Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Brunswick Provincial Poll

A new poll by the Corporate Research Associates has been released.This aligns very closely with the recent Léger Marketing poll, though this one gives the NB Liberals a little more support at the expense of the NB NDP.

This is the highest the Progressive Conservatives have been in CRA polling in the last year. It is also the lowest result the Liberals have put up. The NDP result is actually on the lower side.

Shawn Graham and David Alward are now tied for best Premier at 29%, followed by Roger Duguay of the NDP at 8%.

Graham has about a year to turn the ship around, or the Progressive Conservatives will be back in government in New Brunswick.

44 comments:

  1. With regard to the NDP - ist worth noting that in the last NB election, the NDP only got 5% of the vote - so whether its 14% or 19% - its a still a big increase. The question is whether that vote can materialize or if it will be the equivalent of the Green vote federally that is a generic non of the above vote that cannot be mobilized.

    I have heard that Roger Duguay is good though and that they are starting to build some organization with help from the Nova Scotia NDP.

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  2. Earl, I deleted your post but have copied most of it below:

    Interesting poll. Thanks Eric. You've kept the site very interesting even though there's been little Federal information. The addition of Provincial data does add to the site.

    Thanks again for your efforts.

    Good fortune,
    Earl

    I deleted it because the question you asked can actually get me in trouble, since you're not supposed to influence site visitors in that way.

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  3. I should say "I'm" rather than "you're".

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  4. I thought I'd offer some insight to those of you who might not fully understand the significance of the support levels we're seeing as of late here in NB: if these numbers hold, it will be the first time in New Brunswick's entire history that a party will be turfed from office after one term.

    Had the PCs realized this back when their last leadership convention was held, perhaps they wouldn't have chosen a leader with "placeholder" written all over him. Frankly, this upcoming election is the Tories' to lose - and with the, ahem, "media-challenged" Alward at the helm, they just might manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Of course, Shawn Graham wasn't particularly charming or beloved when he first ran for premier in 2003, yet he nearly toppled NB's own nationally-prolific golden boy, Bernard Lord, after he had served only one term in office. Also note that Bernard Lord had something as premier that Shawn Graham does not: extremely favourable personal polling numbers. When voters finally showed Lord the door in 2006, he *still* had far better personal polling numbers than the man who replaced him; Graham enjoys no such advantage over Alward.

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  5. Daniel I'd always thought that Lord would be a good replacement for Mr. Harper when he steps down. Lord as I understand it, is charismatic and completely bilingual. He also did a pretty fair job in NB until he was ambushed by the auto insurance fiasco. He was forever behind the curve there and then fatally blundered over a gasoline price increase I believe. Do you think he has either the abilities or the desire to run Federally? Thanks in advance.

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  6. Was the NDP campaign promises broken?

    Was the sale of the Hydro assets and reliance on Quebec an issue before the election or was it something that the voters were not aware of?

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  7. Earl,

    I'm guessing Harper is going to stick around for another 6-8 years so its a little early to be talking replacements!

    But Lord would be great or Jim Prentice. Or maybe there'll be some other up and comer by then.

    The only complaint I would have is that I hate the idea of someone jumping directly into the leadership without first serving in parliament for a bit.

    Its why I always chuckle at the idea of Charest ever becoming PM. Is his ego so big that he thinks it'll just get handed to him without first proving himself in caucus?

    Lord seems to be focusing on making some coin in the private sector which is sensible.

    But if he really wanted to be PM i'd suggest he take out Liberal Brian Murphy in Moncton in the next election, get into cabinet, and then prove himself.

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  8. I'd actually like to Charest become PM as a Conservative. He's not only sat in Parliament but served as a cabinet minister. He was also the leader of the PC's during their wilderness years. He then, at the behest of Federalists everywhere, moved to the Liberal Party of Quebec and undertook the job of returning a Federalist Government to Quebec which he was again able to do. He's had more experience in both Parliament and Government than PMSH. I dare say he's a more shrewd politician as well. We'd never have had last December's near disaster with Charest at the helm.

