Friday, January 20, 2017

French a major advantage for Conservative leadership contenders

Can a candidate for the Conservative leadership win the party's top job and become prime minister without speaking French well enough to order a plate of poutine in a brasserie?

Kevin O'Leary hopes so — and the poor performances in Tuesday's French-language debate suggest a few of his leadership rivals do, too.

Bilingualism isn't a requirement to win either office. But demographics, the electoral map and the party's history in Quebec suggest it is an enormous, and potentially decisive, advantage.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Pollcast: Kevin O'Leary, French debate shake up Conservative leadership race

The Conservative leadership campaign was shaken up on Wednesday when businessman and reality television personality Kevin O'Leary finally joined the race — just in time to miss Tuesday's French-language debate.

What impact will his candidacy have on a campaign in which none of the 13 other contestants have taken the mantle of the front runner?

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

O'Leary faces many challenges. Name recognition, however, is not one of them — unlike some of his rivals. But O'Leary speaks little French and has just two months to sign up new members, while some of the other contestants, such as Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch, have already been at it for the better part of a year.

His lack of French was the reason he opted out of joining the campaign before the French-language debate. But apart from demonstrating the questionable linguistic skills of some of the contestants who participated, did the debate change the dynamics of the campaign in Quebec and outside of it?

To explain the significance of O'Leary's entry into the race, Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy are back on this week's episode of the Pollcast.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gloves come off in French-language Conservative leadership debate

The third debate of the Conservative leadership campaign held in Quebec City on Tuesday, the only official debate to be held entirely in French, featured some sharp exchanges between candidates, with much of the fire being directed at Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.

The debate also proved to be a serious challenge to the French-language skills of some of the 13 contestants taking part.

The crowd was clearly partial to the two local candidates — the loudest applause came when Bernier and Steven Blaney were introduced, while polite applause greeted the 11 other non-Quebec contestants.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Andrew Scheer leads endorsement race in Conservative leadership campaign

In his bid for the Conservative Party leadership, Andrew Scheer has the bulk of endorsements from current and former politicians.

But because of the rules of the campaign, the contest will be decided in favour of the candidate who can garner the broadest base of support nationwide. Seen through that lens, Scheer's endorsement advantage over Erin O'Toole, Maxime Bernier and Lisa Raitt narrows.

Scheer has 58 endorsements from current and former politicians at either the federal or provincial level. O'Toole has 23, followed by Bernier with 16 and Raitt with 13.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Pollcast: What the cabinet shuffle means for electoral reform

This week's cabinet shuffle signals the Liberal government's reaction to the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump as the new U.S. president. But will it also mean a change in direction on the troubled electoral reform file?

Maryam Monsef, the beleaguered minister of democratic institutions, was shuffled out of her portfolio to become the new minister of status of women. Her replacement is Karina Gould, the former parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development.

Joining me to discuss what the shuffle means for the future of electoral reform is the CBC's Aaron Wherry.

Note: I mentioned at the end of the episode that we'd have a regular episode later this week. Unfortunately, we had a scheduling issue with our planned guest and we weren't able to cobble together a show in time. So, this will stand as this week's episode!

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Poll suggests Canadians favour spending tax dollars on traditional rather than high-tech infrastructure

A newly published poll commissioned by the government suggests Canadians aren't as keen on investing in the high-tech "new economy" as the Liberals and have mixed views on increasing immigration.

The survey, conducted last summer, found most Canadians want the government to focus infrastructure spending on "traditional" projects like public transit.

It also found many Canadians were concerned terrorism was more likely to increase than decrease, with some blaming that on higher levels of immigration and a perceived lack of screening of refugees.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, January 9, 2017

1 member, 1 vote, a month of suspense: why the NDP leadership race will be different from the Conservative

The campaign to name the next leader of the New Democratic Party will be markedly different from the ongoing Conservative leadership race — and not only because the list of candidates for the job is expected to be much shorter.

Thanks to the rules of the NDP leadership vote, the winner will not necessarily need the same broad regional backing that is key to winning the Conservative title.

And whereas the final suspense in the Conservative race will only come at its end on May 27, the NDP campaign will finish in a flurry of activity as the results are announced, round by round, through October.

You can read the rest of this article here.