Canada’s Parliament has 308 seats representing 308 districts in Canada. When the voters return 155 members of any one party thay have a plurality, or a majority in the Parliament. They can pass legislation without the assistance of other parties.
On the evening of January 23, Canadians learned they had elected 124 Conservative Members to Parliament. The “opposition parties” occupy 184 seats; they include 104 members of the former governing Liberal Party, 29 seats for the improved fortune New Democratic Party, and the Bloc Quebecois, which lost three seats and ended up with 51.
The Conservative Party received 36% of the national vote, Liberals received 30%, NDP received 17.5%, The Bloc 11%, the Greens 4.5%
The Conservative Party will form a government with neo-Conservative Stephen Harper as the Prime Minister, and he will select a Cabinet of Ministers out of his 124 MP’s. Likely choices for cabinet include former police officer Vic Toews as Justice Minister (ulp!) and Stephen Fletcher in Health. Both are hard line prohibitionists.
The defeated Liberal Party government’s leader, Paul Martin, tendered his resignation as the leader of the Liberal Party. A leadership convention will occur in the fall of this year to pick a new Liberal leader.
The Conservatives improved their vote totals across Canada from 29.5% to 36.3%. The NDP improved with 17.8% from 15.8%. The Bloc dropped to 43% from 47%. The Liberals lost 5%, to drop to 30.2%.
The NDP improved from 18 seats to 29 seats by making gains in Ontario and British Columbia, in urban areas like Hamilton, Toronto, Victoria, and in resource towns/districts like Timmins, Vancouver Island North, Bulkley Valley.
Virtually all of the 29 MP’s from the NDP are anti-prohibitionists, so we have allies in the new government.
Prohibitionists in the previous Liberal government were defeated however, including Anne McLellan and Roger Galloway.
However, the Conservatives in their campaign promises promoted mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana growing and selling. They said they don’t want decriminalization of any kind. Over 100 Conservatives elected are on the record supporting prohibition, and most favor a US-style War on Drugs and Users.
(Updates to follow)