Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Carbon Tax - Alberta-style?

 #cdnpoli #abpoli

Earlier this year, no one would have thought carbon-rich Alberta would ever bring in a carbon tax.

Not even the NDP thought it.

So much so, they didn't even put it in their election platform. Why? Because they knew Albertans wouldn't buy it.  Well, centrist Albertans who were tired of the PCs and wanted change.  But they never thought Rachel Notley would ever bring in carbon tax.

With the Keystone XL pipeline nixed by President Obama, TransCanada turned around and laid off a whole pile of people.  Enbridge just did the same thing. 

She knows the NDP only have one shot at this over the next four years with a majority government.  Because I just don't see how they'll get elected again with the way the economy is, the job losses, the energy sector decline, the lack of investment, and mounting debt.

Yes, the price of oil is low, so wouldn't you think of trying to help businesses and consumers reinvest in the economy by not taking more money away from them? 

Well, except for the government party.  Few know one of the first things NDP MLAs did was give themselves a fancy 7% raise.

Premier Notley now says the average Albertan won't feel the pinch of the carbon tax.  This raises pump prices, which for shipping and other logistics, the costs get passed on to the consumer.  Food prices will go up--well, pretty much everything.

For the first time in my life living in this province, and I'm sure many of you do now, I feel like this is Dis-Advantage Alberta.

All the while, nothing will change with climate change, except maybe more Albertans will seek a change in scenery.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trudeau's first big test - G20-style

#cdnpoli . I have been watching intently how newly-minted Justin Trudeau has been conducting himself and his words at the G20. 

I'm conflicted on whether it is appropriate for him to have G20 bureau-gawkers take selfies with him, but at the same time, he is connecting with people from around the world.  This brings emotion, which is not such a bad thing.  The attacks against him saying he wasn't at the big boys' table but instead having these photos taken is not true. 

He did, in fact, speak with President Obama, and then Vladimir Putin as well, where I was most impressed with his confronting him on telling the Russian President to cease operations in Ukraine and vehemently showing Canada's support of that country.  That puts to rest those Internet memes about not being able to do that.

On whether Canada should continue bombing ISIL using the old and decrepit CF-18 fighter jets is another matter.  Few know that the bombing will continue until March 2016.  Honestly, wouldn't that be enough?  Along with France, the U.S., and Russia, being involved there, does Canada really need to be doing the bombing?

I also liked his comment that our national security approach already in motion isn't going to change and ramp up further because of the Paris terrorist attacks.  Remember that the Liberals in opposition were in support of Bill C51 on security, but they appear to be wanting to amend it.

But to continue to support the coalition war on ISIL, Trudeau has now pledged ground forces to help train Northern Iraqis to defeat ISIL.  I'm not so sure about this being effective, as many ISIL members are former Iraqi and Syrian forces themselves, but it still keeps Canada "at the big boys table".

On the Trudeau government wanting to process 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1st is a very tall order and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked the Prime Minister to hold off on that while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her province can take in a few thousand.

It is easy to cut off refugees when the allegations against them are that these terrorists were among those fleeing Syria.  From what I've read, this is not true and the terrorists' passports were fake, but were instead from Europe, one particularly from Belgium.  So, my knee-jerk approach will not give-in to fear here.  The refugees are fleeing from these very terrorists.

And of course there are the usual ignorant masses who blame Islam in general for these terrorists.  For terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIL, they constitute less than 0.01% of all Muslims.  So put your broadstroke back in your pocket and note the countless Islamic groups and Imams who have condemned these attacks.   And don't ever forget the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been killed by terrorist attacks either.

For Trudeau, Canada appears to be returning to the usual Liberal middle-power approach on international issues.  This means we are not going to be necessarily leading as much as it did with Harper, who, despite the campaign b.s., garnered much reputation for Canada as it continued to try and punch above its weight as was remembered during the World Wars and the Korea War.

I think Canadians can live with us being somewhat participatory in fighting ISIL, but not full-out like France is now engaged in.

But would that change if the unthinkable happened?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Conservative Leadership Race (CLR): Wall and Baird out, Rempel makes waves

 #cdnpoli #cpcldr #cpc

Brad Wall said election night he's not interested in running and doesn't speak a lot of French. 

