Thursday, January 7, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 5.3-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS is back, with a vengeance. The Conservative lead has been reduced to almost five points, and they are polling at a level not seen since the heady days of late August.At 33.1%, this is the lowest the Conservatives have polled since an Angus-Reid poll of September 2. Has the proroguing of Parliament had an effect? This indicates that it has. The party is down 2.8 points since the last EKOS poll in mid-December.

However, the Liberals have only benefited a little bit. They are up 1.1 points to 27.8%, which isn't exactly terrific. In fact, the Greens made the biggest jump forward, with a gain of 2.2 points to 13.4%. The NDP is down one point to 16.0%.

The big story seems to be in Ontario, where the Conservatives are down four points to 35.4%. The Liberals have gained about five points and are at 36.0%. The Greens are also standing at better than the NDP, with 14.3% to 14.2%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is up one point to 38.2% while the Liberals are up three to 27.5%. The Conservatives seem to be floundering, down about two points to 14.6%.

The biggest movement for the Greens came in British Columbia, where the party has gained six points. They stand at 18.5%. The Tories dropped one to 34.2%, the NDP dropped three to 25.9%, and the Liberals dropped three to 21.4%.

In the Prairies, the Liberals have lost six points and are at a woeful 12.4%. The NDP was the beneficiary, with a gain of six points to reach 27.3%.

The race is getting close in Atlantic Canada, as the Conservatives are down about two to 32.6%, the Liberals down three to 28.4%, and the NDP relatively stable at 27.2%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 132
Liberals - 90
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 33
Greens - 1

So, the Conservatives are moving back towards a 2006 electoral result, but the Liberals are still not in a strong position. The Greens, however, manage to elect Elizabeth May in British Columbia.

This is the first post-holidays poll that has been released. That time away from the news and with family, where politics are sometimes discussed, can have an effect on the polls. This is a big change. We will have to wait and see whether another pollster can confirm these results.

64 comments:

  1. I had such high hopes for this poll, but the Greens at 13%?... For what reason would this be? They haven't been in the news and their movement on any issues other than Copenhagen is something to be desired.

    But hey, the Conservatives dropped, so I'm happy.

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  2. BC Voice of Reason07 January, 2010 11:43

    Eric

    I saw that you gave some cautionary qualifications at the end of your post but seriously the Greens at 13 %?!

    How does that impact the number of seats the Greens surely must win?

    Will the Liberals be wiped out in BC as the 3 left of centre parties grind each other up?

    I really don't expect you to analyze this because you don't believe it either.

    Have a great 2010

    BCVoR

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  3. Unless Trudeaumania... I mean "Maymania" has taken hold in BC (or for that matter across Canada), I doubt the Greens are at 19% in BC.

    Rather that's a wonky result.

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  4. I dunno. I am not sure I can believe that the greens have gone on that much of a tear. I haven't even heard of Elizabeth may in months (except the short time at Copenhagen).


    Drilling into the numbers some the liberals have retaken their old lead among women. (but only in Ontario/Quebec) I am not sure why it flips in the Atlantic. Everywhere else the tories are stronger with men than women, but in the atlantic the tories hold a 20 point lead among women, but the liberals hold a 10 point lead among women.

    I do find it odd that the greens in Quebec hold 10.4% of each men and women, but only 10.2% of the vote. Refusal to identify problem maybe?

    Is Iggy concerned that he has dropped below 5% among men in Sask/Man??

    Why is Harper only at 8% in atlantic canada on the 25/44 group, but over 70% on the 65+?? If the margin of error is above 20%... why do they bother reporting the number??

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  5. Greens at 13.4%? Okay!

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  6. EKOS's Green numbers are always unreasonably high (the last three polls before this one all put Green support over 11%, which is nonsense). It will be interesting to see the results of a pollster that tends to produce low Green numbers, like Angus Reid, or better yet Nanos.

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  7. On the other hand, let's assume that Green number is real (my first instinct is that it's not, because EKOS's Green numbers are never real, but let's try it on for a minute).

    With that decline for the Conservatives, with the only real gains being made by the Green, does that perhaps suggest that the Conservative decline is due not to the Afghan detainee question, or the prorogation of parliament, but to the Copenhagen conference? If a signficant group of Canadians are upset by Canada's position in Copenhagen, a position the large opposition parties didn't make much noice about (they'd rather talk about Afghanistan), wouldn't those voters then turn to the Green party as the only party who cares about that issue?

