Thursday, October 06, 2011

Majority-ish

With nearly all the votes counted, here's how it looks:

Lib 53
PC 37
NDP 17

Which, as you will hear about fifty billion times this weekend, leaves the Liberals one seat shy of a majority government. However not all minorities are created equal, and failing to win that last seat isn't the complete failure many will paint it as.

For starters, it shouldn't be too hard to find an opposition MPP willing to take on the job of speaker...and the raise and perks that come with it. That would leave the Liberals and opposition tied at 53 seats and, as we all learned during the Chuck Cadman confidence mayhem, the speaker would be required to vote with the government on non-confidence motions to preserve the status quo.

There's also bound to be some fluidity in the seat count. MPPs will resign, and there will be by elections. Perhaps we may even get a floor crossing - though, sadly, the most poachable candidate for this went down in a blaze of glory in Eglinton Lawrence tonight.

Beyond the math, there's also the politics. Ontarians have gone to the polls three times in the past year, and given the abysmal turnout rate tonight, the appetite is definitely not there for another election anytime soon. Don't expect anyone to force an unnecessary election and bear the wrath of the electorate - at least not until campaign debts have been paid off.

So while McGuinty won't be able to write his name in the record books with three straight majority governments, he got the strong mandate he was asking for. That should be enough to keep Ontarians away from the polls for at least 2 or 3 years.

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19 Comments:

  • Strong mandate? Have you been gulping down the wine tonight?

    And I seriously doubt you'll find the Opposition parties willing to give up a seat to fill the Speaker's chair.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 AM  

  • Strong mandate? We (PC and NDP) will let Dalton bear the fruits of his own mess for a couple of years. The debt is huge, and growing. The private sector is shrinking and shrinking more. The public sector is rising, and need payback for their election adverts. The debt is going to bury him. When the time is right, we will bring him down, and then he will be gone.

    But I will be fair to him. If he can actually get us out of this hole, reverse the unemployment trend, reverse the debt trend, and make public sector workers accept the wages and benefits the rest of us live with, then I will say I was wrong, and give him a 4th mandate!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:44 AM  

  • I will forgive you your partisanship tonight, CG, since we are all prone to it. But I don't think I can say it any better than I said in the comments in the earlier thread:

    "The Liberals won, but not much of a mandate. Despite the pro-incumbent trend in Canadian elections this year, and despite the completely inept campaign run by Hudak and the PCs, they finished barely 2 points ahead of the Tories and lost 18 seats (and their majority). Hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Time to make nice with the Dippers."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 AM  

  • The Canadian Press weighs in:

    "A lacklustre Conservative campaign helped Dalton McGuinty become Ontario's first three-term Liberal premier in more than a century Thursday, but his record of broken promises and higher taxes made the win anything but decisive.

    McGuinty overcame palpable voter anger to eke out a third win but lost seats and popular support in the process.

    Despite being almost tied in voter support, McGuinty's Liberals managed to outpace the Tories under Tim Hudak where it mattered — in seat count.

    "This boils down to the Liberals are better campaigners than they are government," said Laure Paquette, a political science professor at Lakehead University.

    "They had a damn good campaign strategy and they were very disciplined about it."

    Hits the nail on the head, I'd say

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:01 AM  

  • Actually, the Speaker's requirement is to retain the status quo or allow debate to continue. So while the Speaker would probably vote against a motion of non confidence (brought up on a supply vote) to retain the status quo and vote for a budget at second reading or report stage (and against any amendments at report stage), the Speaker must vote against any budget or spending bill at third reading (and probably the main or supplementary estimates as well).

    (For reference, Milliken's explanation of his 2005 vote and O'Brien and Bosc on the Casting Vote (scroll down, as the anchors aren't working).)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 AM  

  • Does anybody think there is a chance the the McGuinty Liberals coax one or two MPP's from other parties to cross the floor?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:32 AM  

  • The interesting thing that the media hasn't picked up on is how close the PCs still made it. Poor campaign, poor leader and low turnout but still managed to creep up to the Liberals within 2 percent of the vote.

    One of the repercussions of this election is that the Liberals didn't add any seats, but lost a lot of experienced Cabinet Ministers and kept a bunch of very marginal-performing MPPs.

    Wilkinson was Mr Fix It and in line to be the Finance Minsiter if Duncan every switches or quits. Dombrowsky has had three of the most difficult Ministries and is in McGuinty's super-inner circle. Mitchell wasn't a standout but she was experience and had reasonably managed the Ag file while representing an ag riding (more difficult than people think.) Aggelonitis was probably their biggest upcoming star.

    It'll be interesting to see if he cultivates new talent from an election where he only brought in two or three new faces (from existing Liberal ridings) or if he relies on the Gerretsens, McMeekins and Chiarelli's of the government. Some of his up and comers - notbaly Margarett Best and Eric Hoskins - have significantly underperformed. His Peel caucus is extremely weak.

