Thursday, April 28, 2011

Election notes - T minus 4 days

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is shocked at the NDP surge. Whether their 2nd place in the polls actually translates into being ahead of the Liberals and Bloc as far as seats is another story.

I've made some points on my Twitter account which I'll repost here...

  • Iggy's 30min townhall.. Kinda dull and dry. He seems like a good man, but it's the Liberal brand that's not palatable. He doesn't inspire me
  • Actually, I think this high advanced voter turnout "shock" is nothing other than because Easter wknd fell at the perfect time in an elxn.
  • GOTV on elxn day will have the  +2 pts.  -2 b/c they do not have the same ground-game w scruitineers, vote ID, & drivers.

The key post above is the last one.  I don't think the NDP surge in Quebec will translate into many more seats.  They have a very limited organization there.  The NDP is also in 3rd in Ontario, so don't see much seat movement. The Conservatives in Ontario, are, however, far ahead.  And that's where vote splitting could see the Conservatives, who have the best ground game, get the 15 seats enough for a majority.  The NDP surge in BC, I think, may see the Conservatives not win back as many seats there as expected.

Everyone is also asking, what happened to the Liberals?  They were trending upward but then the debates, and I believe, Iggy's "Rise Up" speech made lefties look at Iggy and Jack and say, "Jack's where it's at."

So, my post before the election started, to recap, was this...

Pre-Election PredictionOh heck, why not.
Conservatives will hit 40%, really close to a majority.Liberals will get 25% and lose seats.NDP will gain votes in urban centres but lose in rural areas to Conservatives, causing vote splitting with the Liberals in cities.
157 (+14) Conservative  70 (-7) Liberal  30 (-7) NDP  50 (+3) Bloc Quebecois    1 (-) Independent
You heard it here first!
If I were to make an adjustment to that, I'd say:
157 Conservative (+14)

  60 Liberal (-17)
  50 NDP (+13)
  40 Bloc (-7)
    1 Ind (-)

But who the hell

Friday, April 22, 2011

Election notes - Day ??

I'm currently on an undisclosed tropical island enjoying a couple weeks off.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up-to-date on the election.

Here's what I know and what I think I know.

The NDP are gaining momentum which was triggered by Jack's performance in the debates.  I also think those on the left are comparing Iggy and Jack and liking Jack a lot more, especially in Quebec.  Iggy's "Rise Up" speech, I think, was a bit of a turn off for many, and many leftoids are confused as to what Iggy's intentions are with a potential coalition.  Not with Jack.  In Quebec, the NDP are ahead of both other federalist parties with the Bloc losing ground.

So who are these soft-separatists that are turning to the NDP?  They're coalitionists now!  By supporting the NDP and putting them above the Liberals, they've realized there is a potential for Jack Layton as PM in a coalition gov't with Gilles Duceppe in there somehow.  It's crazy, I know, but Jack's performance in the French debate was very good and convincing.

So now, this is where I'm going to speculate on some Conservative strategy.  Hear me out dear readers.  Consider...

- We all know, Stephen Harper's plan all along has been to replace the Liberals as the "natural governing party".

- With the Liberals moving to the right against the massive Conservative wall, the gap on the centre-left was left wide open.  Jack has successfully moved into it with some centrist policies like the small business tax cut and other family-friendly measures.  But it's more on personality than policy.  People simply like Jack a lot more than Iggy.

- So I think the Conservatives are helping Jack Layton.

- Did Stephen Harper willingly take a back seat in the French debate to let Jack do most of the talking?

- Is the recent Conservative attack ad on Jack Layton not really an attack ad at all but a way to draw attention to him so that lefties consider Jack as a potential leader of the opposition or the prime minister in a coalition gov't?   ... While at the same time, drawing away some soft NDP anti-coalitionists in BC and Ontario to the Conservatives themselves?

For this blogger, ideally, I would love to see the end or decimation of the Liberal party.  They were a terrible official opposition--Iggy's voting record notwithstanding.

