Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sooner or Later, Canadians Will Have to Make Up Their Minds

"Sooner or later, Canadians have to make up their minds."

This is Harper on why Canadians should give him a majority. It's another of those annoying comments that are out there everywhere that either intentionally or through sheer ignorance misrepresent the voting intentions of Canadians. The talk around town is that 'this election won't change anything', that we'll return another Conservative minority with much the same seats as before। I mean, after all, look at the current polling stats (I've taken them from threehundredeight because the amalgamated numbers presented there seem a useful 'average' of current trends and I don't want to cherry-pick polls).

  • Today: CPC 38.9%, LPC 28.2%, NDP 16.8%, BQ 8.8%, GPC 6.0%

  • 2008: CPC 37.7%, LPC 26.3%, NDP 18.2%, BQ 10.0%, GPC 6.8%

  • 2006: CPC 36.3%, LPC 30.2%, NDP 17.5%, BQ 10.5%, GPC 4.5%

I mean wow. That's static, isn't it? Something might happen over the next two weeks to really shift these numbers. And of course it's not the overall numbers that matter so much as the particulars of where they're located - and we can't know yet how much that's shifted.

But wow. People are right when they complain that this election won't change anything. The fact is that voters continue to return the same mandate, and parties in parliament continue to misinterpret that mandate.

Put it differently: Canadians have made up their mind. In huge numbers. The overall lack of change from year to year suggests that the vast majority of Canadians have chosen their horse and are running with it, barring huge fundamental paradigm shifts, none of which we've seen recently.

Harper sees a mass: a single entity that appears unable to commit to any one party. I see fifteen million indiciduals, and then I see very high levels of commitment indeed. This appears to be what Canadians want. Those who have to make up their mind are the MPs. They need to find a way to make this, the mandate they are repeatedly given, work. Clearly it is not working, but you can't blame the people for that. Those who sit in the House of Commons have nobody to blame but themselves.

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