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January 23, 2006
Canada's Day Of Reckoning

Canadians go to the polls today to select a new Parliament, and all indications show that they will bring in a new government for the first time in 13 years. As both the New York Times and the American Spectator surmise, the new Conservative government could bring closer ties to the United States as both cooperation and the tone of the relationship will improve with Stephen Harper over the vacillating and accusatory Paul Martin:

Unless every national poll here is amiss, what has been perhaps the world's winningest political party is heading toward a humiliating defeat on Monday.

Stephen Harper, 46, an economist and social conservative who is writing a history of ice hockey, appears poised to lead his Conservative Party to victory over the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Paul Martin, something that seemed highly improbable just a few weeks ago. The Liberals won the last four national elections, governing Canada for 13 years - as the party did for three-quarters of the past century.

But whether a Harper victory would represent a seismic shift, in a country that has long promoted itself as a beacon of social democracy and frequent critic of American foreign policy, remains an open question. If he cannot muster a majority in the House of Commons, Mr. Harper may lead a weak, unstable government opposed by three left-of-center parties represented in Parliament.

Krauss casts this somewhat pessimistically. The Bloc Quebecois has already cast its lot with the Conservatives and is widely expected to form a government with the Tories if Harper can't win a majority in the new Commons. That has actually been the expectation all along; only in the final days of the election has the possibility of a majority win appeared within reach. Ipsos still says that its polling shows it could happen, while SES puts the Tory win somewhat lower. BQ will exact some concessions from the Tories for its partnership, probably in exemptions from some of the reforms Harper has espoused on the campaign trail, in exchange for a lowering of rhetoric on separatism.

John Tabin picks this up in the American Spectator today (link via Michelle Malkin, who has a lot more to say):

It's possible, though not likely, that the Conservatives will win an outright majority in Parliament. But even if they don't, and need to form a coalition government, they will have more of a chance to move an agenda than one would expect. As a political consultant explained to me in Washington a few months ago before heading north to work for the Conservatives, the leaders of the Tories' prospective coalition partner, the separatist Bloc Quebecois, are willing to give Harper several years of rule (but expect lots of Tory reforms to exempt Quebec). The Conservative victory will be a real one, and not just for Harper and his party but for Canada, for North America, and for the world.

CQ will start live-blogging the election starting at 6 pm Central Time this evening, with frequent updates as information "crosses my desk", so to speak. Keep checking back here, and don't forget to check out the excellent Canadian blogosphere, especially sites like Blogging Tories, Small Dead Animals, Stephen Taylor, Angry in the Great White North, and Damian Penny


UPDATE: And Andrew Coyne! How could I forget about Andrew Coyne?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2006 6:14 AM

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