12:43 PM

"This is a serious question, where does BQ stand on social issues like gay marriage and gun owners rights?"

The BQ's official policies are pretty leftish, more left than the Liberals, on both social issues and economic issues. They get a lot of support from rural francophone Quebeckers who like the idea of independence/Quebec as a distinct society even while being personally more conservative, however. At the same time, the BQ has apparently realized that independence is not achievable right now, nor can they get enough votes from just the independence diehards. So, they've been moving into a "more money for Quebec/provincial rights party."

The Conservatives have thus been trying to counter as the general provincial rights party (in contrast to the centralizers of the Liberal Party), appeal to rural conservative Quebeckers, and make the argument that they're capable of forming the government and thus bringing home more bacon to the province than the always-out-of-power BQ.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 24, 2006 2:00 PM


I'll second John.

Although I often say the Canadian left and American right overstate the differences between the two countries, guns are indeed a big one. There is absolutely no constituency for private handgun ownership here, even among diehard rightists. Any politician who came out for it would be toast in a minute. Worth a thread of its own.

Quebec is very funny on social issues and difficult to measure. The absence of any traditional Protestant/puritan influence means they have always been more laissez-faire on private morality. For example, they never went for prohbition, smoke more than everyone else and Montreal was sin city long before the rest of us invented sex in the sixties (and they have bought themselves a very serious biker/organized crime problem for their tolerance). But they have traditional Catholic roots and have their own inscrutable ways of saying enough is enough. The rest of us can never figure out when or how.

Posted by: Peter B at January 25, 2006 6:21 AM