    While I like Jim Prentice he seems rather mousey to me. Perhaps he would grow into the job but he's had some important jobs in the Federal cabinet and still seems shy. Could be another Ed Stelmach. Unlike Alberta I don't see the ROC taking to a Stelmach character. Frankly give me the hated (and I despise the man) Gordon Campbell over Stelmach for whom I simply have disdain.

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  9. In reply to Earl:

    Do you think [Lord] has either the abilities or the desire to run Federally? Thanks in advance.

    I don't think he has the desire to run right now; like a certain other nationally-prolific ex-NB premier (McKenna), Lord is doing quite well for himself in the private sector. A future bid is certainly a strong possibility, but not inevitable by any means.

    As to whether he has the ability, one could definitely debate either side of the argument.

    He's certainly packaged for the job: relatively young, nationally known, completely fluent in both official languages, roots in Quebec, connections in the business community, lacks the lingering odour of the Reform/Alliance era, fairly likable - on the surface, a prime candidate.

    You'll generally find more mixed reviews on his time in office, though. He was a competent managerial premier, but was often characterized as being hollow, unimaginative and wishy-washy. He definitely took a realistic, down-to-earth approach to governing - perhaps too much so.

    One example: His scoffing at the Liberals' 2006 election province to end New Brunswick's dependence on transfer payments by 2025 allowed the Liberals to paint him as "being content with the status quo," "lacking vision," etc. Of course, the Liberals' promise was nothing more than pie-in-the-sky electioneering, but Lord's comment played into the narrative that his government had grown tired and stale (which, in all fairness, it had).

    Lord also suffered from having a comparatively weak caucus; after being in the electoral wilderness for more than a decade, the Tories didn't expect to win the 1999 election *at all* at first, much less by the whopping landslide they attained. Going from 6/55 seats to 44/55, you acquire a lot of new faces - and in a pessimistic-to-cautiously-optimistic election environment for your party, you don't exactly attract grade-A candidates. Furthermore, the Tories had been out of power since 1987, so fishing from a pool of seasoned veterans was out of the question. One could realistically blame Lord's narrow defeat in 2006 on a couple of incompetent cabinet ministers losing their seats, rather than on anything Lord himself did.

    Conversely, many Liberal candidates who ran in their 2003 near-upset (and stuck around in 2006) had only been out of office for 4 years - they were McKenna-era heavyweights with years of cabinet experience (notable exception: Shawn Graham). Of course, having a caucus of seasoned veterans may not be enough to save this government in the end - but you certainly couldn't accuse them of being "unimaginative".

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  10. Earl,

    You'eve misunderstood me or I wasn't clear enough. I know Charest's resume and history, obviously.

    My point wasn't about experience, it was about him proving himself to caucus.

    I keep hearing things in the media about how the Mulroney crowd is telling him to take on Harper and "take our party back". That's simply not going to happen.

    If he wants a shot at the leadership he needs to first get a seat in parliement as a member of THIS party and prove he can work well with Alliance-Reform types.

    Very few of the people he sat with are still around and there is a lot of annoyance and anger at him for complaining about cuts to arts funding in the last election.

    ---

    The funding to political parties?

    I thought we went over this - a very popular move with the public that shot Harper's numbers up a good ten points.

    It would have been a majority gov't easily. The only reason he rorogued was because he didn't want to take the risk that a Martin appointee, our GG, would go for this insane idea that a coalition could form gov't.

    ---

    I don't see Prentice as mousey, I see him as thoughtful and a deep thinker. But he is very soft spoken and doesn't bellow during GP the way that Baird can. He'd have to learn how to give a good stump speech.

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  11. Jesse if you think the move to end political funding put the gas in the Tories, tank last year you live on on different planet than I. IMVHO it was the spectre of a coalition that Dion had said would not happen, that Canadians didn't vote for and didn't want. Oh and there was the very necessary support of the separatist Bloc of the coalition. Harper didn't once mention the need to get rid of political funding this last fall when it appeared there would be an election, no he played to the fears of another coalition if he didn't get a majority and it appeared Canadians agreed with him allowing the CPC to briefly enter majority territory. Everyone else who posts here has there own agenda yet they come prepared to enter into debate, you just come with talking points. The strangest thing is that when an election comes I'll likely cast my vote for the same party you will. Charest has zip to prove to your ilk.

