Archive for May 3rd, 2011
That was the winner in Michael Kinsley’s legendary “Most Boring Headline” contest. Tonight, it refers to the Canadian election results, where, for the first time since 1988, the electorate has returned an outright Conservative majority. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has governed with a minority, in coalition with the New Democrat Party, since 2006, but he will finally get a chance to govern with a majority of about 10 seats on his own.
Harper led the breakaway conservative-populist Reform party, based on the plains and his own province of Alberta, back into an Alliance with and eventually a reunification with the Conservative Party. The result has been a Tory party to the left of American Republicans, but to the right of where the Tories had been for the better part of two decades. On issues most of interest to Americans, he seems to be a relative free-trader, a strong supporter of the War on Terror, and a very strong and vocal supporter of Israel. Brian Mulroney was often compared to Reagan, largely because he won 211 (!), no really, (!), seats in 1984, the year of Reagan’s cakewalk over Walter “Mr. Warmth” Mondale. But in reality, Mulroney was more establishment, more like Eisenhower, where Harper is more like Canadian Reagan.
The story of the election was the rise of the NDP as the opposition party, benefitting mightily when both the separatist Bloc Quebecois and the “natural governing party (cough),” the Liberals, both folded like cheap suits. BQ went from 45+ seats in Quebec to 4 (all those seats went to the NDP), and the Liberals turned in their worst showing in history, getting less than 20% of the vote and about 35 seats in Parliament. Evidently, the NDP wasn’t hurt much by last-minute revelations that its leader, “Premature” Jack Layton, had been found some years earlier, in flagrante, by the police, at a
whorehouse massage parlor.