    Bench strength' doesn't influence voters but it does influence how well governments will run. We'll see if that has any political bearing in the next few years.

    By Anonymous Marc from soccer, at 7:54 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Jae/Jennie, at 8:08 AM  

  • Marc - Good point on bench strength, though the numbers game being how it is, it will be tricky to bring in new talent, since I doubt they'll be trying to ease any existing MPPs out the door.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:25 AM  

  • Anon - I wasn't aware of those speaker rules, but I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot about them in the coming years.

    I think it's still in the Libs' interest to get an opposition speaker - it increases their survival odds, and there's always the chance for a vacancy on the opposition benches.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:27 AM  

  • Anon (first few) - As far as minority governments go, this is about as strong a mandate as you can have, since it allows the Liberals to survive many non-confidence votes, even without opposition support.

    It's obviously a bit of a humbling result - like you said, the popular vote was close and they lost seats, but considering the way things looked a few short months ago, it's a remarkable accomplishment.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:29 AM  

  • My questions:

    1) Will the minority parliament make every party stick to its current leader? Dalton McGuinty has been at this perhaps too long now, while Tim Hudak arguably underperformed for the PCs.

    2) Will the next election happen before or after the next boundary adjustment? (2013/2014 if I'm not mistaken.)

    3) The 416/905 was solidly Liberal: Is the GTA flirtation with conservatism over after its federal and municipal affairs, or was this just a case of unusual timing?

    By Anonymous Daniel, at 10:38 AM  

  • McGuinty is now the first three-term premier since Bill Davis and the first three-term Liberal premier since Sir Oliver Mowatt (1872-1896). I don't think the caucus will be keen to push him out; though I could see him retiring before the next election, depending on how long this situation lasts.

    The Tories conceivably might look into replacing Hudak, given his lacklustre campaign, but there's something to be said for staying battle-ready.

    By Blogger Sean C, at 11:27 AM  

  • I doubt Hudak will get the boot - he increased the party's seat count, and share of the popular vote. And as you mentioned, the government could fall at any time.

    As for McGuinty, he may be in a worse position than if he had fewer seats. He is going to be tempted to govern as if he had a majority, which is hard to do. Having more MPs means greater demands for the spoils of government, after all.

    Yes, he can get floor-crossings in advance of the budget vote, but so can the opposition. McGuinty's MPs are going to be able to use the threat of floor-crossing in order to extract concessions - particularly if the polls go south for the Liberals.

    With a smaller caucus, everybody would understand that McGuinty has to seek an accord of some sort with the NDP. No one MP would be able to change the status quo (weak Liberal minority) by crossing the floor.

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 11:54 AM  

  • With a smaller caucus, everybody would understand that McGuinty has to seek an accord of some sort with the NDP. No one MP would be able to change the status quo (weak Liberal minority) by crossing the floor.

    Or go by a vote-to-vote basis. Happened federally with the Conservatives.

    By Blogger sharonapple88, at 12:13 PM  

  • This election looks remarkably similar to the federal result in 2008: Liberals strong in GTA, Tories strong in the rural south, pockets of NDP support in the North and industrial cities.

    What remains to be seen is if the federal experience repeats itself and the Tories manage to sweep the 905 next election

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:28 PM  

  • Are conservatives forgetting that they had a massive double digit lead in the summer? Way to go you took an election that was yours and gave the liberals a minority back even though they were massively unpopular and no one was predicting they would survive.

    Who should be humbled by this??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:05 PM  

  • "As far as minority governments go, this is about as strong a mandate as you can have"

    Agreed... certainly, one seat shy of a majority would have impressed many Hudak supporters, or Harper or Dion or Layton supporters.


    Hudak should be replaced. Anon 1:05 is right... this election was ripe for the PC's and Hudak totally fumbled it. He may be Premier one day, but right now, he's a bungling anti-immigrant homophobic idiot.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 5:01 PM  

  • "Or go by a vote-to-vote basis. Happened federally with the Conservatives."

    But that only worked for a few reasons.

    1. Because the Tories had a weak minority, it was easier for them to poll ahead of their election results - making it inadvisable for the opposition to call an election.

    2. Their fundraising edge meant that they could run ads around budget votes, decreasing opposition poll numbers, and making other parties more reticent to vote them down.

    3. They had 3 opposition parties to deal with, any one of which could help them pass a budget.

    None of this is true for Dalton McGuinty. He has an avenue for getting budgets passed, but it isn't so much in dealing with opposition parties as it is dealing
    with individuals who might cross the aisle.

    By Anonymous hosetohoosier, at 10:55 AM  

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