Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Those Darn Albertans....

What a riot reading posts today from my Liberal friends on FB, and random comments around the net. I saw such quips as "I knew Alberta would throw the rest of Canada in the pan again, but who knew it would be Ontario's fault too".

Really? So Alberta and Ontario are the Conservative strong holds that are to blame for this dastardly Conservative Majority govt, are they? Tsk tsk.

Well then let's see. My local paper printed the results of every single riding in Canada in today's paper so let's look at the provincial tallies first:

British Columbia 21 ridings voted Conservative MPs in
Alberta 27
Saskatchewan 13
Manitoba 11
Ontario 72
Quebec 6
New Brunswick 8
PEI 1
Nova Scotia 4
NFLD 1
Nunavut 1
Yukon 1
NWT 0

Yes, Yes, Yes Ontario filled 72 seats (forgive me if I counted wrong, I was going cross-eyed, but it must be close) and 27 of Alberta's 28 seats were filled with Conservatives, but the other provinices and territories combined filled another 67 seats. Heck, NB went 8/10 for 80% Conservative MPs. Looking at it another way, over 40% of the total Conservative seats were filled in provinces and territories OTHER THAN Alberta and Ontario. That's a pretty healthy chunk. But Alberta and Ontario will take the blame. A province of less than 4 million people (Alberta) always gets the blame for Conservative antics eh? At least now Ontario will get to know more of what that feels like, even though they have a much larger population. More people live in the GTA than in all of Alberta lol. But still, it's still nice to share the 'blame' for a Conservative majority. Why? Because I think it's great that Harper and Co finally get a chance at a majority. Hopefully they won't screw it up or next election will be completely terrifying if the NDP manage to keep all of their new voters and gain some more while they are it it. *shudder*.

Another topic on the run is the 'popular vote' of course. I find it very strange that when I have mentioned the 'popular vote' tally (referring to representation for the West) in past elections, I have been told that it 'doesnt matter because it goes by seats', 'suck it up, the Conservatives are the losers again' etc. Now this time around, I am hearing constantly about how the conservatives do not have the majority of the popular vote, how 'more than 60% of Canadians voted against them' and so on. Oh so now the popular vote IS important. Okay, so now the seat count DOESN'T matter because it didn't go the left-leaning parties' way. I see. Now it all makes sense.

So I took another gander at the Canada-wide riding tallies and saw that most of the places with a Conservative MP won by a great chunk of voting totals. Some races were VERY close, within hundreds or a mere thousand in large ridings. But in many of the other ridings, the Conservatives took a much larger win by several thousand, or  10 to 30 thousand. That's no chump-change, is it?

Are you bored yet? Im going through the provinces again to look at high and low win totals (at the time my paper printed them so not all were completely tallied):

British Columbia: There were 13 out of 21 ridings with Conservatives ahead more than 10,000 votes ( 6 of those being more than 15,000 votes ahead).
Alberta: 24/27 ridings more than 10,000 votes ahead
Saskatchewan: 5/13 more than 10,000 votes ahead, and 4 of the remaining were more than 5,000 votes ahead
Manitoba: 7/13 more than 10,000 votes ahead
Ontario: 49/72 were more than 10,000 votes ahead
Quebec: 2/6 were more than 10,000 votes ahead (very close polls in those ridings tho, holy moly)
NB: 5/8 more than 10,000 votes ahead
NS: 2/4 more than 10,000 votes ahead
NFLD: extremely close (only 200 votes separating Cons and Lib in that riding)
very very close in the territories
PEI: 1 seat, won by more than 5000 votes
In other words, only 3 provinces had less than 50% of their Conservative seats won by a large margin. Or, 7 out of 10 provinces had MORE than 50% of their Conservative seats won by a large margin. However you want to look at it.

Anyhow, my point is, popular vote or not, 65% of the ridings I looked at with Conservative MP wins had more than 10,000 votes above the runners-up. For a switch, I counted up ALL of the remaining ridings in Canada (aside from Quebec's which I will get to afterward), and out of all the seats going to Lib/NDP/Green, only NINE of them won by a margin of over 10,000 votes ahead of the Conservatives (even in the cases where the Con candidate was in 3rd place). NINE. That's it! So what's this about the popular vote again?

Oh so let's look at Quebec. A highly populated province with the second-highest number of seats in the House (about 75 I believe), a population of about 8 million people, 25% of Canada's total population, and that just literally turned Orange in a sea of NDP voters. When you add in their seat wins (NDP/Lib/Bloc), there are 56 (Fifty-Six) where the winner was more than 10,000 votes ahead of the Conservative candidate.

