Friday, December 04, 2009

Moment of the Decade

Voting is now open in the first round of “Canada’s top political moment of the decade”. You can define that however you see fit, but the general goal is to find a political moment in Canada that was both captivating at the time, while leaving a long term impact on our country and its politics. So looking back at the aughts, what really stood out?

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. From those, I’ve cobbled together a list of 30 events and will leave voting open for a week. You can vote for up to 10 of these each day, with the top 10 vote getters advancing to the final round of voting, where we'll crown a champion. free polls
Top Political Moment of the 00s?
2000: The House of Commons passes the Clarity Act
2000: (Doris) Day implodes, as the Liberals win the 2000 election
2001: Gordon Campbell wins a crushing 77 of 79 seats in the BC provincial election
2001: Stockwell Day is forced out as Canadian Alliance leader
2002: Paul Martin gets quit-fired from Cabinet
2002: Chretien announces his 18-month goodbye tour
2003: Chretien says Canada won't send troops to Iraq
2003: Jean Charest knocks the PQ out of power in Quebec
2003: David Orchard signs no-merger a deal with Peter MacKay to deliver him the PC leadership
2003: The evil reptilian kitten eater Dalton McGuinty takes power in Ontario
2003: Danny Williams elected Newfoundland Premier
2003: PC-Canadian Alliance merger
2004: The AG's Adscam report stuns the Liberals, setting the Mad as Hell tour in motion
2004: The Valeri-Copps nomination slugfest
2005: Confidence mayhem: Belinda crosses the floor and Cadman saves the government
2005: Canada legalizes same sex marriage
2005: Stephen Harper's Quebec City speech on open federalism
2005: The RCMP announces it will investigate a possible income trust announcement leak
2006: The Liberal campaign free falls in the new year, leading to a Stephen Harper victory
2006: Ralph Klein forced out early as Alberta PC leader
2006: Bernard Lord's fall from grace is complete, as he loses to Shawn Graham in New Brunswick
2006: Stephane Dion stuns the field at the LPC leadership convention in Montreal
2006: Ed Stelmach stuns Jim Dinning and Ted Morton in the PC leadership race later that day
2007: Brad Wall and the Sask Party win, ending the NDP dynasty in Saskatchewan
2008: Bernier-Couillard Affair
2008: Harper expands his minority, but stumbles in Quebec, falling short of a majority
2008: The coalition threat captivates the nation
2008: Jean Charest bounces back with a majority, decimating the ADQ in the process
2009: Jim Flaherty's deficit budget passes thanks to Liberal support
2009: STV goes down in defeat in BC, the fourth failed attempt to bring in PR this decade


  • Fun contest.

    I'd like to encourage people to vote for Charest's first win over the PQ. For the past 30 years, Canadian politics had been defined by the "Quebec question" and the constant referendum fear. Charest's victory - more so than the Clarity Act - really gave us our first peaceful period in our country's history.

    I'd argue it also set up Conservative wins in Quebec in 2006.

    By Anonymous JF, at 11:29 AM  

  • IMHO the most important political event of the last 10 years was the use of Prorogue by S. Harper to hold on to his minority government. This will be studied by political scientists (that name always makes me laugh)and will come back to bite the CPoC in the *ss in times to come. I voted for the Clarity act because of it's long term effects as you didn't list Prorogue. The coalition could have been important if the liberal party brass weren't such cowards. Me, I would like to have Stephan Dion as PM. Choose him over M.I. in a heartbeat but then as my ex wife is fond of saying, "Scanner, you live in your own little world."

    By Blogger Scanner, at 11:32 AM  

  • I know it's my own fault for not participating earlier, but for long-term political impact in the last 10 years, I don't think you can beat the 2003 & 2006 amendments to the Elections Act.

    Government and scandals and victories and losses come and go. The rules of the game change rarely, and when they do, rarely with such significant effects on who will win.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 11:49 AM  

  • Number 13 says: "2004: The GG's Adscam report stuns the Liberals, setting the Mad as Hell tour in motion"
    Surely you mean AG's Adscam report. I know our current Governor General is activist, but not this active, and Sheila would be put out.

    By Blogger Scanner, at 11:55 AM  

  • Scanner - my bad. Yes, for all the accusations of medlesome governor generals, they've never gotten that involved...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:09 PM  

  • I notice you didn't add the first NDP government in Nova Scotia, but did add the defeat of the NDP in Saskatchewan.

    With over a billion in debt and counting after just one year of Saskatchewan Party government, at least you'll have a candidate for next decade's poll (who said "one-term-wonder").

    By Blogger A reader, at 1:44 PM  

  • Has to be uniting the right. Otherwise there would still be Liberal hegemony.

    By Anonymous crocker jarmon, at 3:30 PM  

  • "A reader" is ignorant of the current political situation in Saskatchewan. The Wall government remains enormously popular two years into its mandate, much to my dismay.

    By Anonymous gregoryv, at 6:34 PM  

  • Adscam easily. Would anything that has happened since then be the same?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 PM  

  • Yeah I chose Harper's 2006 win just because it was SO entertaining watching CBC journalists swallow their own faces while announcing their beloved Liberals had lost.

