Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mandate weaker today than it was after the 2006 election – only 22.2% of total registered electors

During a 30-minute interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge on Oct. 7, 2008, Stephen Harper was asked with opinion polls putting the Conservatives in a minority territory what could the party accomplish if it didn’t secure a majority?

Harper responded that two minorities in a row have a “stronger mandate than one minority” and seemed unconcerned by the possibility of another snap election since opposition parties would likely be scrambling to reorganize after a loss. [‘This prime minister isn’t going to panic’: Harper to Mansbridge (CBC News, Oct. 7, 2008)]

The current election results posted on the Elections Canada website, however, seem to tell a different story.

In the Oct. 14, 2008, general election the Conservative Party of Canada received 5,205,334 votes. With 23,401,064 registered electors in Canada this amounts to just 22.2 per cent support. This hardly constitutes a strong mandate and is in fact lower than what Harper’s party garnered in the last election.

In the Jan. 23, 2006, general election the Conservatives picked up 5,374,071 votes. With 23,054,615 electors on the lists this works out to 23.3 per cent support.

The Tories may have gained more seats in the 2008 election going from 124 to 143, but received 168,737 less votes than in 2006. There were 346,449 more eligible voters this time around. Achieving 22.2 per cent support is nothing to brag about and should not be considered a “stronger mandate.” The Conservatives today speak for less Canadians than they did two years and eight months ago.


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