John Baird had both feet in the water, but has abruptly pulled them out:

Which is really too bad.  He was one of the most effective ministers in the entire government of the past nine years.  Jason Kenney must be happy about it to have less competition.

Michelle Rempel, if you haven't already read, made some late-night tweets about the honest perceptions of her as a leadership candidate.  I need not repost them here, because if you're reading this blog, you've probably already read what she tweeted.  What many didn't see happened a couple days later, when she released a statement regarding those tweets and the kind of political discussion waves that can be made through social media.  It was rather bold.  More especially, it was very effective--which was her whole point.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conservative Leadership Race -- The Long Haul

#cdnpoli #cpc When is the last time this happened?

Well, you have to go back to December 2003 when the Conservative Party formed as a merger between the Progressive Conservatives led by Peter MacKay (remember Napkin Gate?) and the Canadian Alliance Party, taken over by Stephen Harper.  This merger was supposedly brokered by Belinda Stronach, daughter of Magna magnate, Frank Stronach, who later dated Peter MacKay, but then crossed the floor to the Martin Liberals.

(I won't get into the machinations of everything that led up to the formation of the party--that's a whole other story.)

Then in 2004, Harper, Stronach, and Tony Clement announced their candidacy.  Harper cleaned up on the first ballot with about 69% of the total vote (56% of the total points).

Soon after, Harper's Conservatives lost to Paul Martin's Liberals, but held them to a shocking minority, 134 to 99 seats.

Two years later in 2006, Harper's Conservatives beat Martin's Liberals 124 to 103, bringing an end to a 13 year Liberal reign.

Two years later again in 2008, Harper's Conservatives beat Stephane Dion's Liberals 147 to 77. 

Three years later in 2011, Harper's Conservatives finally won a majority with 166 seats and help from Jack Layton's NDP winning 103 seats and forming the official opposition for the first time. The Liberals under Michael Ignatieff had their lowest showing in party history with 33 seats.

Harper's Conservatives were in government for almost 10 years, and Harper was leader of the Alliance for two years, plus two as Conservaitve opposition leader, plus 10 as Prime Minister. That's 14 years at the helm of a party.  Whomever the next Conservative leader is, he or she had better be prepared for the long-haul.  Unless Trudeau massively screws up, get used to at least 8 years of Trudeau Liberals.  Don't forget that Harper also spent time as an MP and Deputy Leader of the Reform Party from 1993 to 1997.

In examining the past elections, we can see that Conservative support has a solid base at about 30% of voters with softer supporters at 10% and maybe a few more.  As time goes on, and the baby boomer generation passes on, as a good chunk of the electorate, Conservatives can expect to lose base support and see little growth with millennials, who have tended to the NDP and Liberals.

What I'm saying here is the next Conservative leader needs to fully commit, understand the long-game, appeal to a younger base somehow in order to see any potential growth, and to promote the core conservative principles to entice the middle class base.  Most especially, the leader needs to sell proven fiscal domestic conservative policies as the best-approach to our society and future.  Further, how do you grow the base of women supporters, continue the ethnic support, and win seats back in BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia?

As an exercise, let's look at the names of the potential candidates I've read and heard being touted thus far, and see if you can fit the descriptions as I've stated above to the names and reputations below.

Previous cabinet ministers and current MPs (in alphabetical order):

  • Rona Ambrose - Alberta
  • Michael Chong - Ontario
  • Tony Clement - Ontario
  • Jason Kenney - Alberta
  • Kellie Leitch - Ontario
  • Lisa Raitt - Ontario
  • Michelle Rempel - Alberta
Past cabinet ministers and past MPs:
  • John Baird - Ontario
  • Maxime Bernier - Quebec
  • Peter MacKay - Nova Scotia
  • James Moore - British Columbia
  • Brian Pallister - Manitoba
Past premiers / past federal leaders:
  • Jean Charest - Quebec
  • Bernard Lord - New Brunswick
Current premiers:
  • Christy Clark - British Columbia
  • Brad Wall - Saskatchewan
  • Doug Ford - Toronto city councillor
  • Ben Mulroney - son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney

There's a few names that stand out for me.  Who stands out for you?

