20 October 2015

Liberals Win Majority In Canada

The Canadian parliament's House of Commons has 338 seats in the 2015 election.  The Liberal party won 188 of them, a safe majority.  In 2011, they had 34 out of 308 seats.  Losses were shared roughly equally between the Conservative Party and the New Democrat party.  The Bloc Quebecois gains six seats for a total of ten, while the Greens held steady with one seat.

map of the results show the Conservative party weak almost everywhere except the farm country of the Great Plains and some big city suburbs in Ontario and Quebec.  Liberals dominated in big cities, in the Arctic, and in the Maritimes.  The NDP took rural, small town Canada outside the Great Plains.

Conservatives, with 99 seats, don't even have a 1/3rd majority in parliament, and all of the other parties with seats in parliament are to their left.  The Conservative party in Canada, moreover (aka the Tories), are also still to the left of U.S. Republicans.

Since Canada has a parliamentary system, this means that the Justin Trudeau, the new liberal Prime Minister, is for all practical purposes, king of Canada until the next election, chosen on a date of his choice up to five years from now.  Neither the Canadian Senate, nor the Governor-General would block any serious legislative initiative he offered, and the Canadian Supreme Court, while it finally has judicial review power after more than a century without it, still has less power than the U.S. Supreme Court in practice.

Is the strong liberal comeback in Canada a harbinger of things to come in the U.S. in 2016? I'd like to think so, but realistically, the anomaly in Canada was a collapse of the Liberal party in favor of the New Democrats in 2011, for uniquely Canadian reasons, with this year representing more of a return to the norm.  Basically, there is only room for one liberal party in the Canadian political ecology and the Liberals have grabbed that spot back from the New Democrats.  Canadians a few elections ago went through a similar process to winnow the number of conservative parties in the country down to one after a prolonged regional split of the country's conservative parties.

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