Today is election day in Canada, so to all our Canadian readers: go vote! To our non-Canadian readers, today’s election could be a truly historic event worth keeping an eye on.
The center-left Liberal Party has ruled Canada for much of its history and been a major party for over a century. That makes it not only one of the longest, most successful parties in Canada’s history, but among one of the most successful political parties in any modern democracy.
However, today, the polling indicates that the Liberal Party will have one of their worst showings ever. They are almost assured to fall to a distant third behind a surging left-wing New Democratic Party and the right-wing Conservative Party.
This election could be the tipping point that pushes Canada towards one of several different possible major political re-alignments. In the long term the raise of the NDP could make it the new major party of the left and the beginning of the steady decline for the Liberal Party. With its third place status Liberals could find it difficult to getting new voters excited about a centrist party that would have trouble winning enough seats to govern.
There is also the remote possibility the election could produce a NDP-Liberal coalition. If that happens, such a coalition might decide to try to move Canada to a fairer election system, such as proportional representation. This would radically change the politics of the country and would the end weird conditions that currently allow the Conservatives to win a governing majority in parliament with less than 40 percent of the popular vote.
While the long- term and short-term outcomes of this election are uncertain, the chance it could be bring historic political change is huge.