    "The results are coming in, and in what will probably be our final broadcast, we're announcing a Conservative victory."

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:22 AM  

  • "The Wall government remains enormously popular two years into its mandate, much to my dismay.

    How do we know that?? I have not seen any polls since it came out that his fiscal mismanagement has tuned a one billion dollar surplus into a one billion dollar deficit.

    By Blogger DL, at 1:25 AM  

  • Scanner,

    A few things (you evidently do not know much about political science). Political scientists do not ponder current events - that is more the job of journalists, policy analysts, and in the case of prorogation, probably legal scholars.

    While there is a sketchy side to polisci (we decided to call ourselves a science in part to get more NSF money - it does not appear to have succeeded), I would argue that the bulk of political science research is indeed science.

    What is science? I would say science is the act of "making observations, producing empirical generalizations and testing them against data." Physicists look at the world, and see particular laws at work. They can explain more and with greater certainty than social scientists can, true, as their subjects are not self-aware. Still that is no reason to avoid systematic studies of things that do not fit that pattern. A conditional and qualified theory/prediction about something is better than no theory/prediction.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:16 AM  

  • There were a pair of polls out a month or two ago that showed Wall as one of the most popular Premiers in the country in his home province. Both had him poised to increase his majority if an election were held today.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:44 PM  

  • Those polls were before the truth came out about the provinces finances two weeks ago - makes a wee bit of difference. Wall is getting the first negative press since he became premier - and its pretty negative (read Murray Mandryk's recent columns on provincial politrics in the Regina leader post).

    How many people remember that Bob Rae was the most popular premier in Ontario history for about seven months and the NDP was at 55% in the polls right up until April 1991 - then they brought in a budget with a $10 billion deficit, the press started dumping on him and within months the NDP was in the 20s.

    ANYONE can be popular when they have a huge surplus and all they have to do is through money around on endless "bridge to no where"-style infrastructure projects. Where the rubber hits the road is when times get tough and a politician has to start making difficult decisions. Wall has yet to make his first tough decision.

    By Blogger DL, at 2:02 PM  

  • You have included "Chretien says Canada won't send troops to Iraq", but there is no mention of Canada signing up for milatary missions in Afghanistan.
    I concur that the first is worth placing on the list. However, the omission of the second leaves a huge gap in light of how the Afghan mission has reshaped Canadians view of the military, the large increases to military spending, the detainee issue, and Canada's move away from being a peace keeping country. This is an issue that has dominated throughout the decade.

    By Blogger Wheatsheaf, at 10:34 AM  

  • Though I am not completely surprised with how many votes are going to the merger of the Alliance plus PC's, this will hardly be remembered as the top political moment of the 00's. Political alliances come and go, but how many people remember the merger of the Conservatives with the Progressive party back in 1942? Is that considered the dominant political moment of the 1940's?

    However the coalition and the prorogation of Parliament will be taught in Canadian history classes for decades to come, as sure as our current students are still being taught about the Bing-King Affair.

    After the Prorogation crisis, I'd say the CPC merger, Iraq war, Adscam and the Clarity Act round off the Top-5. Sorry folks but SSM won't be remembered any more than Canada's decriminalization of homosexuality under the Pearson government.

    By Blogger Tof KW, at 3:41 PM  

  • I do think the right wing merger changed the entire dynamic of politics, and set Harper's ascension and the Liberal decline in motion. So, as far as long-term implications, it might very well be the event of the decade.

    But it certainly lacked the excitement of, say, Belinda-Cadman-confidence crisis or the coalition.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:04 PM  

  • Wheatsheaf - Yup, Afghanistan should have been included, especially since the mission lasted the entire decade and it was linked to the worldwide event of the decade (9/11).

    It slipped my mind and no one nominated it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:08 PM  

  • I would certainly argue that same-sex marriage becoming law will be the moment of the decade that will be remembered as the most important out of the above choices. Did it reshape politics in Canada? No. Indeed, thanks to the Supreme court decision it was going to become law one way or another. But it will be remembered as a rare moment when our government did something principled amid a decade that was full of partisan bickering, petty scandals and widespread distrust of politicians.

    By Anonymous HonestB, at 8:26 PM  

  • I voted for the coalition crisis but it was really a group of moments leading to a climax with Stephane Dion's video and Harper visiting the GG. Will it have long-term repercussions on Canada? Probably not. But it was a week that captivated the nation after a historically low voter turnout a mere month earlier.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 PM  

  • Tof KW writes "Political alliances come and go, but how many people remember the merger of the Conservatives with the Progressive party back in 1942? Is that considered the dominant political moment of the 1940's?"

    Nobody remembers it because no such event ever happened. The Conservative Party simply changed their name. It was not a merger. The federal Progressive Party was already defunct by that time.

    By Blogger Chet, at 6:45 PM  

  • The reason the merger was so big was because for three straight elections the Liberals had false majorities, based on a fragmented opposition in Ontario. The minute the right re-united, they had to start working for their victories. Which is why I find it funny when the Chretien folks deride the Martinites, etc... abotu how JC won three straight majorities. He sure did, in Ontario.

    By Anonymous crocker jarmon, at 9:36 AM  

  • This can't succeed as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I believe.

    By Anonymous, at 3:19 PM  

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