Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Canada's 2011 Election: Historic NDP breakthrough; Liberals and Bloc Quebecois Decimated

Written by Alex Grant and Camilo Cahis
Wednesday, 04 May 2011

The political landscape of Canada has changed, potentially in an irrevocable way. The Liberal Party, formerly Canada’s “natural governing party”, has been reduced to a rump of 34 seats, having received only 19% of the vote. The separatist Bloc Quebecois, which has dominated Quebec since the party’s foundation 20 years ago, has been swept aside by the NDP’s “orange wave” and has been left with only four seats. The New Democratic Party, Canada’s labour party, has leapt into second place with a record-breaking 102 seats, and 31% of the vote.

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sonia said...

This is a pretty obvious, conventional wisdom analysis, with hardly any original insights.

Quebec always votes for leaders born in Quebec (doesn't matter if they are English or French, left-wing or right-wing). They voted overwhelmingly for Conservatives when they were led by Brian Mulroney (born in Baie-Comeau) and now they voted for NDP because it is led by Jack Layton (born in Hudson, Quebec). They didn't vote for Jack in the last election only because back then the Liberals were led by Stephane Dion. With Liberals led by Toronto's Ignatieff, all the Quebec Liberal vote went to NDP. The last time Liberals did so badly in Quebec was back in the 80's when they were led by Vancouver's John Turner. After Turner, Liberals were led by three Quebeckers - Chretien, Martin and Dion - always winning a very substential portion of the province's vote.

Quebeckers don't hate the Conservatives. They hate Canadians from other provinces (and especially Albertans) and Stephen Harper is an Albertan. End of story. Stephen Harper could have adopted the same platform as Hugo Chavez and he still would have been defeated in Quebec.

And the main reason Quebeckers dumped the Bloc in favor of NDP was not because they suddenly "got tired of the stale Federalist vs. Nationalist debate", but because they want Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe to replace the ineffectual Pauline Marois as the head of the provincial Parti Quebecois and run against Liberal premier Jean Charest, instead of wasting his time in Ottawa.

Ross Wolfe said...


From this, along with the description of the IMT's involvement with the PPP in Pakistan and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, I think I am getting a fairly good sense of how the IMT approaches prominent pre-existing parties in the various nations in which it operates.

Now this is just going off of an intuitive take, so correct me if I'm wrong:

The IMT tends not to stake out a claim for itself as an independent party unto itself, but rather as a series of platforms and objectives specific to each country. The members of the IMT then seek to integrate themselves into the far leftish parties (which are usually either alternatives to the main party that is "just left-of-center"), or into majority parties that have large working-class elements. Their exact position with relation to the parties in which they're involved is complex: on the one hand, they try to guide the party's platform along more radical lines in the run-up to an election, or push for more radical policies if the party is in power. At the same time, the IMT members retain a sort of critical distance from certain of the party's actions or elements which they deem to be wrongheaded or unsavory.

I don't I anywhere close with this?

Frank Partisan said...

Sonia: I can't speak to the details. Nobody in the US knows much about the inner workings of Canadian parties like the Liberal Party. I do know the big picture. There is a crisis in the world economy. One effect is the Canadian dollar is rising due to oil prices being high. That is having an effect, particularly in Eastern Canada.

Some NDP candidates weren't vetted by the party, since nobody expected them to win.

You can't eat nationalism. People were looking for an alternative to the Conservatives.

The NDP turned things around in the debates.

Canada has a left shift, shown by it having its first Green party MP.

Ross: You are correct.

The platform is based on transitional demands, the ideas in Trotsky's Transitional Program.

Our main axiom is that when the masses move politically, the first place they look to, is their traditional organizations.

Some parties with small forces, are hard to penetrate, as the Spanish Socialist Party and the Israeli Labor Party.

With the Stalinist Communist Parties liquidating themselves, it has been worthwhile to join them. They have incredible resources, and access. We got the French Communist Party to sponsor a speaking tour of Trotsky's grandson Esteban Volkov.

We always keep our independence. We support these parties, but only endorse our program.

Larry Gambone said...

Quebec is the most progressive area of Canada. The BQ was social democratic. Quebecois shifted to the NDP because it is a social democratic party and the BQ had run its course.

Frank Partisan said...

Larry G: I agree.

Ross Wolfe said...


I'd be interested in your further thoughts on imperialism in the present day over at my blog. Because there are some major changes that have taken place -- no longer is there the transparent colonization and exploitation of the less developed countries. It's much more abstract, and not as competitive between the major powers.