Monday, December 14, 2009

New AR Poll: 7-pt Conservative Lead

So, Angus-Reid has a new poll out and it actually shows a significant change. (gasp)The Conservatives are down below their 2008 electoral result, but more importantly, the Liberals are up to 29% - one of their best polls in a long time. This represents a big six-point jump from Angus-Reid's last poll, taken between November 14-16. That is bigger than the margin of error. The Tories are down two points and the NDP is down one. The Greens are also down four points.

Out West, there isn't much that is surprising. Except in Alberta, where the Liberals have jumped ten points (the Conservatives are down six). The Liberals also saw gains in British Columbia (4 points) and the NDP had a big drop of five points in the Prairies.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are still quiet comfortable at 41% but are down three points. The Liberals are up five points and the NDP is up two.

In Quebec, the Bloc is stable and with a comfortable lead. The Liberals, however, are showing life with a gain of six points. The NDP seems to have been the victim of this gain, dropping six points. The Tories are down two.

In Atlantic Canada, there isn't much change. The Conservatives are up two points and the Liberals are up three, giving them a narrow lead. The NDP is down two.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 85
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 28

Despite the better numbers, the Liberals are still taking in a small number of seats. The Conservatives manage to repeat 2008's exploit, while the NDP is down and the Bloc is up.

Stephen Harper's approval/disapproval rating is 32/49, while Michael Ignatieff's is a woeful 15/53. Jack Layton is at 29/36.

This is an important poll going into the holiday season. Angus-Reid has been reliable in the past and is my highest rated pollster. This poll shows that the Conservatives are no longer in majority territory while the Liberals are showing signs of life. It will be interesting to see how things progress between now and the return of Parliament in January.

96 comments:

  1. With all of the brouhaha about the HST vote in Parliament, in BC the NDP remains at their 2008 vote level, the CPC is down 2% and the Liberals are up 4%.

    In other words, the Liberals pick up a couple more seats in BC. So much for a HST ballot box question.

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  2. Jesus Christ, look at that result in Alberta!

    That would give the Liberals one or two seats for sure. Hell, given the fact that the provincial Liberals have their support in Calgary, the federal Libs could wrestle a seat from that Conservative bastion. It must be the end of the bloody world.

    And you're right Anon; the HST issue doesn't seem to have made a huge jump for many. Looks like the NDP will have to tear down that "Stop the HST" website.

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  3. Goaltender Interference14 December, 2009 15:06

    So the polls are back pretty much to where they've been on average since the January 2006 election. Con 36% Lib 30% NDP 17% Bloc 10% Grn 6% is basically what we've had for 4 years now, on average.
    This vindicates your long-term tracking method, Eric. All those who have in the last year have looked at one or two polls and declared: (a) the Conservatives as the new naturally governing party (b) the Ignatieff honeymoon as the end of Harper, or (c) the NDP as the new official opposition, should try to learn some lessons from this.
    One side effect of polling numbers being stable over the long term is that the minority Parliament is much more stable than many predicted. Why would any party choose to spend millions on an election campaign, when the most likely outcome is a carbon copy of the last election?

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  4. In the byelection in New Westminster-Coquitlam - REAL LIVE VOTES were cast in the ballot box and people were exposed to an on the ground campaign around the HST and other issues. That gives us a good hint of what is likely to happen in the context of an actual election campaign when people get exposed to the messages etc...

    Of course the Liberals numbers are still dismal enough that I fully expect Ignatieff to prop up the Tories on everything for about another year and we won't have an actual election until Spring 2011 - at the earliest!

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  5. Haha you guys are too much,

    I guess we all do this though. When its a good poll for your team its earth shattering, when its bad news its just another poll.

    But the HST is a good issue for the NDP and they should stick with it. There's plenty of other evidence that it could work for them, though not as much as they'd like given they opposed the 2% GST cut.


    The other point to consider is that polls are irrelevent now that the fall session is closed.

    In fact, the Christmas season will probably act as a huge RESET button and sweep the detainee issue away.

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  6. "Why would any party choose to spend millions on an election campaign, when the most likely outcome is a carbon copy of the last election?"

    Because if we were to get a "carbon copy" of the current house - next time the opposition can vote down the very first post-election throne speech and take power like they should have done a year ago! Then watch Harper do an imitation of the wicked witch of the west screaming "I'm melting! I'm melting!"

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  7. What I see here is the Liberals taking a bunch of support from the Green Party.

    Just for my own entertainment, I maintain a scatterplot of poll results from the last election forward, and here's what I see.

    This Liberal result flattens out the Liberal decline. This poll is the first one that makes the Liberal line stop declining.

    The CPC number isn't news. This is a continuation of the slow decline we've seen since their peaks at 40 points. It's been a remarkably steady rate - the line of best fit since then is dead straight.

    The Green number also isn't news. They have tremendous variability in their numbers, and they see a poll put them near 5% roughly every 5 weeks. This one is right on schedule.

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  8. DL,

    Sorry but no dice:

    1) The results WILL NOT be the same if the parties say they are open to a coalition (it'll be all anyone talks about and its deeply unpopular).

    or

    2) Lying to the people for a second time in a row, denying the possibility of a coalition, and then breaking faith with voters right after an election and entering such an arrangement would see a tide of populist anger that would overwhelm the coalition and sweep it away.


    Oh, what's that? Just take a short term hit, hold together, ignore the polls and let your record speak for itself in a couple years ?

    Doubtful. The Conservatives in the senate will enter full obstructionist mode. Heck, they may even have a majority by that time. We'd have gridlock.


    Either way the coalition is a no go.

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  9. But maybe I'm wrong about that Green number.

    Maybe Climategate has hurt them. Maybe they're no longer being taken seriously.

    That would be wonderful. Because a Liberal government that isn't pandering to the environmental lobby is far less dangerous than one that is.

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  10. DL,

    NWC was a slam dunk for the NDP even before the HST issue. I knew people, albeit Liberals, on the ground there; Donnelly was popular right where it was needed, in New Westminster. That CPC candidate, Dilworth, I think was a councillor in Coquitlam or Port Moody, but either way, municipalities that weren't as populated nor held as much swing as NW.

    So to claim that NWC fell to the NDP because of the HST isn't regarding the fact that is was going to fall to the NDP either way. I have no doubts the HST pushed their vote up, but it wasn't the main factor by a long shot.

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  11. Ira,

    Climategate hasn't done anything. The lower GPC numbers are probably because the GPC, despite its raison d'etre, isn't on the national stage at all. You can't expect a party to maintain its numbers when they're nowhere to be seen.

