Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New HD Poll: 2-pt Conservative Lead

Harris-Decima, who now seems to be the pollster with the largest sample sizes, has a new poll out. To my knowledge, I don't think the Liberals and Conservatives have ever been both below 30% since the Progressive Conservatives and Canadian Alliance merged back in 2003. But considering I went out to get the mail in a T-shirt yesterday and it is currently snowing in the capital, weirder things have happened.Compared to Harris-Decima's last poll earlier this month, 29% represents a drop of three points for the Conservatives. The Liberals are also down two points to 27%. This seems to give some credence to the low-scoring EKOS polling we've been seeing this year.

The New Democrats appear to be the beneficiaries, with a gain of three points. They currently stand at 20%. The Bloc Québécois is also up, two points nationally to 11%, and the Greens are up one to 12%.

Complete disillusionment with the two main parties seems to characterize this poll. But, there are some things the Liberals can take from this poll with a smile.

The main one is in Ontario, where the Liberals are up two points and lead with 36%. The Conservatives have dropped one to 31% while the NDP is up two to 19%. Decent number for the Liberals, excellent for the NDP.

Quebec, however, is a wasteland for the two major federalist parties. The Bloc is up six points to 45%, one of the higher results we've seen for them. The Liberals are down two to a pitiful 21%, while the NDP is up one to 12%. The Conservatives have dropped big here, six points to 10%.

In British Columbia, while the numbers might look strange on the face of it, there has been very little movement. The NDP is up two and now has the lead with 31%. The Conservatives are down three to 30% and the Liberals are down one to 21%. The Greens make an important jump of three points, rising to 18%.

Elsewhere, the Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada with 39%, the Conservatives lead in Alberta with 56%, and there has been some movement in the Prairies. There, the Conservatives have dropped ten points but still lead with 39%. The NDP is up nine to 31%.

Brace yourselves.

The Conservatives win 63 seats in the West, 31 in Ontario, 2 in Quebec, and 8 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 104.

The Liberals win 11 seats in the West, 55 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 20 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 101.

The Bloc wins 56 seats in Quebec against extremely weak opposition.

The NDP sets records, winning 20 seats in the West, 20 in Ontario, 2 in Quebec, and 4 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 46.

The Greens win one seat in British Columbia (guess who).

An incredible seat result. Both major parties are reduced to around 100 seats, and the NDP and Bloc win massively, setting records for their best performances. Even the Greens get in. With this sort of result, you have to think the Liberals and NDP would work together to form a government. The Conservatives simply can't be expected to continue governing with only 104 seats and a plurality of three, and the NDP can't be expected to be kept out of government with a caucus half as large as the Liberals, and a popular vote only seven points behind them.

Oddly enough, this sort of result resembles the sort of three-way electoral race we're seeing in Great Britain. Are Anglo-Saxons (tongue-firmly-in-cheek) sick of the traditional parties?


  1. Wow. I figured when I saw the results last night they had interviewed like 900 people.

    I think the NDP will probably do really well in BC for the next while due to the HST. Though I don't why they'd being doing so well in Saskatoba?

    The Bloc is probably benefitting from how well PQ is doing and because of the problems with the PLQ.

    It's too bad HD don't breakdown their results as much as Ekos does, I'd like to see where the support is shifting if it's older voters or females or what.

  2. They do break it down for women voters, I just neglected to mention it.

    Women are split three-ways, with the Liberals having 28% support, the Conservatives 26%, and the NDP 24%.

  3. Milliken is expected to rule today.

    I put this on Kady O'Malleys blog on CBC as a comment.
    This long ago ceased to be about the Afghan detainee documents.

    It became about who or what had supreme power. Not political party power but about institutional power.

    Which institution? Parliament or the Executive could in effect rule. By tradition, law and custom going back to Magna Carta Parliament has the supreme authority.

    This has been challenged and the Speaker must rule in Parliaments favour or our whole system becomes, as someone says here, an elected dictatorship.

  4. Are Anglo-Saxons (tongue-firmly-in-cheek) sick of the traditional parties?

    I know that's humour but darn it there may be more than a little truth there Eric.

    It does seem as if the major two parties are seeing voter disenchantment. Be interesting to see what else comes out this week ??

  5. With Tory support now down to 29% - I wonder if Harper will say "uncle" and give up the documents rather than be forced into an election he would almost certainly lose. He's over a barrel now.

  6. No major shock to see the big two dropping. I've noticed for months that neither big party was higher than the combined score for NDP + Green + BQ.

    This is what happens when the big two focus on 'dont vote for them, they are evil' rather than 'vote for us because we will do xyz'. People hear that over and over again regarding the Liberals & CPC then decide 'maybe I should look at the NDP or Green Party (or Bloc in Quebec).

    As a Green supporter I love to see the GPC climbing, but as a lover of democracy I hate to see the reason for it being anger towards the big 2 instead of actual support for the alternatives.

  7. A big note with this poll is that the Liberals and CPC each would need at least some BQ support to gain power or would have to work together. The NDP on their own or Green & NDP would not be enough.

