Archive for April, 2011

The Fall of the Liberal Empire

When Jean Chretien was in power the Liberals were an almost unstoppable force. But every one must retire eventually, and when people started to believe it was getting to be time for Chretien to retire a split started to develop within the liberal party. Pretty much splitting the party in two were the group who stood solidly behind Chretien and the group who stood solidly behind his understood succesor Paul Martin. The problem with this sort of split is that it leads to hard feelings between those who feel their leader was pushed out before his time was over and those who felt their leader was held back past the time he should have been handed the reigns.

While Martin’s shortened reign was largely due to poor behaviour on the part of party brass and the fallout from this poor behaviour. However the cleansing of the party brass has left the Liberals with a leadership vaccum, one that has resulted in the liberals choosing sucessive poorly thought out leaders. This comes from two different problems.

  1. Because of a leadership vaccum in the party brass the search for leadership candidates has been stunted and some high profile, but inadequate leaders have been chosen and the (expected) successor to Ignatieff (Bob Rae) is a castoff from another party and unlikely to inspire voters either.
  2. Leadership candidates have been too self centered with high profile candidates with poor credentials being given a single election period to connect with voters and then being tossed to the wolves while the next leadership candidate is brought forward.

It is becoming quickly apparent this election that the current leadership is unacceptable to the voters and that those looking to change the current government are instead looking to the traditional third party and it is showing in the polling numbers with the NDP seeing an unprecedented surge and the numbers do not seem to be dropping.

The last time a federal party tanked this badly was when the Conservatives under Mulroney/Campbell dropped to only two seats in the legislature. Elsie Wayne and Jean Charest. While I believe the leadership should have gone to Elsie Wayne as the stronger of the two it was still the one thing the Conservatives did right. They stuck with Charest while the party was being rebuilt.

The Liberals need to learn a lesson from that rebuild and choose a fairly solid friendly face to be the face of the party while they rebuild.

At this point it appears the Liberals will drop to third place in the legislature and without a bit of luck on their side they realistically could end up fourth.  It is time to stop with the flash in the pan high profile leaders that come loaded with baggage and choose a solid workmanlike leader who will rebuild the party. (like Layton has built the NDP into a force to be reckoned with)

Watching Polling Numbers Intently

I have over the last few days been monitoring the polling numbers quite intently. Generally I have been following mostly the Ekos polls simply because during the last election their prediction was within a seat or two of the final result making their stats fairly legitimate.

So what does that mean now.

              presently           at dissolution              change

  • Conservative 131             143                 -12
  • Liberal             62               77                 -15
  • NDP                100              36                 +64
  • Green                 0                0                   nc
  • Bloc                   14              47                 -33
  • ind/oth/vacant    1                5                  -4

These numbers from most people’s perspective are incredible.  It means that the Liberals are being relegated to third party status the NDP will sit as at least the Official Opposition and the Conservatives will once again be denied their oft requested majority.

In two regions the NDP are significantly leading the polls (both the Atlantic region and Quebec) and they are surging strong in Ontario.  If these trends continue and other parts of the country get involved in this movement as well I honestly believe that the NDP could potentially get a chance to form a minority government.

A second stat that was studied that i find incredibly telling is the total first and second choice combined tally

  • Conservative   40.9 (33.9 + 7)
  • Liberals            40.3 (24 + 16.3)
  • NDP                  55.4 (27.9 + 26.5)
  • Green               20   ( 6.8 + 13.2)
  • Bloc                  10.4 (6 + 4.4)
  • other                 3.9  (1.4 + 2.5)

Using first and second choice voting options this could potentially even lead to a NDP majority government.

There is  a couple of things to suggest this election.

  1. No matter who you vote for you cant complain if you dont vote
  2. With the breakdowns currently being shown this election is perhaps the best time to vote your true intentions because it looks like the entire electoral map is going to undergo a huge facelift

Looking at the NDP’s Rise

So we are hearing that the NDP is basically in second place ahead of the liberals. This is interesting in a lot of ways because of the reactive way people can react to that.

A closer look at the numbers shows that the report isn’t completely accurate but at the same time is incredibly interesting.

The truth is that leader preference is up for the NDP well ahead of Ignatieff. On overall voter preference the NDP still trail the liberals but the split is down to less then 3% or a statistical tie.

Quebec is a major issue here because the NDP is in second to the Bloc only 3.5% back and again in a statistical tie. The major issue here is that Quebec holds 75 seats of which 47 are held by the bloc. If the NDP gains significantly on the bloc in this region then they could potentially take an additional 5 to 10 seats just from the bloc (and this says nothing about other seats they could steal from other parties in Quebec due to their rise in popularity.

The actual fallout of the NDP’s rise could be interesting. To get this increase those who normally vote for other parties are obviously starting to look at the NDP as a viable option. But what this does actually do as show the NDP as competitive at a time when voters are looking at the best possible ways to keep their least favourite leader of either Harper or Ignatieff out of power. What is going to happen now is that those with leanings for the NDP but who normally vote for the liberals or conservatives are going to look at them and believe that a NDP vote will accomplish their intent of stopping the other party from getting the majority. If they choose this voting method it is highly likely that the NDP will rise even further.

