Canada, 100 days after the October 2015 federal election won by the Liberals
- The Liberal majority win provides an opportunity to change direction for a number of policies and to change the tone of governing. For the Conservatives the opportunity is to reorganize with a new leader and a new platform which will need to appeal to the centre of the political spectrum where the majority of voters reside. The British Labour party and the Tea Party conservatives in the US appeal to the two tails of the spectrum and will find it hard to get a governing majority in their next elections.
- There are around 200 new MPs, many of them Liberals, a party which increased their elected MPs by about 150. Some newly elected Liberals are cabinet ministers with important portfolios such as Finance, Defense and the Environment. With a steep learning curve, these ministers are likely to be dependent on departmental bureaucrats who will be in a position to exercise influence at the outset.
- The bureaucrats appear pleased with the results. Their dislike of Harper’s style of government led civil servants to become politically involved in the election, at least around Ottawa. If the result makes the bureaucracy become more politicized, then the idea of a career civil service is weakened.
- The global and national economies have received a major shock with the decline in the price of oil. It results in a decline in Canadian federal and provincial tax revenues, as well as lower energy costs for firms and consumers. Loss of revenues to western provinces puts pressure on the government to facilitate the sale of energy to foreign markets.
- Debate over the building of energy pipelines is splitting the country with some eastern Canada politicians opposing the energy east pipelines, and some in BC opposing the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline with its terminal in Port Coquitlam BC. Quebec is likely to ask for further financial support for Bombardier which is now a corporate cripple. If the province then opposes policies which will harm the west, it will cause divisiveness.
- The Liberals have acted on their elections promise to amend Canada’s military contribution to fighting ISIL, to accept displaced persons from the Middle East, and to raise income tax rates for high income people. Out of fear of offending protected interests (like those benefiting from supply management policies) they have not fully endorsed the TPP agreement despite the importance to Canada of trade in the Pacific region.