    Here's a good link to what most of us in ON and BC think of your HST:
    http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/editorial/2009/12/02/12001816-sun.html

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  12. Jesse if you think the move to end political funding put the gas in the Tories tank last year you live on on different planet than I. IMVHO it was the spectre of a coalition that Dion had said would not happen, that Canadians didn't vote for and didn't want. Oh and there was the very necessary support of the separatists Bloc of the coalition. Harper didn't once mention the need to get rid of political funding this last fall when it appeared there would be an election, no he played to the fears of another coalition if he didn't get a majority and it appeared Canadians agreed with him allowing the CPC to briefly enter majority territory.

    Everyone else who posts here has there own agenda yet they come prepared to enter into debate, you just come with talking points. The strangest thing is that when an election comes I'll likely cast my vote for the same party you will. Charest has zip to prove to your ilk.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/editorial/2009/12/02/12001816-sun.html

    That describes what most of us BC and Ontario think of your HST.

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  13. EARL,

    The Political Pay subsidy cut is supported by Canadians, suggesting otherwise is just plain silly.

    For many reasons the voters pushed the CPC to 44-46% in December 2008 to push back the three stooges.

    The voters did it again in MI raised his ultimatiums 4 conditions and got a Blue Ribbon Panel for EI. September delusional again his Sudbury declaration.

    When MI opens his mouth and demands the keys to the executive washroom his numbers drop.

    If you like you can check the polls to his statements of toppling the gov't.

    The CRU-Hadley were not involved and no data manipulation or fudging of the numbers is required to prove it.

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  14. Earl,

    You're way off base, you have a number of factual errors and misconceptions about what happened last fall.

    1) Polling data shows a clear majority of Canadians supported the move to take away funding for the parties.

    2) The funding move was brilliant.

    Everyone, including you, seems to think the coalition was formed after the spending cuts were announced. WRONG.

    (You've bought into the official CPC storyline, i'll share a well known maxim in politics - never drink your own coolaid!)

    The coalition was actually cooked up by the NDP during the election and talks began right after it ended.

    It became clear that a coalition was being assembled and that the opposition was planning to vote against the fall economic update beacuse it did not contain stimulus.

    So Harper introduced the spending cuts to change the storyline from the parties forming a coalition to introduce economic stimulus to save jobs to a storyline about the parties forming a coalition to save their own entitlement dollars.

    Now the opposition became the greedy villians and not the righteous crusaders. And any election would be fought on the issue of the funding/entitlements and not stimulus/economics.


    So tell me Earl, what would the great and wonderful Charest done differently in this situation?

    Added stimulus dollars in a big reckless splash to the fall economic update to save his own skin instead of standing on principle?

    Yes, probably.

    And if Charest ever hopes to be leader he'll most certianly need the support of people like me. PC types are a minority in the party.

    And any sort of Alberta oil sands bashing from him would sink his chances in a second. He's already deeply mistrusted by ideological Conservatives.

    My God, the man cannot even hold down the right flank in his own province, witness the ADQ. I can tell you the majority of members of the CPC would rather Mario Dumont as party leader than Charest!

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  15. Canadian Sense can you provide me one example where Harper raised the political funding issue this past fall (2009)as an election issue? I'm aware some ministers raised the issue again after it was introduced and withdrawn in 2008. However no-one to my knowledge raised the issue again after Iggy opened his big mouth in September 2009. All we heard from Harper including his so called secret speech in the Soo was the rejigging of the coalition. If you can provide a link that shows I'm wrong then fine, but was political funding the issue in your mind the propelled the CPC to majority territory after Iggy issued his election ultimatum? Just give me an example please with a link to a credible source. I'm also aware that polls do seem to support the abolishment of political subsidies. I hope that means all of them including the tax credits for political donations.

    I'm not questioning the public's reluctance to give Iggy the keys. Never have. If anything I've seen more upside than Eric has in the polls for CPC. That simply isn't an issue with me. Just don't ask me to say it will always be so.


    Not sure where your attack came from.

    Good fortune.

