2011 Canadian Federal Election - The fall of the Liberals

The 2011 Canadian federal election surprised many, including myself.
The conservatives gained a majority government after years of minority rule.
The NDP gained major seats to become the official opposition.
The Liberals were decimated.

I was truly suprised the Conservatives managed a majority.
It came as a surprise to many that the Liberals have fallen in this election.  On that point, I was not surprised.
Each political party has an underlying vision of how a country should operate.  What's happened is the vision of the Liberal party is no longer believed by the vast majority of Canadians.  It's backers mainly include special interest groups and some academics.

So what is the intellectual vision of the Liberal party.  Essentially, they believe in the globalization with the idea that education is the key to economic prosperity.  The idea that if we focus on education that Canada can compete globally and rise... all the while expanding free trade.  This idea sounded attractive and plausible many years back.  It gave rise to the Chretien and Martin years.  It gave rise to the Dalton McGuinty's.  Yet most Canadians would say it has been a failed vision.

All this focus on 'education' and Nortel was all but obliterated while the Liberals in power in Ottawa.  All this focus on education and Ontario hasn't really thrived under McGuinty.  The intellectual wheels being the education=prosperity movement have come off.  I would argue for good reason.  I don't know how you can claim to be an intellectual and actually claim that education=prosperity in a globalized world.

There are a few things that stop this.
1.  Innovative jobs requiring education are there.  Yet, they need few very skilled people.  They are not mass employers.  For example, Google does everything it need with roughly 25000 people.  It has search abilities, online video, world processing, mobile applications...  They key to understanding is that a relatively small number of skilled people can serve billions.  This is what innovation and computer get you.  Think back to another time.  The days of local video stores.  Each community needed their own video store.  This is amplified due to globalization.

2.  The whole world is educated.  Education provides an advantage when the other people are not educated.  If you're the only one who can read in your community, you will do well.  But in a world where so many countries have educated people capable of creating the products and services that an innovative economy depends on, education doesn't carry the same advantage.  You can take this to the extreme as it was during the colonial period.  Educated 'Western' people did all the high end work.  They relied on the largely uneducated colonies to do the low end resource collection work.

The reality is that education with an innovation economy is really only beneficial to 'small export oriented states'.  Places like Singapore, Finland, Sweden...  They have very small populations who can specialize heavily and export to the world.  It really can't be a model for a large country.  Imagine Silicon Valley as its own country.  That small area would be very wealthy with all the export and innovation.  Yet spread over the wealth of 300 million Americans, it is nothing.

The Liberal policy of continuing immigration with this broken idea of the education innovation economy has collapsed.  Industry collapsed and all the Liberals say is 'More Education!'.  As far as social welfare goes, the Liberals really aren't generous enough to make a difference in people's lives.

This vision has proven false, and so we see groups diverging into two groups.

1.  Conservatives - have a vision which means making Canada more competitive, lowering taxes, lowering costs, lowering regulations, decentralization, lowering the cost of living, maintain trade

2.  NDP - Big government, protection of industry...

At  least that's the vision.  I myself might have voted NDP had they actually produced a platform to rebuild Canadian industry.  However, I think the NDP is going to suffer the same problems as the Liberals.  They're going to move too far to this broken platform of Canada can still keep free trade and be competitive.  I think the NDP is scared of making any big changes to Bay Street and so while they talk the talk, I don't think they'd make any big policy changes that would actually rebuild Canadian industry.  But a lot of people voted for them on their vision.  As I said, I don't think they will do anything to back up that vision.  They're going up just like the Liberal party, trying to beef up the public sector and social spending, but collapsing private industry.

I have my doubts of the conservatives as well.  Can they really make Canada competitive again?  I don't know.  I really have my doubts that they'll truly make the reforms needed.  But at least they're not promising to drive Canada into more long term entitlement debt.

Now some might say the Liberals are the center and Canadians are now more polarized.  I don't see it that way.  The Liberal vision has collapsed.  They are not the center or middle way.  They are the bureaucratic way.  A party only of benefit for those connected to the bureaucracy.  Poor private sector workers have seen no benefit from the liberal party.  A lot of them turned to the NDP and I suspect will continue to turn to the NDP.

The same divide is viewed on immigration.  The NDP focussed much more on family reunification as their form of immigration... at least from a message level.  This played well with immigrants and we can all understand families trying to stay together.  The Liberals maintained their old philosophy of immigration is good just for the sake of immigration.  They lost the immigrant vote.  I wonder if the Liberals forgot that immigrants who can vote and immigrants who are already here.  Ask many immigrants who are already here and capable of voting and ask them if they feel they need more competition for jobs, more people in already congested areas like Toronto...  You'll start to see serious reservations about the immigration policy amount immigrants already here.  You don't need to tell someone from India about the problems of too many people and too few jobs :P  They left India for that reason.  Why would they vote to recreate their problems in Canada?

At best, I view the Conservative government as holding the line on economic collapse.... before we'll have to make some serious reforms.


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