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  12. I was actually one of the people surveyed for this one.

    Although not in the linked report, the same survey include questions about Global Warming (a number of which were poorly worded, in my opinion). Perhaps we will see a separate report on these numbers.

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  13. Martin, what were the questions if you can remember them? Anything pertaining to Climategate?

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  14. Volkov:

    The 'Global Warming' questions tended to be of the 'which of the following comes closest to your opinion' -- which are often problematic, and were in this case.

    There was indeed a question about the documents being referred to as 'Climategate'.

    One of the other questions was another of the which/closest type of questions where one could opt for:
    a) the earth is not warming
    b) it is warming but it is mostly because of natural causes
    c) we are all going to die horrible, horrible deaths [ok, I'm paraphrasing this one a bit]
    d) etc.

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  15. This makes two polls in a row where the NDP are at 17% in Ontario. Given that that's where they have the most close seats (they won a lot by 1-2%), that's a good sign. So is being above the Liberals in BC and Sask/Man.

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  16. NWC predicted the destruction of the Green party !!

    Seriously, that's what happened. They lost like 7 points that switched to the NDP because they ran a well known environmentalist candidate.

    To say it has anything to do with the HST is just nuts, especially since the Greens oppose it I believe.

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  17. If those were the questions about Global Warming, they were terrible questions.

    It's like the people who wrote the survey don't understand that it's possible not to draw conclusions about an issue and still think it's important.

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  18. Volkov, your analysis of NWC is correct but New Westminster is traditionally strong NDP territory and represents the second largest portion of NWC.

    I believe you meant to say Coquitlam, comprising the largest portion of NWC, where Fin Donnelly was a well known poll-topping councillor. It was his political cache that won the NDP NWC as that part of Coquitlam is swing territory.

    Had the NDP nominated one of the other non-name contenders the result would have been different even with a 29.9% turnout.

    The CPC ran a councillor from the Port Moody part, which represents the smallest portion of NWC.

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  19. You're right Anon, my mistake. I need to brush up on my BC riding distribution more. xD

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  20. When Angus does an online poll it is impossible to not answer a question, so twisted questions re climategate etc are answered even if you don't like the possible answers.
    If one could answer none of the above to political questions the results might be much different.
    And there is no way to measure if the poll taker is telling the truth.

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  21. That result for AB is probably confusing the govt of Ed with the federal govt.
    Libs will not elect anyone in Calgary.

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  22. Manitoba: Federal Tories at 50%. Does this mean gain MB?

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/conservatives-hit-magic-50-79202092.html

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  23. maryT,

    This is an ONLINE poll? And its the highest rated and most reliable according to Eric ?

    Wow. When I followed the American election any online polls were met with skepticism and disgust, often proving terribly unreliable.

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  24. Then I took the same angus online poll and I will admit that I fudged some answers. Why did they want to know who I banked with, do I think my finances will improve, stay the same or improve. I said improve-reason not given or asked, but I fully expect to win a huge 649 sometime. The 7.00 I won last week doesn't count.

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  25. Jesse, Angus-Reid was the most accurate pollsters in the last federal election as well as the last Quebec provincial election.

    Something tells me you wouldn't have made that comment if the Conservatives were at 40%.

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  26. Eric,

    "Something tells me you wouldn't have made that comment if the Conservatives were at 40%."

    ???

    I made the comment because I noticed what maryT had writen and found it to be an interesting and surprising difference between Canadian and American polling cultures.

    I'm not sure what that has to do with how the Conservatives are doing in the poll, considering that I never questioned the results or the integrity of the poll....

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  27. The results look a lot like reversion to mean to me. They're not too different from long term averages, and that 23% was pretty shocking at the time.

    Anger or distain over the summer silliness may have simply dissipated. While something like the detainee issue would have resonance, I just don't think it has resonance among those who would be voting for the Conservatives.

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  28. PROROGUEMENT ALERT!

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-buzzing-with-talk-of-proroguing-parliament/article1400284/

    After the Liberal senate ammended both the consumer safety bill and the mandatory minimums for drug crimes bill Harper will have a plausible excuse to do it.

    Of course, the opposition/media will scream conspiracy, which Harper will enjoy.

    I'm guessing if Harper is going to appoint 5 senators in Jan. he'll go all in and deploy section 26, appointing 8 additional members. 59 seats of 113 will be a majority and allow him to pass senate elections in the new year!

    Perhaps we'll even have an elected senate in time for the next federal election !

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  29. Jesse,

    I doubt it. Somehow I don't see a lot of the older PC senators jumping on the bandwagon right away, plus there is no way those elections and the system could be drafted in time.

    Plus, for which Senatorial seats exactly? Harper isn't going to pass legislation about those elections by telling all the members that they're going to be kicked out once its through. It'd be stopped dead in it's tracks, and he wouldn't be able to blame the Liberals for it then (well, he can, but not too well).

    It is definitely a nice, worthwhile idea, but it isn't going to occur anytime soon. One day though, one day.

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  30. And if does Harper prorogues Parliament, I doubt it will be because of the amended bills; he's going to be served with a Speaker's Warrant over the detainee issue, and Lord Almighty help him if he does prorogue; people are not going to be impressed. There wouldn't be any reason that stands out as credible or possible except to avoid the Warrant, true or not, re. Tom Flanagan.

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  31. Volkov,

    My understanding is that every senator Harper has appointed has signed a contract with him stating that they will support senate reform and resign if it passes to run as elected senators.

    I'm fairly certain that anyone who refuses will face the harshest of criticism and most certainly be evicted from caucus.

    As for the former PC turned Conservative senators, as far as I know none of them have come out against it.

    I'm guessing Harper wouldn't hesitate to boot them from caucus too (although they are not expected to resign).

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  32. Jesse,

    Thats the problem though, isn't it? He could boot the former Tories from caucus, but it doesn't do anything except make noise. Not like the Senators can be fired.

    I think we'll see the Senate stay unelected until a lot of these members move on, Tory or Liberal. I might just hold a cynical view, but it seems to be the truth.

    But, it is probable that Harper could strike a deal with the Senators saying that they needn't resign once the reform is done, and the elections held when they retire of their own accord/age limit. That would be a nice compromise.

    Besides, does Harper, his cabinet or those Senators have any actual blueprints for a reformed Senate? I've never found any, just heard a lot of talk.

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  33. Volkov,

    The speaker won't rule on anything until the house is in session again.

    Nobody will care about this issue in a couple weeks. And taking control of the senate is HUGE enough to make everybody forget about it.