    Price of a FPTP system - massive regional support = massive power, national support = no power.

  8. So John what you are saying is Green support is really "None Of The Above" then ?

  9. Despite the NDP's high numbers, it isn't that spectacular in historical terms.

    I mean, think of it this way. With 20% of the vote, they got 46 seats - 3 more than when Ed Broadbent, with 20% of the vote, got 43 seats in 1988.

    Similarly, in 1988, those 43 seats made up over 15% of the entire Parliament. In this scenario, the 46 seats are good for just under 15%.

    So, more or less, the NDP is at that limit it had before - 20% of the vote and 15% of the seats. Not a huge amount of growth, historically anyways.

    Plus, I must dispute the Lib Dem comparison. The Lib Dem situation mostly comes from a tired two-party regime facing a popular third-party leader who took advantage of the country's first debates.

    This situation comes from more of a lackluster two-party regime (there's a difference in my mind) which is driving voters to support for parties that are still considered "safe" due to their mainstream status.

    But neither May nor Layton have the kind of charisma or media exposure Clegg has, and really, you can't rely on anti-votes forever. Unless you have the barb at the end of the hook to keep them on the line, they'll drift back. I have a feeling it'll happen to the Greens, and the NDP.

  10. Its worth noting that in the UK, before the writ was dropped and the LibDems started their surge - poll kept showing the "other" parties in the UK (i.e. Greens, UK Independence Party, Respect, SNP, PC, BNP etc...) getting very high polling numbers. But since the LibDems have been on the march - all that support for the others has largely evaporated. Why waste a vote on the greens who will never win a seat anywhere, when you can vote NDP and elect 50 Mps and make a real difference!

  11. I agree with Volkov, Clegg's support has gone up because he has shown that him and his party are capable of leading Britain.

    The NDP's support has gone up, in just one poll, because of dissatisfaction with the other two parties and not because Layton or the NDP has done anything recently to show they are capable of running a country.

    I'll be interested to see if the support for the NDP remains over several polls.

  12. First of all, there is no comparison at this time between the NDPs position in the polls and the LibDems in the UK. The NDP got 18.2 percent of the vote in the last election and now we have a poll showing 20%. The NDP has won 19/20% before - look at the 1980 election or the 1988 election - so while 20% is good for the NDP it is only at the high end of the NDP's traditional band of support. The LibDems in the UK have been stuck in the high teens (like the NDP) for many many years - but they have catapulted to 29/30% since the first leaders debate - its a whole different order of magnitude.

    By many objective standards, the NDP is more "prepared to govern" than the LibDems are in the UK. The NDP has been government in five Canadian provinces over the years and has caucus members who have held various portfolios at the provincial level etc... The LibDems have NO ONE with any experience running anything. I don't think Clegg did anything remarkable in terms of being "ready to govern" - he just pulled a Gordon Wilson (google 1991 BC election for more info.) and has soared on a "pox on both your houses" sentiment. Even the most optimistic scenarios suggest that when all is said and done the Lib Dems will end up a distant third in seats with at most 100 seats out of 650 - no one is seriously talking about the LibDems being the government after the election.

  13. DL,

    The support for "others" in the UK election has waddled around 10%, never going lower than 8%. That's still a large amount of voters, voting for parties that aren't the three main groupies. In fact, it's just about the support we have here for other parties, if you include the Greens and all those minor parties.

    The difference then is that instead of three parties, we have four parties, clogging up the "main contenders." The British versions of the Bloc Quebecois are too small to manage a comparison.

    So in reality, while the "Other" vote has fallen, to be sure, it hasn't fallen to the levels where the Greens get squeezed out here. You have to remember that the Bloc takes up at least 10% every time. Take 10% out of the three main UK party's votes, and you pretty much get what we get here, just with different parties.

  14. DL just to correct you the Lib-Dems DO have some experience in government.

    Local elections in Britain are run under party banners and currently the Lib-Dems are in coalitions that run 19 of them I believe, amazingly 12 with the Tories and 7 with labour.

    (My figures could be wrong but its in that ballpark, an article I was reading was using the figures to make the point that Cameron being propped up by Clegg isn't so outrageous a proposition given what happens at the local levels.)

  15. A big portion of the support for the Greens (and the NDP) is via people who normally vote CPC or Liberal but are unhappy with both. That is what always happens in a multiparty system where you have 2 who are likely to form and a couple who are not likely to form a government.

    The big danger now though is we are getting into an Ontario 1990 situation where the protest vote could cause a third party to win. If the CPC and Liberals keep bleeding a couple points here and a couple there, then in an election we have something happen that makes Layton look good and the big 2 look bad (easy to see many possibilities there) then suddenly we have an NDP surge that is just enough to form a government.

    As a right-wing GPC supporter I say 'ick' to that idea. We all saw the mess in Ontario with the NDP and I fear the mess they could cause federally if given full power - and in our current system 25% might be enough for a majority but...

