Monday, January 09, 2006

Canadian Elections an uninformed view.

The Conservatives (Tories) are the main opposition party in Canada. But they seem to be a fan of Brian Cowen one of their recent policies is to give a $1,200 (€840) annual allowance for parents of children under the age of 6. Maybe Cowen should sue for copyright infringement. I remember reading some foreign blogs during the IRA decommissioning. To put it bluntly they hadn’t a clue of Northern Irish politics. One average a person from the North is probably going to have 10 times (actual figure may be 100% made up) the grasp of the Northern situation then a southerner and a southerner probably will have a 100 times better grasp then an American. With that in mind here is my take on the Canadian election. Canada is on of the richest countries in the world. So what happens in the election will effect us more then what happens in the Palestinian election. Yet the coverage is a lot less. I suppose the reason for this is that suicide bombers and Israeli bans on polling make better press then spats about softwood lumber. The election was called when Paul Martins liberal party lost a no confidence won in November. This was a long time coming as he was leader of a minority government and it was dogged with controversy. In the end the straw that broke the camels back was the Gomery report. Basically the scandal was that in the late 1990s about €70 million of tax payers money was paid by the liberal government to advertising agencies in return for not a lot of work. It was alleged that some Liberal Officials demanded kickbacks for the contracts. So the election was set for January 23. So who are the contenders The Marijuana party of Canada has zero chance of being in the next government . But I thought I would mention them. I have not read their manifesto but does one really need to guess their policy.(read it here) They are fielding 23 candidates which puts Ming the Merciless to shame. The main party is the Liberals who are lead by Paul Martin. Paul Martin was the previous Finance minister who seemingly did not want to be finance minister. However he is credited to have done a spectacular job. Guiding the country out of dire trouble, clearing massive debts and running surpluses. However as leader he is not as popular. The current polls place them at 113 seats The Conservatives (Tories) would be considered a right wing government. But recently they said that they would increase the bottom tax base up to 16%. It had recently been drop from 16% to 15% by the supposedly left wing Liberal Party. This is causing a stir in Canada. They claim that overall their tax cuts are better. However Blast Furnace Canada blog did the Math and disputes this claim.Polls places them at 109 The NDP is lead by Jack Layton. They are basically a social democratic and thus would have more in common with the liberals. In fact people think they want to be in a coalition with the Liberals. They are tipped to take 24 seats. Of their marginal seats many of them are against liberals. Bloc Quebecois is solely based in Quebec. They are a basically a separatist party that wishes to set up a separate French Speaking state. However a referendum in 1995 on this issue was lost. They are mainly challenged by the Liberals in their province and thus have been focusing their attacks on them. Their attacks have centered around alleged funding of pro-federalist rallies during the referendum. As this strikes squarely at the reason for the party. They are unlikely to vote with the Liberal party. The polls give them 62 seats. So in my very uninformed opinion I would call the election as a minority Conservative government with the support of the Bloc Quebecois. This would be a possibly more stable government then the last however the Bloc Quebecois are not going to be silent partners and will push there own agenda. Much of western Canada which has the oil gas reserves and also strong Conservative support may not be too happy with pro quebec policies and this might result in the government falling in a year or two. A force to be reckoned with will be the green party. In such a tight political system and with the green party on the rise. Canada might have a green party with Jackie Healy Rae power in the next few years. Canada is looking very much towards Europe for political inspiration. With relations disproving with America interesting times line in store in Canada.

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