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  34. We shall see, Jesse. Come back in two weeks. ;)

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  35. Volkov,

    "Besides, does Harper, his cabinet or those Senators have any actual blueprints for a reformed Senate? I've never found any, just heard a lot of talk."

    You'd have to read the bills. My understanding is that two seperate bills were introduced.

    One of them creates a vote during the election where voters tell the PM who they want as their senators.

    Then the PM appoints those senators (although he technically doesn't have to.)

    The other creates a single 8 year term for each elected senator and bars them running for re-election.

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  36. Jesse,

    Hm, I'll give those bills a look-up when I get the chance, though I was hoping for something much more comprehensive, and maybe a little more direct. Also, I hope some of the regional balances are addressed.

    Thanks for the info.

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  37. Volkov,

    I don't think representation can be fixed without opening up the constitution. BC, Alberta, and Ontario are all under represented in the senate, just like in the house.

    Perhaps none of this will pass without changing the constitution.

    Either way, any changes, constitutional or not, need to pass the senate so getting these new senators in there is vital to reform efforts.

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  38. Having an elected Senate requires a constitutional amendment - it doesn't matter if the Tories hold every single solitary seat in the Senate - the most they can do is bring in term limits of some kind. In some ways, having control of the Senate is a bit of a mirage - since senators are appointed for life and are accountable to no one - they can all vote however they want with no penalty. When the Liberals were in power, they often lost votes in the Senate or had bills amended beyond recognition because so many independent-minded nominally Liberal senators did as they pleased.

    As for the senators supposedly having promised Harper to resign after eight years - that is all it is a promise - and promises are made to be broken. It is unconstitutional and illegal to have would be senators sign anything legally binding to that effect. All they can do is say "yes, Prime Minister I promise i will resign after eight years" - but eight years from now chances are someone else will be PM and I predict that each every one one of ther Tory hacks appointed to the senate will stay there FOREVER - especially people like that crook patrick Brazeau who is only 35 and gets to pocket $150k per year for the next 40 years in exchange for doing NOTHING.

    Look no further than the US where tons of politicians were elected promising to respect "term limits" and then each and every one of them broke the promise and stayed in office.

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  39. Jesse wrote:

    "This is an ONLINE poll? And its the highest rated and most reliable according to Eric ? Wow. When I followed the American election any online polls were met with skepticism and disgust, often proving terribly unreliable."

    It is important to distinguish what one means by "online poll". Most online polls are of the type that ctv (for example) might put on their web site. Many problems exist with this type of survey ranging from a self-selecting sample, to individuals voting multiple times. These types of polls are rightly considered very unreliable.

    The Angus Reid poll, although online as opposed to over-the-phone, does use controlled samples as any properly constructed sample would. On the vote intention question, I don't think there is any particularly good reason to think it unreliable. Indeed it is not dramatically different from the recent Ekos poll.

    My main complaint with it is the non-standard questions, with their often poorly-chosen, limited choices (but this can be a problem in telephone surveys as well).

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  40. --Jesse: "After the Liberal senate ammended both the consumer safety bill and the mandatory minimums for drug crimes bill Harper will have a plausible excuse to do it. "

    I don't think so. Proroguing would kill the bills, (for what, the third time for a crime bill?) but so could the HoC if they didn't accept the amended form of the bills. Or they could just send the original unaltered bills back to the Senate, and see if the Senate balks.

    Whether in session or not, you still have to either wait for the Senate makeup to change or face down the Senate before you could avoid those amendments. So proroguing would not speed anything up or really prevent anything Harper didn't like from becoming law --unless sufficient opposition is declaring they will back the amended bills. (Has someone said that?)

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  41. Senate reforms bills -- term limits:

    The original bill to introduce term limits for Senators was introduced by the Conservative government in May of 2006 as bill S-4.

    This initiative was re-introduced in the 2nd session of the 39th Parliament as Bill C-19.

    The most recent attempt to introduce term limits is with Bill S-7 introduced in June of 2009. You can read the text of the bill here:

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&File=24&Parl=40&Ses=2&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=S-7_1

    There is some useful explanatory information here:

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LegislativeSummaries/Bills_ls.asp?lang=E&ls=s7&source=library_prb&Parl=40&Ses=2

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  42. DL wrote: "Having an elected Senate requires a constitutional amendment ... "

    That is only true if one means _directly_ elected.

    There appears to be no problem with the population voting for a preferred candidate and the PM then recommending that name to the GG for appointment (although the PM wouldn't be legally required to make that selection).

    Indeed, Canada has already had two senators appointed as a result of a ballot consultation: Stan Waters and Bert Brown.

    The Conservatives have sought to introduce such consultations with voters on a more general basis (rather than the existing provincial initiative basis). The original bill was C-43 introduced in the 1st session of the 39th Parliament.

    Its replacement was Bill C-20, introduced in the 2nd session of the previous Parliament. To my knowledge it has not been reintroduced in the current Session.

    The version of the bill introduced in the 2nd session of the previous Parliament can be found here (note that the bill is entitled 'An Act to provide for consultations with electors on their preferences for appointments to the Senate' (short title: Senate Appointment Consultation Act) ):

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=F&File=53&Parl=39&Ses=2&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-20_1

    Explanatory information can be found here:

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Sites/LOP/LegislativeSummaries/Bills_ls.asp?lang=E&ls=c20&source=library_prb&Parl=39&Ses=2

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  43. I do not support an elected Senate. Creatig another elected body will increase the size of government.

    Just look at what happened to the size of the US government when they started electing Senators. There was suddenly a large legislative body that had to look like it was doing something in order to justify the presence of its members, and the US government ballooned.

    No. An elected Senate is a terrible idea.

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  44. DL,

    They promised to resign and seek a new term once reforms are passed.

    They'll be required by the new term limit law to only serve eight years.

    Breaking an oath they gave to PM Harper to support reform and resign once they passed would be an outrageous offence that would subject them to public humiliation and exile from caucus and the Conservative party for life.

    Some probably will dishonour themselves, if enough do so and somehow block senate reform then Harper will switch strategies and seek to abolish the senate.

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  45. "Breaking an oath they gave to PM Harper to support reform and resign once they passed would be an outrageous offence that would subject them to public humiliation and exile from caucus and the Conservative party for life."

    Please send us a youtube of these people actually "swearing an oath". Ads far as a I know they did no such thing - they simple gave an informal verbal reassurance - which is worthless. Harper passed a law promsiing fixed election dates and then arbitrarily broke his own law by calling an election one year ahead of schedule in 2008 - so we know how worthless solemn promises are to him - and that was a law - not some opaque "promise" in a smoky room with no witnesses.

