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October 2008
November 2008

2008-10-29 »

A note on Canadian electoral math

A quick review of the results:


I'm amazed at the constant spin I hear about whether Stephen Harper's Conservatives "won" or "lost" the recent election.

Let's get this straight. The Conservatives won. I mean, honestly, guys. They won last time, and they won this time.

Furthermore, they won more seats than last time. That's an improvement for them. Improvement = happy. So far, so simple, and yet I see numerous postings that claim the contrary, because:

They still have a minority government, even though they wanted a majority. Okay, true. The Conservatives didn't get exactly what they wanted. Not exactly a "taking over the world" sort of result, but opponents trying to claim some sort of theoretical victory because the Conservatives didn't obliterate them as thoroughly as they tried to is, well, dumb.

But here's the most important thing: although they still have a minority government, the new Conservative government crosses an important threshold. It now takes three parties to outvote them instead of just two.

That means that realistically, this time they're going to be able to pass whatever laws they want, except fantastically stupid ones. In order to strike them down, you'd have to get the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP to all actually agree on something. Uh, right. Good luck with that.

Now, regardless of whether you're pro- or anti-Conservative, I think we're still better off now than in 2006. The reason is that we no longer have a stalemate. Because it's hard but not impossible to outvote them, they'll be able to get actual laws passed, which is (believe it or not) actually a useful thing for government to do. But they won't be able to do thoroughly oppressive things, like they would be if they had a majority.

So yes, in fact, victory can be claimed for both sides, but not in the foolish ways that people have been. Have a nice day.

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