    Something to ponder, perhaps. Harper's position has always been that the environment is not a ballot question for most Canadians, so he doesn't need to worry about it. Maybe he's wrong.

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  8. J. Kenneth Yurchuk07 January, 2010 14:45

    Green strenth is probably a combination of Conservatives moving to a protest position over prorogument and the recent Con performance at Copenhagen

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  9. J. Kenneth Yurchuk07 January, 2010 14:48

    In addition, EKOS is unusually kind to the Greens for some reason. Nanos is the opposite, and I suspect their real support is somewhere between these two extremes.

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  10. Support for the greens may also be a vote of discontent given how unpopular all of the parties/leaders are.

    I wouldn't have thought any one of the issue the Conservatives have been hit on would harm them, but a whole bunch at once may start a negative halo-effect.

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  11. Bytes have been spilled over the Signs of the Coming Green Apocalypse/Nirvana (choose one). By now followers of this blog should realize that any single poll is unreliable, but the preceding comments seem to belie that. So: any single poll is unreliable, and the Green Party would not see 13.4% if an election were held tomorrow. That's irrelevant. An EKOS poll next week showing 6% Green support would also not be a Sign of the Coming Green Nirvana/Apocalypse (choose one), because it too would be irrelevant.

    The relevant information comes from the graph on Page 3 of the EKOS report. The Green Party is trending upwards at a slow but consistent rate, even ignoring this latest outlier. The Greens netted 6.8% in the last election and will probably break 10% in the next one.

    Will that result in Green seats in the house? If the trend continues as it has for several years and we don't have an election until 2011, probably. It will definitely give a major boost to the party at the riding level, though. The number of Green candidates getting more than the threshold of 10% of the vote will jump dramatically. These candidates will get back 60% of their campaign expenses. Aggressive Green candidates will be able to run a much larger campaign. More (small-c!) conservative candidates will have a good chunk of their next campaigns funded immediately. Either way, the number of ridings where the Green Party is on a level playing field with the traditional parties will shoot up.

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  12. If one looks at the Ekos data over the two days that they were in the field, the Greens polled 19.8% on the second day in the field, just 5% shy of the second place Liberals.

    Corrupted data in my assessment.

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  13. On a related topic to my preceding comment, the EKOS weekly tracking graph is valuable because it's an apples-to-apples comparison of polls. The major fluctuations in Éric's trend graphs owe more to combining different pollers than to statistical variation. Changes reflecting actual voter intent are a distant third; they occur at a much slower rate unless some leader is caught boiling babies in oil.

    Éric, in your copious free time you might consider a trend graph plotting separate lines for each polling firm. They should track roughly in parallel. And the bands they cover reflects the real accuracy of polling.

    Even if your free time isn't so copious, you're providing a great service to politically aware Canadians of all stripes. A heartfelt thanks!

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  14. --- "If one looks at the Ekos data over the two days that they were in the field, the Greens polled 19.8% on the second day in the field, just 5% shy of the second place Liberals."

    Anonymous, what are you referring to here? I don't see this number anywhere.

    --- "Éric, in your copious free time you might consider a trend graph plotting separate lines for each polling firm. They should track roughly in parallel. And the bands they cover reflects the real accuracy of polling."

    Sounds like a weekend assignment.

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  15. Eric, regarding the Jan.4/5 field dates with the Greens at 19.8% on the 2nd day, here is the Ekos data table link from CBC (check the last one in the set):

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/0779-report_jan6_.pdf

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  16. This is a totally different result from the by-elections that's for sure! !

    Fin totally cleaned the Green's clock in New West. The Liberals/Conservatives were only off their '08 results a couple points but the Greens were down like 8%.

    (If you look at the actual results it totally blows to shreds this HST is unpopular therefore the NDP won storyline).

    And then the surprise Tory victory in Quebec and yet now they've collapsed again.


    I think we should do as Eric says and wait for a new poll!

    Also, I expect the Liberals should see a jump now that Iggy has gone on all the tv sets and said "NO ELECTION!"

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  17. People are posting what looks like an Angus Reid release in the comments section of various websites.

    I see they're out with anti-prorogue numbers but I can't see their polling data on their site.

