Thursday, September 30, 2010

Canada: Multipartisanship per province

Here's a quick-and-cheap way to consider the extent to which any given province is truly multipartisan. It works like this: for each province, for the federal government and for the Yukon, I'll look at the most recent election and add together the percentage of popular vote for each of the top two parties. I've been thinking about it, and it really is a simple but ultimately practical test of true multipartisanship.
  • 94.3%: Prince Edward Island: Liberals and PC.
  • 91.3%: Newfoundland and Labrador: PC and Liberals.
  • 88.2%: Saskatchewan: SaskParty and NDP.
  • 88.0%: British Columbia, Liberals and NDP.
  • 85.9%: Manitoba: NDP and PC.
  • 83.3%: New Brunswick, PC and Liberals.
  • 79.2%: Alberta, PC and Liberals.
  • 77.3%: Québec, Liberals and PQ.
  • 75.3%: Yukon, Yukon Party and Liberals.
  • 73.9%: Ontario, Liberals and PC.
  • 72.4%: Nova Scotia, NDP and Liberals.
  • 63.9%: Federal, Conservatives and Liberals.
It didn't surprise me, looking at that list, that PEI was most bipartisan and that Nova Scotia was least. I was, however, surprised by how multipartisan Ontario appears as of the last election (and current polls are showing it even moreso). I also wasn't expecting the Federal election scene to trump the rest by almost ten percent - no surprise, thinking about it, but still quite telling about the current political reality in Canada.

I was also surprised to find that Western provinces by and large are not more multipartisan than the rest of the country, though of course in the West it's right-vs.-left as opposed to right-vs.-centre, confused by the fact that the rightmost party in Saskatchewan and BC uses a different name. Also interesting how the traditionally one-party hegemony in Alberta is not the case, as it shows up quite multipartisan by these standards. At the moment, of course, Alberta is more multipartisan than it has ever been before, with its whole electoral system in flux. If an election were held today it would be incredibly fascinating, whereas it's usually pretty sleepy cakewalks for the PCs.

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