While I disagree with them on many issues, I've always admired the NDP--they at least stand for something and would be a formidable official opposition to the Conservatives.  And I also think with a stronger NDP, it would quash the Liberals from wanting to merge, which is, of course, good for Stephen Harper.

Not only that, but having a Conservative majority is the best thing for our growing and prosperous country.  With lower corporate taxes, we are already seeing more investment and growth in the economy, which has had the positive effect of actually bringing in more revenue for the government, which is why the deficit is shrinking faster than expected.  I don't understand how many people don't get that concept.

And for national unity.  In a majority, we all know Harper will bring in legislation to eliminate the taxpayer-funding for political parties.  The Bloc relies on over 85% of their revenue from this funding.  Removing that, would hurt them big time.

So everything appears to be working in favour of Stephen Harper in his quiet campaign.  Like in 2004, after Canadian families got together for Christmas dinner and talked politics, the Conservatives surged.  The key polls will be after the Easter dinners where I think lefty Canadians at the table will see that the Liberals have no hope in defeating Harper, but they do see a potential for Jack Layton as official opposition leader or the leader and PM of a coalition government.

For an election about nothing, it seems to be an election about what those traditionally strategic-voting leftwing Canadians are thinking... that they're finally going to vote the party and leader they've always wanted to vote for.  And they're feeling pretty damn good about it.

Ok, now back to the beach and warm sunshine...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Debates and outcome scenarios - followup

English Debate...

Summary:  Harper calm & solid. Iggy stumbles. Layton feisty and passionate. Duceppe not as good as before.

I enjoyed this debate.  I thought each leader respected each other's time.  The first half they attacked Harper and it seemed it was on Iggy in the second half.  They started off with the leaked AG G8 info but it didn't last. I don't think this story is going to stick next week.

Jack wasn't interrupting as much as before and kept on the attacks while highlighting NDP policies.  He did really well.

Ignatieff seemed a bit uncomfortable when speaking and trying to bring together different anecdotes into some nonsensical train of thought and argument and reminded me more and more of a professor at Harvard for some reason .. or just a boring political science professor.

Duceppe was Duceppe.  Like a rambling neighbour but his quote on "I will never be prime minister of Canada, I can assure you that!" got some laughs.  People like Duceppe because he's straightforward and he didn't disappoint.

All that said, Iggy didn't deliver the knock out punch on Harper to make Harper trip, but Layton sure did... on Iggy that is.

Overall, I don't think this debate will change much other than halt the 2-4 point Liberal gain.  Harper made continual compelling and calm arguments why the Conservatives should be reelected with a majority.

At times, it seemed Harper's calmness seemed to frustrate Ignatieff, and for that, overall Harper beat Ignateiff, but I thought Jack won the debate overall.  He was enjoyable to watch.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Debates and outcome scenarios

I think all the debates comes down to is not really how Harper performs--he'll be his usual self.  It comes down to Iggy and if undecideds get comfortable with him and trust him.  Tough to do. Harper needs to be careful not to attack his personal history, but his numerous flip flops on policy.

You'll also notice that the Conservatives have been laying pretty low during this election and not trying to draw attention to themselves. Reminds me of Ralph Klein's election in 2004.  That said, the media attention has been quite negative on Harper and quite biasedly positive on Iggy.  Voter turnout will be low low low and the fewer that show up, that means there's less desire for change.  Conservative base is loyal as hell and the GOTV (Get Out The Vote) machine for the Conservatives is well oiled --- I've been a part of it and it's actually a lot of fun.

Polls are averaging out with about 153 CPC seats to 71 LPC.  If Harper survives the debate and even ties with Iggy, 

That said, closer to election day, watch Liberal numbers go up a couple points to 32 and maybe 33.  But that support won't be stolen from Harper, it's NDP and Greens.  NDP might get wiped out down to low 20's.  The Liberals have basically stolen NDP policy.  Makes me wonder if there isn't some secret plan to show that both parties are more similar than some think--all designed to setup the Coalition Gov't.