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  16. Without the threat of having to file for bankruptcy as a result of having their funding cut, the Liberals would have had no incentive at all to try to form a coalition - none.

    If you seriously think that there was this diabolical scheme by the NDP and Liberals to topple the Harper government and that Harper somehow preempted everything by throwing in the party funding stuff then it begs a few questions:

    1. There would have been a far simpler and "cleaner" way for the opposition to have taken power. All that had to happen would have been for the Liberals vote against the Throne Speech in early Nov. '08 - that way Harper would never have established confidence at all - and he would have had no right to ask for a prorogation and the GG would have had no choice but to ask the opposition to govern. It would have been like Ontario in 1985 all over again.

    2. If there had been no crisis in December so soon after the election, the opportunity to dump Harper would have been lost. Parliament would have risen for the holidays, there would not have been any opportunity to vote down the government until a budget in late Feb. or March and by that time - a defeat on a confidence vote would have triggered a snap election.

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  17. Sorry for the attack (not sure it was btw). Some of us who are tired of people trying to rewrite history or fudge the numbers for their AGENDA.

    I never suggested the CPC included the political welfare cut in the campaign.

    That is unimportant. The BC Liberals promised not HST and flipped, massive new taxes?

    The Federal Liberal promised to scrap the GST and NAFTA and flipped?

    The CPC broken their promise on Income Trust.

    Voters decide if they WANT to punish the party.


    I agree with Jesse, the Economic Update was a surgical strike to force out the coalition.
    The three clauses (were removed) within a few days of the opposition demanding their withdrawal.

    The opposition went ahead and decided six weeks after a General Election voters and our First Past the Post system was no longer important.They tried to sell their idea of a new government. The Governor General prorogued 5 days earlier from the scheduled Christmas Break.

    Again most back than and now agree with the decision. Look at the LPOC since 2000 from 40.8%. I have predicted they hit 20-23% next general election.



    There was NEVER a crisis. The entire pathetic affair was legal by the three parties to unite and withdraw their confidence.

    Just because it is legal does not make it smart move.

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  18. "the Economic Update was a surgical strike to force out the coalition."

    This makes ZERO sense. What would be the point of getting the coalition to happen so quickly? If it didn't happen in late November - it wasn't going to happen at all - because if the government survived past Xmas it was clear that the "convention" was that the GG would have simply dissolved parliament and forced a new election while Dion was still interim Liberal leader - which would have been the worst thing possible for the Liberals.

    I realize that if you are a die-hard Tory - there is a desire to try to believe that there had to have been some method to Harper's and Flaherty's madness last Nov. - but any way you slice it - it was madness - they came extremely close to losing power for no good reason and the fact that they escaped by the skin of their teeth was something that no one could have predicted with any confidence.

    Jesse's theory is about as ridiculous as people who think that Bush staged Sept. 11 on purpose with CIA agents who were willing to be human sacrifices in order to give the US a pretext to invade Iraq.

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  19. DL,

    Wow you've forgotten events too I see. You don't remember the NDP caucus meeting being secretly recorded ? The transcript from that meeting proved Layton had been cooking up a coalition long before the update:

    "Let's just say we have strategies," NDP Leader Jack Layton said during the call. "This whole thing would not have happened if the moves hadn't been made with the Bloc to lock them in early because you couldn't put three people together in … three hours. The first part was done a long time ago. I won't go into details."

    1) The coalition was raised during the campaign. Dion ridiculed the notion.

    2) The Liberals didn't vote non-confidence on the throne speech because the Ignatieff camp didn't like the coalition.

    HOWEVER, since the election ended NDP insider Brian Topp had been in contact with members of Bob Rae's camp to put in place a coalition after Dion had been turfed (he was never supposed to be PM under the initial strategy).

    3) It was an open secret in Ottawa and once the Tories caught wind of it they knew the opposition were going to use the autumn statement to bring down the gov't.

    HOWEVER, its common practice to have a fall statement because the finance department prepares their budget estimates in advance of pre-budget consultations in the finance committee.

    Plus there would have been other supply bills and opposition days to vote non-confidence.