    Senators have thumbed their noses at the public all through history - so you think they give a damn what the Conservative caucus thinks of them? Even if senate reform was passed - you cannot retroactively make the senate an 8 year term - it would only apply to newly appointed senators.

    If Harper has a tantrum and abolishes the senate altogether then I say BRAVO - that's what the NDP has been calling for all along!!

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  46. Kevin,

    Until new members are appointed those two bills are effectively dead already.

    The other thing is a proroguement is NESSECARY to change the party standing on the committees.

    Once the Conservatives have a majority on all committees they can block ammendments, stop endless debates, and move bills to the floor much, much faster.


    So your basic point is just flat out wrong. Taking this course of action will speed up the unammended passage of those two bills considerably.

    Since they've already passed the house they can be re-introduced and passed in about ten seconds if nobody objects.

    Then the new Conservative senate majority can also pass them relatively quickly.

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  47. DL wrote:

    'Harper passed a law promsiing fixed election dates and then arbitrarily broke his own law by calling an election one year ahead of schedule in 2008 - so we know how worthless solemn promises are to him - and that was a law - not some opaque "promise" '

    Except that the law in question had as its very first clause, an explicit statement that nothing was being detracted from the GG's ability to call an election earlier. No laws were broken in the calling of the 2008 election.

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  48. DL,

    Since you're the guy who loves test cases (NWC was real live voters, HST is an NPD vote winner!)

    then I submit to you an instance in which a senator gave his word to PM Harper and fullfilled it:

    Michael Fortier.

    "Please send us a youtube of these people actually "swearing an oath". Ads far as a I know they did no such thing - they simple gave an informal verbal reassurance - which is worthless."

    Simply wrong. Here's what the gov't of Canada website for Senate reform has to say on the senate appoointments:

    The incoming Senators have all pledged to support eight-year term limits and other Senate reform legislation. Each incoming Senator has also declared his or her unwavering commitment to support Canadian unity and oppose the coalition.

    "Harper passed a law promsiing fixed election dates"

    That law was for majority governments only.

    "not some opaque "promise" in a smoky room with no witnesses."

    It was a pledge, an oath, a very specific one at that. I believe Jane Taber even reported that there were even signatures involved. Just because something isn't done in public or on camera doesn't mean there aren't six or seven people in a room that could vouch for this series of events.

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  49. Senators are untouchable, and are at zero real risk if they break these "pledges".

    It's naive to assume they will all, without fail, follow through with these pledges down the road.

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  50. Eric,

    "Senators are untouchable, and are at zero real risk if they break these "pledges"."

    No, that is completely wrong.

    Being removed from caucus, exiled from the Conservative party for life, and being persona non grata in Ottawa social circles is a VERY serious consequences.

    "It's naive to assume they will all, without fail, follow through with these pledges down the road"

    Right.

    Except nobody commenting here assumed that...

    And even Harper has a plan B, he's always said that it reform fails he'll switch to supporting abolishing the senate.

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  51. Eric,

    Look at somebody like Bill Casey. Being kicked out of caucus is no fun. Being all alone in Ottawa isn't much fun at all.

    As far as I can tell

    A) Harper's senators have been very disciplined and haven't broken their promises.

    B) Being kicked out of caucus is an effective punishment to keep discipline, which is much much stronger in the Conservative party than in the Liberals or NDP.

    (Only the Bloc run a tighter ship)

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  52. Not all senators were Conservatives. Jacques Demers, for example, was not political at all. Would he, and others like him, mind being booted out of the Conservative Party and becoming persona non grata (in Conservative circles, of course, I'm not sure why you think the renegade senators would be social outcasts)?

    I wonder.

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  53. Eric,

    Wow! But I was told by the media and the opposition that Harper's appointments were all Tory partisan insider hacks!

    I believe Jacques Demers and Mike Duffy have both come under media criticism for becoming Tory partisans lately too. Pamela Wallin and Nancy Green are pretty much Tory partisans now as well.

    So maybe somebody like Patrick Brazeau, with no real ties to the party might not care in the least if he's booted from caucus.

    But maybe he cares about his reputation being damaged ??

    How popular with Canadians is blocking senate reform?


    "I'm not sure why you think the renegade senators would be social outcasts?"

    In Tory social circles they would. Harper was able to blacklist a former Prime Minister! I'm sure he can do the same for a couple senators.

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  54. --- "Wow! But I was told by the media and the opposition that Harper's appointments were all Tory partisan insider hacks!"

    Most of them are, but then again, most Senate appointees are partisan hacks of some kind.

    --- "I believe Jacques Demers and Mike Duffy have both come under media criticism for becoming Tory partisans lately too. Pamela Wallin and Nancy Green are pretty much Tory partisans now as well."

    If the shoe fits...

    --- "But maybe he cares about his reputation being damaged ??"

    Among who? Conservative supporters? People in general like politicians who do things differently, and other parties would certainly not dislike him.

    --- "How popular with Canadians is blocking senate reform?"

    Does it matter?

    --- "In Tory social circles they would. Harper was able to blacklist a former Prime Minister! I'm sure he can do the same for a couple senators."

    Other parties will welcome them with open arms. And if that isn't enough, the salary helps.

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  55. I hope there is a legally binding contract in place for the Harper Senators. Then, a future government can claim the contract has been frustrated by Harper's resounding defeat. Since the basis of their appointment would no longer be operative, their appointments would be nullified, since they were pursuant to a frustrated contract.

    Then said future government can appoint people who are actually going to provide the sober second thought required, instead of being a bunch of trained Harper seals.

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  56. "instead of being a bunch of trained Harper seals."

    Or trained martin seals.....

    Or trained Chretien seals....

    Or trained Mulroney seals.....

    Or trained Trudeau seals.....

    etc etc.


    If you think the majority appointed by any prime minister is not in the pocket partisan hacks... you are naive indeed.

    You can blame it all on Harper, but as we see over and over, (like today's liberal pics contest). No party has the monopoly on bad behavior.

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  57. All of this Senate talk hinges in goodwill. The good will of the Senators to resign the good will of the people of Canada to keep Stephen Harper as PM long enough to affect reform. If these guys decide en mass that they don't want to quit do you really think the CPC will gut its caucus and expel them? They would go from a majority to a minority very quickly.

    Let''s say 10 or 15 senators broke their word for "very good reasons". They then can caucus and make policy decisions on their own. The Liberals would need them for a majority. Flexibility becomes the word of the day.

