Sunday, August 31, 2008

Biggest Election: It's 88

With 56% of the vote, the 1988 Federal Election has been crowned Canada's biggest by Calgary Grit readers, knocking off Tommy Douglas' 1944 Saskatchewan win in the final.

With a federal election about to start up, it was probably appropriate to look back at some of the big elections from the past. And there are certainly lessons all parties can learn from '88, as there are from all past elections.

Without a doubt, 1988 was Canada's most exciting election. There was a real policy debate, an unfolding national unity crisis, great ads, a mid-campaign coup attempt, an exhilarating debate, a real three-party race, and a see-saw campaign that was in doubt until the end. And, for better or worse, Mulroney's second term would shape Canadian politics for the next 20 years thanks to the Meech collapse, the Tory collapse, the rise of Reform and Bloc, free trade, and the GST. So I don't think this election won just because it was more familiar to voters (after all, my Greatest PM contest featured a Laurier-MacDonald final) - I think it truly is a deserving winner.

A big thanks to everyone who voted, and to John Duffy for seeding the elections. And now, the attention of this blog can turn squarely to the present and the next "big" election we're about to embark on. It certainly doesn't appear to have the makings of a historic one but, then again, the element of surprise is why a lot of the elections in this contest can truly be called "historic".

Final Vote
Provincial Final
Federal Final
Provincial Semis
Federal Semis
Provincial Quarters
Federal Quarters

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  • This is very important set of elections for Canada and the USA.

    Basically, the US is finally in a position to rid itself of the fascists that have gripped the White House, and for Canadians, its our opportunity to get rid of the Bush fellow travellers in the PMO.

    Defeating fascism, or "excessive centralized control"; is the key to restoring democracy in the USA and Canada, and to end the era of abuses to the "rule of law" and its associated war mongering.

    Nothing is more important, then ridding the world of this scourge, this latent rebirth of Nazi Fascism in North America, complete with its racism, brutality, lawlessness, and torture.

    We are going to see President Obama and Prime Minister Dion, renegotiate NAFTA and bring about real change on critical environmental issues, including the belated restoration of the Kyoto targets for Canada.

    As for the Progressive Conservatives, we are going to see John McCain restore the Republican Party to its rightful owners going back to Ike Eisenhower before Barry Goldwater and his group of extremists took over the party, much like David Orchard and Joe Clark are going to restore the Progressive Conservative Party to its rightful owners in Canada.

    You cannot be too harsh when it comes to dealing with fascists, either Canadian or American fascists.

    History teaches that the only good fascist is a dead fascist.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 11:03 p.m.  

  • ^-- And that's what I would say if I were a crazy guy ranting on a street corner.

    It's in Revelations, people!

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 2:20 a.m.  

  • I'm curious how historic this election could be. I think the timing has the makings of a 'big' one - the 21st century will be obviously pivotal in the future of the world, and the future roles of nations, and this election, campaigned simultaneously to Obama and McCain's race and its themes, has more than enough potential to decide Canada's ambitions, goals, and direction in that new world order. But our "leaders" aren't going to go there, and will play it safe. So while it will likely be a crazily fun election for us all, it will not be historic.

    We put a man on the moon - I believe we can eliminate the need for competition for energy in this century, and find cheap and plentiful and green sources. I think we may see a replay of the clash between communism and capitalism, between collectivism and individuality, in this century, but not a Cold War - instead, a relatively amiable competition between America and an increasingly free and middle class China.

    I think Canada is a country that strikes a fantastic balance between communitarianism and individualism. I've lived all over Canada, and it's hard for me to realistically imagine a better society to live in than Canada. I think there's a valuable role we can play in helping ensure than any new "Less-Cold War" between these two ideas and nations is a peaceful and less suspicious one. We are not the future, but we can play a vital role, I do believe it's possible, in helping the future play out peacefully and respectfully.

    But this election will be fought on smaller, less visionary ideas - tax cuts or new taxes, more or less provincial red-tape, Quebec, etc. More of the same, but with less separatism.

    That's my five bucks.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 2:23 a.m.  

  • we are going to see John McCain restore the Republican Party to its rightful owners going back to Ike Eisenhower before Barry Goldwater and his group of extremists took over the party

    God, I hope so. John McCain is sooooooo worlds better than GWB. God do I wish he'd been President the last 7.5 years. I'm no political scientist, but I think Eisenhower must surely be rolling over in his grave.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 2:25 a.m.  

  • "^-- And that's what I would say if I were a crazy guy ranting on a street corner."

    I'm sure that he doesn't mean you.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:13 a.m.  

  • "History teaches that the only good fascist is a dead fascist."

    Is this a joke? An attempt at satire?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:16 a.m.  

  • Turner came close in '88, even though he was crippled and "not a leader". How? By making it all about a single issue.

    Dion needs to make this election a referenhdum on the green shift.

    By Anonymous CW, at 3:04 p.m.  

  • What? But it was the first socialist government in North America? I'm a Liberal, but Tommy Douglas is my hero..

    By Blogger Sophie-Marie, at 5:48 p.m.  

  • But Sophie-marie, how important has socialism been in North America (excluding Mexico)? Even in the few places socialists took power - provincial governments from Ontario and westward - they were either
    1. Little different from centre-left liberal governments (eg. BC NDP except for Barrett, who led the province for all of 3 years).
    2. Completely ineffectual (eg. Bob Rae).

    The much-vaunted accomplishments of the federal NDP regarding medicare are overhyped. Diefenbaker, with a majority government, instituted the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services act, which funded a large proportion of healthcare costs for provincial governments that provided healthcare.

    When Pearson went further, he did so in part, responding to recommendations of a Royal Commission Diefenbaker had ordered. The narrative that the NDP held a gun to the heads of the Liberals simply doesn't stand.

    Indeed, in the 1965 election, the Liberals had promised to implement a national medicare program by July 1st, 1967.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 8:08 p.m.  

  • Barrett's government changed BC forever - see ICBC, among other things, and it's ridiculous to suggest that NDP/CCF governments in Sask and Manitoba were "little different from centre-left liberal governments". In any case, I'd be a lot more keen on the CPC were it led by Tories of Dief's era.

    By Blogger Josh G, at 9:54 p.m.  

  • wonderful article.

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