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Canadian election

Scary projection – Harper wins majority with only 34% of the vote!

October 11, 2008

Immediate release

Fair Vote Canada

Projection based on CP-Harris-Decima poll shows

first-past-the-post system could hand Conservatives

a majority with just 34% of the popular vote

Green Party could be shut out with as many as

1.75 million votes

A projection based on the October 9 Canadian Press Harris-Decima rolling survey shows the Conservative Party, with a very minor increase in support, could set a new record for the least-supported “majority” government in Canadian history, dropping significantly below the Liberals 38% “majority” in 1997.

The bizarre, but plausible, possibilities do not end there. In the 2006 election, the Green Party won more than 664,000 votes, setting the record for the most votes won by a federal party without capturing a single seat in Parliament. The Fair Vote Canada projection shows the Green Party could still be denied seats with more than 1.75 million votes.

“The possibility of such ludicrous and undemocratic outcomes should be a wake-up call for all Canadians on the urgency of replacing our dysfunctional first-past-the-post voting system with one based on voter equality and proportional representation,” said Barbara Odenwald, President of Fair Vote Canada. “This is nuts. We’re in the 21st century. Most other Western industrial nations scrapped first-past-the-post last century.”

The projection, prepared by British Columbia mathematician Julian West, is based on the regional results of the Canadian Press-Harris-Decima poll, supplemented with additional regional data from a recent Ekos poll.

The projection applied the current regional results to predict how votes might shift on a riding-by-riding basis based on the voting results in the 2006 election, and then determined how many additional Conservative votes would be needed to win a majority of seats (see footnote for further detail on projection methodology.)

The projection showed that if a relatively small number of additional votes were cast for the Conservatives across the country, nudging them to just 34% of total votes cast, that might be sufficient for a net gain of 32 seats, which would create a 156-seat majority.

Applying this model, the following seats tip to the Conservatives (all from the Liberals, unless stated):

NL Labrador
NL Random-Burin-St George’s
NS West Nova
NB Fredericton
NB Madawaska-Restigouche
NB Miramichi
NB Saint John
ON Brant
ON Huron-Bruce
ON London West
ON Mississauga South
ON Oakville
MB Saint Boniface
SK Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River
BC 18 seats (every opposition seat, except Vancouver East)

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.


Why to NOT vote for Harper – the last weekend of the campaign

As we enter the long weekend, we are seeing a slight uptick in Harper’s fortunes in Ontario and further erosion of their gains made in the last election. What will influence our decisions in these final days as we go to the polls on Tuesday?

Dion’s stumble in the CTV interview was not a stumble. He was asked three slightly different questions by the interviewer each time and this confused the Grit leader and it also confused a colleague and I who watched the clip on YouTube last night. And for the networks to air these outtakes is nothing less than shameful. Has Harper or Layton or any of the leaders not have had to request a retake once or twice during the course of an interview? If so, and I cannot imagine that Stevie hasn’t made a gaffe or two, then these clips should be aired too. Shame on you, CTV!

Over dinner and with family and friends this weekend, much will be discussed about this election. There will be family debates and perhaps even a shouting match with old Uncle Bert who has steadfastly reported for a conservative party since Dief was at the helm! Votes will be influenced at the dinner table this weekend – make no mistake about. So, if you agree at all with what I have written over the past 5 1/2 weeks, do your best to convince Uncle Bert that maybe this one time, he should consider voting for someone else.

The weather. Of course the weather will influence our thought patterns this weekend – we are Canadians for crying out loud! And the forecast for the eastern part of the country is for warm days and blue skies clear through till E-day. This may not bode well for our weekend ruminations as we’re less likely to be generally pissed off as we would be if it were raining or snowing. But if the forecast holds true for Tuesday then we may expect a higher voter turnout and that usually does not bode well for the incumbent administration.

In any case folks, talk politics this weekend! What is decided in the next few days will influence the direction of our country for the next little while! Remember Harper’s lies, cynicism and general disrespect for his partisan colleagues and the intelligence of his countrymen and countrywomen.


More plagarism? Say it ain’t so!

Man, the big S-man better start vetting his speeches a bit better. Second time in a week that he gets nailed for copying someone else’s efforts without attribution!

Man, if my 15 year-old got caught doing this, she would be expelled!

Or, under Harpy’s new rules for young offenders, thrown into a federal prison!

OK – just joking on the second point.


Are the Grits gaining momentum? Naw… really?