It's going to be a long leadership race.  My guess is the vote won't happen next year, but in Spring of 2017.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Prediction vs. The Results

#cdnpoli #elxn42

146 LPC
115 CPC
 72 NDP
   2 GREEN
   3 BLOC

184 LPC (+38 from prediction)
  99 CPC (-16)
  44 NDP (-28)
    1 GREEN (-1)
   10 BLOC (+7)

 - In about 10 hours, Harper will step down as leader, a race will begin

Results:  CORRECT
- A CPC aide sent out a letter stating Harper would step down as leader, although there wasn't a formal announcement.  Whether Harper remains as an MP, is unknown, but I don't see why he wouldn't stay on and help.  He certainly knows what he's talking about when it comes to the PMO. This would be good for Canada.


  • John Baird - former CPC minister of everything makes a smart comeback
  • Maxime Bernier - former Quebec CPC minister has been quietly lurking. And by quietly, I mean at the forefront.
  • Jason Kenney - Minister of Defense and Multiculturalism - because everyone knows he will
  • Lisa Raitt - Minister of Transport - because she's well-known
  • Michelle Rempel - Minister of State-Western Diversification - because she has been very good in the media and against opponents this campaign
  • Brad Wall - popular Saskatchewan premier - because he's the outsider and has charisma
- I have no idea who'll be tapped to be Leader of the Official Opposition--but my guess is someone closer to Toronto and national media
Results:  TOO EARLY
- The media mentioned that Kenny, Raitt, and Wall were potential candidates, so I'm half-right on this one so far.  I also think there will be a quiet "Anybody But Kenney" coalescing around Baird.

 -  NDP Tom Mulcair will also step-down, but not right away, and he'll make a decision in the coming days as he reassess whether he wants to continue to be leader of a 3rd party, or knowing the knives are out anyway.  Nathan Cullen will be the next NDP leader, as he should have been in the first place.

- Mulcair did not step down as leader.  Cullen won his seat.

 - What should be noted is the Conservatives are no where near out of the picture, other than government.  Whomever is tapped to lead, they will have a chance as official opposition, then after 8 years of Trudeau, they have a real chance.  And yes, I just predicted Trudeau will win in 4 years.

- Conservatives got 99-100 seats and have plenty of former cabinet ministers now in opposition.  They know the files.  They know the ins and outs.  They will be much more effective in holding Trudeau and Co. to account.  Much more than the previous inexperienced NDP and decimated Liberals.  That said, the new leader will need time in opposition.

Some thoughts:

Q:  Why did the Harper campaign lose this election?
A:   Two things. 
  1) They underestimated Trudeau to galvanize old Liberals.  Even old Brian Mulroney said so. 
  2)  NDP collapse.  So although the Conservatives gained some support from the niqab issue, the NDP lost support allowing the Liberals to shoot up the middle, especially in Quebec.

Q:  Why did the NDP crumble?
A:  Their stance on the niqab issue was not liked in Quebec, Tom Mulcair is no Jack Layton by any means, and a lot of their existing MPs were weak.  They lost the "protest vote" as a result.

In my next post, we'll do some advanced number crunching and look to previous elections to see what else happened.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Federal Election 2015 Predictions - Trudeaupia version

. #cdnpoli #elxn42 = Liberal minority.

- My prediction unfortunately changed in the last few days.  To get a majority, the vote percentage needs to be in the 38% range--that was when we had 308 seats. With 338 now, I'm not so sure.

146 LPC
115 CPC
 72 NDP
   2 GREEN
   3 BLOC
338 Total Seats

- The higher turnout at the advanced polls is a result of the CPC performing well on get-out-the-vote (GOTV) with seniors, who lean to the Conservatives because they donate to them as well.  This GOTV effort will also translate today, pushing the CPC higher than expected, but not enough.  Seniors since Thanksgiving, however, have decided to hand over the reigns to a younger leader.

- What's been amazing this campaign is seeing how high Mulcair and the NDP were early on and where they are now.  I think, however, the CPC were expecting a better NDP showing to split more of the vote in key ridings.

- That may not happen as much as the election turning point at the debate where Trudeau had glimpses of passion about his father--invigorating some emotion which he has then since rode upon in the remaining weeks.

