Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Legal and Moral Right of the NDP & LPC to Govern

Perhaps the most significant statistics produced in the whole campaign by a pollster is today's May 1 forecast of voters' intentions published by EKOS.

Graves of EKOS wrote that:

Right now, it appears as if Canadians are going to elect a conservative minority with the NDP close behind. At this stage, our best guess is that the combined opposition forces, without the Bloc Quebecois, would have a majority of seats in this new parliament which could ring a death knell for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government...

Using these numbers, and we will reserve the final forecast until later this evening, we would see a Conservative minority where the NDP were within 20 seats and the NDP and the Liberals combined would have a narrow majority between them. This means that if there was common will between the NDP and the Liberals, they would have both the legal (and according to our recent polling on the topic) the moral authority to swiftly dispatch Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party.

Note the highlighted and bold part of his statement (my emphasis).

When the dust has settled tomorrow night, unless the NDP has won the MOST seats in the House, the battle will immediately shift to who will form the government.

If Harper's Tories have eked out the most seats, Harper will get first crack at trying to gain the confidence of the House to its Throne Speech and Budget.

Harper has said he will not budge  on the budget but will simply resubmit his March 22 one, which all three opposition parties have already indicated they would have opposed if the government had not fallen over the serious contempt of Parliament confidence vote.

The three opposition parties will then have to decide whether to support the Tory government or vote no confidence in it and let the Governor General ask the leader  of the party with the second largest number of seats try to gain the confidence of the House with his Throne Speech and Budget.

If he does, he can govern until such time as he loses the confidence of the House.

What the latest EKOS results clearly show is that the NDP and LPC together could have enough seats in the House to vote confidence in the replacement government, and could do this both legally and morally.

The legal basis is clear under our constitutional law, as a government in our system only governs if it has the confidence of the majority of MPs – that is, of 155 plus MPs.
The moral basis springs from the fact that the combined NDP and Liberal votes will far outstrip the Tory votes, as this summary, derived from the EKOS poll, shows:

Margin of Voter Suppport for NDP + LPC over Tory Support as of May 1 - EKOS

Note that this EKOS poll shows that 50% more voters nationally favour the NDP and LPC parties than favour the Conservative Party as of today.

This excess over the Tories is significant in all provinces except the Tory  heartland of Alberta.

The moral of these figures (if duplicated tomorrow during voting) is crystal clear: 

Both the NDP and Liberal Party have every legal and moral right to replace the Tory minority government if they do not have confidence in it.

And, in fact, a huge majority of Canadian voters will have voted for change, and will be demanding and expecting that the leaders of the NDP and LPC take steps to replace the Tory government.


  1. and Osama Bin Laden is dead. Change seems to be abound

  2. Chretien won majorities with less support than Harper has.

  3. Apparently, you do not understand western Canada.

  4. Maybe the Liberals should join forces with the Conservatives and get rid of the far, far left in Canada.


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