Some very interesting new polling numbers from Nanos Research. This firm is, in my admittedly VERY informed opinion, the most competent group out there from a methodological and question development perspective. They have been doing daily tracking since the writ was dropped.

There is a clear upswing in Grit fortunes – especially in QC, where the change is outside the margin of error.  This is curious because some quebecois friends of mine told me this would happen close to the end of the campaign. Most surprising is Dion’s increase on the leadership index – only 8 points in arrears.

Time (as in tomorrow) will tell whether this is indeed a true trend or sinply a statistical anamoly.

Steve over at Far and Wide has made some good points about this poll.


French language debate

Apparently Harper won the debate last night.

Apparently Dion won the debate last night.

I watched most of it on RDC – can’t stand the translated version. Here’s my opinion:

No clear cut “winner”, though:

  • I think Stevie did himself more harm than good (yay!).
  • Dion held his own and maybe even gained some support through his performance (but man, he has bad posture).
  • If there was a winner, it was Duceppe. You could clearly see that he has been down this road before.
  • Layton made some good points and his French was the best of the Anglos.
  • And Lizzie May, despite being handicapped languages-wise (tho’ she was better than I had anticipated) got in a few good jabs here and there.

Tonite – Round 2. Watch for Stevo to go the attack as polls are showing that his support has stalled and has fallen backward in Quebec.


Harper and the Politics of Fear

One thing about being stuck at an airport is that there is lots of time for blogging!

Here’s a link to a piece that notes Harper’s tendency to play on the Politics of Fear.


Why to NOT vote for Harper Part 6 – LIVE! From the Regina airport.

Well. I’m stuck in Regina for a few hours and won’t get back into Ottawa till the wee hours tomorrow morning. The plane hit a bird and has to be repaired. I hate birds. The good news is that a colleague gave me an extra Air Canada lounge pass so I can pass the time away in relative comfort….

Now I have to figure out a way to blame Harper for the bird. Was it a BLUEbird?


But t’was a good trip. Nice countryside and mostly flat but really unique in some places where the glaciers retreated and huge spillways created valleys. Fort Qu’Appelle is a spot like this.

The dramatic changes in the countryside in this part of the country reminds me of a couple of things relating to the nation as a whole.

Canadians, like the Prairie geography, are not homogenous. And we never have been. Immigration since the 19th century pretty much guaranteed this but even with that put aside, our geographies have dictated that the folks sitting on these landx have to change to adapt to the local conditions. Those in the Prairies have adapted to a necessity of long distances, weather travesties and the other vagaries of an agricultural existence.

This can be said for many spots in this land. We and our ancestors had to adapt to the geograhies of the land – and the seas – and the hardships or bounties provided. This has made us a hardy folk.

And this is a good thing. The heterogeneous nature of our country – even in the Prairies where much of Canada envisions nothing but field and farm  – lends to a more balanced and fair view of the world. The extremes cancel out one another, so to speak. Put into the geographic context that I just experienced, you come over a rise after miles and miles of flatness and straight-on highway and almost drop into the Qu’Appelle Valley. Quite amazing… just when you think you have the pattern figured out, everything changes.

The neo-cons don’t see this. They see the diversity and heterogeneous nature of the Canadian fabric as an obstacle to be overcome or a challenge that they must “contextualize” and “strategize” in order to get a focused message in place to maximize their electoral brand. Think about it. The Conservatives are basically running against the Canadian tide and trying to build dams and breakwaters along the way. Sadly, they may just be able to do this just enough to gain a majority and entrench this way of thinking into legislation.

I actualy feel a bit sorry for them. By cynically framing our country within a strict electoral victory framework instead of enjoying and embracing our differences, they miss the beauty of places like the Qu’Appelle Valley. And the beauty of the people who live in places like this and elsewhere in my country. 

I cannot vote for a party that simply doesn’t “get” this. And I hope you agree.


ABC – anything but Conservative!

Good site – pass it along.


Why to NOT vote for Harper: Part 5 – Live. From Yorkton!

I’m here in this very Canadian type of place cuz I was asked to give a little yak-yak to a group of like-minded folks. And this has given me a different geographic perspective from which to write.

I like the Prairies. The drives can be pretty boring – with cruise control a must on these long and flat highways. Simple curves in the road extend on an arc of 20 km or more. But man, IS THAT SKY EVER BIG!

But I love it and these spots remind my a lot of Parry Sound – without the bitterness toward city-folks and how they’re killing the countryside.

One thing that I noticed during the 2 hour drive between Regina and Yorkton was the near complete absence of election signs. Aside from the odd Green Party sign in a field or two, I didn’t see much more than a blue and white sheet of cardboard spaced several kms apart.

