Sunday, August 24, 2008

Canada's Biggest Election Final

After starting with 16, we're down to the final round of Canada's Biggest Election. The 1988 Free Trade Election crushed the competition in every round on the federal side, while the 1944 Saskatchewan election eeked out a 2 vote win over 1976 Quebec to take the title of the biggest provincial election.

So the final is set. The excitement of '88, against the long term impact of '44. Voting is open until Wednesday at 10 pm.

What Was Canada's Biggest Election?
(1) 1988 Federal Election
(2) 1944 Saskatchewan Provincial Election
See Results

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10 Comments:

  • This should be no contest. The fact that Quebec 1976 isn't even in it says something about how well people understand history.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 5:17 PM  

  • I disagree, Jason. My reasoning is this - separatism was not born in 1976 or 1959 for that matter. National unity has long been the dominant theme in Canadian politics. Indeed, Lesage's Maitres Chez Nous or the Unione Nationale resurgence is probably better if you want an election about the awakening of sovereigntist sentiments. The exodus of Anglophones from Montreal had started earlier - and even the Bourassa Liberals happily passed nationalist legislation.

    Free trade (I voted for 1988), by contrast, definitively ended probably the second strongest cleavage in classical Canadian politics (core periphery - with free-traders in the periphery and protectionists in the core), and with it red Toryism (look at David Orchard's reception in the 1998 Progressive-Conservative leadership race). Since then Canadian politics has resembled a more American-style left-right dynamic (albeit within a parliamentary system that pushes both sides to the political centre.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 7:33 AM  

  • Oh and if you think 1944 vs. 1988 should be a no contest win for 1944 you are mistaken once again. Canadians like to believe that our universal healthcare system is unique, even though virtually every other country in the world has universal healthcare. Neither socialism, nor the welfare state in Canada have their roots in the 1944 election. Indeed, that universal healthcare came in the 1960's federally, should tell you something about how important Saskatchewan's provincial election was (not very). Any NDP leader would have pushed for medicare, given a minority government, whether Tommy Douglas or not.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 7:38 AM  

  • lol. I think the no contest win should be for 1988. I don't think 1944 is particularly important at all, unless you think Tommy Douglas was some sort of socialist god.

    1976 Quebec is much more important because it woke up English Canada to what was going on. Speak to anybody who followed it and they were completely shocked to learn that Quebeckers were so upset that they would elect a separatist government.

    Without 1976, there would probably be no Charter of Rights, Meech Lake, Charlottown Accord or "nation" debate. In many ways, it set up the creation of the Bloc and even the perpetual minorities that we are stuck with until the Bloc is ruined.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 12:17 PM  

  • If your chain of causality extends that far, why not start with Lesage and the Quiet Revolution, which set the stage for 1976?

    Also, it is not as if English Canadians were blind to existence of separatism - there had been the FLQ crisis, the Vive le Quebec Libre incident - indeed, Trudeau's policies (like official bilingualism) suggest that the stuff you are talking about (and I agree that the unity debate is the core issue in Canada) was well at hand with or without Rene Levesque.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:55 PM  

  • "I don't think 1944 is particularly important at all, unless you think Tommy Douglas was some sort of socialist god."

    You don't think that passing Canada's first ever Bill of Rights was an accomplishment? Or making women eligible for jury duty?

    By Blogger Devin Johnston, at 4:02 PM  

  • Everyone knows that Tommy Douglas is only famous because he created universal health care and gave birth to Kiefer Sutherland. And by "Everyone" I mean "Easterners"

    By Blogger Leny Vilekoskytch, at 4:17 PM  

  • You don't think that passing Canada's first ever Bill of Rights was an accomplishment? Or making women eligible for jury duty?

    Compared to Quebec separatism or free trade, no.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 8:30 PM  

  • Actually Jason, I think that anyone who has heard the name "Henri Bourassa" knows how unexceptional the emergence of the PQ was.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 10:24 AM  

  • Apparently the voting never stops. 1976 is now ahead of 1944, 93 to 89.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:33 PM  

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