    Harper had no choice but to govern as normal and go ahead with the statement. Once the opposition announced they'd all vote against it if it did not have economic stimulus Harper went ahead with the cuts to political funding.

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  20. DL,

    The evidence is pretty conclusive and poltiical columnists like Paul Wells over @ Macleans have already exposed all the inside workings behind this thing.

    You can keep on believing the simplified, talking points version of history if you'd like though.

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  21. My political affilation has nothing to do with how history unfolded. Never voted for PC went to CPC after my Liberal-Independent lost his seat in York South Weston.

    The LPOC acted out of desperation by giving two fringe parties access to the key to the executive washroom.

    The NDP made a huge tactical mistake by not helping the CPC destroy the Liberals and Bloc dependency on the taxpayer "teats".

    The other two issues passed in January compliments of the LPOC.

    The math problem of three weaker opposition parties to form a government six weeks after a general election was an offence to the public. The NDP or Bloc can NEVER form a minority. Look at the ballot questions. Jack is scores very badly on the 'economy' EVERY time.

    The best historical POP for the NDP? NDP won 43 seats with only three Federal Parties. If Jack had moderated his stance the LPOC, the Bloc would be in much worse situation without the millions to pay their bills. The NDP could have benefitted by fighting a tactical campaign against the weaker LIB and BLOC ridings.

    Now on Planet 3-stooges
    No one know about what was "evidence" the CPC have regarding the coalition.

    Only a small part was released. The rest may be made available for campaign purposes.

    Did you forget Jack went into hiding for weeks and they threatened legal action for the releasing and recording the "conversation".

    Sadly the NDP were either too lazy or too dumb to properly screen their calls and invited the CPC as a guest.(Otherwise the cases would have been open and shut to lay charges)

    Timing is very important. The two fringe parties secured the only other Federal Party to have formed a Federal Government.

    The Political welfare cuts was the catalyst to get the LPOC to unite the "merryman" on the bridge to nowhere.

    The CPC have one single force to defeat in the next election. The Coalition Party. They can keep the three leaders and pretend they represent different interests, but the framing is complete.

    Recent Action from Coalition
    The Coalition have voted for a public inquiry without hard facts based on allegations from only one individual by refuting the testimony three retired generals, top general on ground, Mulroney, Prison inspectors, and the Red Cross who "rebuked" the single person who made allegations.

    In every single Poll the NDP to not stand to make significant gains. They look to hold or lose seats from the last election. Will Jack survive if he loses 1/3 of his seats in the next general election?

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  22. For those of you interested in the origins of the coalition there is a series in the C&M by Brian Topp that gives the NDP version:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/brian-topp/coalition-redux-the-prime-minister-makes-a-big-mistake/article1382092/

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  23. While it does appear that the NDP had the idea of a coalition beforehand, that shouldn't come as any surprise. With their role in parliament, it would have actually been more surprising had they not thought about this possibility beforehand.

    However, that does not mean the Liberals had the idea of a coalition before the NDP spoke to them. And, from what we've seen from Topp, it appears that the Liberals didn't much like the idea and were actually trying to low-ball the NDP.

    So, I'm not sure what you guys are talking about. If you think Harper put forward the party funding as a way to squirrel out the coalition, you should write Dan Brown novels. It seems pretty obvious Harper felt he was in a position of power and wanted to turn the screws.

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  24. I am not sure relying on Brian Topp NDP strategist is the best source for the history of the coalition.

    It is like asking the scientists at CRU about the Raw Data and their dog that ate it afer the Freedom of Information Requests.

    Sorry Earl. The NDP made a serious mistake by not moderating after the election and have voted 100% against the government until MI called his September declaration.

    The NDP have NOT supported a single policy until Sept 2009 when they might have to face the voter. Any idea why they flipped in September 2009? The NDP are in more dire straits than the LPOC if they trigger an election.

    Why do you think they pulled the plug on Paul Martin?

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  25. Eric,

    I agree Harper thought the NDP would take the smart move and help destroy the LPOC and improve their goal of becoming the official opposition.

    After the CPC the NDP have a good fundraising machine.

    They could have hurt the Bloc, Libs, and Green by cooperating with the CPC.

    In the next campaign if it is introduced as a promise who will speak up against it?