What gives? Are the fine denizens of this fine province simply not “in” to this election? That would be intriguing since pundits predict that the ReformCons could sweep the province – and taking good ol’ Ralph Goodale with the tide.

So, just in case a few westerners read these scribblings, I’d like to point out a number of other reasons to vote for anyone but Harper; this time focusing on the management of information and the Politics of Cynicism.

Thanks to Myriam who posted some of these on the Facebook site dedicated to spreading the word about the Lies That Harper Has Told Us.

  • Media relations: There are strict controls over who can attend news conferences and what topics they can breach. The Prime Minister’s Office registers the reporters and then approve which ones ask which questions. There was an incident where the reporters all stood up and walked out. This is not transparent! This is a Soviet style control over the press.
  • Gagging his MPs: Everyone knows that Stevo keeps his MPs on a tight leash. This is so that they don’t say anything that would be controversial or embarrassing to him. Unfortunately for SH, elections are a time where the candidates are not within leash length and say and do things that may not be Steve-approved. Witness the tasteless remarks made by the Agriculture Minister! Stevo gags them when has can because he knows that the bulk of his caucus consists of folks with the IQs of a carrot!
  • Secret media centre: This Conservative operated media centre was meant to be used to film and cover events and then ship that information to the media as pre-packaged items. It didn’t happen because the media found out about it beforehand and made a big stink. Can you imagine what this would mean if it had came to fruition? The message would have been even more micro-managed than it already is!
  • Lies about the income trust: During the last election campaign, the RefromCons promised that they will NOT touch the laws regarding the income trust funds. This was part of their election campaign, and many people who had money in income trust fund investments were pleased by this and wanted to stick with it. Seniors were especially keen on have his source of income untouched. Then, a flip-flop most cynical occurs and these trusts are, you guessed it, taxed at a high rate. I hope seniors are remembering this and voice their displeasure at the ballot box.

  • Finally, I want to once again talk about the turnaround on fixed election dates. This is the ultimate demonstration of the Politics of Cynicism. Steve thinks that he can pass laws and then break them at will. Don’t let the talk about the HoC being dysfunctional fool you. It WAS a productive session… maybe a bit more uncivilized and vitriolic than usual, but a great many items of policy were passed. My fellow Albertan anti-Harperite said the following: 
    • I have noticed that the Blue signs were out the next day after the announcement of the election and it took a while for the other parties to catch up. Let’s be frank. He doesn’t leave much time before the election and leaves all the unsuspecting suckers to finish off their party platforms while he’s already up and running. UNETHICAL!!!

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Get the word out – it is not too late to turn this election around and avoid a Harper majority!


    Why not to vote for Harper… Part 4

    Now that I’m back in the country, I thought it time to continue the “Don’t Vote For Harper” series…

    Here is an exchange I had on the Facebook site entitled Anyone But Harper:

    After a series of valid postings about the dangers that another Harperite government would pose, a Mr. Stephen Green writes –

    Please please please…anyone but Harper. He’s got a hidden agenda…I know it, I heard it from Jack Layton! He’s going to gave us more tax dollars back and not hammer us with a carbon tax – how un-Canadian! And he has integrity, following through on his promises to lower the Small business tax rate AND cut the GST! How “un-prime ministerial” ; at least in comparison to what the Liberals have shown us. Come on folks, give our PM a little respect. Let’s not be uninformed on the issues and bow to fear mongering!

    To which I responded:

    Stephen: You either have not done your research or you are a ReformCon Party member.
    Integrity does not mean breaking your own fixed election law.
    Integrity does not mean running a government like a flavour of the month club.
    Integrity does not mean appointing a non-elected Cabinet Member after railing for years about democratic reform.
    Integrity does not mean launching a slew of demeaning attack ads in place of constructive policy proposals.
    Integrity does not mean demeaning the same province that you represent (Jim F. has done this a few times.
    Integrity does not mean telling members of a First Nation band to stay sober if they want to meet the Minister.
    I could go on but my fingers are getting tired.
    Stevo does NOT deserve my respect and neither does the bulk of his party (though I do have a great deal of respect for Jim Prentice and Peter McCay).
    So, Mr. Green, you should really think about what you’re posting if you want to make a sensible contribution to a constructive debate.

    I think that this is the biggest tell-tale feature of the Harper government. They have preached integrity and transparency but have practiced just the opposite.

    ‘Nuff said for the moment.