Blog of Mass Distraction

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Defenestrative Politics

In the recent elections many people said they voted for the traditional opposition not because they necessarily wanted to support them but because they wanted to punish the existing government. They were fed up with the continued corruption and ineffectiveness of the party and even the former opposition was surprised at some of the gains they made. Surprised though excited that some of their platform changes (which included dropping some of their more controversial or extreme policies) worked in appealing to a wider audience. They also learned a thing or two in public relations from like-minded, savy groups from across the border.
I am talking about the recent Palestinian elections which saw the Hamas party take a surprisingly commanding lead over the ruling Fatah party. Official election results are not out yet, but Hamas has said they want to form a coalition rather than just governing by themselves. As some have said, Hamas functions much better as an opposition party than a governing party.

Of course the Conservative party has also won the election here in Canada. They took 124 seats to form a minority government. The Liberals won 103 seats, the Bloq 51 and the NDP 29 with 1 independent in Quebec. In his victory speech Stephen Harper apparently made some obvious offerings to the French Canadians which helped him get elected since Quebec gave 10 seats to the Conservatives. The Conservatives can form government with the Bloq holding the balance of power. The only question now is how long they can maintain their government. This is easier said than done since most other parties are diametrically opposed to Conservative policies. So while the Bloq may support the Conservatives in votes that they feel are in Quebec's best interest, they still would not support strong Conservative platform promises like missile defense, opposing gay marriage, repealing Kyoto, or participating in wars. The Bloq (and apparently the NDP too) would however support initiatives they think are in line with their policies (good for Quebec for the Bloq, or good for social programs for the NDP).

In the meantime, Liberals are posturing and jockeying for position to replace Martin. The supposed frontrunner is Frank McKenna, now former Canadian ambassador to the US. He resigned his post in preparation for the leadership bid. Other potential candidates might include Michael Ignatieff, John Manley and Belinda Stronach among others. BS seems an unlikely choice though because she ran and came in second in the Conservative leadership race. While she is socially progressive, I don't think she'd be the right leader for the Liberals. But then I'm not so sure about McKenna or Ignatieff either, but what the heck do I know? I think that as long as Martin and his rascals are out the Liberals will be better off. Who becomes leader will also likely determine how long the Conservatives will be in power and how long it will be before they're thrown out.


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