May 4, 2011 by Joseph Krohn
I was expecting the Conservative Party to barely make majority status at around 157 seats, but here they did 10 seats better than I could have dreamed. Their voting share rose from around 36% to almost 40% of the popular vote. The Conservatives were pleasantly surprised in Atlantic Canada with Labrador being brought into the fold, but it wasn’t until they captured 73 seats out of the 106 seats in Ontario, that it became clear, that a Conservative majority government was in the works.
It was a sad night on May 2 to be a Liberal. The old “natural governing” party of Canada was reduced to an embarrassing 34 seats (down 43 seats from the 2008 election) and received only 18% of the popular vote. Mr. Ignatieff, the Liberal Party leader also lost his seat and as a result resigned as party leader this afternoon (May 3, 2011). Last evening Bob Rae, an Liberal MP from the GTA (1 of only 11 Liberals elected in Ontario) and former NDP premier of Ontario, prophesied that the Liberals may eventually fold into the “orange surge” started by the rise of the New Democratic Party.
In the weeks leading up to Canada’s 41st General Election, I had thought that the Liberals would hold unto official opposition status and still squeak out 62 seats, but it seems the “orange and blue tide” has indeed swept a majority of Liberals from the electoral landscape.
It was also a good night if you like moustaches and the colour orange, for Mr. Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party swept into second place with 102 seats and 30-31% of the popular vote. The NDP hasn’t done this well since 1988 when they won 43 seats. Surprisingly more than half of the NDP caucus is coming from Quebec, with very little changing in favour of the party outside of that province. Quebec was the only province that they came first in, capturing 58 out of 75 seats.
The NDP outperformed my expectations. At the very most I thought that they would capture around 55 seats. I never dreamed that the Bloc, Liberal and Conservative fortunes would be almost destroyed in Quebec that contributed 58 seats to their fortune last night (without their “new” Quebec wing they would have only garnished around 44 seats).
The Bloc (Quebec separatist Party) was all but obliterated on Monday night, to only 4 seats in the House of Commons, failing even to keep their official party status (12 seats being required). It may very well be that the separatist movement has seen its day in Canada.
Election night also brought a final surprise, with Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party winning her seat in British Columbia. It was a surprise that she won, but it is an even bigger surprise that she thinks she’ll have any say on how things are done in Ottawa. She affectively is only an independent in the House, just as the four Bloc MP’s will be.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is headed back to the nation’s capital (Ottawa, Ontario) where he will begin the process of selecting his cabinet ministers, meeting with the Governor General, and setting the date for Parliament to resume its business. Only the next four years will tell us whether the Conservatives will continue to stand for the right. Our hope and prayers are that Mr. Harper meant it when he ended his victory speech by saying: “May God keep our Land Glorious and free!”