    Just did a check though using a spreadsheet from 2008 and adjusting votes by percentages (it wouldn't be that even but worth checking) and to get an NDP govt it would take a total of 34% for NDP vs 26% for CPC and 23% for Liberal to get 91 NDP-88 CPC-76 Liberal. Sure points out how FPTP helps regional parties like the CPC/BQ as under that situation the CPC still gets all but two Alberta seats (both going NDP). So at least the fear of an NDP majority federal government is minimal thanks to the BQ and CPC.

    FYI: just for fun I removed the BQ and independents, then gave all 4 remaining parties 25% each. Got 111 Liberal, 84 CPC, 78 NDP, and 35 GPC. Even if I shifted it to 31% GPC and 23% for everyone else I still get a Liberal government, although then the CPC drops to 52 seats. Sheesh is that a depressing statement on the power of FPTP vs proportional rep.

  16. Éric: Are Anglo-Saxons (tongue-firmly-in-cheek) sick of the traditional parties?

    Anglo-Saxons are getting rather tired of traditional politics. The Grits have decided to crank up the Guergis-Jaffer gong show. If you rassle with the pig, you're going to get covered in mud. It's not surprising that their support has fallen as a result.

    Peter: So John [Northey] what you are saying is Green support is really "None Of The Above" then ?

    There's a major component of "none of the old way of politics". Voters really do want parties to work together. It's hard to get real work done otherwise in a minority government. Proportional representation forces parties to face this fact because they know they'll never get a majority, but cooperative government does not require PR.

    The best defence for the Grits and Tories is to show some maturity. The Grits could do this, depending on what persona Michael Ignatieff finally chooses. It's not clear that the current Tory regime can, but things might be quite different under a future leader.

    A move to civility and cooperation might indeed bring some disaffected voters back to their Tory/Grit folds. But the numbers could be fewer than you'd think. A lot of those voters are gone for good. They're looking for more than the older parties can offer.

  17. DL - I believe the LibDems have had quite a bit of experience the past few years at the local government level in the UK - they controlled a number of local counsels and were in government in Scotland for a number of years. I'm not sure how many of their current MPs (or shadow cabinet members) come from these lower levels of government, but I assume at least a number of the new people likely to win seats do.

  18. The Helena/Rahim sideshow has not helped the Tories or Grits, to put it mildly. The Dippers and Greens are the winners in this poll. However, the swing looks a bit too large to be credible. Even if it is real, Stephen and Michael will eventually wipe the mud off and there will be some return to previous numbers.

    My wet finger in the wind says that the real level of NDP support is closer to 16-17% than 18%--an increase, but not as large as HD reports. The NDP result in the next EKOS poll will be especially interesting. If it pops above 19% we're probably seeing something big; if it's 18% or so we're seeing something; and if it's 17% or less, we're seeing nothing, which would also be surprising.

    For once I see nothing especially out of line in the Green numbers. BC might be a hair high, but the direction seems right. From the Green perspective the BC seat prediction is obviously not bad news but (as I've observed a number of times) Éric's model is not really well-suited to predicting Green outcomes at this stage. Elizabeth May's shot at Garry Lunn's seat is still a serious battle but as time goes on her odds get better and better.

    From a narrow Green perspective, the more Tory/Grit attack politics, the better the party does. As a Canadian, I want something better.

  19. They're looking for more than the older parties can offer.

    They are indeed, either more or different, which amounts to the same thing.

    Get the feeling we are doing what seems to be happening in the UK, shifting.

  20. Has anyone checked for predictable seasonal variations?

    The CPC was last below 30% in April 2009. Now it's April 2010.

  21. Judy Wasylycia-Leis is stepping down.

    By-election shall ensue! Kevin Lamoureaux for MP! Woo!

    But really, she's stepping down, as some expected. She didn't say she was running for mayor, though.

  22. DL:
    "The LibDems in the UK have been stuck in the high teens (like the NDP) for many many years - but they have catapulted to 29/30% since the first leaders debate - its a whole different order of magnitude."

    An order of magnitude is a power of 10. So, no, this is not literally an order of magnitude. The GREENS wouldn't increase their share by an order of magnitude unless they get like 60%.

    The biggest difference with the LibDems is that they still sit somewhat to the right in certain economic issues (their relative leftness is more of New Labour slipping past them than any actual leftward movement by the LibDems). You get much more Tory-LibDem dynamics that don't really replicate in Canada (I know there are rural Tory-NDP ridings but I wonder if an urban leader like Layton can really affect those swings more than the local candidates).

  23. Goodie, another by-election. Unfortunately, Manitoba seems to be rather stagnant when it comes to federal politics, so it may not be very exciting.

    Does anyone remember the length of time before a by-election must be called?

    They tend to be grouped together, but this is the only one on the docket right now.

  24. Eric it needs to be called within 11 to 180 days and the length of the election must be at least 36 days. So it could be 7 months before we know the results:


    Volkov that's awesome!

    When I linked to the story all those months ago the consensus seemed to be that if she did resign it wouldn't be until the fall.

    I guess she wanted a bit of a vacation/break to refresh before jumping into local politics. Probably a smart idea.

