“The difference between theorists and experimentalists can be summed up as follows:
experimentalists observe what nobody can explain, theorists explain what nobody can observe“
My prediction that in the newly elected Canadian House of Commons there would be no difference greater than ten seats for any of the four major parties missed the mark. Oh, well.
According to unofficial results, the Conservative Party has gained 19 seats (going from 124 to 143) with respect to the last general election, whereas the Liberals lost 27 (from 103 to 76). My predictions were accurate for the New Democratic Party (NDP), which posted an 8-seat gain (from 29 to 37), for the Bloc Québécois (from 51 to 50) and for the Green Party, which, predictably, did not elect a single representative, much like in 2006.
What lesson should be drawn ? That Canada is indeed ideologically drifting to the right, as alleged a few weeks ago by Conservative leader Stephen Harper, widely expected to retain his position of Prime Minister ? That the Liberal Party is bleeding consensus to the benefit of the Conservatives on the right, and to a lesser extent of the NDP on the left ?
I am not convinced by the above arguments. By looking at the numbers, and by comparing them with those from 2006, besides the obvious fact that the Liberals are struggling at the present time, I see more than one reason for both Stephen Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton to be worried about yesterday’s results. It is actually far from clear whether the country has moved anywhere over the past two years. This is scarcely surprising, in many respects, and suggests that this election may well be remembered, above all, for its untimeliness.