    Anyways, supposedly the numbers are :

    CPC - 42, LPC - 21, NDP - 16, BQ - 11, Greens - 6. (That doesn't add up to 100 ?)

    The posting is in the comments section of this article on senate reforming, a topic everybody is buzzing about lately.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/no-new-legitimacy/article1421784/

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  18. John: That upward trend might be halted if the Greens aren't included in the leaders' debates last time around. Last election they gained significant legitimacy by appearing in the debate with the major party leaders, but that happened as a result of them having a seat in the house at the time.

    Since that's not likely to be the case the next time around, what happens to the Green support in the next election if they're relegated to fringe party status by the mainstream media again?

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  19. The reason the numbers don't add up is because they are bogus. The anon troll cut and pasted this from Dec. 16 and is apparently unable to do math, since they awarded 6 to the CPC and took 8 from the Liberals. Even though the original numbers, CPC 36 Lib 29 NDP 16 BQ 11 GR 6 add up to 98.

    The boilerplate copied from the real article was enhanced with lies about the detainee scandal, trying to blame it all on the Liberals.

    May I make another comment about proto dictators and the tactics of their minions?

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  20. Everyone is totally concerned and obsessing over Senate Reform!!!

    No one cares about Torture or the last gasps of democracy!

    Carry on....everything is good news for the Conservatives.

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  21. oh and people are so NOT concerned about Prorogation that I forgot to mention no one is thinking of it!!

    And we all know that's....




    ....good news for the Conservatives...oh yeah!

    ReplyDelete
  22. False shadow's comments seem abusive and don't add to the conversation.

    Isn't there any way to get rid of spam ?


    "May I make another comment about proto dictators and the tactics of their minions?"

    There are trolls for everything, you know that. It doesn't really reflect on anything.

    So no, you may not make such a comment. Nobody is a minion or a proto-dictator.

    Its just the nature of the internet, there's spam.

    Like those annoying comments.

    btw I suspected the numbers were bogus since I couldn't find the numbers on the website but I was just checking because sometimes Angus doesn't post their data and it leaks out in news stories.

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  23. "oh and people are so NOT concerned about Prorogation that I forgot to mention no one is thinking of it!!"

    Can you read Mr ?

    I just mentioned that Angus Reid had numbers out showing people were against prorogation.

    Seriously, what is your problem ?

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  24. I also must voice my concern about troll comments. It's not appropriate for a discussion/blog for people to be just mocking other commenters. That has got to stop.

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  25. Conservative voters who are appalled by the prorogation aren't going to go to the Liberals or New Democrats, and (unlike in Alberta provincial politics) there is no other right-wing party for them to defect to when they become disillusioned with the Conservative party.

    So expect a lot of Conservative voters to either stay home on election day or make a protest vote. The Greens are picking up a lot of support (at least in polls, where they do better than they do in elections) from traditional supporters of the Liberals and Conservatives who are unhappy with both.

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  26. I don't really understand why anyone's appalled by prorogation, especially now.

    In 2008, sure, there was a clear balance of opinion in parliament and it was silenced (there are other ways to look at it, but I can see why someone might have looked at it like that).

    But now, what exactly is the issue? Parliament can be prorogued - no one's disputing that. If it's something Stephen Harper can do, why is anyone surprised when he does it under circumstances where doing so is advantageous?

    The rules opf parliament rest on an implicit assumption that the balance of power does not shift while parliament is in session. When it does we get events like the King-Byng affair. Harper chose to prorogue, then allowing the Senate committees to be struck in accordance with the make-up of the Senate. What exactly is the problem here?

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  27. So no, you may not make such a comment. Nobody is a minion or a proto-dictator.
    Everybody wants to rule the world, no? Before Mayor Miller decided not to run, the Sun would daily refer to his supporters as "minions". Is that more of a pejorative than dictator? I'm not being facetious, I thought a minion was just a sycophant.

    btw I suspected the numbers were bogus since I couldn't find the numbers on the website but I was just checking because sometimes Angus doesn't post their data and it leaks out in news stories.
    I was suspicious where it says Colvin wrote memos in 2006 and 2007 about detainees being tortured while the Liberals were in power. It seemed a bit much for a pollster press release, no other paragraphs state anything blaming anyone for anything. So I googled "Tories Gain, Liberals Drop in Canadian Politics" and found two Angus Reid Global Monitor articles, one from 2007, the other from December 2009.

