Voting DayI have been waiting with great anticipation for today. This is particularly true in the last couple of weeks when my party, The New Democratic Party, NDP, appeared to be doing exceptionally well. Half way throught the election season (about five weeks long) since the writ was dropped after the opposition parties defeated the government on a motion of non-confidence. it being found in contempt of parliament, the NDP showed some real life and strength. It began with a CROP poll in Quebec indicating the NDP was displacing the Bloc Québécois (the regional separatist party), in attracting the largest popular vote.
The race was on. For reasons, analysts will be arguing over for years to come, the citizens of Quebec decided to no long withdraw their partipation in Federal politics by parking their vote with the PQ and vote for a federal party. This is good for Canadian democracy. Quebeckers generally are social progressives so they dislike the Conservatives. The Liberals, under Trudeau, are still blamed for defeating the sovereignty referendum, oh, so many years ago, so the NDP was the party left to vote for. Jack Layton having been born in Quebec and being a charming person who easily mixed with people and obviously enjoyed it became the Everyman one could trust and thereby vote for his party, the NDP.
With the Quebeckers showing the way the people of the Maritimes, Ontario and British Columbia decided to join in. Many were waiting to vote for someone "other than Harper and the Conservatives." Even the Prairie provinces showed increasing support for the NDP. It looks like the NDP will have seats in every province and territory this time out. It will be a truly national party.
I have been following the polls carefully every day. Checking them sometimes twice a day to see if they had changed and if the increasing support for the NDP was continuing. I particularly liked the EKOS polling which seem to be more slanted toward the NDP,.The NANOS poll , one of the TV Networks depends on, along with a Toronto newpaper, was not bad. The Compas polling made me really nervous as it favoured the Conservatives strongly.
Last night I got out of bed and came to check to see if the final poll was in before voting day, today. (It was then that I learned of Osama Bin Laden's death. I started out to write something about it today but I was having trouble sorting out my thoughts. I may try again in a day or two.) There is a site that tries to amalgamate all the polls and make sense of them It isThree Hundred and Eight . Com
Here is the latest EKOS
poll. In the popular poll they have the CPC (no that is not the Communist Party of Canada in is the Conservative Party) 33.1%, The NDP, at 31.2%, LPC (Liberal) at 21.0%, Green Party at 6% and BQ, at 6.4% (only in Quebec).
What I like about this poll you will notice if you visit it, they predict Elizabeth May, the head of the Green Party will win her seat. I hope so. The NANOS poll showed an similar outcome. CPC, 37.1%, NDP 31.6%, LPC, 20.5% BQ, 5.7% and Green, 3.8%. There are other polls but they all are telling a similar story just before election day.
Of course, the only real poll is who actually comes out to vote. This depends of the enthusiasm of the supporters of a party and the strength of the party machinery to get the vote out. This is what makes me nervous for my party. While they are doing twice as good the best federal showing they ever had when they got 45 seats they may not turn the votes out to the maximum. They enthusiasm is high but they do not have much of an organization in Quebec to turn out the vote.
Since the NDP popular vote dipped to a low of 14%, it has made a steady climb until last night where it was over 30% with room to grow today.One phenomena I am hopeful for is party switching at the last moment. On the basis that 60% on Canadians do not like Harper and the Conservatives (they have failed three times to get an majority) and the Liberals are in a big decline, more Liberals will switch to the NDP to stop the Conservatives from getting a majority. They Conservatives after five weeks of trying have not increased their popular vote. They have few people who see them as their second choice so they have no way to grow their numbers. On the other hand the NDP has been increasing its popular vote count right up to the end and they are indicated as the second choice by the largest number of any party. Strategic voting and "anyone but Harper efforts " may see the NDP do well and block the Conservatives from gaining a majority. There are lots of ways you can analyse the figures from national, provincial and riding levels, and it is fun to do so. But now it has come to stress me out.
They best estimate now is that the Conservatives will not get a majority. They will fall short of the 155 seats necessary for that. They will form a minority government. The NDP will win the second largest number of seats (a record high for them) and the Liberals will be reduced to the status the NDP used to hold. The BQ will have fewer seats. How many is the big question. It could be so low they lose their official party status and all the perks that go with that. I hope there numbers will be so low that if the NDP and the Liberals withhold their confidence in the Conservative government, they will be given a chance to form a coalition, formal or informal, so that they may form a government without having to depend on the BQ. In any case, we certainly are having a lesson in parliamentary democracy with this election.
When all the smoke clears, in a year or so, Jack Layton may be the only leader of a party left.
Harper will lose support from his party as he could not lead them to a majority after four tries. We are not a far right country and the Conservatives have been too rigid and ideological.
Ignatieff, the Liberal, could not sell himself or his party to the electorate in spite of great personal credentials. Elizabeth May, the Green, Party leader, if she fails to get a seat will have tried three times in three different provinces to win a seat and come up short. She may move on to some other environmental cause. Gilles Duceppe of the BQ was ready to retire soon anyway and his party will be a shadow of its former self. (I like this former communist who became a skilled politician did well for his Province within Canada.)
As you can see, this can be an historic election in any number of ways. Tomorrow we get to rehash all the results of the voter's choices. right down to the local ridings. Lynne and I will have to find something else to talk about on the phone in the evening. . . . . . . . . We can always talk about American politics, which go on all the time, year after year, after year.
Voting is the most important thing a citizen can do. It is not a choice it is a duty to vote. In Canada the number of people getting out to vote has been falling off. The last election it was down to 59% where for years it was consistently up around 70%. Perhaps, this is a year when interest is high and there will be a big turn out of voters. I hope so. Of course, the statistics show that when there is a higher turnout with lots of young people voting it is good for my party, The New Democratic Party.