Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Meanwhile, over in Canada...

Amidst all the campaigning that is occurring in British elections, it is time to give analysis on elections that have occurred recently in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In Saskatchewan's elections, which occurred two weeks earlier on 5th April, the Saskatchewan Party, allied to the Canadian Conservatives, managed to increase their seat total by 2, partly due to boundary changes giving Saskatchewan's Legislative Assembly three extra ridings from this year. Another reason was despite the fact that only six months ago, their Conservative affiliates had suffered a resounding defeat to the Liberals, they were able to capitalise on their only main competitor, the New Democratic Party, being in disarray nationally and regionally after what amounted to a vote of no confidence in Thomas Mulcair (the federal NDP leader) was successfully called for by NDP members. Even though the NDP captured two seats from the Saskatchewan Party, Prince Albert Northcote and Regina Douglas Park (where the regional Green Party leader there, Victor Lau, was standing) their leader, Cam Breton, lost his own riding in the election as a clear example of the NDP's overall failure to make real progress in Saskatchewan. The Liberals, meanwhile, remained uncompetitive despite having recovered and my Green colleagues there could not make much progress either.

Manitoba's election, which has just finished, produced a much worse day for the NDP. Although they retained many of their seats in the provincial capital, Winnipeg, they lost hold of crucial ridings in northern Manitoba like Thompson, Swan River and Kewatinook and only narrowly held on to Flin Flon and The Pas; many suburban ridings were also captured by the Progressive Conservatives who in Manitoba have just ended 17 years of NDP administration. Although it was not the worst NDP administration in a Canadian province by any means, the general desire for change was strong and electoral swings in Canada, as I have noted before in my blog, are generally considerably stronger than in the UK. The Liberals there only managed to gain two extra seats and Rana Bokhari failed to capture Fort Rouge from the NDP, but their recovery in vote share terms played another part in the NDP's heavy losses since the NDP lost 21 seats out of 35 on an average swing from NDP to Conservative of 15.5%.

The Green Party of Manitoba managed their best performance ever, though, despite fielding only 30 candidates across the 59 ridings of Manitoba which limited their potential. Although they unfortunately did not gain any seats in Manitoba's legislative assembly, David Nickarz almost captured the riding of Wolseley, missing out by only 384 votes to the NDP's Rob Altermeyer, and they polled over 10% in several more Winnipeg ridings. Had they fielded a full slate or close to a full slate, they might have been able to win an assembly seat due to more voters perceiving them as a viable alternative party who could get their policies passed into law.

The future nevertheless continues to look bright for the Green Party of Canada, as long as they continue to get more organised at all levels-municipal, provincial, and federal.


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