Monday, June 21, 2004

What's Next

Minority Government Scenarios
If the election produces a minority the question on the minds of many is what’s next. Many assume that a Conservative minority would be followed a year later with a majority as happened with the former Progressive Conservatives in 1957 and 1958 but in fact there are four possibilities with historical precedents since 1950:

1. The 1957-58 scenario already noted – Conservative minority followed by Conservative majority. The 1958 election produced a huge Tory landslide including 50 seats in Quebec, the party having won just 9 the year before.
2. 1962-63 – A Conservative minority was followed by a Liberal minority. The Liberals failed to win a majority in both 1962 & 1963 mainly because a new party on the scene in Quebec, Social Credit (later to split of and become known as the Creditistes), cut into their traditional strength among francophones.
3. 1979-80 – A Conservative minority followed by a Liberal majority. This precedent is well known, and was the result of a new Conservative regime ignoring developing perils, and assuming their opponents would not dare to force an election, and that even if they did, 1957-58 would prevail.
4. 1963-65 – The Liberal minority elected in 1963 thought it saw an opportunity for a majority but came up just short. Less than expected gains in Quebec were offset by small losses elsewhere.

It seems to me any of these scenarios could come to pass.

New Poll
There is a new large sample poll out in B.C. from a local pollster, the Mustel Group. In a poll conducted June 10-17 among a sample of 721 it had the Conservatives at 36, the NDP at 28 and the Liberals at 26.

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