    The elections that are envisioned would need to be held by the provincial governments wouldn't they? I'll bet all of this ends up in the SCofC before any real reform takes place.

    Finally the senate cannot be reformed or abolished without provincial consent. Try and get that. Good luck.

    Personally I favour abolishing the senate and allocating seats in the HoC on a strict population basis. Rep by pop.

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  58. Earl,

    All Tory partisan are going to be true believers in reform, which is why I believe appointing partisans is a GOOD THING.

    I strongly doubt there will be 10 or 15 promise breakers. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


    My understanding is that the federal government has every right to hold votes in the provinces since it is not technically a legally binding vote.

    It is essentially Harper asking for "input" and then making his decision based on what the voters say.

    I suppose a future Liberal gov't could cancel the whole thing or ignore what the voters say if they really want to.

    All of this reform will not require any constitutional changes unless the courts decide it does.

    Who knows.

    Harper is flexible, pragmatic, and he'll do the best he can and let the chips fall where they may.

    But make no mistake, we are closer now to true senate reform in this country than ever before.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Eric,

    You dislike partisan hacks being appointed to the senate on the tax payers dime ?

    I dislike partisan hacks running a television station on the tax payers dime !

    Maybe we can come to an understanding in this country and reform or abolish both.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Those are totally the same.

    ReplyDelete
  61. "we are closer now to true senate reform in this country than ever before"

    And that scares the hell out of me. There are way too many ways someone could screw this up.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Jesse:
    The other thing is a proroguement is NESSECARY to change the party standing on the committees....

    Very well.

    However more than half of the bills passed by the House of Commons this year will be killed. Even if the Conservative controlled Senate moves at an uncharacteristically lightning pace... the House of Commons quite probably won't. The CPC would require someone to help them speed passage through the house. Even if they did... consider the EI bill:

    Bill C-50 was sped along with assent by the Liberals and NDP over the summer, and was not amended in the Senate. But it's still not law. Nobody was blocking it, but laws just don't get passed all that fast.

    Even were Harper to prorogue parliament for the reasons stated in the National Post, (and not those less honorable reasons suggested in other newspapers) it would still turn back the clock on dozens of important pieces of legislation by another year or so; (presuming no one in the government or opposition changes their minds on them) and all to pass two bills faster. (One of which will be virtually guaranteed to be struck down in parts by the courts without those amendments)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Regarding the Senate:

    An elected Senate is really pointless. It's not rep by province, (Thank god) and we already have rep by population in the house. Are we planning to have a PR-based senate. (I doubt it) How would we even organize elections for so many individuals? If it were all at once, it would just be a second general election.

    There's nothing added by such a reform. Either leave it as it is or get rid of it.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Kevin,

    The problem clearly is just not these two bills. Its going to happen to most of the crime legistlation.

    And what if the next election isn't until spring of 2011 as some Liberals are suggesting ?

    I'm pretty sure that more bills will recieve royal assent by taking this course of action.

    A short term setback? Certainly. But responsible government is about long term planning and not Liberal media memes about Conservatives killing their own bils.

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  65. Kevin,

    You don't see the value in electing senators as opposed to appointing them ?

    Its called democracy and democratic legitimacy. An unelected body blocking legislation passed by an elected body - completely unacceptable.


    As for filling these seats - they'll obviously be staggered and it can be done at the same time as a federal election or even a municipal election.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Eric,

    "Those are totally the same."

    Your sarcasm is valid. The CBC is WORSE. At least with the senate we never hear about it.

    With the CBC they spout leftist environmental nonsense while being funded by Alberta's tax revenue, most of which comes from oil and gas production.

    I see zero reason to waste 1 billion a year on a station with a bloated budget, over payed employees, and programming that is far inferior to what the private sector offers.

    ReplyDelete
  67. --- "With the CBC they spout leftist environmental nonsense while being funded by Alberta's tax revenue, most of which comes from oil and gas production."

    Those polluters need to give back to the Earth somehow.

    --- "and programming that is far inferior to what the private sector offers."

    Now you must be joking. CTV, Global, far superior to the CBC? It helps that they buy American produced material, I suppose. But the news is worse and there is no good Canadian-produced entertainment television at all.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Its called democracy and democratic legitimacy. An unelected body blocking legislation passed by an elected body - completely unacceptable.
    Baloney. I was not personally consulted on the crime bills or any other bills, and had no say in them. Same goes for you (unless you are an MP or Senator). Therefore we do not have a true democracy.

    Instead we elect people to represent us. Only voters in Calgary actually voted for our PM, for everyone else he is an unelected leader by your reasoning. He was basically appointed by the elected members of his party. If your reasoning allows for the PM to be considered "elected", then the Senators appointed by the PM can be considered elected as well.

    If the elected body is so supreme in your view, should said body be able to change the system itself? Should the elected body be able to overturn the Constitution at its whim? If not, why not? You can say "it's called democracy", to justify anything that happens to get passed, but the system was designed at Confederation to have some "inertia", so that rabble rousers whipping up outrage cannot commit us to irrevocable courses of action without some sober second thought. Even having the step of Royal Assent provides some time for reconsideration.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Eric,

    "But the news is worse and there is no good Canadian-produced entertainment television at all."

    CTV's Flashpoint, The Listener, Corner Gas, Defying Gravity, the movie channel's very impressive Durham County, and Showcase's Trailor Park Boys are all excellent example of Canadian made content airing on private networks.

    Compared to what? Little Mosque on the Prairies and Being Erica?

    Regardless, CBC doesn't really produce anything - Canadian film board and various tax credits are what's really behind a lot of the Canadian content.

    If Canadian content is good it will find a home on a variety of platforms, with or without the CBC.


    As for the news, CBC offers nothing at all. Terry Milevsky for politics ? Somebody fire the man.

    Their single saving grace is that they are smart enough to give Andrew Coyne and Chantal Hebert a platform for At Issue.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I see zero reason to waste 1 billion a year on a station with a bloated budget, over payed employees, and programming that is far inferior to what the private sector offers.
    Do you support open skies and no CBC then? Global and CTV would not survive, and we can all watch the "Canada minute" on Fox or CNN after the story about the three horned goat in Bucktooth, Nebraska. Maybe, on a really slow news day. At least you'd be able to watch Dish network or DirecTV instead of being forced to put up with Star Choice and ExpressVU.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Eric,

    P.S. So You Think You Can Dance Canada is far, far superior to the ridiculous Battle of the Blades.

