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Thoughts On Majority Government

October 2, 2006

Majority Government is the goal of every political party that runs in Canadian Elections. This evening, I was rather interested in how the composition of seats in which areas resulted in a majority government, so I messed around with various statistics and did some calculations and came up with some thoughts regarding majority governments.

Before I begin, I’ll let you know that looked at regions in particular; the regions being the West + Territories, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

Thought #1: Majority Government requires the support of 2 out of the 3 following regions: West + Territories, Ontario or, Quebec, with a smattering of seats elsewhere. The Liberals in 1974, 1980, and 1997 formed Majorities with basically the support of Ontario and Quebec with a smattering of support elsewhere. The Progressive Conservatives in 1988 formed a majority with the support of the West and Quebec (with, I’ll admit, a divided Ontario).

Thought #2: It is interesting to note how percentage of seats each region has has changed between 1974 and 2006.

West Quebec Ontario Atlantic
1974 26.5% 28.0% 33.3% 12.1%
1980 28.4% 26.6% 33.7% 11.3%
1988 30.2% 25.4% 33.6% 10.8%
1997 30.2% 24.9% 34.2% 10.6%
2004 30.6% 24.4% 34.5% 10.4%
2006 30.8% 24.4% 34.4% 10.4%

You’ll notice that in particular that the West and Ontario are gaining a greater percent of the total seats in the House while Quebec and Atlantic Canada have been losing out. This leads me to believe that political support in the West is going to become more important in getting majorities as time passes by, and we all know which party tends to have that control.

Thought #3: Based on the info above, how could each party form a majority?

Conservatives: I think that the Conservatives could have the easiest time to form a majority. The core reason is that they have the West solidly under their control. Quebec is basically neutralized with the Bloc’s presence; the Conservative and Liberals share around the same number of seats (10 and 13, respectively). The Conservatives are basically equal in seats in the Atlantic and Ontario Regions (with the Liberals having a slight edge. The recipe for a Conservative Majority, then, is gaining Ontario.

Liberals: The Liberals have a harder job ahead of them. With Quebec neutralized, the Liberals have to find a new region to find support. At the same time, the Liberals must hold on to Ontario or its game over. With the Atlantic Region being too small to get enough seats for a majority, the Liberals need to move to the West; the problem is, the Liberal “name brand” is so tarnished in that region that I have a hard time seeing any movement on that front.

I almost think that the Liberals need to split themselves into two parties: A Eastern Party (current Liberals) and a Western Party (a untarnished name brand). The Western and Eastern Parties should have an alliance and make sure that they don’t run candidates in each others area. (Well, just a thought, anyways)

NDP: The NDP has the advantage of being able to get seats in the West, Ontario and Atlantic Canada; however, the big barrier for the NDP to getting majority government is the Liberals. Therefore, NDP strategy should consist of minimizing the political impact of the Liberals in all areas of the country. Ways of getting seats in Alberta and Quebec should also be invested in (an the lastest Convention was such an investment for the NDP in Quebec).

Final Thought: It looks like the current situation only seems to present three possible outcomes for the next election: Liberal minority, Conservative minority, Conservative majority. Unless things change, it looks like outcomes won’t be favourable for the majority of Progressive Bloggers.

  1. Idealistic Pragmatist
    October 2, 2006 at 2:26 am

    I don’t know, under an open-minded Liberal leader with the NDP holding the balance of power, a Liberal minority could be pretty okay. And a coalition would be even better, though from Dion’s reaction when I asked him about such a scenario, it seems unlikely. I find it so frustrating that Canadians don’t even consider coalitions, when in most of the democratic world, that’s pretty much the only kind of government that ever happens. Canadians really need to get out more!!!!

  2. Northern BC Dipper
    October 2, 2006 at 5:55 am

    I think it is unfortunate that Canadians don’t consider coalitions as well.

    I do think that Canada would benefit from a PR system; maybe in that case progressives would work together instead of tearing each other a new one. However, we are right now still stuck with the FPTP/SMP system, so I guess most parties don’t like to go into coalition status because they somehow think that by doing so they are limiting themselves in future elections.

    But even under FPtP there are chances for greater co-operation. For instance, I think there could be a “Progressive Doctrine” between the Liberals and NDP where, in ridings (say, Alberta, Northern BC) where the Conservatives are far ahead and don’t have a chance of being beatan, the Liberals and NDP should put up a united front while in ridings where the battle is between the Liberals and the NDP, elections should go as normal. But I don’t see that happening as Liberal and NDP supporters tend to dislike each other.

  1. March 3, 2007 at 9:44 pm
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