Monday, June 28, 2004

Canadian Election Results

The results are largely in. The Liberals will form a minority government.

Z-Net blogger Justin Podur, in his Killing Train blog, has been calling his entries about the election "Fear and Loathing Reports." In other words, would voters be motivated more by their fear of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives or their loathing for Paul Martin and the Liberals. I guess the voters have decided.

In my home riding of Hamilton Centre, NDP candidate David Christopherson (a former cabinet minister at the provincial level) decisively beat long-time Liberal incumbent and recent cabinet minister Stan Keyes. In Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, the CBC had called the election in favour of the NDP, but too soon, and the Liberal incumbent held on to win it. On Hamilton Mountain, the Liberal incumbent also squeaked through with a narrow margin. The NDP as a whole seems like they will end up with 21 to 24 seats, up from 14 in the last parliament (several of which were gained through by-elections -- I think they actually won 11 in the last general election) and they will likely be able to play a role in shaping the minority government.

We avoided a scary social conservative whose values are out of synch with the majority of Canadians and reelected an arrogant multi-millionaire whose family's company relocated offshore to avoid paying Canadian taxes. A Liberal/NDP alliance has brought good things to Canada in the past, and may do so again. But the hope for progressive social change beyond the increasingly narrow spectrum allowed by neoliberal capitalism depends, as I and many others have said before, on social movements. As Podur has written, "A Conservative government before neoliberalism completely took over would have enacted policies much easier to swallow than an NDP government in neoliberal days. We're in the middle of a period of serious rollback, and that fact dominates the entire political landscape, whoever will be in power."

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