    Here's the pundits page for everybody:


    This will be an epic battle for second place. In all recent elections the Liberals have gotten second place except for in 2008.

    Therefore this will be a key test for Michael Ignatieff. If Liberals gets second place he is outperforming Dion.

    If not the Liberals remain firmly in Dion territory.

  25. Peter,

    I don't think there is any "shifting" going on. Something like that requires sustained growth and big numbers. The NDP has only one of those, and just barely, because these "big numbers" are well within their historical norms.

    No - the status-quo of Canadian politics is remaining generally the same. If there is a coalition, that's when you look for shift. But not when one poll out of many shows a slight bump that can be attributed in half its regionals to statistical errors!

  26. The Liberal candidate in Winnipeg North doesn't really seem to be a great candidate so they may have trouble in the by-election.

  27. I think the UK comparison is fair in the sense of disillusionment with the two party system, even if the details are very different.

    For example, the NDP are a fairly known quantity with exposure in debates, unlike the Lib-Dems. Moreover, Cleggmania came at a time when Cameron's leads were starting to slip and people did not really want to vote for Brown. Also, the Lib-Dems were often seen as in the middle on many issues. Outside of some places in the west, I don't think people see the NDP as that way.

    If you were already voting for Green, I don't think you car too much about strategic voting, but I suppose it's possible that NDP candidates could create a better bandwagon in regions where they're stronger than Liberals.

    Still... we shouldn't read too heavily into one poll notable for it's stunning top line results, even if it's not too far off of other results.

    BTW; I sort of agree with the suggestion of seasonal results. Don't the CPC generally poll stronger in the summer, and weaker in the beginning of the year?

  28. Volkov

    I didn't mean shifting parties. I meant shifts in perspective.

    People want more from their legislators than they are getting. The actual direction of that shift is very hard at the moment to discern but there is movement.

  29. kevinsutton: Don't the CPC generally poll stronger in the summer, and weaker in the beginning of the year?

    Well, the Tories always have a dip after their annual December prorogation. Anything else is probably more coincidental than seasonal.

  30. PoscStudent,

    If you're talking about Roldan Sevillano, he's stepping down. A popular provincial Liberal MLA is taking his place, namely Kevin Lamoureux.

  31. This poll doesn't suprise me in the least.

    The CPC should thank their lucky stars that the Liberal leadership seems completely inept, and listing to the left in a way that will be unpalatable to many centrists.
    (whip the long-gun vote? Could they be any stupider?)

    The conservative disillusionment should also come as no suprise as they are tainted by Jaffers patheticly bad lobbying efforts, now have a touchy foreign policy issue to deal with (abortion), and have an immigation minister who seems determined to be a bald-faced liar on sensitve issues.

    I despise George Galloway from my very core, but interventions like this are beyond the pale, unless they are admitted frankly.

    It's unfortunate that such a promising talent like Kenney has pissed his credibility away by travelling down this path.

    A reputation as a bald-faced liar is hard to shake, and also taints the party, leaving accusations of a "hidden agenda" all the more plausible.

    I think it's past time Harper, had a talk with Kenney about honesty.

    "Trust" is an important part of his political appeal.

  32. Volkov,

    I've seen you mention Kevin Lamoureux a few times before but I didn't no if it was sure thing. Then I saw on punditsguide that Roldan Sevillano was already nominated for the Liberals so I was confused.

    It's a good thing he is stepping down because from what I read on his page I don't think he'd have a chance.

  33. Kevin Lamoureaux, will do very well.

    His provincial seat is within the federal boundaries.

    He has only held Inkster as long as he has, because of his own personal popularity.

    If he doesn't win Winnipeg North, he most certainly will finish a very strong second.

    He is a very good politician.

    To sit in the Manitoba legislature as long as he has, as a Liberal means you are doing something right.

    I hope he can pull it out. He will have a strong organization behind him.

    If he wins, it will be because of himself, it will have nothing to do with federal politics, or personalities.

  34. John I think the seasonal bounce has to do with the summer break.

    When the sun is shining people don't want to hear about scandals. The Liberals have been the party of "gotcha" these past few years and its gotten them nowhere.

    There's no parliament in session for a couple months so the Liberals don't have a voice to complain about the latest "scandal".

    And finally Harper is a master of the BBQ circuit.

    Iggy ?

    Hand him a hot dog and he'd ask "where's my plate, knife, and fork ?"

    He'd visit a farm and say something like "i'm a proud member of the political class, its so exciting to visit a member of the agrarian class".

    Or you know he'd just leave the country to vacation in France like he's done every other time parliament has gotten out.

  35. Yes, kudos to Harper for being able to pretend he's one of them.

  36. Éri - You know as well as anyone that politics is mostly artifice.

  37. Eric any sociological analysis of the backgrounds and habits of Ignatieff and Harper would make it exceedingly clear that Harper is indeed an average, mainstream Canadian and Ignatieff is part of the elitist minority.

    Harper doesn't have the best interpersonal skills. He's seen as "one of them" because he is indeed one of them. He is not pretending anything.