This could result in the NDP pushing completely past the liberals not only in leader preference but also in voting intentions.  This will also free up liberals who are looking to unseat the conservatives to move in even larger numbers to the NDP. What it will also mean is that conservatives in ridings where the NDP are generally second to the liberals will look to vote NDP in an effort to push them past the liberals.

The end result of this surge is that we could walk out of this election with one of 4 possible results. A conservative  majority with a NDP opposition, A Conservative minority with a NDP led opposition. A NDP minority with a conservative led opposition as well as a small possibility of a NDP majority government.

I know most people will think I am out to lunch but the reality is the NDP surge this late in the election does open this possibility and that can be blamed on two factors. Harper’s unapproachability and the complete lack of attachment of the Canadian people for Ignatieff.  Pure and simple the Liberals under Ignatieff can not win and people are still uncomfortable with Harper. The only chance that harper has at a majority is solely because of Ignatieff’s lack of connection with the Canadian people.

Come May 2 I will be voting for the NDP (not that I expect this to shock anyone) and watching to see how much growth the NDP actually end up getting at the polls. And come May 3 I will return to setting up a new federal party (something I have been working on for the last few months) in hopes of being prepared for the next election.

A Hilarious Look at the Federal Election

Who Actually Won the English Debate

realistically this was an interesting debate but there were a few factors

  1. Ignatieff got himself in a groove and kept it up all night long (over and over and over all he could say was the same few words there was nothing new)
  2. Harper ignored all the criticism and refused to answer direct questions about his refusal to release financial details both about the G20/G8 summit and his justice bills(which contrary to his telling is the actual physical cause of this election regardless if the budget would have triggered one or not)
  3. Duceppe actually once again handled himself quite well for a person who has almost no hope of ever holding the title of prime minister (technically with 75 seats in Quebec and 5 parties sharing 308 ridings any leader who contests over 62 seats could in reality hold the position of prime minister)
  4. Layton was a concern for me going into the election giving his previous health history and his appearance on the day of the no confidence vote. That concern went away for me last night as i realized he actually looked healthier then I had seen him in years. (Some might be led to believe he thrives during an election period)
  5. May will pick up sympathy points simply on the fact that once again she was blocked from attending the debate even though she is running candidates in most if not all ridings

The only thing all four leaders did agree on was that the auditor general should release her report now.  I believe this is a ploy on Harper’s part because he knows legalities hold her back from releasing this report, however I would almost pay to see his face if she does decide to follow the request of the leaders.

I would tend to suggest that the winner of this debate would be Jack Layton followed closely by Gilles Duceppe. Ignatieff is quickly proving he has as much of a control issue as Harper and is almost turning the liberal party into a laughing stock. As scared as people are of a Harper majority if people do not want that then they are going to quickly have to start turning to either the NDP or the Greens to provide a viable opposition to the Conservatives because even if the Liberals do not implode their party this election it will likely happen by next election unless they get a lot smarter in choosing their leaders.

There are a few suggestions I would make to each of the leaders if they realistically want to improve both their profile and the profile of their party.

Harper

  1. Loosen the reins. Even if you do not hold as tight a control on your party as it appears, simply the appearance of the stranglehold that is perceived by many is enough to scare voters.
  2. Not all great ideas come from Conservatives. Voting down an idea and then recycling it as one of your own does not fool voters, If the idea is good when it is yours it was good when it was theirs, work with others to make these good ideas great.

 

Ignatieff

  1. Loosen the reins. Even if you do not hold as tight a control on your party as it appears, simply the appearance of the stranglehold that is perceived by many is enough to scare voters. In your case this is even worse because at least the conservatives have parrots repeating his thoughts, you don’t because we very rarely hear from any others in your party.
  2. Arrogance. You probably are as smart as you think you are. Most everyone else actually accepts that. But looking down your nose at people and giving the impression that you are the only person in the country with a real, intelligent thought will do nothing to win you support.

Duceppe

  1. You are actually good leadership material. If you could move away from separatist leanings with your party and took it to a truly national level you actually could win and potentially quite strongly.

May

  1. Plan ahead. Everyone knew that the consortium would block you from the debate if they could. The lawsuit should have been launched in such a way to get it heard before the election and phrased in such a way as to allow any party who has sufficient candidates to hold at minimum a minority government position should be allowed an opportunity to be heard equally regardless of wishes of the consortium.

Layton

  1. Watch what times the polls have you listed highest. Basically do not beat down or fight against an idea just because it is from the governing party. Your parties positions are well known. If a bill is a start, even if it does not have everything you need, try to get an amendment or two and pass it either way.  Show you can work with the government and will not just vote against them any time you can and you will get your chance in the PMO.  Any bill that does not completely meet your expectations at that time can be improved on when you get there.

There also seems to be a general concept that democratic reform is necessary but each party has different issues. All five party leaders should sit down. ( I will even moderate or work a good plan between you) and come up with a good democratic reform bill that you could all unanimously accept.