When you win Ontario, do you win it all?

Ontario in Canada

Ontario in present-day Canada (Wikipedia)

Stephen Harper might be representing Calgary Southwest, but his government hinges on Ontario – in the 2011 election, 73 of the CPC‘s 166 seats came from among Ontario’s 106 seats. Alberta contributes a paltry 27 (of its 28 seats) to the cause. This made me wonder, though I’m nigh-absolutely certain I’m not the first to wonder: Is it possible to win without winning Ontario – and therefore, from the runner-up perspective, win Ontario and not win in Canada overall? (Spoiler: Yes.)

In 2011, Ontario held 38.4% of our national population. Quebec is a distant second at 23.6%. If you didn’t get Ontario, can you win without Quebec? (Spoiler: Yes, but it’s vanishingly rare.) And finally, does getting both Ontario and Quebec ‘guarantee’ you’ll win? (Spoiler: Surprisingly, no.)

Deciding what constitutes a minority government is sometimes difficult: here’s a list of minority governments in Canada. I’m not going to spend much time distinguishing between minorities and majorities – for me, a plurality is a win. Even when it sort of isn’t.

Important note: The early elections were much different from today’s, both ethically and procedurally. I only talk about winning, not how the wins were won, if you follow me. Elections Canada has a web-book, A History of the Vote in Canada, whose second chapter talks about early elections and their questionable practices.

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Heck yes, my RTs are endorsements

It bugs me a little bit when I see people put “RTs not endorsements” in their Twitter bios. “Hey, don’t look at me!” it seems to say. “I don’t necessarily agree with this stuff, I just thought it might be interesting! I’m just putting these words out there.”


If you do a Google image search for “retweet” you should see a screenshot of this Tweet appear. The Twitter development folks put it up in their Web Intents guide. I love the ability of Twitter to virally spread wit and sometimes also more-accurate perceptions.

I can be a morally neutral agent, you see? Not only should you not judge me because judging itself seems unseemly, but in this case your judgements would be wrong whenever they would cast me in a negative light because my retweets aren’t endorsements. Now if you’ll excuse me, this interesting thing came up and I’m going to retweet it: The annual meeting of the Eliminate-All-XYZ-People Club is this Thursday at seven p.m.. But no, don’t worry, it’s not an endorsement! Ha-ha-ha, why would you ever think that?

Clearly there is something moral at work in every retweet. Whether or not we agree with the Tweet, we’re at least assuming that it’s moral that you see it, else we wouldn’t retweet it at all. We might have our minds changed (for us) after the fact, but for you, in the moment of retweeting, there wasn’t a strong enough moral objection to refrain from the retweet.

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