Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Post election: first reactions

01:01 on 2015-10-20

I did not expect the Liberals to form a majority government. I did expect the Conservatives to hold onto their base, which is regional (Alberta/Saskatchewan) and rural (Southwestern Ontario, BC Interior, and Eastern Quebec). I expected them to do better in the urban areas. The Liberals have a slightly better national representation, but it's mostly in urban areas, the major exception being Atlantic Canada. Since most Canadians live  half a dozen or so conurbations, those votes gave the Liberals their majority. Only the NDP has widespread national support, coming in second in most of the ridings where other parties won. The Bloc Quebecois appeals to the same base as the Conservatives; their seats are primarily rural, several of them adjacent to the few Conservative seats in Quebec..

So we have a regional split together with a rural/urban split. This does not bode well.

Of the leaders' speeches: Mulcair didn't seem to be much fazed by his losses. He emphasised that the NDP would continue to fight for progressive values and policies. Pretty much all of them are also Liberal policies, so the ouster of Harper is welcome even though Mulcair didn't form the government. Elizabeth May looked forward to working with Trudeau. Harper repeated the appeals to his base, focussing on money. Trudeau emphasised hope, collaboration, unity, respect, positive values, and so on. He repeatedly used the word "citizens". His bearing was that of a man who knew he had work to do, and was looking forward to doing it.

Both Harper and Mulcair seemed to be almost relieved. The Conservative executive issued a release stating that Harper had requested the party to select an interim leader. I suspect Harper is looking forward to leaving office. He's achieved his goals of remaking Canada, and he knows that Trudeau will not be able to repair the damage easily. There was no similar news from the NDP, but Mulcair will certainly face murmurings (at least) about his leadership, and may look forward to leaving the stress of leadership to another person.

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