Up North and Afraid of Commitment

by John O’Sullivan

A good but not great night in Canada. The Tories will form a minority government, but one with a more precarious plurality in parliament than looked likely from the polls. The Liberals are beaten and out but not humiliated. The Quebec separatist party has done worse than expected but still dominates the province. And the leftist New Democrats improved their position but failed to break through dramatically. In Canada’s four-party system that gives the Tories the government for something less than a full term.

What’s going on? Well, if Canada were a single individual, we would say that he (or maybe she) wanted to commit to the Tories but had developed cold feet at the last minute. This is exactly what happened one year ago but this time there was slightly more willingness to move rightwards. On that basis, the Tories will probably win a majority in a couple of years as the nation gets used to seeing the untried Tories in the Cabinet–and the roof fails to fall in.