Why else would the Liberals cancel their June convention?  The NDP and CPC didn't.  Liberals are going to lose and at their conventions, after an election loss, the Liberals MUST vote on whether to keep Iggy around as leader.  But, if he becomes PM in a coalition, there is no need for a convention, right?

So anyone can get caught up in the mire of mini-scandals from both parties (Liberals are throwing stones at glass houses), but this election's main issue is simply:  do you want a majority or a coalition gov't?

With Iggy's approval and trust ratings at such a low level comparatively with Harper and Layton, Canadians will not accept Iggy as their PM.

A Conservative minority will result in a constitutional crisis again.  The Liberals and Dippers know that if it a minority, they're not voting for the same budget, which Flaherty said he'd table again.  Then the power turns to the Bloc.  If the budget gets voted down AGAIN, then the GG has to decide:
  1. if we're going to have yet ANOTHER election, which Harper would win in a landslide because (see Dief in the 60's) as my bet is Canadians are sick of this
  2. if the coalition should govern instead, while legal, most Canadians don't want to accept Iggy as PM
  3. if he refuses the coalition and tells them to get along with Harper for a while then may accept another election.
Like I said, the debates are important, and it's Iggy's big chance to shine. Will Canadians be even watching?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

TFSAs to double

This is great news!  Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised today to double the amount one can contribute to their Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) from $5000 to $10,000 whereby the interest or investment return would be tax free.

However, like the other tax policies promised this campaign, this wouldn't kick in until the deficit is paid down.  Fine.

But once I originally heard about the TFSA, I opened an account and plopped some cash in there, put it into a stock I knew was going to rise, and voila, 650% annual return on investment! It's essentially free money.  Granted, I still paid income tax on the original investment, but with a good stock (and they're out there), can you imagine getting a loan for $10,000 coupled with a good stock that doubles, cash out, pay off the loan, and then you're sitting there with an extra $10,000 out of no where and tax free?

Lefties claim that this only helps the middle class and rich.  Hogwash!  This is the perfect way for people to save and invest and save some more to give them a leg up.

Of course, lefties would rather have the government create a "program" to have a bureaucracy of people to figure out who gets what money, how much, and when.  Then they claim they're creating real jobs.

When I tell my American friends that we have this type of account in Canada, they can't believe it and tell me that Canada is simply sounding better and better all the time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ignatieff claims to be an American 22 times in 2 minute speech

Listen to this two minute speech from Michael Ignatieff and how many times he says "us" and "we" in reference to Americans.  I just don't get how anyone can trust a word this guy says about anything, let alone calling our hockey-loving Prime Minister as "unCanadian".  Unbelievable.

h/t The Alberta Ardvark

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ignatieff thinks Harper is "un-Canadian"

Maybe the guy should look in the mirror...

  • “You have to decide what kind of America you want...It’s your country just as much as it is mine.” (C-SPAN, June 17, 2004)
  • “I want to make it clear; there isn't an anti-American bone in my body. I love the republic I live in.” (Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, CBC Radio, Sept. 16, 2001.)
  • “I think that one of the ‐--‐ that almost the nemesis of American power is that we are deeply hated and simultaneously supposed to have magical powers.” (Charlie Rose Show, April 28, 2004)
  • Ignatieff told an interviewer that “the only thing he missed about Canada was Algonquin Park”. (Maclean’s, November 20, 2006)
  • Ignatieff described the Canadian flag as “a passing imitation of a beer label” (The Observer, July 8, 1990).
  • Ignatieff said, "Quebeckers walk around with this fantasy of how different they are, but they are just North Americans who speak French...They take the minor difference and magnify it." (Globe and Mail. April 2, 1998)
The guy truly does speak for himself.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Then why doesn't a coalition of losers apply at the riding level?

Yes, I understand at the parliamentary level, if a group of MPs from different losing parties can agree to form a coalition majority caucus, that it is perfectly legal that they can approach the Governor General and inform him that they can lead a government.