    I have long been suspicious when people drop supposed poll results into a thread (other than here, since polls is the whole focus of this blog). It seems to be designed more or less to act like professional wrestler trash talk, to bolster someone's argument by an appeal to authority.

    To be fair to the anon, despite his not deserving it, I saw you mention "I see they're out with anti-prorogue numbers but I can't see their polling data on their site." and assumed you meant a poll says people favour proroguement. Not sure why I thought that really, probably I am accustomed to people elsewhere who would never point out anything negative to their "side".

    I continue to be impressed with the relative lack of trollery and pointless flaming on this blog. Relative being the operative word of course!

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  28. But now, what exactly is the issue? Parliament can be prorogued - no one's disputing that. If it's something Stephen Harper can do, why is anyone surprised when he does it under circumstances where doing so is advantageous?
    I think the "party line" is that the 2008 proroguement was to avoid defeat of the government on the very next day that it would be possible to do so. Despite claims that the coalition was an attempt to thwart democracy, the proroguement was what actually thwarted democracy.

    Further, the "party line" would be that this one is to delay or avoid answering a question of possible complicity in war crimes reaching to the highest levels of our government. The evidence so far is quite damning, in my view. Releasing the unredacted documents could quickly clear the air, but instead we have this evasion. To coin a phrase, taken together "I think its VERY clear that something is happening there".

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  29. Liberal, I just don't like the dictator thing because a lot of us are interested in global politics and are concerned about ACTUAL dicators and horrific human rights abuses in places likes Russia and China.

    Maybe its a 24 hour news cycle, internet masses, trying to get attention thing but I notice EVERYONE is using hyperbolic language.

    If Harper is a dictator, if Obama is a dictator, if Brown is a dictator because he became PM without an election and refuse to hold an early one well then how do we discuss ACTUAL dicators ?

    We should use our langauge in a measured and careful way and not waste our words.

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  30. Ira said,
    "Since [the Greens are unlikely to have a sitting member as a ticket to the Leaders' Debate] next time around, what happens to the Green support in the next election if they're relegated to fringe party status by the mainstream media again?"

    I expect that Elizabeth May will be in the Leaders' Debate with or without a Green seat. A precedent has been set in the last election and the Green Party has been slowly overtaking the Bloc in the polls. It's a sign of a broken (and incidentally, divisive) system that a similar number of votes give the Bloc around 50 seats and the Green Party... a big doughnut. Just because the voting system is broken, though, there's no need to break the face time given to leaders. The Green Party is now polling at a solid third of the two largest parties' numbers, and fairness demands that Elizabeth be back at the table.

    Of course I've been wrong before, and while fairness is a fundamental Canadian value, it's not a universal value in Canadian politics. It's a no-brainer that this matter will get a lot of Green attention between now and the election, whenever it may be.

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  31. The stated justification for May being given a seat at the debates last time was because her party held a seat. There's precedent for this - the Bloc and Reform parties were allowed into the leaders' debate in 1993 because both held seats in parliament going into that election.

    Also, your assertion that the voting system is broken is a value-judgement. I do not find it persuasive. There are levels of abstraction between the voters and the decision-making of government for a reason. That abstraction is the whole point of representative democracy.

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  32. To compare the Bloc and the Greens is idiotic.

    Bloc only contrests Quebec, Greens are contesting almost every seat in Canada.

    To somehow say they have similiar impact/popularity/power/importance is rather silly.


    This idea that we would look at total votes per party is silly since its INDIVIDUALS who are running.

    I seriously question the idea that we should replace the importance of individual candidates winning a plurality of support with party logos, party advertising, and party platforms.

    This party based system you're suggesting is most distastefull !

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  33. I have to agree, in part. That the Greens averaged 6% in the ridings they ran candidates in is far, far less impressive than the Bloc averaging 38% in the ridings they ran candidates in.

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  34. Dominic LaFrance07 January, 2010 23:34

    Il est temps que les partis d'opposition demande à la G.G. la dissolution du parlement et de renverser le gouvernement anti-démocratique d'Harper.J'ai honte de notre gouvernement qui n'a absolument rien fait à Copenhagen pour l'environnement,d'avoir détruit notre réputation internationale,de renier notre signature du Traité de Genèves (torture en Afghanistant),de mettre le Parlement en Lockout.Mickael et Jack... portés vos culottes pour une fois!!! et laisser faire les idéos souvrainistes du Bloc.Mettez-vous ensemble au nom d'un Canada démocratique et vert...De revenir à nos valeurs canadiennes les plus chers .Les Conservateurs représentent le tier des votes et dirigent comme un gouvernement majoritaire...Ça suffit!!!

