Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jack Layton as PM? I doubt it....but

The election of a Conservative majority of government next week will not only usher in a new period of "stability"; it will also mean that the government will have been  richly rewarded for  being the first to intentionally cultivate and manipulate ignorance about how parliamentary government works--for intentionally sowing misinformation about  who actually 'wins' elections in a parliamentary system. Furthermore, the proposed coalition back in 2008 is repeatedly said to include the Bloc Quebecois (it never did). And don't forget the innovation of between-election personal attack ads, which apparently worked.

As someone who teaches government and politics for a living, I find these to be disturbing developments, ones that teach politicians and citizens alike the wrong lessons.

Of course, it is possible that the same NDP surge that is helping the Conservatives in most parts of English Canada will actually hurt them in British Columbia, where there are more ridings with dynamics like Edmonton Strathcona (where an NDP surge will  push a New Democrat to victory and encourage some Liberal supporters to vote strategically for the NDP) than Edmonton Centre (where an NDP surge will discourage strategic voting for Liberals and ensure a Tory victory).

This could ensure a minority. But could the lIberals then combine with the NDP to topple the government? It is hard to believe that the Liberals would want to crown the NDP after an election in which the NDP has helped to remove them from any chance of power.  I think that the LIberals under Ignatieff or LeBlanc would be inclined to prop up the Tories. But if Bob Rae gained the leadership.......


Bernard von Schulmann said...

An NDP government at this point would be a nightmare for the NDP because there are would not be enough competent MPs in the caucus. The NDP would benefit from a four year term as Official Opposition.

Odds are that some of the new NDP MPs will be nutbars or not really New Democrats. In surges where people get elected that never thought they could and did even campaign normally means some of these people will have to be turfed from caucus or will cross the floor.

NDP as OO with a minority means there will be no time for the NDP caucus in Ottawa to sort themselves out and they will be brutalized by the other parties and media.

An NDP OO now with a Conservative majority opens the path for an NDP government in the future

Mark Crawford said...

Bernard: I basically agree with you--those Quebec MPs are used to finsihing 4th and most have never faced a competitive nomination. I t will be difficult to recruit new star candidates if all of those seats are taken.

I dno't waqnt to see a COnservative majority but I see your logic.