    He doesn't have the skills to pretend any such thing.

    Ignatieff is an elite. He also has poor interpersonal skills so he lacks the ability to reach beyond his social milieu.

    People's backgrounds don't disqualify them from connecting with regular folks. The Kennedy brothers were elites and yet they were beloved by the working class, especially Irish Catholics.

    Connecting with groups outside your own is a political skill.

    Obama used to have it in '08, despite some slip ups like talking about the price of arugala and people clinging to guns and religion.

    Neither Harper nor Ignatieff have it. EKOS polling shows their demographic appeal and it mirrors their own backgrounds and habits closely.

  38. My leader is better at fooling those rubes than your leader!

  39. Shadow,

    One, you obviously haven't seen this picture.

    Two, last break Ignatieff was in Canada.

    Three, everything you said was total BS, no offense. That kind of thing has no basis in reality.

  40. Its finally happening !!

    Kady O'Malley is blogging it:


    Election soon ? Don Martin thinks so...

  41. Marni Soupcoff writes an excellent piece, about how two proposed antiterrorism powers could impact Canadian civil liberties.

  42. Eric,

    Gilles is a master at this also, non?

  43. There are about 4 Manitoba provincial ridings for every federal riding and Inkster is partly in Kildonan-St. Paul and partly in Winnipeg North - so at best you can say that one eights of the voters in Winnipeg North have ever had Lamoureux as their MLA. Big deal.

  44. Harper grew up in a middle class family playing hockey.

    I believe Ignatieff grew up in Yugoslavia at the Canadian embassy.

    I think its clear who's life experiences are closer to those of the average Canadian.

  45. Wait, let me see if I can get your brand of faux outrage correct. Hold on...okay.

    How dare you show such disrespect for the hardworking members of our Foreign Services! For shame...

  46. Funny thing about Ignatieff, he has held a job outside of politics, for most of his adult life.

    He is very well respected internationally, and has authored many books.

    Ignatieff, hasn't made a career out of being a politician.

    Stephen Harper, is a supposed economist, but has never plyed his trade at it.

    Harper was a gas bag for the NCC, and has been a politician.

    Yes a Harvard professor for PM, would be a terrible thing.

    A worldly sophisticate, for PM, would also be a bad thing.

    At least Harper knows how to eat a hot dog, so lets vote for him.

  47. Shadow,

    You'd be a good UK Labour supporter, Shadow. Always playing the class card.


  48. Oh, and when you're ready to explain how the "life experiences of the average Canadian" have anything to do with being able to run the economy of a G8 nation, deal with international diplomacy, head an army, negotiate and compromise with 10 provincial premiers, and make sound judgments for the fate of the nation's democracy, justice system, healthcare, environment, and infrastructure, I'll be all ears.

  49. Actually, Harper is from a UPPER middle class family - is by all accounts very unathletic and has never had a job in the private sector in his life.

  50. Volkov we don't have classes in Canada. As you point out, Britain does indeed have a political class and alienation between that class and regular folks is at an all time high, fueling Clegg's rise.

    That is why a couple weeks ago when Ignatieff came up to the press and said "i'm a proud member of the political class" there was a universal cringe.

  51. Harper is overwright like most Canadians and Ignatieff isn't. Does that make Harper a better leader?

  52. Eric no explanation is nessecary because I never said or suggested such a thing.

    Indeed a member of the "elite" may be more adept at leading a country.

    My comment was that Ignatieff is having trouble relating to average Canadians and getting their votes.

    We live in a democracy and its nessecary to find ways to relate to regular folks.

    Ignatieff is horrible at it.

    That's a fairly objective and unbiased analysis that polling supports.

    I'm not sure what you arguement you could use to disagree with my assertion.

    When you can make one i'll gladly hear it.

  53. "My leader is better at fooling those rubes than your leader!"

    Exactly - that's exactly what peopel should want in the leader of their party: the greater appearance of sincerity.

  54. Shadow,

    "We don't have classes in Canada."

    According to whom? What do you mean we don't have classes here?

    I ask for the millionth time, what world do you live in?

    Oh, and the guvmint lost the privilege vote. Mwhaha.

  55. Eric:

    Milliken has ruled against the Govt but left open the remedy to the House to decide.

  56. Yes, was watching. Dramatic.

  57. O'Malley live blog: CBC
    As such, he believes that the House should make *one further effort* to come up with a way to resolve the impasse, however if, in two weeks time, the matter is not behind us, the chair will return with a statement on the appropriate motion that can be moved. Oh, and yes, it is, in fact, a prima facie case of privilege. So, uh, there we go. Two weeks!

    So there it is. The House has the right to demand the documents. Speaker gives the House two weeks to work out a process with the Govt to allow for security concerns. If they can't he will accept motions to deal with the situation.

  58. Despite being an NDPer, I have to think this poll is an outlier. I'll wait for a few more to show similar results before I believe there's been any major shift.

  59. I have to say, that ruling was not only a win for the Opposition, but a win for those of us who believe the PMO has too much power.

