By Henry McRandall
Could Canadians be on the verge of electing their first truly progressive government ever on May 2? And if they did elect a truly progressive government would the real masters of the world allow it to come to power?
The simple math suggests the first is indeed a possibility. But realpolitik dictates this would not be an “acceptable” outcome.
In the latest national opinion poll, out just in the last few hours, the Conservatives are at 36%, a slight drop from the 2008 election when they elected 143 MP’s on 37.2% of the vote, a large minority in the 308-seat House of Commons. The Liberals now are at 27% and the won 77 seats with 26.2%. The NDP is now at 20%, up from 18.2% in 2008 when they elected 37 MP’s. The Bloc Quebecois had dropped to nine percent from 10% that gave it 49 seats. The Green Party is at eight percent after the 6.8% that did not win a single seat. And two Independents were elected.
All those poll results have a margin of error but are fairly much in line with other recent polls.
If an election were held tomorrow, instead of May 2nd, it is entirely conceivable that the outcome would be something like this: The Conservatives would still win more seats than any other party but would be much further from a majority than they are now, dropping from 143 seats last time to just 133 this time. The Liberals would also lose seats, going from 77 to 74. But the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and perhaps even the Green Party – if it can hold on to its support – would at least hold their own and quite possibly gain. They might elect 49, 49 and 3 MP’s respectively.
The Conservatives – losing a sawbuck worth of seats and winning only 36% of the vote – would still insist they have the exclusive right to form a government.
But the combined opposition could instantly defeat Stephen Harper’s Tories on a no-confidence vote – they would outnumber them 175 to 133 and represent 64% of voters – and insist that the Governor-General allow the combined majority Liberal-NDP-Bloc-Green caucuses to form a majority coalition.
Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals – who are quite centrist and quite as committed to the corporate capitalist agenda as Harper’s Conservatives – would then be the largest single tyne in the progressive pirtchfork but the other tynes – the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Greens –would carry much more combined heft.
It would be logical, then, to expect that the coalition might have a somewhat leftist tinge.
But are the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois still really leftist (social democratic) parties? Has the Green Party ever been a leftist party? Would the Bloc Quebecois even be a legitimate formal participant in such a Canadian federal government – from either the perspective of Quebecers or the rest of Canadians?
Assuming that the answer to all three questions is “Yes,” and I hope is, one might expect a federal regime whose policies would finally favour the need of the masses – the poor, the working class and even the middle class – over the unbridled greed of the “massahs.”
Jack Layton’s NDP, Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Quebecois and Elizabeth May’s Green Party now stand at 37% combined public support, compared to 27% for the Liberals and 36% for the Conservatives. And, in a three-way split – left, right and centre – it could be almost enough for a leftist majority even without the opportunist Liberals.
But if such a government ever got elected – would the banks and the corporations and the billionaires and mega-millionaires who control them even allow it to assume power? In a world controlled by an econocorporate (banks and corporations) socioeconomic elite, “democracy” has its limits.
Could Canada finally elect a progressive regime?
By Henry McRandall