So when we are talking about the 'popular vote' in Canada, perhaps those who are whining and complaining should say that 'The majority of Quebec citizens voted against the Conservative party, but the majority of the REST of the citizens of Canada voted FOR the Conservative party'. Only NINE ridings outside of Quebec had conservatives lose by more than 10,000 votes. Within Quebec's invisible walls, 56 ridings had Conservatives tanking (and one didn't even run a candidate at all). Outside, not so much. So I just don't get it when I read posts today and late last night that complain and whine that the conservatives do not have the 'popular vote'..... it's more like they do not have the popular vote of Quebecers, and that's not a surprise anyway.

If you then go to the elections canada website and look at the popular vote by province, you find this:

BC 45.5%
AB 66.8%
SK 56.3%
MB 53.5%
ON 44.4%
NB 43.9%
NS 36.7%
PEI 41.2%
NF/Lab 28.4%
Nunavut 49.9%
Yukon 33.8%
NWT 32.1%
and finally Quebec 16.5%

It doesn't look so hot for the Conservatives on that list, but they still managed to pull off a majority due to the 'seat' system and representation by population blah blah rules. And you keep in mind that in most of them, the NDP had even lower totals.

Apparently the big deal with this popular vote is that more Canadians voted left of center than right of center. Well, the fact remains that there are several left-leaning parties and only one that is right-leaning. If the votes get split between the left-parties, and yet they still do not manage to pick up enough seats to force a minority Conservative govt or completely over-throw them, who's fault is that? The Conservative voters? The Conservative party? Or how about the voters who spread themselves between the Liberal, NDP, Green, Bloc, etc? YES more than 60% of Canadians voted for a party 'other than' the Conservatives, but that is how our system works and has worked all along, so if you don't like it - change it. Put forward the idea for change. It's been discussed before that we need a change, but then I continuously see people ranting about NOT wanting to go with a US-style system where two main parties have been at the helm back and forth for eons - Democrats and Republicans. Well what is the answer then?? Seriously - WHAT is the answer then? Our past majority govts were at less than 50% too, even the Libs (other than a Mulrooney time where he hit 50% popular vote).

You don't want two parties, but you don't like it when a majority of seats are taken by a party with only 40% of the popular vote while 60% gets spread between 2-3 other 'main parties'. Make up your minds please.

If the party with the highest popular vote won, who would that be then? In this election, according to the popular vote tallies, the Conservatives had about 5,832, 401 votes total across Canada, and the next runner up, the NDP, had 4,508, 474 votes total. 39.6% for Conservatives, and 30.6% for NDP. Neither of those is over 50% of course. You could throw in the Liberals with the NDP, but you would STILL fall short of 50%! That comes to 49.5% of the popular vote. Oh GEEZ that's still not a true majority. What DOES push it over the 50% magic mark is the 6% of voters who chose the Bloc - a party that cannot even be voted for outside of Quebec. I guess we better get out the Green Party's 3.9% then and throw it in with the NDP and the Liberals for a cool 53.4% of Canadian voters. Phew I feel much better now. That is a massive majority eh? Too bad it took adding 3 parties together to get to that magic majority number.

Why do I say that instead of pointing out that the Liberals and NDP have more of the popular vote together than the Conservatives do, even though it's still less than 50%? Because apparently Elizabeth May of the Green Party said that the Conservatives  have a "false majority". If that means less than 50%, well, so? With so many parties up here to vote for, when are we going to have a 'true majority'? When was the last 'true majority'? I just went back to elections canada again and they have the tables back to 1997 and the highest 'popular vote' percentage is 40% for the Liberals in 1997. So we haven't had a 'true majority' in at least 24 years. And for all the Liberal voters I have read moaning about the 39.6% total for the Conservatives, well --- that's the second highest 'popular vote' I saw in the tables including when the Liberals had a majority govt. And back in those days, the NDP had a tiny fraction compared to this election, 10%, so that still didn't put them over 50% aside from ONE time. I could run around saying that for many years the majority of Canadians have been voting for a party 'other than' Liberal and bitch and cry about it, but I won't. That's for you to do right now instead and of course never ever see that you are the pot calling the kettle black each and every time.