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  35. Une tel demande sera rejeté, sans doute, particulièrement sans l'appui du Bloc.

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  36. ok, I'll cease and desist....bc/ honestly I don't like nonsense either....but Jesse was crazy so I provided a rebuttal....now some here thought Shadow was Jesse so I started up once again...but if Shadow is not Jesse and they or anyone don't start up the paisan CPC nonsense again....I'll drift back in to the shadows.

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  37. In the absence of the Bloc, my comments on a broken system would still stand--especially its divisiveness.

    The Green Party polls at about 10% of the electorate. However, it's a national party; it's not far off that number anywhere, averaged over time. Because of that national support, it's shut out of the House.

    Reform came from nowhere in 1993 because its support was regional. With 18.7% of the national vote, it captured 52 seats. The easternmost seat was the single one in Ontario, won with a 123 vote margin. (And yes, the new Bloc Québécois became Official Opposition with 54 seats and 13.5% of the national vote concentrated in a single province.) The Conservatives, with 16% of the vote spread across the country, won 2 seats. The election manifestly muffled the voice of Tory supporters.

    Our current system benefits parties with a local, "us versus them" mindset. It's designed (albeit unintentionally) to divide the country, not bring it together. A party can gain a caucus by fanning regional flames at the expense of the rest of the country. This makes for spectacular politics, but poor governance. Because when those MPs arrive in Ottawa, they're going to have to work together.

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  38. Shadow said,
    "I seriously question the idea that we should replace the importance of individual candidates winning a plurality of support with party logos, party advertising, and party platforms.

    This party based system you're suggesting is most distastefull !"

    If I understand you correctly, you're proposing that we do away with parties altogether. A reasoned and respectable argument can be made for that. Few municipalities in this country have party politics. However, I don't really care whether non-partisan federal politics would be a good idea, because it's not going to happen. Proportional representation will, eventually.

    The fundamental problem today is that our electoral and governance theory and practice diverge wildly. In theory we elect individual MPs, not party members, and they vote according to their constituents' wishes. In practice, MPs are elected and vote along party lines.

    Proportional representation is a way of bringing theory into line with practice. This is usually much easier than attempting the reverse.

    ReplyDelete
  39. --- "Our current system benefits parties with a local, "us versus them" mindset. It's designed (albeit unintentionally) to divide the country, not bring it together. A party can gain a caucus by fanning regional flames at the expense of the rest of the country. This makes for spectacular politics, but poor governance. Because when those MPs arrive in Ottawa, they're going to have to work together."

    But Canada is a federation, not a centralised state. Canada is a very regionalised country, and it would be virtually impossible to change that, and various parts of the country would not want to change that.

    I support proportional representation but with some sort of mechanic to represent regional interests. A straight, non-regional proportional representation system is not appropriate for a country like Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sorry John but I don't see the problems you do. Yes, there are various minor parties with regional support. But who has formed government ?

    Its always been national parties with broad support across the country.

    Also, why only focus on regional differences ?

    What about the "us versus them" nature of a single ideological party focusing on "Green" issues. Perhaps our system is designed to ignore such parties, since any ideology could probably get 10% nationally.


    "Proportional representation will, eventually."

    Nothing is inevitable. Its been defeated twice in BC and in other polities.

    And we elect individual MPs in the context of who they'll support as PM.

    Its a little of both worlds, which some people think leans too much towards the party side.

    But there are ways to deal with that - reduce the subsidy to political parties for instance.

    That's just money used for central party advertising, for big campaign planes for the leaders, and other non-essentials.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I really like that 'us vs them' mindset, specifically because Canada is a federation. We're not supposed to have a strong central government, and I don't think a central government will ever be good at representing the views of Canadians from different regions all at once. Quebeckers and Albertans want very different things from their government - by reducing the effectiveness of the central government and leaving more power in the hands of provincial or even municipal governments, those areas are more likely to get the government they want.

    That also then allows individuals who are atypical for their region to relocate within the country to find a government more to their liking.

