Election 2015

 

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Election 2015

The federal election took place on October 19, 2015.The date was set by the Canada Elections Act of 2006, a piece of legislation that imposed that a general election is to be held on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following the polling day for the preceding general election. However, it remains possible for the government to decide to hold the election before that set date. In that case, the current Parliament is dissolved by order of the Governor General.

 

1) Results

 

After 9 years in power for the Conservatives and despite the collapse of the Liberal Party in the 2011election, the 2015 election was won by the Liberals:

 

2006 SEATS

2006 VOTE SHARE

2008 SEATS

2008 VOTE SHARE

2011 SEATS

2011 VOTE SHARE

2015 SEATS*

2015 VOTE SHARE

CON

124

36.25%

143

37.63%

166

39.62%

99

31.9%

LIB

103

30.22%

77

26.24%

34

18.91%

184

39.5%

NDP

29

17.49%

37

18.2%

102

30.62%

44

19.7%

BQ

51

10.48%

49

9.97%

4

6.05%

10

4.7%

GREEN

0

  4.5%

0

6.8%

1

  3.9%

1

3.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Following the 2011 census, the 2015 Parliament had 30 more seats, bringing the total of seats to 338. This means that 170 seats were needed for a majority.

 

2) Parties

 

The main contending parties for the 2015 elections were:

 

Conservative Party of Canada

Party in office at the time of the election. 166 seats

Leader: Stephen Harper (Prime minister)

http://www.conservative.ca/

 

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper touted his government's record on security issues during a campaign stop in Quebec this morning.

New Democratic Party

Official Opposition party at the time of the election. 103 seats

Leader: Tom Mulcair

http://www.ndp.ca/

 

Liberal Party of Canada

34 seats

Leader: Justin Trudeau

https://www.liberal.ca/

 

https://www.liberal.ca/files/2014/09/home-leader.png

Bloc Quebecois

4 seats

Leader: Mario Beaulieu

http://www.blocquebecois.org/

 

Green Party

1 seat

Leader: Elizabeth May

http://www.greenparty.ca/en

 

 

 

3) Main Electoral Issues

  • The Economy: when the election took place, Canada was experiencing a slump due to decreasing prices of oil and natural resources, especially in Alberta. National prosperity was threatened by recession; the GNP decreased by 0.5% in early 2015 while unemployment increased from 6.6% in January to 7.1 % in September. To improve the economy, the Conservatives wanted to balance the budget and reduce public spending. The Liberals proposed to use a moderate public deficit to improve infrastructures and kick-start the economy.

  • Niquab: On 15 September 2015, the Supreme Court confirmed that a federal decree to ban wearing the niqab during the citizenship ceremony was unconstitutional. An intense controversy followed, with the Conservatives adopting an aggressive anti-niqab stance. The NDP defended the Supreme Court decision and lost of lot of support in Quebec, where the anti-niqub sentiment is strong. The Liberals’ moderate position gained them the majority of votes in Quebec.

  • The Syrian Refugees issue: during the campaign, there was a strong debate around Canada's treatment of Syrian refugees following the publication of the photograph of a drowned baby boy on a Greek beach. His aunt Tima Kurdi had been trying to help some other members of the family to come to Canada but her application had be considered incomplete and suspended. The Conservatives were accused of deliberately slowing down the application process of refugees. As answer, they pledged to speed up the process and welcome 10,000 more refuges in addition to the 11,300 quota voted for 2013-2018. The Liberals pledged to bring 25,000 refugees before Christmas, while the NDP promised to bring 46,000 refugees over the next 4 years.

4) Differences between the Conservative vision and the Liberal vision

 

 

Since his victory in 2006, Stephen Harper had been trying to change Canada’s political culture and make it more conservative. This was a difficult task since Canada’s culture has been shaped by the Liberals, who were in power for most of the 20th century (70 years against 30 years for the Conservatives). The Consertives had attempted to resurrect the older Canadian culture of the late 19th century by celebrating the British heritage, the monarchic tradition, the military tradition.

 

Conservative agenda:

  • A neo-liberal economic program which supports reduction of taxes and public spending, a balanced budget, free trade and free market

  • The primacy of the individual in society with the values of personal responsibility, personal initiative and self-reliance.

  • Belief in a transcendent moral order and a desire to the right thing (neo-conservatism). Based on a rediscovery of classic Burkean conservatism, this view defends the values of order, morality, family and tradition. It condemns Liberals for what is described as their moral neutrality and relativism

Liberal agenda

  • Interventionist government to maintain strong social programs and regulate the economy

  • A policy of multiculturalism based on the collective rights of cultural groups

  • A defense of the environment and the desire to contribute to the fight against global warming

  • A proactive policy to improve the situation of the First Nations and improve their place in Canada

Beyond values, Justin Trudeau’s success was due to the change in tone:

  • Optimistic and positive tone that contrasted with Harper’s mistrust and fearmongering

  • Preference for consensus, transparency and dialogue, as opposed to Harper’s authoritarian and rigid approach and preference for secrecy

  • Insistence on the need for inclusiveness and tolerance, while Harper tried to play on the fears of Canadians and to divide them.

Watt, Jaime, “Why the Liberals struck a chord with voters”, The Globe and Mail, 23 October 2015, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-the-liberals-struck-a-chord/article26940574/

 

On a more frivolous note, Justin Trudeau's success may also have been due to his sexy appearance! In the days that followed the election, it certainly helped to focus the world's attention on the new Canadian PM :

"He boxes. He snowboards. And has the physique to prove it. Social media users across the world are swooning over Canada's new PM."

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/10/21/were-moving-canada-social-media-swoons-over-new-canadian-pm