It got missed in the big news yesterday, but Canada had an election. I’m not particularly familiar with the particulars — I mean, come on, it’s Canada. But apparently the government had not been turning over accurate cost figures on government programs, firing people who contradicted them and shutting down parliament. For the first time in history, the administration was cited with Contempt of Parliament. And from what I’m reading, they deserved to be.
Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff quite naturally called for an election. And given an embarrassed government, he promptly screwed the pooch:
The Conservative Party will again govern Canada, this time with a majority, following the country’s fourth election in seven years.
In addition, incomplete results late Monday night clearly indicated that the New Democratic Party, a movement with socialist roots, will form the official opposition, which would mean that the vote is likely to significantly reshape Canada’s political left.
It was the first time since Canada became a nation in 1867 that the Liberals, the most successful political party in the country’s history, finished in third place.
My reading is that the NDP gained mostly in Quebec, peeling off previous separatist party votes. But still — how do you fuck this up? How do you have an election against a government found in Contempt of Parliament and get completely destroyed in the election? Is Ignatieff a long-lost relative of John Kerry?
I have no idea if the conservative government of Canada is a good one to keep in place. Canada has been moving in much more fiscally conservative and fiscally sound direction lately, but that is almost entirely due to smart decisions by the Liberal Party, not the Conservatives.
I would love to hear some input from any Canadian readers on this. But this has to go down as one of the biggest political fiascos ever.