However, tradition in parliament is also important to understand.  Canadian parliamentary precedent whereby the losing parties form government is not tradition.  Our tradition is a first-past-the-post, and why minority governments can exist.

But what about the riding level?  Why not apply the same logic then?  What if a Conservative candidate won with say 42% support, but the combined Liberal-NDP support was above 50%?  Why not have a run-off election or allow losing candidates to throw their support to another losing candidate to put them over the Conservative?

More especially, why haven't I heard a single Liberal or Dipper in support of a parliamentary coalition suggest the same scenario be applicable at the riding level after an election?

And I'm also sick to death of coalition supporters touting the current UK coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats as a model.  The big difference in the UK is that the Conservatives won the election and formed a coalition with one other party, not by losing and signing an agreement to form government with another party AND the support of a separatist party.

Ok, but you may ask, at the riding level, we should use a form of proportional representation (PR), say a ranking system, a run-off election between the top two, or having a portion of the House dedicated to selected members to balance the number of votes to number of seats.  But notice that it's NDP, Green and other small parties that continually blather on about this?

I've thought about PR, and you know what would happen in Canada that also happens in many countries that use a form of PR?

You get .... perpetual coalition governments and national instability.

And these coalition governments would be comprised of all sorts of parties.  And these parties would be focused on only certain issues.  Coalition governments wouldn't need to consider ALL regions in the nation or the entire nation as a whole anymore.  They would do whatever it took to hold onto power and keep the coalition intact.

But wait, don't we already have that potential here in Canada?  Consider this scenario ... if the Conservatives get another minority, Green Party leader Elizabeth May wins her seat in in BC, and the combined Liberal-NDP-BQ-Green seat total is above 155 and they agree and want to form government, don't we have at least two parties that primarily tout one issue each--Quebec separation and the environment?

Soon, you'd see all sorts of new one-two issue and regional parties popping up trying to win a seat here and there (hello Marijuana Party!) and the potential for coalition governments to be comprised of many little one-issue parties.  That's not how you form a stable national government.

In fact, this only proves to me even further why we need a Triple-E Senate instead of PR.  That way, you would balance regional issues and representation within parliament.  Further to that, first we need to fix the provincial representation in the House of Commons to make it fair on average for each riding.  Some ridings have 80,000 people and some 130,000.  BC, Alberta, and Ontario are losing out here big time.

Election notes on week 1 - Momentum with Harper

The Conservatives gain over the week and the Liberals grab 4 points from the NDP, then steadily go down and the media says Ignatieff has the momentum?

I'm not saying that the Liberals didn't have a good week campaigning.  They did.  No gaffes and Ignatieff has come across as well spoken and sincere on the trail and in their TV ads.

Jack and the NDP had a good week campaigning but initially lost support to the Liberals and now they appear to be gaining it back.

What's becoming clear is that Conservative support is solidifying and not being lost to the Liberals.  With  the Liberal platform moving way to the left, it's an obvious attempt at winning over 'progressives' and stealing soft NDP support.  It's the usual Liberal strategy, but in this case, it's for survival and it won't work actually to win the election.  It's not centrist.

The Liberal Red Book is difficult to decipher on what the policies actually are.  All the campaigns are still guilty of yapping about billions and millions to be spent on this and this over so many years, but this doesn't translate to the average Canadian and street politics and they'll ignore it altogether.  Voters want to hear how that money applies to them directly. 

What is winning people over is when Ignatieff said "four grand for each student" and Harper said "Thousand buck tax credit for your kid in fitness and 500 for you now too".

These types of policies bug me, but politically, they work.  It almost seems that by the time they've targetted every demographic with a tax policy specific to them, in the end, it almost seems like everyone will be covered.  What it does do is speak to you directly.  "Hey parents, we're thinking of you, so soon you'll be able to write off your kids' karate class fees."

For Stephen Harper, the past week could have gone much better, but the polls show who has the momentum toward the coveted majority, and it's the Conservatives, not Liberals.