    Regarding parties, that's just another layer of abstraction between the voters and the government action. Some people vote for a party rather than an individual. Some people do that because they agree with that party, and some people do it because they want their riding represented in the government and they're voting for the predicted winner.

    Except the rules of our parliament allow for floor crossing. Parliament is designed around the assumption that you voted for a person. Imagine these scenarios:

    A candidate publicly states that he will work within his party and stick with it through thick and thin.

    A candidate publicly states his loyalty to the principles of his party, and that he will defend them as best he can.

    A candidate publicly states that his party affiliation was chosen specifically to help him advance these specific issues which he feels are important.

    If you happen to vote by party, any one of those candidates might be the guy running for your party in your riding. The first guy is someone you'd like to support, but the other two should scare the hell out of you. The second guy could reasonably claim that his party has abandoned its principles and thus leave it without breaking any of his campaign pledges (as Rob Anderson just did in Alberta). The third guy might switch parties even as his original party rises in importance (as Keith Martin did).

    So, what are you, as a voter, supposed to do other than pick one guy and hope? Almost no voter can get everything he wants even in a candidate, let alone government.

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  42. As regards Senate Reform:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/senate-reform-an-altered-state-of-affairs/article1422994/

    The Federal government can do very little on its own says the SOC.

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  43. All the politicking in the world can't overcome the law of the land. The Senate won't be reformed, though the various parties will make political hay of it as much as they can.

    Only the Bloc and NDP are completely immune to the issue, since neither of them have Senators and so they aren't part of the "problem".

    (Yes, I know about the Senator who recognises himself as an NDP member, but the NDP itself doesn't recognise him as one of their senators, so it doesn't count)

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  44. Yeah, the Senate reform thing is just posturing. Any act passed by parliament will be about as binding as Harper's fixed-election-dates law was, and he demonstrated right away that it was entirely powerless.

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  45. What a silly article!

    The supreme court ruling was handed down in '79 ?

    But the supreme law of Canada is the constitution (see section 35), which has significant provisions regarding the senate and was repatriated in 1982.

    So any rulings pre '82 are invalid if they contradict the constitution.


    There is a STRONG constitutuional arguement that term limits can be passed by the house-senate, without the province's consent, and without using the ammendment formula.


    So expect 8 year term limits, no re-elections, and Harper to appoint only elected senators on a go forward basis.

    Alberta, Sask, Manitoba either have a process or are looking at one.

    Harper is under no obligation to replace senators as they retire. He could very easily say to the other provinces

    "either elect your senators or I won't appoint them !"

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  46. As for the idea that the federal government could set up elections, well I don't think that is constitutional.

    It has to be done by the provinces but sooner or later it will !

    And it can all happen without opening up the constitution.


    What will Quebec do ? Wait around until a Liberal government is elected or bow to the pressures of reality and start electing their senators if Harper says he's not doing any more appointments that aren't elected ???

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  47. Shadow your best hope for Senate reform is that SOC revisits the issue and changes the 1979 ruling. However there was nothing in the 1982 patriation of the Constitution that changed anything v.the 1979 SOC ruling to my knowledge. Perhaps you can change my mind by finding something that shows that I'm wrong as well that JS is out to lunch. Until then it's you that looks silly.

    BTW Harper won't be around forever and the LPC will eventually return to office like it or not.

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  48. Whoa! Let's not start the name calling, nobody "looks silly" when having a debate.

    This is some research done by The Library of Parliement:

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0742-e.pdf

    "Shadow your best hope for Senate reform is that SOC revisits the issue and changes the 1979 ruling."

    The court never actually ruled on term limits in '79, though they did make disfavourable comments on the idea suggesting they wouldn't approve if asked in the future.

    However, that's irrelevent.

    The constitution clarified what changes need to be made using the general amendment formula (house, senate, provinces with 7/50 rule).

    Term limits for senators was NOT specified, meaning that the constitution can be changed using just the house, senate.

    "However there was nothing in the 1982 patriation of the Constitution that changed anything v.the 1979 SOC ruling to my knowledge."

    Read the section devoted to scholars fighting over whether '82 wipes out '79, or if the constitution could be re-evaluated using '79 as part of interpretation. Either way '79 on its own, while still on the books, won't hold up.