    Will the coalition defend the subsidy to the voters?

    The CPC will have made the promise in the next campaign and will introduce it again as a promise to be kept and best of luck with the parties in the HOC trying to stop it the next time. I would add a 5-10% pay cut of all salaries for elected officials.

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  26. Nice to see Brian Topp was drinking and driving during this whole negotiation process. At least he "tried" to sober up by walking around the streets of Toronto. Maybe he should stay away from the vino or call a cab!

    His side of the story was entertaining to read, but that is all I can say. I seriously wonder how much of it is actually factual. It would be nice if the G&M posted stories from all sides of the table and allowed the public to draw their own conclusions.

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  27. "Why do you think they (the NDP) pulled the plug on Paul Martin?"

    Paul martin pulled the plug on himself. He had already declared that he would dissolve parliament and call an election when the Gomery report was tabled in January 2006. All the NDP did was ensure that the election was about one month earlier than it would have been otherwise and that the NDP was stuck going in an election stuck like Crazy Glue to a corrupt party heading towards defeat.

    Martin also played along by refusing to make any deals with the NDP and basically begging them to bring him doewn because in Martin's delusional mind an early election was a good thing since he still had this crazy idea that the voters liked him.

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  28. DL,

    Paul Martin did not have the continued support from his only backer the NDP.

    Paul Martin should have waited until the the vote took place in the HOC?

    Clearly the GG agreed with Paul Martin, he could not pass the gov't agenda any further without the continued support of the NDP.

    How do you think the GG agrees dissolves parliament, tea leaves, magic fairy dust?

    The opposition made public statements and withdrew their continued support for the gov't agenda.

    The GG used those public statements to support her decision to grant the dissolution upon the advice from Martin and Harper.

    In BOTH cases the ALL the opposition publicly withdrew any support for the Agenda of the sitting government. We did not have the actual vote in the HOC, that's it. Paul Martin and Stephen Harper were following acceptable protocol.

    Or do you think the rules state the gov't must only fail if a vote takes place in the HOC? If so please link your case.

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  29. CRA poll nova scotia

    http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1155720.html

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  30. CanadianSense wrote:

    "We did not have the actual vote in the HOC, that's it. Paul Martin ..."

    There was indeed a vote.

    The Liberal government headed by Paul Martin was defeated in the House of Commons on November 28, 2005 on a motion of non-confidence in the government.

    The motion of non-confidence passed by a vote of 171 to 133.

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  31. Martin, thank you for the correction.

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  32. Eric,

    "So, I'm not sure what you guys are talking about. If you think Harper put forward the party funding as a way to squirrel out the coalition, you should write Dan Brown novels. It seems pretty obvious Harper felt he was in a position of power and wanted to turn the screws."

    The funding issue was put forward like three days before the update and only after the opposition said they would all vote down the statement if it did not contain economic stimulus.

    Besides who was supposed to vote for this thing? Subsidies ensured the Bloc and Liberals would vote against it, anti-union stuff ensured the NDP would. Harper has passed bills in the past by always appealing to one party, no "poison pill" stuff.

    No I maintain that the funding issue was just a distraction put in there to attack the coalition that was forming since Harper knew he wasn't willing to put a poorly designed stimulus in the fall statement.

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  33. "How do you think the GG agrees dissolves parliament, tea leaves, magic fairy dust?"

    The GG dissolves parliament five years after the previous election or when the PM requests a dissolution - whichever comes first. If harper wanted an election call today - all he has to do is march to Rideau Hall and say "I demand that you dissolve parliament and call and election" and Jean has to say "Yes, Prime Minister, your wish is my command!"

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  34. DL wrote:

    ' and Jean has to say "Yes, Prime Minister, your wish is my command!" '

    You overstate things somewhat.

    In the case of a minority government, the GG may have an option to decline to accept advice to dissolve Parliament.

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  35. Martin,

    DL like to believe Harper is the all powerful, it helps with his narrative.

    The GG can refuse and ask the official opposition if they can form the government. It is very rare but has been done before.

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  36. Martin,

    Quite right. The GG is bound only to the extent that she wishes to honour convention.