- Trudeau's policy announcement gamble on massive infrastructure and deficit spending was a very interesting move.  If he would have said that a national high-speed rail system would be a part of it, he would have my attention--because we need it, badly, but it didn't.  His advisors apparently made the right choice in saying they'd kick-start the economy with this spending all the while campaigning in Ontario with Liberal Premier Wynne and her poor handling of that province's economy and her massive spending and deficits. Confused?

- The inundation of TV ads mostly back and forth between Trudeau and Harper shows a much more confident Trudeau trumpeting anti-Harper sentiment with the usual rhetoric, but a subdued Harper pleading to your pocket-book.

- Voters are mad this election--many don't know exactly why, but the left is motivated to get rid of Harper at all costs.  Even NDPers who didn't like Bill C51 are voting for Trudeau although the Liberals voted for it. 

- I am very curious to see if the younger vote made a difference in this one.

- In about 10 hours, Harper will step down as leader, a race will begin with CPC members voting in two years for at least one of:

  • John Baird - former CPC minister of everything makes a smart comeback
  • Maxime Bernier - former Quebec CPC minister has been quietly lurking. And by quietly, I mean at the forefront.
  • Jason Kenney - Minister of Defense and Multiculturalism - because everyone knows he will
  • Lisa Raitt - Minister of Transport - because she's well-known
  • Michelle Rempel - Minister of State-Western Diversification - because she has been very good in the media and against opponents this campaign
  • Brad Wall - popular Saskatchewan premier - because he's the outsider and has charisma
- I have no idea who'll be tapped to be Leader of the Official Opposition--but my guess is someone closer to Toronto and national media

-  NDP Tom Mulcair will also step-down, but not right away, and he'll make a decision in the coming days as he reassess whether he wants to continue to be leader of a 3rd party, or knowing the knives are out anyway.  Nathan Cullen will be the next NDP leader, as he should have been in the first place.

- With both the CPC and NDP choosing new leaders, neither will want to topple the minority gov't, allowing Trudeau to hang-on for 4 years.

- What should be noted is the Conservatives are no where near out of the picture, other than government.  Whomever is tapped to lead, they will have a chance as official opposition, then after 8 years of Trudeau, they have a real chance.  And yes, I just predicted Trudeau will win in 4 years.

I remember back when Trudeau said he wasn't going to run for Liberal leader.  That's when I knew he was going to, and win--even beating an astronaut, which he did.  But I didn't think he had his father's hutzpah or brains to actually become Prime Minister.

Or that the electorate was that gullible to believe him.

Welcome to Trudeaupia 2.0.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Conservatives in the right position to win

#cdnpoli #cdnelxn2015 - 

Elections are about timing and momentum. After the 1st month, with the CPC, LPC, & NDP in a virtual tie, I'd say the CPC are in an ideal position given the circumstances. 

The postponed Duffy trial has likely effected its maximum damage to the CPC soft-supporters and the party has now seen its low mark--meaning they can only go up from here. 

The NDP have been very good at building quick momentum and timing their support to peak on Election Day.   However, iteems as though they have already peaked--especially in Ontario, Alberta, and BC where a bunch of the new seats are. 

The election issue has become the economy and the deficit and I believe the Libs and NDP have fallen into Harper's trap. 

Justin and the Liberals gambled with a bold announcement for deficit spending to stimulate the economy, while equally having to retreat on attacking Harper on balanced budgets. Now they are instead focusing on Mulcair's numbers and the "big hole" to try and balance the budget with Liberal John McCallum as the attack dog.  And in looking at the affects of NDP provincial policies on their economies, the people might tend to remember. 

Meanwhile, the federal government conveniently announced that for the first quarter this year, there was actually a $5 billion surplus--essentially negating any further argument there from the Liberals or NDP. 

Then lurking in the background is the NDP's $2.7 million own expense scandal, which appears to be gaining some traction among soft-NDP voters and the cause of NDP support slipping. 

Right now, voter attention appears to be on Mulcair. With that look for more Liberal attacks on Mulcair from the left, while the Conservatives hammer from the right.

Justin has a real opportunity here to gain their support and possibly why he made the deficit spending announcement. Will it help the Liberals "shoot up the middle" with voter discontent? It's possible. 

Essentially, what's happening to the NDP is the same ideological squeeze-play the NDP and CPC did to the Liberals last election. 

