Canada has elected a Liberal minority government and it looks like all Prime Minister Trudeau needs is the co-operation of the NDP to govern.
What form that co-operation will take remains to be seen but as of this writing, the Liberals have 160 seats with 170 needed for a majority. The NDP has 25 seats.
How did this happen?
Pollster Frank Graves and commentator Michael Valpy sees the emergence of two distinct blocks of voters in Canada.
One block consists of “people rooted in a specific place or community, socially conservative, often less educated, mainly male, mainly but by no means exclusively older and white”. This is Canada’s right-wing populist voting block.
The other block consists of “those who come from “anywhere” — footloose, often urban, socially liberal and university educated.”
Graves and Valpy see Canada’s political parties orienting themselves around these two blocks of voters. The result is that the Conservative Party is attracting the vast majority of right wing, populist voters and the four other main parties – including Trudeau’s Liberals and Singh’s New Democrats – are splitting the more socially liberal voting block.
This is clearly what happened tonite. The problem for Andrew Scheer’s conservatives is that their 34% is good for only about 125 seats – with the left-of-centre parties unwilling to work with him.
65% of Canadians support Canada’s centre-left parties.
The election resulted in Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party at 34% of the vote. Maxime Bernier’s far right People’s Party had 2.5% and M. Bernier lost his seat.
That’s just over 35% of the vote for Canada’s right-of-centre parties. In contrast, Canada’s left-of-centre parties received 65% of the vote with the Liberals at 33.6%, the NDP at 15%, the Greens at 6.3% and the Bloc at 8.7%.
Given that 65% of the electorate voted for Canada’s centre-left parties, what could better reflect the political will of the Canadian people than a Liberal-NDP governing arrangement of some sort? In Canada, that doesn’t necessarily mean a coalition government with New Democrats in the cabinet (although that is an option). It can mean any understanding that allows for a reasonably stable governing arrangement for at least a few years. Given that the Liberals captured 160 seats, they can even govern on an issue by issue basis with the NDP support.
Canada has Liberal minority government likely to be supported in some way by the NDP. Given that 65% of the electorate voted for left-of-centre parties, this is a fair representation of the popular will.
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