June 29, 2004


Canadian Liberals to Form Minority Government (David Ljunggren, 6/28/04, Reuters)

Canada's ruling Liberals will stay in power after Monday's federal election, but will lose their majority in Parliament and need support from the left-leaning New Democrats to govern.

CBC television said the Liberals, in power for a decade, would not win the 155 seats they needed to control the 308-seat parliament, although they would win more seats than the Conservative opposition.

That would produce Canada's first minority government for 25 years -- and many political analysts expect a new election within a year.

Well meaning folk keep underestimating how much the rest of the West would rather die peacefully than make the effort to live on.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2004 12:01 AM

As of right now (21:50 PDT), the CBC shows Lib + NDP with 156 seats. Two seats from a tie is a awful slim majority. (21:55 -- now 155 seats.) One more, and Cadman (ex-Alliance independent) matters.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 29, 2004 12:55 AM

Learned another interesting piece of trivia tonight-- the Speaker, while a member of Parliament, does not vote. So the NDP and Liberals are going to have to sacrifice one of their votes unless the Bloc or Conservatives consent to be magnanimous. So the Left Alliance may need 156 members, not 155, and Cadman the independent may really be in a position to determine what happens next.

As of right now (23:45 PDT) CBC is reporting that they're one short, and mentioning "deadlock". This could be entertaining.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 29, 2004 2:57 AM

As of now, the Liberals plus NDP have only 154 seats, precisely half (this was from the last AP report just under two hours ago), while the Conservatives have 99 and BQ has 54.


Posted by: Joe at June 29, 2004 5:21 AM

This is one of those ambiguous results that can be interpreted with both hope and despair. It is certainly a disappointment, but still far better than was expected two months ago. The Conservatives need some good, politically-appealing talent badly, and I don't know whether Harper himself can ever do much better (much as I admire him). This election showed the Conservatives that they are up against a lot of fear-mongering on social issues and that the Boomer mentality reigns supreme for the moment. The elites will unite in panic against them. Tough challenge, but maybe a few more years doing grungework and groundwork will prove more fruitful than trying to manage an unstable minority government before they are really ready. Then again, maybe not.

On the one hand, you wonder whether the Liberals' hold over the middle can ever be broken. On the other a 2-4% vote swing and we're in. A 30% base in a four party race isn't bad, especially when that number applies to both Ontario and the whole country.

Posted by: Peter B at June 29, 2004 6:08 AM


Are the Conservatives radical, like Thatcher, Reagan and W, or are they simply tax-collectors for the welfare state, like Dole and GHWB? I don't see much sign that Canada is looking for the first, and I don't see much point to the second.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 29, 2004 7:24 AM


Good question. They aren't rhetorical radicals like Thatcher or Reagan, but then this is a small country. The traditional dependency of the Maritimes, Quebec's catholic, corporate tradition, Ontario's conservatism (seriously)and B.C.'s socialist strength means there is a limited absorptive capacity for straight out "Let Freedom Ring" kind of talk. Scares us no end and upsets our digestion, just as it did with our ancestors. And, frankly, there is no hiding that we have a long way to go on social issues. I seem to recall it wasn't so long ago that the smart thinking in the U.S. was that politicians should stay as far away from the abortion issue as they could. That's where we are and will stay until the Boomers pass the torch or you pull us up. Be kind and patient please, because you know we are very nice.

But they are regionalists and determined to cut the bloated federal monster and stop the anti-American rot(all-the-while promising to preserve our blessed sovereignty). And, unlike the old Tories, they wouldn't fool around pushing the social agenda into new and exciting places, even if they probably wouldn't try to reverse it.

There is simply a very limited constituency or tolerance for true radicalism up here, which isn't all bad. I know many Americans see us as socialists, but the NDP only got 20 seats out of 310 and has never really done much better. Compared to the lefts in, say, Britain or Australia, ours are weenies.

Posted by: Peter B at June 29, 2004 8:00 AM

When both parties are socialist how would there be room for a Socialist party?

Posted by: oj at June 29, 2004 8:24 AM

Peter-- How did the Green Party get 4% of the vote when the NDP exists?

Posted by: John Thacker at June 29, 2004 9:35 AM

When the returns started coming in from Ontario showing that the Libs weren't going tobe in the really bad end of the realm of possibilities, the anchor, Peter Mansbridge had this giddy tone in his voice, like he was going to break into a Beavis and Butt-head giggle fit, he was so relieved. A foretaste of what to expect if Kerry does well in November.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 29, 2004 11:42 AM

>When both parties are socialist how would there
>be room for a Socialist party?

Simple. It's a matter of purity, just like all those Islamic parties in Arab countries.

The other socialist parties are heretics; our Socialist Party is the only true and pure socialism.

Posted by: Ken at June 29, 2004 12:23 PM


Yeah, but maybe its time for us to park the word socialism. I know what you mean, but this is the age of Oprah and we sound a little dated with that 1930's talk. Nobody under forty will know what we mean. How about we co-opt the langauge of dysfunction and start talking about people suffering from PSSD--Postmodern Secular State Dependency?


No idea. How do you explain Mr. Nader when you've got Howard Dean? My guess is the Greens are a little put off by all those sweaty workers who look so out of place in Starbucks.

Posted by: Peter B at June 29, 2004 12:32 PM


Ten minutes of Mansbridge is all I can ever take, but on CTV their national reporter kept repeating how the "marriage" (of Alliance and old Tories) didn't work in Ontario. This despite the fact that their seat count went from one to seventeen, their popular vote was only 4 points less than in B.C. and there were lots of horse races. Doesn't matter--when the beautiful people declare you dead, you are dead.

Posted by: Peter B at June 29, 2004 12:59 PM

Our cable system here in the Upper Left Wasington only has the Vancouver CBC affliate. I keep expecting them to dump it for another shopping channel, and then where will I go for the CFL games and curling championship coverage?

As an outsider, I just can't see this as being that much of a defeat for the Conservatives. A short lived minority just doesn't seem to be a good platform on which to get to majority status (Joe Clark anyone?). And some other commentors have pointed out that Ralph Klein is about to challenge Ottawa over Alberta's health care system, and it's much better for him to be sparing with the Libs/NDP instead of the federal wing of his own party.

And I'm wondering -- what happened in B.C. for the NDP to have such a pickup at the seeming expense of the Conservatives? Then again, from what I can tell, B.C. politics is surreal for any jurisdiction.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 29, 2004 3:09 PM

I think it is some kind of divine joke--putting the world's craziest people in its most beautiful place.

Posted by: Peter B at June 29, 2004 4:01 PM


Posted by: link- at August 6, 2004 6:52 AM