    I'm thinking about writing a letter to Milliken, thanking him for this service. This draws a fairly clear line in the sand about how much power the PMO has. Thank God for Peter Milliken.

    In related news, compare this major ruling, the orderly conduct about it, to the situation in Ukraine.

  60. Milliken's a good man. I wrote to him when he was my MP during the vote on same-sex marriage. I urged him to vote for it if it came to a tie.

    I received a letter back which wasn't a form letter, so I respect that.

  61. So now Harper is in deep doo-doo. He has two choices - give up the documents with all the incriminating evidence in them OR refuse, possibly spark an election and lose.

  62. Volkov

    I have to say, that ruling was not only a win for the Opposition, but a win for those of us who believe the PMO has too much power.

    I completely agree and I think we have managed to preserve our democracy for a little while anyway.

  63. Volkov we don't have classes in Canada in the sense that we reject British notions of privilege and strive for equality.

    Are there socioeconomic differences between groups ? Of course.

    I'm talking about our conception of ourselves though. We don't like people who appear to think they are better than others.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Ignatieff's words aren't used in an attack ad.

    As for Ukraine, i'd be pretty upset if our leader let Russia put up a bunch of subs and ships with nukes on 'em in Canadian ports. A brawl wouldn't surprise me in the HOC over something like that.

  64. Milliken's ruling strikes me as meaningless unless its endorsed by a full vote in the house.

    The most interesting and overlooked part of his ruling is that he endorsed the gov't position on the national security threat of simplying handing over all the documents.

    That's what the original order said. Hand them all over and make them all public.

    In that sense Miliken seems to have vindicated Harper's behaviour and with his compromise ruling made it clear that the original order was irresponsible and put national security at risk.

  65. Yes, indeed a significant ruling in favour of Parliament and, indirectly, the Opposition.

    It will be interesting to hear the reaction of the Government. We're clearly heard from the other leaders. I wonder how long it will take for a response, what it will be, and whether Milliken will be identified as a Liberal Speaker.

  66. Shadow,

    Did you even listen to Milliken's speech?

    He endorsed the view that the executive can put forward reasons for which to keep the documents censored, be it confidentiality or national security, etc. But he added that the executive already put forward those reasons, and that a vote had been taken, and the House had voted down the executive's arguments. He said that after he said the House has supreme authority in the end - and the House exercised that authority, and the government lost.

    Now he's given the government and the Opposition two weeks to settle the argument themselves and come to a compromise, or the Speaker will rule directly against the government and order the documents be handed over unredacted.

    That's it. The vote was already taken, and the issue will be settled within two weeks time. Milliken set the standard and said Parliament was supreme. It's done. The government lost. Period.

  67. I figure that Power Play &
    Power & Politics

    both know what tonight's show is about.

    Wonder how the ratings will do ??

  68. Volkov I listened to the speaker live.

    He very clearly endorsed the gov'ts position that the initial vote did NOT contain any mechanisms to protect national security.

    That's why he wants the house to come up with a compromise.

    If Harper simply follows the initial order then he would have to hand over every document, unredacted, to each member of parliament and to the public.

    Very dangerous for national security indeed !

    Some kind of security measures are nessecary, to suggest otherwise is pure lunacy.

    Anyways its up to the gov't now. They can find a compromise if they want.

    Or they can wait 2 weeks for a vote to be held on the speaker's ruling.

    The vote hasn't been held. This isn't over. Nobody has lost yet. Period.

    Quite honestly I doubt the opposition would have the nessecary votes to force the gov'ts hand.

  69. Here's a helpful link to parliament for Volkov and others who appear to think the speaker's ruling is the final word and the gov't has lost:


    Look at figure 3.1

    There's still a lot of steps to go, most importantly a full vote in the house of commons.

    A vote that will no doubt be considered one of confidence.

    Will each and every opposition member really stand up and vote non-confidence in the gov't when they've clearly been unwilling to do so for nearly a year and a half ?

    We'll see. I'm guessing not. In which case the speaker's ruling is meaningless and the gov't remains supreme.

  70. Of course they have the votes - the opposition outnumbers the government 164 to 144 - PERIOD!

  71. Shadow,

    I quite honestly believe you're holding on to some hope with naught but the skin of your teeth.

    Milliken endorsed the government's view that there are precedents and exemptions for documents being requested. But he said specifically, and I will go back and comb through his speech, word by word, and find it for you if I must, that the vote held on December 10th was a valid and specific vote against the government's excuses to keep the documents redacted. This was when three ministers stood and debated it in the House, and a vote was held after, as Milliken noted must be done in order to assert that Parliament's will is valid.

    Will they hold another vote? Probably, because if a compromise and proposition is reached, they must debate and vote on it. That was part of Milliken's ruling. But, again, he already said that the vote on December 10th was valid and was even the basis for this entire situation to occur! Had you actually listened, you would have heard him lament the fact that the government and opposition did not work it out in committee, and it had to go to that vote. Why would he mention that if the vote as not valid and expressed the will of Parliament?