    Of course, the PM can ask the Queen to dismiss a GG and replace her with one with better judgement.

    As for a coalition government I think they are totally unacceptable in our system UNLESS they are formed immediately after the election and only if the government has failed its very first confidence motion.

    The idea last fall that Harper would form government, be granted confidence by the house, and then later on lose confidence and be replaced by a coalition goes against convention.

    Dissolution of parliament and an election would be the proper option in my view. And only a GG with very poor judgement would think otherwise - judgement so poor in fact that she should be replaced by the Queen straight away.

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  37. There was a PEI poll as well

    http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=307996&sc=98

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  38. Jesse wrote:

    "Quite right. The GG is bound only to the extent that she wishes to honour convention. "

    It is important to distinguish between Constitutional convention (the rules governing the way thing are done despite not being written down) and merely ordinary practice.

    When considering the former, there is no Constitutional convention that the GG can never refuse a request for dissolution. An event can be rare without being contrary to convention.

    "Of course, the PM can ask the Queen to dismiss a GG and replace her with one with better judgement."

    There are significant problems with this idea.

    If a PM is defeated in the Commons and then asks for a dissolution, if the GG refuses dissolution the PM would then have to immediately resign or be dismissed. The moment that he is no longer PM, he no longer has the authority to advise the Queen.

    "The idea last fall that Harper would form government, be granted confidence by the house, and then later on lose confidence and be replaced by a coalition goes against convention."

    Confidence is not "granted" by the House, it is presumed to exist until lost.

    Despite how it is generally reported by the press, MPs do not vote on the Throne Speech as it is neither a bill nor a motion. What actually happens is that after the Throne Speech, MPs craft a response called the Address in Reply. Normally it is a formality consisting of a sentence or two thanking the GG.

    If the opposition wishes to defeat the government at this time they will move an amendment that adds some words after the thank-you -- typically something like: "unfortunately we must inform Your Excellency that this House no longer has confidence in your advisors."

    Refraining from expressing non-confidence at one particular moment does not handcuff the opposition in the next. There is quite simply no convention that the government can be replaced on a defeat during the Address in Reply but at no other time.

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  39. The one obvious precedent was what happened in Ontario in 1985 when the Tories had 52 seats, the Liberals 48 and the NDP 25. The Liberals and NDP voted down the Tory Throne Speech, wrote a letter to the Lieut. Gov. advising that they had an accord which had majority support and Peterson was invited to become Premier.

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  40. DL,

    Yeah, I see nothing wrong with that because they voted down the throne speech. The problem with last fall is they voted for the throne speech.

    That seems to be the crucial period in which a coalition can be established in my opinion.

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  41. Martin,

    "It is important to distinguish between Constitutional convention (the rules governing the way thing are done despite not being written down) and merely ordinary practice."

    I wasn't refering to the constitution when I mentioned conventions.

    Ordinary practice, as you call it, forms a convention all of its own. A GG doesn't act in a vacuum. She acts within the context of every other GG in every commonwealth country and all the GG's in the past, as well as LG's.

    Heritage, tradition, and the accumulated practices are very important to the crown, to create the sense of a continuous, stable, and uninterrupted rule.

    Every decision sets a precedent, much like a judge creates a body of law.

    "An event can be rare without being contrary to convention."

    Certainly, if you're defining convention in the very narrow sense of the responsibilities the GG has in our system of gov't.

    But if you're defining convention in the sense that the GG is refusing to act in a manner consistent with how other GG's have acted in the same circumstances then the Queen may decide to replace her.

    (Of course, the Queen can replace her at any time for any or no reason whatsoever.)

    "The moment that he is no longer PM, he no longer has the authority to advise the Queen."

    Any member of the privy council can advise the Queen, or anyone for that matter, if she chooses to recieve them.

    But there is another way the PM can make an end run around the GG.

    She is supposed to seek his advice and think it over.

    If he senses things are going badly during a meeting he could always step out and have someone fire off a previously prepared request to the palace that she be dismissed.

    Highly unusual to be sure, but so is refusing to dissolve parliament.

