Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Election Day Wrap-up: Winners and Losers


Great election, everybody. I think everyone can be proud of their results. Nice job.

No, I'm serious! I don't mean to sound like an elementary school teacher, but every party was a winning party tonight. The Liberals didn't collapse and, in fact, retained most of their power. The Conservatives grabbed 98ish seats, many more than anyone expected eight months ago. The NDP became a serious party again and will have plenty of influence in the next parliament. The Bloc got its best showing ever. The Greens got twice their 2% needed to get funding for the next election. The Marxist-Leninists briefly led in a riding.

And the biggest winner of the night: Chuck Cadman, who now holds the balance of power.

Of course, some people did lose. They were, for the most part, pollsters and professional and semi-professional prognosticators. Anyone who thinks that pundits have any key to insight should check out Colby Cosh's election box. Out of 23 seat predictions, only six had the Liberals winning more seats than the Conservatives. Only one had the Conservatives at less than 100 seats. (Tip of the hat to Robert McClelland at My Blahg for being so on the ball.)

I, of course, was off with my seat projection, too. I believed the polls and the, ahem, bien pensants who said that we were in for a Conservative minority.

And I can't say I'm terribly displeased to have been wrong.


Paul Wells has a somewhat surly post-election round-up. One highlight:
In Ontario, Liberal attempts to scare NDP voters into voting "strategically" worked a charm: the NDP vote in my province was down 5% from late polls, and the Liberal vote up by as much. If the NDP voters had only voted for their own damned party, the national results might have been similar — but Jack Layton would have had a bigger stick to enforce his will on Martin. This is New Democrats' reward for being skittish: they shot themselves in the foot.
Absolutely. I was at an election party tonight and discussed this very thing with an NDP supporter who voted Liberal in Trinity-Spadina, where Olivia Chow went down to the ineffectual Tony Ianno by 2% of the riding's voters. She didn't exactly get how a minority government situation worked and so succumbed to the scaremongering.

Once I explained to her that a New Democrat in parliament is equal to a Liberal in this case, she seemed to regret her choice. This is the NDP and the media's fault for not explaining this properly.

Which leads me to my last point for this evening: Minority governments are not bad things. Too often in this campaign I heard about how minorities led to market chaos, ineffective governance, yadda-yadda. I think this result is probably the most representative of what Canadians feel as a whole that I have seen in my lifetime. I'm willing to give minority government a chance to work. And I liked tonight what each party leader said about working with others in a non-partisan fashion. I hope they all follow through on that.

Have a good night!

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