Manual The Canadian General Election of 2004

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All they got to vote on in the end was a leadership contest between Paul Martin and Sheila Copps. Thus the context for the campaign was a bitter internecine power struggle within the Liberal Party.

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This may not be palatable to some, but there is no middle road. Unfortunately the leaders of the NDP have no perspective of taking power and do not have confidence in their platform or in the working class. They are in fact mistaken; the barrier to victory is not the NDP's program but the doubt that the workers have in their leaders being serious. The Liberals know this and in previous elections were able to split away NDP voters by raising the spectre of the fundamentalist right-wing. This tactic was aided and abetted by the corporate media that did everything possible to ignore the NDP.

Jack Layton has partially recognized this and attacks both the Liberals and Conservatives as corporate parties; it is good for once to see an NDP leader face up to right-wing attacks rather than cower and apologize. Despite this, workers still know that all the NDP leaders are aiming for is a role as junior partner in a minority Liberal government. All the reforms would be dumped for a few cabinet portfolios and the Liberals would have no problem appointing an NDPer as minister for windmills!

There is also a mythology, promoted by the NDP right wing, that the good things in Canada have only come about during a minority Liberal-NDP government. While propping up the Liberals may be initially popular within the NDP, it will rapidly fall into disfavour. The youth and the Marxists will be at the forefront of opposing the coalition and any further watering down of the NDP's platform which is already too watered down.

Appeasing the Liberals and maintaining cabinet portfolios is not an excuse for letting poverty, homelessness, and unemployment increase. The first major attack by the government on the working class will cause every contradiction to come to the fore. It is not even certain which side of the divide Layton will find himself on. Suffice to say, the perspective for both society and the NDP is not stability. Elections are merely a snapshot of the processes within a society at any given time. The recent period in Canada has seen economic stagnation and an upturn of the class struggle. The Conservatives were defeated in Ontario, there are general strike movements in BC and Quebec, and Newfoundland recently saw both the largest strike and largest demonstration in its history as a province.

Capitalist governments everywhere have been forced to attack the working class and the fightback is in its first stages. These events form the backdrop of this election. While it is impossible to predict every outcome the general processes can be highlighted. A majority Conservative government is extremely unlikely given they have zero support in Quebec, and a minority Conservative government would be highly unstable and would not last the year.

The only way the Conservatives could form a lasting government is if they united with the Liberals in a government of national unity. However, the crisis in society has not yet reached such a level for the two parties to be willing to put aside their differences in order to preserve the rule of capital. The most likely outcome is a minority Liberal government supported by the NDP.

The NDP is fundamentally a working class party despite its leadership and the class forces acting on the party will eventually force it to break the coalition with the capitalist government. Those on the "left" who do not recognize that the NDP is organically linked to the working class will be at a loss to explain these movements.

If the NDP was just another capitalist party then a Liberal-NDP capitalist-capitalist coalition would be perfectly stable when doing the bidding of the capitalists. In fact the intense class forces inherent in the situation raise the possibility of a real left-wing force developing within the NDP. We do not know who will lead this movement, or what form it will take, but it was under similar conditions during the last Liberal-NDP coalition that the radical Waffle movement formed within the NDP.

The Conservatives gained more ground in polls after Harper became leader, and the poll results in the weeks before the election had them within one to two points of the Liberals, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind them. Party supporters hoped that the voters would react negatively to the Liberal attacks on what they called Harper's "hidden agenda", and that anger over the sponsorship scandal and other Liberal failures would translate to success at the polls.

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Late in the campaign, the Conservatives began to lose some momentum, in part due to remarks made by MPs and candidates regarding homosexuality , official bilingualism and abortion. Additionally, the Liberal Party began airing controversial TV ads. Harper was also criticized for his position supporting the American-led invasion of Iraq. The term "hidden agenda", used commonly in the election to refer to Stockwell Day, began surfacing with increasing regularity with regard to Harper's history of supporting privatized health care. Further damaging the Conservative campaign was a press release from Conservative headquarters that suggested that Paul Martin supported child pornography.

The momentum began to swing against his party, although some polls suggested it was neck and neck right up until election day. Although on the eve of the election the party was polling slightly ahead of the Liberals everywhere west of Quebec, it had dropped in support, polling behind or on par with Liberals everywhere except the West Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba , where it held onto its traditional support.

Before the announcement of the union of the right-of-centre parties, some were predicting that the New Democratic Party Canada would form the official opposition because the NDP was polling ahead of both right-of-centre parties. Layton suggested that the NDP would break their previous record of 43 seats won under former leader Ed Broadbent.

The NDP focused the campaign on winning ridings in Canada's urban centres, hoping especially to win seats in central Toronto , Hamilton , Ottawa and Winnipeg.

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The party's platform was built to cater to these regions and much of Layton's time was spent in these areas. The campaign stumbled early when Layton blamed the deaths of homeless people on Paul Martin, prompting the Liberals to accuse the NDP of negative campaigning. The NDP benefited from the decline in Liberal support, but not to the same extent as the Conservatives.

There was an increasing prospect that NDP voters would switch to the Liberals to block a Conservative government. This concern did not manifest itself in the polls, however, and the NDP remained at somewhat below 20 percent mark in the polls for most of the campaign.

The 38th Federal Election, - Open Government Portal

However, it only won 19 seats in the House of Commons, two less than the 21 won in , and far short of the 40 predicted. There was criticism that Layton's focus on urban issues and gay rights marginalized the party's traditional emphasis on the poor, the working class, and rural Canadians. Long-time MP Lorne Nystrom and several other incumbents from the Prairie provinces were defeated, with the NDP being shut out of Saskatchewan for the first time since Layton won his own seat in a tight race, while Broadbent was returned to Parliament after many years of absence.

The Bloc continued to slide in the polls in most of after the election of the federalist Quebec Liberal Party at the National Assembly of Quebec under Jean Charest , and during the long run-up to Paul Martin becoming leader of the federal Liberals. Speculation was ongoing about the possibility of the Bloc forming alliances with other opposition parties or with an eventual minority government to promote its goals of social democracy and respect of the autonomy of provinces.

Leader Gilles Duceppe stated that the Bloc, as before, would co-operate with other opposition parties or with the government when interests were found to be in common, but that the Bloc would not participate in a coalition government. The Greens ran candidates in all ridings for the first time in its history. The party won twice as many votes in this election than it had over the previous 21 years of its history combined, although it failed to win a seat.

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It also spent more money than in the previous 21 years, and although much of this money was borrowed, the Greens' share of the popular vote enabled them to receive federal funding. These are the official slogans for the campaigns. The optional parts of the mottos sometimes not used for efficiency are put in brackets. On March 26, , Gilles Duceppe stated that Harper had tried to form a coalition government with the Bloc and NDP two months after this election in Bold indicates parties with members elected to the House of Commons.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Further information: Results of the Canadian federal election and Timeline of the Canadian federal election. Popular vote by province, with graphs indicating the number of seats won.

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As this is an FPTP election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by province but instead via results by each riding. Main article: Results of the Canadian federal election. Popular vote Liberal. Seat totals Liberal.

Main article: List of political parties in Canada.