    Last year's winner Nico Archambault gave a wonderful performance at the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa over the summer.

    It actually has very meaningful artistic content that appears on, you guessed it, a private broadcaster.

    ReplyDelete
  72. So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
    When it says "Canada" it usually means the idea was from someplace else. We wouldn't have a Canadian version under open skies; we'd be watching the US version. Remember "Time Canada" with a few pages of Canada stuff, in almost the same font?

    It actually has very meaningful artistic content that appears on, you guessed it, a private broadcaster.
    Hahahahahahahaha! In other words they aren't big enough to come up with an original concept, and just do a cheap knockoff.
    Sometimes they don't even bother to "Canadianize" it. When I went to school, one of the years was called Grade 5, not "the fifth grade". But we get handed "Are you smarter than a Canadian Fifth Grader" and we're supposed to think it's Canadian.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Liberalsupporter,

    Please stop debating the straw men you are constructing in your head.

    Direct democracy is mob rule.

    There is obviously a continuum of policy options between that and the other extreme of a dictatorship.

    It is possible to support REPRESENTATIONAL democracy, as opposed to indirect representation, as a step towards greater democracy without fully embracing direct democracy.

    Yes I am for ending the CBC. The money should be redirected towards tax credits for developing Canadian content that would air on one of our private platforms.

    A free market based on consumer choices would also be preferable to our current command and control CRTC decision makers.

    And Canadian providers and tv stations could easily compete, especially if some kind of preferential tax system was put in place that gave them a competitive advantage over American stations.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Liberalsupporter,

    There you go again! What is this cultural xenophobia you have ?

    I guess you don't know much about culture then because a majority of shows and movies these days are remakes or adaptations from other mediums.

    What is wrong with importing good ideas ? Who cares if a Canadian thought it up or not ?

    I only care whether its good or not.

    "We wouldn't have a Canadian version under open skies; we'd be watching the US version."

    We already have a lower corporate tax rate then them and we have a generous subsidy system for developing Canadian content.

    You really, really have a low opinion of the skill and ability of the Canadian people don't you ?

    Believe it or not we're not helpless. Given the right conditions we'd still have plenty of Canadian content to view if we so choose.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Earl wrote on Senate reform:

    "The elections that are envisioned would need to be held by the provincial governments wouldn't they? "

    No. The Senate Consultation votes that the government has proposed would be run by the federal government.

    ReplyDelete
  76. A lot of constitutional scholars think that the Supreme Court would strike down any such federal law on pseudo-elections to the senate as being an illegal attempt to do something by legislation that requires a constitutional amendment.

    ReplyDelete
  77. DL,

    So what? Scholars disagree on just about everything.

    Should we just stop passing all legislation because it may or may not end up in the courts ?

    That seems like a silly arguement against reform.

    ReplyDelete
  78. P.S. So You Think You Can Dance Canada is horrible. The dancers are alright, but are mostly much worse than the Americans. The judges gush, however, and evaluate mediocre performances as masterpieces that we should be blessed to see.

    I don't watch the show much, but my SO does and she knows what she is talking about as she watches this stuff. They coddle the dancers on SYTYCDC compared to the American version.

    And I didn't saw the CBC does good entertainment TV, because they don't.

    And by the way, Defying Gravity was canceled really quickly, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Canadian production.

    And who watches The Listener and Flashpoint? Really?

    Corner Gas was okay, but still rough around the edges.

    The only things Canadians do better than Americans on TV is the news, but that is starting to go south as Canadian networks (the CBC among them) are Americanising the way they present the news.

    It goes without saying, though, that Radio-Canada is far superior to anything CTV, Global, the CBC, and TVA puts on.

    Oh, and TSN and RDS are good.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I think that if Harper believes in Senate reform - then he should do it the proper, legal, constitutional way. That means calling a summit of the premiers and proposing a constitutional amendment for senate elections and reform. Then get all the provinces to agree to it and amend the constitution.

    I'm sorry if Mr. Harper finds the Canadian constitution "inconvenient" - but it is clearly stated in our constitution that Senate reform requires a constitutional amendment - and doing weird ersatz reforms through the backdoor don't cut it. Of course we could have had an elected Senate long ago if we had passed Meech Lake or Charlottetown - but Harper's Reform party made sure those were defeated.

    Those who live by the sword must die by the sword.

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  80. Eric,

    A lot of CTV's shows have been ending up on American networks. So much for us being taken over, it looks like the reverse is happening!

    The Listener is fun. NBC runs it. Flashpoint I don't watch but CBS was running it. Defying Gravity did stop I believe, which sucks, but it was a joint CTV/ABC production.

    What about Durham County and The Trailer Park Boys ? That is Canadian television at its best.


    Dance Canada is a lot more positve than the American verison, mostly because there's no Nigel copying Idol's Simon and attacking everybody.

    When the American judges come on they are a lot more critical and the audience boos them.

    Canadians don't like criticism I guess.

    And the whole point of the show is the dancers!

    In terms of comparing the talent i'd say the top ten are about even every year. The top 20 is worse in Canada simply because of the lower population but by the time its down to 10 its totally even.

    "Radio-Canada"

    Is that the French language CBC ? Doesn't Quebec have private french language channels ?


    I'm sorry but I really don't see what the CBC is adding to Canadian television. Redirecting the money to supporting higher quality Canadian content would be a far superior outcome for viewers.

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  81. DL,

    Term limits do NOT require a constitutional ammendment.

    Maybe go read the links Martin provided to the legislation. The parliamentary research service explains what the constitution does and does not say.

    And there is nothing unconstitutional about plebicites.

    Any government can commission a consultation with the Canadian public on any issue.

    If Harper wants the public's advice on which senators to appoint he is completely within his rights to do so.

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  82. Passing Senate reform without provincial approval would really not be helpful for "Canadian unity". Would that affect the solemn oaths of the new Conservative senators?

    --- "A lot of CTV's shows have been ending up on American networks. So much for us being taken over, it looks like the reverse is happening!"

    Our shows are cheaper, Jesse. That is the main reason they are on American TV.

    --- "What about Durham County and The Trailer Park Boys ? That is Canadian television at its best."

    I'm not familiar with the first show. As for the second, that's a scary thought.

    --- "Radio-Canada" Is that the French language CBC ? Doesn't Quebec have private french language channels ?"

    Yes, Radio-Canada is the French language version of the CBC (they are not run together, though). SRC (Societe Radio-Canada) is proof that publicly funded television can be better than private television.

