大选专栏 (六) :多数政党与联合政府
Election 2015: ruling party and coalition government

在大选即将来临之际,Bob Mok的专栏文章将继续向读者介绍席位分布及主要政党优劣势等基本知识。
Bob Mok’s column covers the basic knowledge of the upcoming election: from seat distribution across the country to the strength and weakness of the major parties.

Please refer to an earlier article for this series of discussions - http://096.ca/news/550866


Let us look at the Parliamentary History of Canada. After the Second World War, the governing party has always been either the Liberals or the Conservatives (or deviants of that Party). The same two parties have also been the “Parliamentary Opposition Party” except in 1993-1997 when it was the Bloc Quebecois and in 2011 to present – the New Democratic Party.

如前文所述,各政党将在即将来临的大选中角逐338个议席。任何想要赢得“多数”政府从而可以避免在未来四年出现倒台危机的政党都必须确保在大选之夜赢得170个议席。而少数政府则需要依靠另一个政党的支持才能避免倒台,尤其是在每年通过财政预算案时。这也意味着少数政府不得不通过在预算案上作出让步,将某些计划推迟执行以及实施一些举措以 安抚对其予以支持的政党。

As mentioned before, there are 338 seats to be contested in this upcoming election. Any party wishing to win a “Majority” and avoid being toppled during the next four years will have to secure 170 seats on election night. A minority government will need one of the other parties to support them to prevent a defeat, particularly during the passage of the yearly budget. This would mean that concessions have to be made to the budget and programs will have to be delayed and others added to appease the supporting party.


One other scenario will be the forming of a coalition government. If the leading party on election night does not get 170 seats, then any number of parties combining their total seats that will exceed the front running party can joined together to form a coalition government. This has never happened (by definition) after confederation! For this election, the Liberals already announced their refusal to form any coalition government with other parties. Given the fact that the Liberal Party is not the front running party at the polls, the chances of a Coalition government for the next Parliament is effectively zero.


So, where will the traditional strengths of each of the 3 major parties based on the last few Federal Elections? How will their votes be distributed amongst the ten provinces and three Territories? What did the early Polls say?


Let us examine the provinces and Territories going across the country from the East Coast to the West coast:


Atlantic Provinces (32 seats) - Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.


Traditionally, citizens vote for the party running the provincial government of the day. Three out of the four are Provincial Liberal governments (Newfoundland is Conservative). Many of the recent polls put the Liberals first and New Democratic Party (NDP) as second, ahead of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).


Quebec (78 seats) – At one time during the 90’s, Quebecers voted for the Bloc Quebecois to gain advantages from the ruling government of the day resulting in actions to pacify their appetite for Federal monies and political gains. At one time, the Bloc Quebecois actually became the “Opposition” party. Just imagine an opposition party whose goal is to gain independence with no interests in the rest of the country’s affairs! In some other country, this would be considered a treacherous and subversive force and disbanded and arrested.


In the last election, the Quebec citizens went with the NDP and wiped the Bloc representation clean. It went from 47 to 4 seats. The NDP won 59 seats under their leader Jack Layton. The NDP under new leader Thomas Mulcair continued to gain ground in this Province with the Liberals following far behind in the polls.


Ontario (121 seats) – In the last election (2011), the Conservatives captured 73 seats, up from 51 in 2008. This allowed them to form the Majority government. Ontario, with its large number of seats holds the key to any Party’s ambitions to form the next Federal Government.


The Conservatives are still ahead in the Ontario Polls. The ruling Liberal Government’s poor financial records and scandals may continue to benefit the Conservatives. The Liberals are a distant second and the NDP is closing in on them.


Next time, we will continue to look at the other Provinces across the nation.

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