    "Perhaps you can change my mind by finding something that shows that I'm wrong"

    Please take the time to read the library of parliement's research and decide if you need to change your opinion.

    "as well that JS is out to lunch."

    His article is way off base since it doesn't mention '82.

    Completely and utterly so.

    Disasterously wrong in fact, to the point that one wonders whether he's just throwing misinformation out there to torpedo reform ?

    Or maybe he thinks readers are too stupid to learn about '79 versus '82 ?

    Or maybe he just didn't do his research !

    "BTW Harper won't be around forever"

    Nobody can know how long the Tory's will stay in power. It could be 1 more year or three majorities in a row.

    If its the later do you think Quebec would really go that long without a full compliment of senators ?

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  49. Earl I hope that information helps bolster my case that

    8 year non-renewable terms + Harper appointing senators chosen by the province's

    can be done without a big constitutional convention and voting and all that mess !

    It might even happen in the next year or two.


    Its not triple e but its a pretty darn good comprimise.

    Harper's a pragmatic, non-ideological sorta guy and I know he'll be satisfied with it.

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  50. You can be sure that whatever reform is proposed will be challenged. Then it will be up to the Supreme Court to decide.

    So, assuming that a reform package is proposed and passes (which isn't in itself a certainty, since it might be difficult to get a majority in the HoC and even the Senate), and then makes it through committee, the court challenge will take quite some time.

    Will the Harper government still be in place by the time all of this has happened? And what kind of hurdles can the provinces put up? Will the Conservatives be happy that they helped elect sovereigntist senators?

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  51. Are you even reading that Library of Parliament paper you cited?

    "Changes to the powers of the Senate, the method of selecting senators, the number of senators to which a province is entitled, or the residency requirements of senatorscan only be made under the general amending formula contained in section 38 of the Constitution Act, 1982."

    Harper can declare that he'll only appoint elected senators tomorrow, but he cannot change whether he's allowed to appoint unelected senators, nor can any law he passes be binding on future governments. Recall that Chrétien refused to appoint Alberta's elected senators, so those nominees were never appointed.

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  52. Shadow said...
    What a silly article!

    Shadow hat's where the name calling started.

    Several provinces have already stated they will challenge any of Harper's proposed changes in court. As another poster pointed out any changes passed by legislation can be changed by the next government. They're simply legislative not constitutional. The real answer is to abolish the Senate not reform it in any event. I'd put it to referendum.

    Finally you should read your own links.

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  53. Hey Earl calling an aritcle silly and calling a person silly are two different things !

    Just to correct you, the 8 year terms are a CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE done via legislation that passes the house and senate.

    Certain constitutional changes require the province's, some don't.

    Senate terms certainly do not.


    I'm not quite sure what you mean by me reading my own links ? Please clarify ??


    Anyways, I hope i've cleared things up on the matter for you.

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  54. Hey Ira, as I said above the 8 year terms limits are not included in the passage you cited.

    Harper can change the constitution on his own for that.

    Direct elections faciliated by the federal gov't wouldn't hold up though, I also mentioned that.


    It would be up to each PM to decide how they handle it. That power wouldn't be taken away.

    However, Harper could start a precedent and anyone who breaks with the practice would certainly face the wrath of the western provicnes.

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  55. By the way,

    why are you guys bringing up court challenges ?

    Laws get challenged all the time. That doesn't mean that

    A) You don't pass them
    B) They're a bad idea

    It would certainly take two, maybe three years for the Supreme Court to resolve all of this.

    Harper will still be around by then.

    If he wants to do this now it'll happen.

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  56. I disagree. If a law is going to get struck down by the court, and you know that when you're writing it, then enacting the law is somewhere between malicious and obfuscatory.

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  57. "and you know that when you're writing it"

    That's a completely different matter.

    The parliementary research library makes a firm case that 8 year term limits CAN be done and would be upheld.

    And who Harper chooses to sit in the senate is his perogative alone.

    So we easily could have a system with eight year term limits and Harper setting a precedent of ONLY appointing senators that have been elected by the provinces.


    Could the Liberals one day form government and undo all of it as Earl and Eric suggest ??

    Sure.

    But that's a fact all governments live with.

    Any any PM after Harper who appoints an unelected senator after the precedent is set would face a firestorm!