    TVA and the former TQS are private French-language stations in Quebec. TQS (called V now) is awful, but TVA performs well and out-performs some SRC shows. But it is a bit more 'trashy' than SRC, which is very well regarded.

    Did you really not know what Radio-Canada is?

    --- "I'm sorry but I really don't see what the CBC is adding to Canadian television."

    For one, it gives local news to certain localities that wouldn't have it otherwise. Secondly, it ensures virtually 100% Canadian content on a Canadian network that can be seen in every part of the country. Thirdly, it ensures a completely Canadian network that isn't dependent on advertising and ratings exists. If the CBC did not exist, Canadian television would be much more American.

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  83. Jesse, one question and then I'm off to bed.

    Do you think Harper would appoint, for example, Bloc senators? Would he appoint a swathe of Liberal senators were they elected? Would he drag his feet in naming them or calling the 'elections'?

    Without actual Senate reform, it is still all at the whim of the PM. If elected with a majority, there is no reason for a sitting PM to appoint elected opposition senators until the very last moment, if at all.

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  84. Please stop debating the straw men you are constructing in your head.
    You are the one trying to end the discussion of the Senate by "democracy = good - therefore Senate must be elected". I am pointing out that the existing system does not have true democracy, and why.

    Direct democracy is mob rule.
    The Athenians didn't think so. Direct democracy requires everyone to be politically engaged, and was not feasible for large nations without today's communications.

    There is obviously a continuum of policy options between that and the other extreme of a dictatorship.
    The most efficient form of government is a dictatorship, if it is benevolent. The problem of course is getting one that is benevolent and keeping it that way. So we use democratic elections to replace the temporary dictatorship, and hope the threat of replacement keeps them honest. But as individuals, we are subject to the government's whims just as much as in a dictatorship. We only have some power of redress, which is somewhat guaranteed by changing leaders through elections.

    It is possible to support REPRESENTATIONAL democracy, as opposed to indirect representation, as a step towards greater democracy without fully embracing direct democracy.
    They all have their place. We have responsible government, which implies MPs are accountable to constituents, as opposed to representing them. There is a difference.

    The Senate can slow things down, but cannot actually stop anything. As an elected body, they could and would demand to be able to stop anything, since they can claim the same mandate from the electors as MPs can. As an appointed body, they can and are overridden. I cannot see any current issue where the fact that it takes time to override the Senate is actually causing great harm. A majority in the Commons usually means faster passage through the Senate, since they know bills can be rammed through; though they still delay some bills. For example, it was only from the Senate amendments recently that we hear a law about consumer protection allows warrantless searches of private homes. Do you expect the press to do this job of scrutinizing bills? Too often we see the Opposition in the Commons missing this kind of thing, either because of the endless political machinations in the Commons, or the Government making every bill a confidence vote (also political machinations), or other forms of expediency.

    Yes I am for ending the CBC. The money should be redirected towards tax credits for developing Canadian content that would air on one of our private platforms.
    What private platforms? You don't want a national broadcaster, but you want protectionism of our airwaves? If not, then under open skies, our platforms would be quickly bought up. Unlike Europe, where many similar sized countries exist, we have one neighbour, and with 10 times the economies of scale, they can easily absorb our market with minimal incremental cost.

    A free market based on consumer choices would also be preferable to our current command and control CRTC decision makers.
    Only the Internet provides a truly level playing field. I am against the CRTC trying to enforce any Canadian content there, since the number of channels is basically unlimited. But there's only so much space on satellites. And there are only so many geosynchronous orbital slots for satellites. So there will be some kind of apportioning required. You can have private and unaccountable entities doing the apportioning, or a less efficient but accountable mechanism.

    And Canadian providers and tv stations could easily compete, especially if some kind of preferential tax system was put in place that gave them a competitive advantage over American stations.
    I thought you wanted the free market to rule. Now you want public intervention in the market? I agree but is that what you are advocating?

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  85. Term limits are one thing. I agree with them - esp. since it is a good way of hopefully making sure that all those Tory hacks that Harper appointed get dumped after 8 years.

    Changing the method of selection of senators to being elected does require amending the constitution. It also requires amending the constitution for the federal government to stage senate elections. Right now, most provinces have made it clear that they refuse to play along with Harper's silly game and hold these bogus senate elections and right now the only way that Senate elections could happen would be if provincial governments were willing to play along.

    I realize that Harper wishes he was a dictator and didn't have to bother with things like elections, parliament and the constitution - but this is Canada not Pinochet's Chile. What's wrong with doing things by the book and amending the constitution and getting all provinces to agree to the Harper scheme?

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  86. Eric,

    "Passing Senate reform without provincial approval would really not be helpful for "Canadian unity"."

    Offending the same old seperatists who get offended about everything the feds do isn't damaging to Canadian unity.

    So i'd like to see some polling that says federalist and undecided voters would be really, really mad about this to believe that for a second.

    "SRC (Societe Radio-Canada) is proof that publicly funded television can be better than private television."

    Nobody said it couldn't. I love a lot of BBC programs.

    The point is whether or not its sooo much better that its worth taxpayers shelling out money for it.

    "Did you really not know what Radio-Canada is?"

    Nope. Can't say I know a whole lot about Quebec at all. Am I supposed to?

    "For one, it gives local news to certain localities that wouldn't have it otherwise."

    Weird. Out here Global and CTV seem much more active in providing local tv. But here's an easy solution, why not ask the CRTC to allow fee for carriage. So we can easily have local tv without the CBC.

    "Secondly, it ensures virtually 100% Canadian content on a Canadian network that can be seen in every part of the country."

    Uhhh what? The CBC plays a bunch of American shows in prime time. And we have other national Canadian networks.

    "Thirdly, it ensures a completely Canadian network that isn't dependent on advertising and ratings exists. If the CBC did not exist, Canadian television would be much more American."

    CBC has as many ads as everybody else. And they need to keep up prime time ratings so they don't go broke. Their overhead is A LOT higher than other networks, being public servants and all they have much nicer compensation than the private sector.

    And if they didn't exist we would what? The Ghost Whisperer? Coronation Street? Wheel of Fortune? Jeopardy?

    Seems pretty American already...

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  87. Eric,

    "Do you think Harper would appoint, for example, Bloc senators? Would he appoint a swathe of Liberal senators were they elected? Would he drag his feet in naming them or calling the 'elections'?"

    The elections would be tied to a federal election or a municipal election. Those happen at regular intervals.


    And PM Harper would appoint to the senate the Bloc, Liberal, NDP, Green, or whoever else was elected as soon as the appropriate elections agency had certified the vote.

