did the "west" really "want in?"

Some people would suggest that the “West” has more than one political ideology in some ridiculous attempt to paint the “West” as anything but a monolithic Conservative homogeny! 😛

Here’s a short exert from the most excellent recent edition of Mark Lisac‘s Insight into Government publication:

“The Conservatives won the most seats in each of the four western provinces and picked up enough in Ontario and Quebec to give them the biggest representation in the House of Commons 124 seats out of 308.

Look closer and it isn’t so simple.

Albertans voted 65% Conservative and gave the party every seat in the province.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Conservatives took the most seats but the popular vote was a saw-off; the Conservatives won a three-way split with less than half the popular vote. The split was even more pronounced in British Columbia, where the Conservatives won 17 of 36 seats with 37.3% of the popular vote.

Alberta is in. The rural Prairies and the B.C. Interior are in. The West as a whole is far too complex for simplistic characterization. Big parts of the region don’t look much different from the rest of the country.

The results in B.C. closely matched those in Ontario, where the Conservatives won 35.1% of the popular vote. Ontario is just as much Conservative country as B.C., and B.C. is just as much Liberal and NDP country as Ontario. In fact, the Conservatives picked up a bigger share of votes in Toronto (23.8%) than they did in Vancouver (22.1%).

All the people talking about the West have to define more closely what they think the West means. The arrival of westerners in government has one huge symbolic effect: Alberta and the Prairies can enjoy an emotional sense of recognition a feeling that they count. The election as whole delivered other, perhaps even stronger messages: the separatist cause in Quebec faltered, thanks to the Conservatives hard work; the divergence between rural and urban interests deepened; Canadians demonstrated once again a preference for balanced representation by at least five parties, a message the politicians may gradually and grudgingly have to accept.”

Mark Lisac is also the author of Alberta Politics Uncovered: Taking Back our Province, which we highly recommend to anyone interested in Alberta politics.

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