    The vote has been done already, and Milliken noted it. That's the only way this situation came up. But Milliken is suggesting that compromise be reached, and then another vote will be taken which will decide whether or not to go with it. But the initial vote still stands and it is still valid. Milliken's ruling is there. Done.


  72. The vote hasn't been held. This isn't over. Nobody has lost yet. Period.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong !!

    The vote HAS BEEN HELD !! It was held Dec 10, 2009 and the Govt LOST !!

    The next vote, if there is to be one, will be remedies should no agreement be found.

  73. Milliken just thwarted a coup. Not a legitimate coalition that was sneeringly branded a coup at the time. The real thing. Not one with armed insurgents, the kind where those with agreed upon power attempt seize the rest of the power.

    A palace coup was thwarted today.

  74. I don't expect any election any time soon, at least not until July.

    The Conservatives have a vested interest to form a coalition to delay an election, because many of them were elected in 2004 and will only receive their six-digit pension for life if they sit until then. After all, many of them will be unemployed after the next election.

  75. I don't really understand how the model calculates the number of seats won.
    The NDP winning two seats in Québec sticks out here: They're at the same score as last election, and the Bloc is up 7 points, so how does the model come to the conclusion that the NDP wins a second seat, presumably Gatineau?
    I don't remember if you've ever made a post explaining the methodology, but it's the kind of stuff I'm really curious about and I think it'd be really cool if you could go into it.

  76. Volkov: Probably, because if a compromise and proposition is reached, they must debate and vote on it.

    Why? If a compromise is reached and the documents are handed over with appropriate safeguards, the matter is closed. No vote is required.

  77. Shadow, do you have a source for Conservative speaking points or are your comments personal views based on your interpretations of public Conservative statements?

    Lest there be any doubt, this isn't a troll; it's an honest question.

  78. Volkov I didn't say that Miliken nullified the initial vote.

    He just pointed out that if Harper followed it every document would need to be handed to every MP and the public.

    Pretty silly wording on the initial vote eh? A legal and valid motion but also a stupid one.

    So go back and reach a comprmise to protect the documents he said. He suggested some ways.

    Anyways i'll lay out a scenario for you:

    Harper negotiates with the opposition but fails to reach a compromise he likes.

    2 weeks pass. Miliken allows a remedy vote to be held to back up his initial ruling.

    That vote fails because enough Liberals stay home or vote with the gov't.

    Gov't wins. Gov't is supreme. Miliken's ruling means nothing. Without a remedy being adopted the initial vote and the speaker's ruling are nulified. Period.

  79. Joffré,

    The model doesn't take into account individual ridings - the seat projections are based on regional popular vote levels for determining the amount of seats won.

    So, while Gatineau is the seat assumed to be the second NDP riding in Quebec, it isn't necessarily Gatineau. And the model isn't based upon a proportional increase across the bar.

    While this is all abstracted, the idea is that if the NDP is at X percentage, they must be doing well enough at the provincial level that someone like Francoise Boivin has a strong campaign against Richard Nadeau, and the NDP pull off a win in Gatineau despite Bloc improvements in other parts of Quebec. The Liberals are down, as are the Conservatives, so some of that federalist vote moves over to the NDP and gets them the second seat in Gatineau.

    But, as I said, this is all abstracted. The NDP wins two seats. They could be two in Montreal (say, after a Liberal or Bloc candidate has to pull out of the election) or both in the Outaouais.


  80. That vote fails because enough Liberals stay home or vote with the gov't.

    Dream on

    Your ability to not comprehend reality is unsurpassed !

    Liberals understand the importance of the Speakers ruling and the necessity to support it.

    Unlike the trolls on the Tory side.

  81. John I don't do talking points. That's a big myth i've heard here before, that every person who's arguement supports this government is somehow a paid blogger parroting lines.

    And have you see some of the info alerta Soudas and the communications shop send out ?

    They're pretty limp.

    Also usually talking points are two or three lines designed to be repeated over and over again. Catchy slogans that push a message.

    If you haven't noticed I have the bad habit of speaking in paragraphs.

    Nope, I just type in the first thing that comes to my mind on these issues.

  82. Then apparently the PMO is taking notes.

  83. Peter please don't call people trolls (i'm surprised that comment was let through).

    Was the budget not important ?

    Some Liberals didn't show up for that.

    What the abortion bill not important ?

    Some Liberals voted with the gov't on that.

    Was the budget implimentation and euthenasia bills not important ?

    Some Liberals accidentally voted the wrong way on both those issues.

    If a vote is held it is not unreasonable to assume that the CPC might carry the day.

    The speaker's ruling is the real politik equivalent of someone saying "I own America". Unless you bring an army (the votes) the words are meaningless.

  84. "Then apparently the PMO is taking notes"

    That's probably a joke but i'll respond anyways.

    Its not unusual for people with the same world view, based on the same coherent philosophy, when presented with a series of facts to come up with the same interpretation and response completely independent of each other.

    Similiar thinking is why people form political parties.

    If we didn't think in similiar ways it would be unusual. We wouldn't fit together as a party.