And it's why far left NDP supporters are calling for Mulcair to move back before it's too late.  But all the NDP needs to do is continue populist policy announcements that ring well in rural BC and Ontario--ironically former Reform Party territory I might add. 

In the end, I think voter turnout will be very low, which plays well for incumbents, why people will vote for the devil they know, why the Conservatives are in a good spot, and why I still think they will win. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canadian Election 2015 - Harper will win

. #cdnelxn2015 #cdnpoli

Here is a smattering of my observations from the cheap seats on the campaign so far and then why I think Harper will win.

- Few are talking about this election or really paying attention to the policy announcements--especially Joe and Jane Frontporch.  When the kids go back to school, people will start paying more attention.  Look for the parties to reiterate their policy announcements, saving the big ones for the last few weeks.

- The Duffy trial has been in front of any other leaders' announcements, including Harper's.  Now that the trial has adjourned until November and after the election in October, the opposition leaders and media will continue to ask questions, but "It's before the courts" you will hear constantly.  The trial dragged on longer than expected as revelations from key witnesses put the whole thing into question.  The trial is being adjourned because the lawyers have other trials to tend to in the meantime--it's not some conspiracy.

- NDP supporters have gone completely batshit on social media.  Many, I know, are in unions and their postings bashing Harper are almost hourly, unjustified, and outright lies.  I say keep it up as you're all looking like a bunch of weenies. With the race this close, soft liberal progressives need to stick with Trudeau and not get lured into Mulcair's van.

- Where is retread Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe?  With no budget, I hear he was cycling.  I always liked him in the debates.

- There isn't any real main issue in this campaign that Mulcair or Trudeau have framed.  The Conservatives have made it about Justin not being ready.  While many are tired of it, it's working, as it's geared toward soft-Conservatives supporters and Blue Liberals who have voted Conservative lately and were thinking of going back.

On the debate... (cricket)... I finally watched the English debate.  Now?  No one remembers much except:
1. Green Party leader Elizabeth May was very good
2. NDP Uncle Tom Mulcair had an awkward smile like he was giving candy to kids (voters?) to lure them into his rainbow van
3. Harper held his own and was calm
4. Trudeau had some good and interesting moments.  When Mulcair asked him about the number for Quebec to separate, finally Trudeau swung back well with "9" in reference to the Supreme Court.  But his closing remarks started off fuzzy wuzzy and ended awkwardly. Some eyebrows were raised that's for sure.

On policy announcements, here's what I remember:
- NDP:  No deficit. Full door-to-door mail service will return. Tax incentives for manufacturing sector. $15 minimum wage for all!  Decriminalize ganja for small amounts.  $15/day daycare.
- Liberals:  Flexible work hours.  Not sure if they'll balance the budget.  Full pension for injured veterans.
- Conservatives:  No one's allowed to travel to Syria or Iraq.  Tax breaks for volunteer/service club memberships.  Raise the amount first-time home-buyers can use part their RSP for a downpayment from $25k to $35k.  Life sentences for serious crimes.

On scandals and odd things:

- Duffy scandal has completely dominated this election so far.  It's currently resonating with voters, especially the undecided. But I predict the momentum on that will be lost with the trial adjourned until November, and as they turn their attention to Mulcair and Trudeau, they will be paying close attention to what they say.
- A picture of an Atlantic salmon was shown on a graphic talking about conservation of BC fish. Quickly changed.
- Angry old guy yells at media after Harper campaign stop.  Now now.

- Alberta NDP Jobs Minister was out campaigning for the NDP in BC while Alberta's economy and jobs are in jeopardy.  Yeesh.
- NDP still haven't paid back the $2.7 million in taxpayer funds used for political offices. In fact, the parliamentary budget office isn't going to honour the campaign expenses until it is paid off.  Look at this to gain momentum, shooting down the credibility of Mulcair and voters thinking they need to kick Harper out by voting NDP.
- A video resurfaced of Mulcair praising British Conservative PM Margaret Thatcher

