Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The new landscape: Conservatives vs. NDP

Harper's long-term goal is to make federal politics look like provincial politics in BC. There's a dominant conservative party (Social Credit and then the BC Liberals in BC) facing off against an NDP opposition. It's very polarized: you get wide swings in policy whenever government changes hands.

We'll see if Harper succeeds in keeping the Liberals out of the game. He's promised to eliminate the $2-per-vote subsidy, which will affect the Conservatives less than the other parties--they get a tremendous amount of money in direct donations from their base. I'd also expect more attack ads against both Layton and the new Liberal leader. (Why wait until the next election?)

Jeffrey Simpson:
Mr. Harper got what he wanted almost as much as an overwhelming victory: an overwhelming Liberal defeat. Not just the defeat but the destruction of the Liberal Party was Mr. Harper’s political objective, because he believed the Liberals’ disappearance would pave the way to a long period of Conservative dominance.

Mr. Harper believes that Canada is fundamentally not a social democratic country but a conservative one. To put matters another way, in a straight-up fight between conservative and left-wing forces, conservatives will win most of the time. The big, sprawling Liberal Party got in the way of this right-left showdown (and a left-wing surge, until this campaign). The Liberals’ demise spells long-term good news for the Conservatives.

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