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  58. I doubt it. The Senate just isn't that important to most Canadians, and a PM appointing unelected senators would simply be a return to the traditional (and entirely constitutionally valid) form of doing it.

    And yes, Harper can appoint senators however he likes, but if he passes a law requiring the appointmend of elected senators where available, that's where he'd be crossing a line.

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  59. "if he passes a law requiring the appointment of elected senators where available, that's where he'd be crossing a line."

    They could pass a resolution stating such a thing as the will of parliament.

    It would be rather silly to call it a "law" though, sort of like the fixed elections "law".

    Just like the Afghan resolution it would have no binding power whatsoever.

    And if a PM wanted to go against the will of parliament he certainly could because these are executive powers, the GG acting on the advice of her first minister.

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  60. Shadow wrote:

    "Any any PM after Harper who appoints an unelected senator after the precedent is set would face a firestorm!"

    Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

    "Elected" senator Stan Waters was appointed to the Senate upon the recommendation of Brian Mulroney in 1990. One might call that a precedent.

    Bert Brown was "elected" as a senator-in-waiting in 1998 and Chretien/Martin studiously ignored him when making Senate appointments.

    Brown was finally appointed to the Senate by Mr. Harper when he became PM.

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  61. Shadow wrote:

    "Harper is under no obligation to replace senators as they retire."

    He is so obligated.

    He doesn't have to do so right away and he could attempt to exert influence by leaving some vacancies for some time. But any attempt to do so beyond a handful of years would likely provoke a Constitutional crisis.

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  62. "He is so obligated."

    He's obligated in the sense that one of his duties as PM is to provide the GG the advice she needs on appointing senators.

    But as far as I know there is no specific constitutional requirement that he do so within a certain time frame.

    I suppose the GG could go ahead and appoint senators without him or ask that he resign for not performing his duties but that would provoke a much, much larger fight.


    Before last year's appointments there was talk of Liberal senators taking Harper to court to force him to make appointments.

    Its rather unclear if that would work.

    So long as the place is functional I doubt the courts would get involved in the matter. And I doubt the GG would step up either.

    Somewhere like Quebec will still have representation for quite some time, just not new appointments keeping them at 24 seats.

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  63. Shadow wrote:

    "as far as I know there is no specific constitutional requirement that he do so within a certain time frame."

    That is correct, as much of our constitutional infrastructure is unwritten. Also, it is not the time frame for a particular, single seat that would be problematic, but rather if either:
    a) there are so few Senators that the business of the chamber cannot be carried out or
    b) some province/region is dramatically underrepresented compared to the others for a very lengthy period

    "I suppose the GG could go ahead and appoint senators without him or ask that he resign for not performing his duties but that would provoke a much, much larger fight."

    None of the corrective solutions (other than the PM doing his job) are particularly palatable. And I expect that a real public outcry would have to be part of equation as well for any of those hypothetical actions to take place.

    Re: "larger fight" -- you bet! That's why I said "Constitutional crisis".

    "Before last year's appointments there was talk of Liberal senators taking Harper to court to force him to make appointments. Its rather unclear if that would work."

    I actually don't think a court challenge would work; any attempt to do so would almost certainly be ruled non-justiciable.

    "Somewhere like Quebec will still have representation for quite some time, just not new appointments keeping them at 24 seats."

    But given the Constitutional guarantee of provincial representation in the Senate, surely it would be quite problematic if ten years from now all other provinces had their full suite of Senators but Quebec only had 12. And what if another five years hence Quebec were down to 5 Senators? That is an untenable situation.

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  64. "That is an untenable situation."

    Agreed, though I doubt Harper would be around at that point, it would take more than ten years to for Quebec to get to just five seats I believe.

    One assumes that like dominos the provinces would fall into place rather than launch an expensive legal fight.

    If a couple holdout provinces refuse to hold elections it might be possible for the PM to still do something like informal consultations.

    He could ask people to put forward their names, have them participate in a couple debates, and do a straw poll with the audiences.

    Then appoint whoever the consensus candidate is with reasonable support in the province.

    I believe it is not possible for the feds to provide for the "direct election" of senators without going 7/50 but "direct" seems to be the operative word.

    The spectre of indirect consultations might force the hands of the holdout provinces.

    Or they might like the process, in the same way that American states have primaries or caucuses or conventions for nominating candidates for various offices.

    The main thing in my mind is that the public is somehow involved in the decision.

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