- Several Liberal nomination races aren't going well. One broke out in a fight.  Other Trudeau hand-picked candidates didn't win.  If you think Trudeau's Liberals are about openness, think again.
- A Calgary candidate had some old tweets about her hair making her look like a 'lesbo' and other things.  She apologized, Trudeau accepted, she resigned.  Moving on.
- Trudeau thinks the economy grows from the heart outward.  Wow.  While he wants to raise taxes on the top 1% (i.e. over $200k/year), and lower taxes for the middle class, maybe he doesn't realize that many middle class families combined incomes are over $200k/year.  They're hardly in the 1%.
- Trudeau's presser with Paul Martin was terrible.  He really has no clue how the economy actually works other than reiterating talking points.  He never really answered the media questions and just spouted middle class, jobs, grow, blah blah.  He has no idea what he's actually talking about and his bobble-head candidates behind him while nodding in unison, didn't actually seemed convinced either.
- Veterans angry with Harper are actually Liberals.

Advice for each campaign:

OVERALL:  It's about the economy, stupid.  It's not going well with oil low, the dollar down to its lowest since 2004, the China crash, etc.  This is what really affects families and jobs.  

Bloc:  Get some donations already.  While Duceppe doesn't have to cover as much ground, get a TV ad going saying that the NDP hasn't delivered.

Greens:  Everyone knows you're about the environment, get May talking about the real economy and balanced budgets--she's good at it.

NDP:  Talk middle class tax cuts like you know what you're talking about, unlike Trudeau.  Because a lot of the high-paying public sector and union families are making over $200k year, you might want to crank the tax increase amount to $200k PER PERSON if you're going to do that.  Talk more on the environment to trump the Greens in BC.  Be more anti-central Canada in Quebec to beat the Bloc.

Liberals:  Justin needs to learn how the economy operates and talk about small business tax cuts to thwart liberals from heading to the NDP who are dissatisfied with Harper.  Say how much you are cutting middle class taxes by (2%? 5%!?).  The "I am ready" ads are awful and your inexperience is showing because you've allowed another party to frame the debate for you.  Separate yourself from the Ontario Wynne Liberals.   The Liberal war room is the shits.

Conservatives:  Stop talking terrorism, ISIS, and crime.  Focus on investment in the economy and tout your comparative record to other G7 countries over and over again.  Remind voters of the tax cut policies already brought in and if they weren't done, families would be worse-off despite an unstable global economy.   Beat Trudeau by reiterating that the middle class has grown and is better off as a result.  Do not say you've cut taxes by millions of dollars--say what the average is that families and individuals have more in their pocket for ALL the policies (GST cut, child care, trade tools write-off, TFSA) and then say how much more they will have if you are re-elected. Beat the NDP by reiterating their shoddy provincial records in BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, and NS.  And wake up CPC war room--you're about two days behind.  Then again, so are voters right now.

My early predictions:

With the number of vote splits on the left, the long-haul campaign dollars totally favouring the Conservatives for TV ads, and that Ontario is still currently slightly favouring the Conservatives, the outcome will be a Conservative minority with a strong NDP opposition.

When the Duffy trial resumes in November, the NDP and Liberals will continue to fire questions and rhetoric at Harper to gauge what the public feeling is and ask him to resign, then potentially spark a vote of non-confidence after the trial is over.

Depending on how the trial goes, if it is too damaging, Harper may resign, but I get a feeling he wouldn't right away.  He'll do it in 1-2 year's time anyway and then watch Saskatchewan's premier Brad Wall take a stab at the leadership and win.

There you have it!  Stay tuned for more insight.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Abolishing the Senate to reform it

In a surprise but no-surprise pre-election move, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall have had a leak that they will jointly announce on Saturday that they will move to abolish the Senate.

With the Conservatives surging ahead in a recent poll to 38% (majority territory), likely boosted by their child care benefit vote buying scheme (I call it like I see it), Canada being voted #1 in international reputation, and despite the thrust of social media vitriol coming from background union, NDP, and Liberal supporters, Harper announcing he would abolish the senate would negate any of bad press that the once popular but now shamed senators, Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Pamela Wallin have stained Harper's machine.

It's a brilliant tactical move and the timing couldn't be better.

And you can't say Harper didn't try to reform the upper chamber.  He did, in a legal backdoor way to promise to appoint the senators elected by the provinces.  But only one province, Alberta, did so.  In essence, that tactic, while noble, didn't work.  None of the other provinces went for it.

There was even a point where I thought Harper was holding back the appointments to naturally equalize the provinces.

