Monday, April 18, 2005


Monday Evening Quarterbacking

Election fever is in overdrive amongst political commentators. Many columns must be viewed with a huge grain of salt, however, Chantal Hebert's piece in the Toronto Star got me thinking. What if she is correct - she has a pretty good track record.

Hebert contends that the NDP is the electoral wild card in the volatile mix of a snap spring federal election. Stop yourself if you heard this leading up to the last election or dozens of other times, but this time it makes some sense. The NDP has more power than just their current seat count.

A surge in NDP support could have profound consequences on the outcome of the next election. The Liberals are not going to get away with fiery anti-Conservative rhetoric that essentially drained part of the NDP support. This was particularly the case in some ridings in Saskatchewan (Regina and Saskatoon) and Ontario (North and GTA). It helps to explain Lorne Nystrom going down to defeat. Plus, unlike last election, left-of-centre voters would be more likely to permanently park their protest with the NDP.

Here are Hebert’s sample scenarios:

A majority Conservative government: In some areas of Canada, an increase in NDP support at the expense of the Liberals opens the way to more Tory wins.

A minority Conservative government with either the Bloc or the NDP or both holding the balance of power.

A Liberal-NDP coalition government.

That last notion is not on very many radar screens these days, yet it is less farfetched than the notion of a Conservative-Bloc alliance. It appeared that the country was heading there until late election night when some British Columbia seats continued to flip-flop between the Conservatives and the NDP.

A left-of-centre coalition government in a Parliament where the like-minded Bloc Québécois would be heavily represented would probably have a longer shelf life than a right-wing minority government with little or no representation from Quebec. Plus, it likely would put less strain on national unity.

Way to steal my post. Even the picture. Well at least you know what they say about great minds.
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