    "Despite how it is generally reported by the press, "MPs do not vote on the Throne Speech as it is neither a bill nor a motion. What actually happens is that after the Throne Speech, MPs craft a response called the Address in Reply." Normally it is a formality consisting of a sentence or two thanking the GG."

    That's a distinction without a difference if i've ever heard one!

    Thanks for the lesson though but I actually think I remember Bob Fife going into those arcane specifics last throne speech. I truly did not bother trying to remember or look them up because the procedural details did not seem pertinent in the least.

    "There is quite simply no convention that the government can be replaced on a defeat during the Address in Reply but at no other time."

    Granting dissolution has the overwhelming weight of precdent behind it at all other times.

    Being denied confidence after a throne speech is a much, much rarer event in the history of the commonwealth.

    They are objectively different events and if there was ever a time for a GG to deny dissolution this would be it.

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  42. Martin,

    It was interesting listening to your views on this matter!

    There are many people with many views contrary to your own and contrary to mine.

    Of course, your views are not correct in the same sense that mine or anybody else's views are not the correct view.

    GG's will do what they like. So will monarchs. We're just left to make sense of it after the fact.

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  43. On Ontario 1985:

    There are many reasons why those events were substantially different compared to more recent federal events.

    One of the key differences is that the LG did not have to refuse a request for dissolution after the Miller PC government was defeated.

    In fact, Miller, as his final official act, advised the LG to ask Mr. Peterson to form a government.

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  44. Jesse,

    "She acts within the context of every other GG in every commonwealth country and all the GG's in the past, as well as LG's."

    Agreed. But that context includes dozens of precedents of dissolution being refused -- and only a small number of those events involved the defeat of a government during the events around a Throne Speech. Have a look at Eugene Forsey's seminal work on the subject.

    "Any member of the privy council can advise the Queen, or anyone for that matter, if she chooses to recieve them."

    When I said "advise" I was referring to "official advice".

    In our Constitutional Monarchy, the Queen and her viceroys wield their authority only on official advice. It is in this way that the democratically accountable political executive takes responsibility for the decisions.

    While the Queen of Canada and the GG can have many unofficial advisors, there is only one person who can give them official advice: the PM.

    It is in this sense that the GG and the Queen, in almost all matters, simply do what the PM advises. I have a great deal of difficulty imagining any scenario where the Queen would replace the GG using her own discretion or based on the opinion of anyone but the PM. You want to talk about precedent and convention? Point to even one incident in the era of Responsible Government where the Queen has replaced a viceroy under such circumstances.

    "That's a distinction without a difference if i've ever heard one!"

    It seemed like you were hinting that because the House had given the government its confidence that its later options were constrained. Silence (i.e. declining to vote non-confidence) is not the same as a positive assertion of support.

    "Granting dissolution has the overwhelming weight of precdent behind it at all other times."

    That is true in the sense that an unusual set of circumstances have to combine for a refusal to be feasible:
    - minority government
    - a defeat of the government
    - the previous election happened recently (how recent is a matter of debate -- some say as little as 6 to 9 months, Forsey didn't think a refusal to be virtually unthinkable until about the 2-year mark)
    - the opposition could form a viable government
    - the opposition leader agrees to form such a government

    There are a host of other factors that are influential, including
    - there is no great matter of public policy to be decided by the electorate
    - the PM requesting dissolution is the same one who was granted the previous dissolution

    So, yes, it certainly looks like there is a rather high bar to get over to refuse dissolution -- it is certainly not a routine event. But that does not mean that such refusals are impossible, nor does it mean that anything inappropriate has happened if dissolution is refused.

    "Being denied confidence after a throne speech is a much, much rarer event in the history of the commonwealth."

    That's just wrong. See Forsey's work.

    "They are objectively different events"

    I don't see how you can say so. There is no support in the precedents of Westminster Parliaments for this assertion.

    ++++

    Don't get me wrong, if the hypothetical year-ago events had transpired, despite the opposition coalition having a case, there were also significant reasons to go ahead with a fresh election.

    Some commentators argued that the GG was bound (either Constitutionally or morally) to refuse dissolution, while others argued that she was bound to accept such advice. I disagree with both positions and find support for neither in the historical precedents.

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