Then there's Justin Trudeau, who in one of his first moves as heir leader, symbolically kicked out all of the Liberal senators from the Liberal caucus.  So, it appears the Liberals supposedly don't care about the senate anymore.  Trudeau, anyway.

While I still believe we need an upper house on a federal-scale, it must be elected and equal.  For about 25 years (yeesh!) I have advocated this with each province getting 6 senators for 6 year terms, 3 elected every provincial municipal cycle.  But I think 8 year terms with 3 elected every 4 years makes more logistical sense.  Or look at Australia's senate.  It's quite equal. While I'm not fond of proportional representation as seats are filled by unelected party hacks to make up the difference, a preferential ballot should be looked at and wouldn't be such a bad thing.  Many parties use this method already to elect their leaders.

All other means by which to reform the senate have not worked.  The Charlottetown and Meech Lake Accords didn't work and helped spawn another wave of Quebec separatism.  Harper's plan didn't work either.

Oddly enough, one of the reasons Canada came into being in 1867 in Charlottetown, was that although the senate was to be elected and equal among the four provinces, the deal went down because it wasn't.

In essence, it's time to start over.  Abolish the senate so we can reform it.

It's the only way.  Harper and Wall are on the right track.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The "Math is Hard" Alberta Election Orange Hangover

 #abpoli #abvote -- After 44 years of one party rule, a majority of Albertans finally had enough of the PCs. with the NDP going from zero seats in 1993 to 53 seats in 2015 and a majority government.

Like Saskatchewan, what we've seen is the crushing of the traditional PC and Liberal parties in Alberta, replaced with new(er) parties.

I've said all along that the NDP should elect Rachel Notley as their leader and move their policies to the middle to be middle-class-friendly.  What we essentially saw was the NDP adopting the original policies of the Lougheed PCs while the PCs under Prentice collapsed with one sentence from the debate, "Math is hard".

Some quick notes from the historical results:

  • The combined Wildrose + PC Party votes were greater than the NDP in 61 ridings (71%) and greater than the NDP + Liberal + Alberta Party combined vote in 53 ridings (61%).  Conservatism is not dead in Alberta, it just suffered under the imputation of vote splitting.
  • Edmonton is completely represented by NDP MLAs, some who are still post-secondary students.  The NDP website has now completely removed the bios of their candidates!
  • The Wildrose got 24% of the vote, the PCs got 28%, but due to the Wildrose smart, focused campaigning in key ridings, they concentrated the vote better and got over twice as many seats as the PCs.
  • The Alberta Party won its first seat with the election of its leader Greg Clark.
  • I have never seen someone win their seat and step down before all the results were in. Jim Prentice stepping down as leader was no surprise, but sticking it to the voters in his riding with another by-election was sad. But we can't say we didn't warn the PCs for their many years of arrogance, entitlement, and mismanagement.
  • Speaking of byelections, every vote counts, folks.  There was a tie in Calgary-Glenmore between the NDP and PC candidates at 7,015 votes each.

Now some predictions:

  1. The new major NDP cabinet posts will be Brian Mason (Finance and Deputy Premier), Deron Bilous (Education), and David Eggan (Health).
  2. Former liberals will become dissatisfied with their parked vote with the NDP and likely jump ship to the Alberta Party more than ever the longer Dr. David Swann remains leader.
  3. The NDP and Wildrose will work together on some campaign finance reforms, but the NDP will conveniently forget about their proportional representation party policy.
  4. The Wildrose will remain official opposition for two years while the backroom talks continue to merge with the PCs and create a new party called "The Conservative Party of Alberta" in the same manner in which the federal party was created.  That said, the Wildrose candidates signed on to not "crossing the floor".  However, if a new party was formed, this may negate that promise.  I also predict that former Medicine Hat MP, Monte Solberg, will lead the party.  Until that merger happens, the NDP will remain in power.

And there you have it folks.  I think we are still in shock, but at the same time, not surprised by the huge miscalculation by Jim Prentice, whose political instinct was so bad that he shouldn't have disregarded the fixed election date law, but called this election anyway because the PCs were simply that arrogant.

And after 44 years coming to an end, with a left-leaning party in power, for conservatives of all stripes, it's going to be a long hangover.