    Its not one big conspiracy theory with paid bloggers Eric.

  85. --- Its not one big conspiracy theory with paid bloggers Eric.

    If it was I'd be the first to sign up.

  86. There is no three way race here or in the UK. Even if the NDP got 30pc of the vote they would still only have about 60 seats. As for the UK, those LibDems may get 30pc of the vote but will still have less that 100 seats. Stupid thing is Labour could get the most seats with the lowest popular vote. The UK system sucks and is heavily biased to Labour. This Canadian poll is a blip and whilst it doesnt look good for Harper right now it will improve. Iffy has the biggest problem as he is clearly not clicking with Canadians.

  87. Shadow,

    You're acting like its fact that the Liberals or some other Opposition members won't vote. It isn't fact. It's oddly-based speculation. The budget and the abortion bills are two different situations. What's better to compare it to is the December 10th vote in which all Opposition members were present (or at least enough to defeat the Conservatives). Your "logic" falls on its face with that fact.

    Why don't you be patient and see what happens, instead of saying at the outset, "well it doesn't really matter anyways," for whatever half-cocked reason.

  88. Shadow,

    My oh My, do you love idle speculation.

    OK, here's mine:

    After the next election, the Libs, and the NDP will have more seats than Harper. They will join forces and decide that they have no confidence in the Harper government.

    Harper will go crawling on his hands and knees to Duceppe.

    Harper will plead, beg, cry, and humiliate himself in front of Duceppe, so Duceppe will keep him in office.

    Duceppe will say oui Stephane I will do that based on several conditions.

    Steve says what are they?

    Duceppe says you will recognize Quebec as an independent nation. You will then forward Quebec $200 billion dollars. I must be deputy PM, and finance minister. The BLOC, must make up 99% of your cabinet.

    The most important thing, you will kiss my feet everyday, and call me master.

    Harper agrees to all terms.

  89. Volkov this is the december 10th vote:


    As you can see the motion passed 146 to 143.

    The vote should have been 162 to 146. I don't know who the missing opposition MPs were or what their motives are.

    You've dismissed out of hand the examples i've given of Liberals not showing up, or breaking ranks, or voting the wrong way.

    Suggesting caucus discipline and the ability to whip votes by Ignatieff at this point is laughable. He should never have let the Newfoundland 7 vote against that first budget.

    So we've looked at the december 10th vote as you suggested and its clear that if Harper had all his members show up (which he has no problem doing) and the opposition only musters 146 you'd see a tie.

    Speaker usually votes no in a tie.

    Some of your members either:

    A) Agree with the gov't
    B) Are deathly afraid of an election

    This is NOT a done deal Volkov. The ball is still in Harper's court and he's going to decide how this unfolds in the coming weeks.

  90. 49 steps you seem to have trouble understanding the difference between pure fantasy and a reasonable prediction based on past events.

    Your fantasy "prediction" has no basis in fact, no previous events that would suggest its going to occur. If anything what we know about Harper's pride and refusal to compromise would preclude such a scenario.

    As I said the initial vote was very close.

    As I said on multiple occasions the Liberals have either

    A) Not showed up
    B) Broken ranks
    C) Accidentally voted the wrong way

    As I said the opposition has ALWAYS backed down from an election for the last year and a half.

    Therefore, based on past events, its not unreasonable to assume it may happen again.

    PS - Paul Wells agrees with me. (Not the other way around, I posted my comment first!):


  91. Realistically the Liberals & CPC will do whatever they can to avoid an election right now. Neither are close to a majority, neither are likely to gain much in an election, and both parties leaders know that if they don't deliver they will probably not be leader for the next election.

    I'd hate to have an election right now, as many are 'electioned out'. Even though I strongly dislike the CPC, I also don't trust the Liberals. Right now all we'd end up with is the same thing as now. Although it would help the Green Party as more votes would go that way with no Dion out there to take some green votes and the focus on getting May elected will hopefully succeed.

    Funny isn't it? A Green supporter who sees nothing but good for the Green's but still sees no point to an election.

  92. Volkov

    Think about this. The House can pass a motion saying it does NOT want to be dissolved at this time. The GG must respect it.

    According to Andrew Coyne.

  93. Peter why doesn't a Harper majority pass a motion saying it doesn't want to be dissolved EVER.

    Get a grip.

    The house has no power over the constitutionally protected powers of the GG.

    The house, the senate, and 7/50 provinces would need to make such a change.

    This idea that the house is supreme is getting kinda ridiculous.

    We have other institutions in Canada too - the crown, the courts, the senate, the provinces.


  94. This idea that the house is supreme is getting kinda ridiculous.

    After several hundred years of fighting to get to this position you think it's crap ?

    No the crap is coming from you. That piece I put up about the No dissolution motion came from one of the most respected constitutional experts in the country, Ned Franks.

    Get used to being wrong as you are NEVER right !!

  95. Peter this country has a constitution.

    We are not a parliamentary dictatorship. This isn't Rome.

    The crown, the courts, the senate, and the provinces all hold power and need to be respected.

    There are limits to the powers of the house.


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