Do you think if the NDP had somehow managed to slaughter everyone and steal more Conservative seats and win a bare majority, or a minority, that you wouldn't be saying 'suck it up' to Conservative voters? Of course you would - so then I say the same thing - suck it up. The votes were in and counted, and Conservatives won seats in every province. In 2 of the 3 territories. And it was enough to surpass the amount they needed to seal a majority of seats in parliament, just like the Liberals have done in past elections. But it was okay then right? Of course it was!

17 comments:

  1. Actually, the Tories did win one seat in PEI. Gail Shea was re-elected in Egmont. In fact they were the only party to win a seat in every province. The Liberals also won a seat in every province save Alberta and NDP in 8 out of 10 provinces (PEI and Saskatchewan the exception)

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  2. We tried hard! Don't ever forget how many conservatives are sitting in "drowned out ridings". Despite our votes, we can't rid ourselves of the embarrassing and annoying, Hedy Fry. Next time???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uus1hpdPqr4

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  3. ummm we won a seat in PEI. Edgemont. quite comfortably too.

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  4. Your local newspaper was incorrect. Gail Shea (Egmont) P.E.I. won her riding with over 54% of the vote. It only helps your point.

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  5. Item 3 of this NP article explains it all

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/05/03/ten-lessons-to-learn-from-the-2011-election/

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  6. I heard lizzie make that stmt, over 60% voted against PMSH. Hey, maybe that worked in a minority, but not a majority. And using her method, over 97& of Canadians did not for her.
    97% said they don't want her, but she is going to Ottawa and has already said she will ask the Speaker for a larger budget and more time in QP. Guess she read some rules and found out she has no budget, no question time, and will sit in the back corner some where and be ignored.
    And she said give her six weeks to stop the heckling, and make all the changes she said she would. She feels as a party leader she deserves more than an independent, like Helena, Deb Grey, the guy from Quebec, and now the 4 Bloc members. Ain't going to happen. Best thing about her being there, she will be muzzled.

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  7. Correction: The Conservatives won the riding of Egmont in PEI, and by nearly 5,000 votes.

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  8. Right on !! My wife has a cousin who asked about the whole popular vote thing. I said it was like deciding who wins the Stanley Cup by adding up each teams total number of goals for the year.

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  9. EXCELLENT analysis!!

    One thing you missed was that Stephen Harper won more votes 5.8 mil than Jean Cretien 5.4 mil when he was winning majorities - funny I didn't hear any complaining then?

    If I find the link, I will come back and post it.

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  10. Thanks for the comments! I made a note somewhere in my post that not all ridings had reported full tallies when my local paper went to print, so that's where I missed the PEI seat. I will correct my post later :) For some reason my grumpy computer would not open the full ridings tables on the elections canada site, so I had to use my newspaper lol.

    I just wanted to do this post because in the past, when I would mention to Liberal friends that the Western provinces largely voted PC/Cons in federal elections (not always BC but still a big chunk of votes there), I would be shut down and told the popular vote doesnt matter. Back in the days when I was just starting to get interested in politics more, I remember not even understanding what 'the popular vote' WAS lol and because of their comments, I had to go look it up. That's when I discovered that even though the Seats are supposed to be based largely on population in each area, a party can win a majority in parliament, but not actually win the majority of total votes across the country. I was told all those Liberal years that it didn't matter. Now it does apparently lol.

    As for Elizabeth May, as cited in the blog post by Grey Lady that I linked to, in her riding she won by less than 50%, meaning the other parties combined won more than 50%, so SHE has a 'false majority'. But that doesn't count, right? Noooo. Or we could look at the fact that the Green Party LOST about 3% of the total popular vote across Canada (from the last election where they were at 7%), yet still gained a seat this time around. Gee if almost half their voters went MIA, should they get a seat at all? Etc etc. Lots of ways to spin this based on her own words.

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  11. Even Wacko Jacko is saying that 60% did not vote for the Conservatives. Well 70% did not vote for him and most of the votes he got was in Quebec while the PM carried most of the provinces.

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  12. Excellent Post Kez and thanks for the link back.

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  13. Don't get all bound up with this "60% against" business, it's just the left trying to promote proportional representation

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  14. AG I gave you a link in my first comment. That NP article gives some surprising facts.

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  15. If a majority without 50% of the votes isn't valid...

    http://www.oxygentax.com/2011/05/if-majority-is-illegitimate-at-less.html

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  16. great link/post O2tax! I wanted to delve deeper but it was midnight and i was totally wiped out lol

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