    Probably the day after the results came in.

    Harper believes in senate reform and isn't going to throw it away for some ten second temporary gain.

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  88. DL,

    Only in your world does PM Harper wanting to give up his ability to appoint only Tory senators and replace it with consultations from the electorate amount to evidence that he wants to be a dictator !

    If only we had more dictators like Harper, willing to give their power back to the people.

    Oh and up is down and war is peace. Keep at it!

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  89. Liberalsupporter,

    Oh goodness this is like debating a jellyfish. You're countering normative claims with descriptive statements.

    Yes, yes, thank you I already know how things are, i'm saying how they ought to be. I explained that more democracy would be good but not too much more.

    And then you're replacing my carefully calibrated policy statements with extremes.

    Stop erecting slippery slopes and then pushing me down them.

    Believe it or not public policy can be subjective and pragmatic. It doesn't have to be based on principle alone and nobody is duty bound to follow general priniciples to their logical end, as much as you prefer reductio ad absurdum arguementation.

    This false choice you keep going back to, of CBC or open skies is not helpful.

    There are a variety of other public policy options that are smarter, more effective, and less costly.

    We don't need to choose between one or the other.

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  90. Jesse said to DL:

    "Term limits do NOT require a constitutional ammendment."

    Just to clarify, introducing Senate term limits DOES require a constitutional amendment. However, it is a constitutional amendment that can be made by the federal government alone (only certain types of amendments require provincial approval).

    Note that the current bill S-7 is entitled 'An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867 (Senate term limits)'

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  91. DL wrote:

    "Changing the method of selection of senators to being elected does require amending the constitution. It also requires amending the constitution for the federal government to stage senate elections."

    As I explained in my 11:31 post yesterday, there is no contitutional change required in order for the federal government to hold consultative votes regarding candidates for Senate appointment.

    We have already had such votes organized by one province (Alberta) and a law in place to do the same in a second province (Saskatchewan).

    And there is absolutely nothing preventing the federal government being the organizer of such votes.

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  92. I've read a lot of articles that suggest that a law on "consultative senate elections" would get ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it would be seen as such an obvious attempt to circumvent the constitutional amending formula.

    Of course this is all academic. I suspect that the moment the Tories get a majority in the Senate - they will quickly lose any appetite for Senate reform and will prefer to simply have a place where they give taxpayer funded jobs to their bagmen. Why reform the senate and have pesky election when Harper can give people like Dmitri Soudas $155k/year to do NOTHING.

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  93. Personally I'm all for open skies. Maybe we would get some good shows set in Canada. Maybe not. We would stop having to spend tens of billions of dollars on junk programming. We watched an episode of "The Border". Poorly done and subsidized. Sad. If we are going to have Canadian content then wouldn't it make sense to produce some good shows in a few genres and stop trying to be all things to all people. The US at twelve times our population has 4 networks. We have three networks and something CTV tried to pawn off as a fourth network - the A Channels. Now faced with a bad economy and reckless spending the TV people want to be subsidized by the consumer once again. The Aspers borrowed billions, it didn't work out. To bad. Close down Global and their specialty stations. Who wanted all these specialty stations? The networks. Now that people watch them and not the networks who own them the networks are crying poor.

    While we are at it how about free choice for consumers in what they pay for on cable. We get literally hundreds of channels. We could get by with twenty to twenty five and if we didn't HAVE TO HAVE CBC, CTV, Global and an independent station or two plus TVO we could get by with 15. So let's really bring direct democracy to TV.

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  94. DL wrote:

    'I've read a lot of articles that suggest that a law on "consultative senate elections" would get ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it would be seen as such an obvious attempt to circumvent the constitutional amending formula.'

    Could consultative votes on Senate Appointments by ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? Very unlikely.

    While I cannot be _absolutely_ certain (the Courts sometimes make surprising rulings), it seems to me that any such challenge is on extremely weak ground.

    The proposed law would not "circumvent" the amending formula because the Constitution is not being amended.

    An additional consultative process is simply being added within the existing Constitutional framework.

    As long as the new law retains the appointment by the GG on advice of the PM (and that the PM is not legally bound to name according to particular criteria such as winning a consultative ballot), then everything has been done in harmony with the constitution.

    Just as the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord was not unconstitutional, neither would consultative votes on Senate positions be.

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  95. Oh goodness this is like debating a jellyfish. You're countering normative claims with descriptive statements.
    No, I'm demonstrating your claims are baloney, despite your continued ad hominem attacks.

    Yes, yes, thank you I already know how things are, i'm saying how they ought to be. I explained that more democracy would be good but not too much more.
    I'm sure you do know how things are, which is why I took exception to your condescending appeal to authority, as if the Senate is bad because it isn't "democratic" enough for you. Now of course you are trying to move the goalposts by saying "more democracy good but not too much more".

    And then you're replacing my carefully calibrated policy statements with extremes.
    I had no doubt your policy statements were carefully calibrated, they were based on the "more democracy" canard you are now backing away from since I point out the logical conclusion. Yes, your view is extreme.

    Stop erecting slippery slopes and then pushing me down them.
    Stop trying to hide that slippery slope and cloak it in "more democracy good, but not too much".

    Believe it or not public policy can be subjective and pragmatic.
    Of course it can. Why do you insinuate I don't think so?

    It doesn't have to be based on principle alone and nobody is duty bound to follow general priniciples to their logical end, as much as you prefer reductio ad absurdum arguementation.
    I can hear the pages turning in your book on logic and argument as you try to cast yourself as reasonable, and sneer at anyone pointing out where your position can lead. Given the extreme ideological nature of our current government, pointing out where the seemingly innocuous policies can (and I believe would) lead is reasonable. You continue to attack me and the form of my argument, rather than the substance.

    This false choice you keep going back to, of CBC or open skies is not helpful.
    Sure it is, because ideological solutions by an ideological tend toward one or the other.

    There are a variety of other public policy options that are smarter, more effective, and less costly.
    Are there any other criteria by which we should evaluate said options?

    We don't need to choose between one or the other.
    True, and the current situation has bits of both, to the great unease of ideologues on either side of the great divide. But we are constantly told that this middle ground is somehow bad and needs radical change. It doesn't.

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  96. Earl,

    I think the feds are looking at a la carte programming rules.

    The "bundles" of five channels for Bell sattelite are terribly annoying.

    Its like - I want FOX but I don't want MSNBC!

    Yes, yes, they're both politics but radically different in content, thus a bundle is totally inappropriate.

    ReplyDelete

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