It is May 2, 2011. Canadians voted in a federal election today and the votes are being counted. As of now (11:00pm EST), it looks like there will be a majority Conservative government with the New Democratic Party (NDP) as the strongest opposition party. The Liberal Party’s seat count has never been so low in the history of the country and the Bloc Quebecois has been decimated. Both of those parties had seat counts lower than the lowest of predictions.
Prior to the election, the make-up of the House of Commons was as follows:
- Conservative: 143
- Liberal: 77
- Bloc Quebecois: 49
- New Democratic Party: 37
- Independent: 2
- Conservative: 130 to 148
- Liberal: 36 to 63
- Bloc Quebecois: 10 to 33
- New Democractic Party: 65 to 123
- Independent: 0 to 1
- Green: 0 to 1
Essentially, that meant that going into Election Day, there were still many close races across the country and we really didn’t have a good idea how things were going to turn out.
Worse Than Expected
While the ballots are still being counted in many parts of the country, several of Canada’s national news networks are calling the election at this time as a Conservative majority government. The expected final tally (with +/- change in brackets) is:
- Conservative: 166 (+23)
- Liberal: 34 (-43)
- Bloc Quebecois: 2 (-47)
- New Democratic Party: 105 (+68)
- Independent: 0 (-2)
- Green: 1 (+1, but very early result in this riding)
What does this mean?
This means that a government that fell because it eschewed the rules of democracy can now push through its agenda. It means that a government that is secretive and puts gag orders on public servants, scientists and Members of Parliament will be ruling our country. It means that a party that 40% of Canadians voted for can do whatever it wants with our country.
Everyone expected the Conservatives to have the strongest showing, but a majority government seemed like a long shot. If they had been handed a minority government and no other party supported them, a coalition of opposition parties could have been possible. But that possibility is now moot. We are stuck with Stephen Harper and his agenda for the next four years.
The New Democratic Party are also clear winners tonight, but it is unclear whether they will be able to do anything with their significant success given the Conservative majority.
We will certainly post more on the consequences of this surprising upset in the days to come.
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Photo credit: TeddyBoy on flickr