Monday, September 8, 2008

Canadian General Election

The speculation I wrote about here, regarding a Canadian election, turns out to be true. There will be a general election for the Canadian House of Commons on October 14.

In the two most recent general elections, no party gained a majority in the House of Commons.

On June 28, 2004, the Liberal Party, then led by Paul Martin, won 135 seats, which was the highest total for any party, but was short of a majority in the 308-member House. Martin continued on as prime minister, heading a minority government.

Then, on January 23, 2006, the Conservative Party of Canada, whose leader is Stephen Harper, won 124 seats, with the Liberal total being reduced to 103. Since then, Harper has headed a minority government, as prime minister.

The Liberals chose Stephane Dion as their new leader, on December 2, 2006.

Two other parties have significant, but smaller, representation in the House.

One is the Bloc Quebecois, led by Gilles Duceppe. That party only contests seats in the province of Quebec. It is part of the movement for either independence, or some lesser form of "sovereignty" for that province.

The other such party is the New Democratic Party. Its leader is Jack Layton. The NDP has a populist left-wing agenda, summarized on its website as setting the federal agenda at the kitchen table, rather than the boardroom table.

The current standing of the parties in the House of Commons is:

Conservative: 127
Liberal: 95
Bloc Quebecois: 48
New Democrat: 30
Independent: 4
Vacancies: 4
Total: 308

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