Monday, April 26, 2010

The Next Leader of the Conservative Party

In the wake of Maxime Bernier's tour of Canada, in which he has lambasted Quebec to receptive Canadian audiences, Léger Marketing conducted a poll asking Canadians who they favoured as Stephen Harper's successor as leader of the Conservative Party. Bernier didn't appear on the list of favourites.

Like it or not, Stephen Harper will eventually step down as leader of the Conservatives. The Prime Minister is still relatively young for a politician at the age of 50, but has spent 17 years of his life involved in politics, when he was first elected to the House of Commons under the banner of Reform. He's been leader of the Canadian Alliance and Conservatives for eight years, and has been Prime Minister for more than four. General opinion is that he will step down if he loses the next election or wins a small minority. We can even say that he would likely step down at the end of a majority government, if he won one. The man can't do the job forever.

So who could replace him? Featured on this list are six men currently sitting as Conservative MPs in the House of Commons, one former Premier, and one current Premier. Only two of the eight have a background in the Reform or Canadian Alliance parties, three have a background in the federal Progressive Conservative Party, two have their backgrounds in various provincial Progressive Conservative parties, and one has a background in the federal and Quebec provincial Liberals. Peter McKay, current Minister of National Defense and Nova Scotia MP, is the favourite of 17% of Canadians and 28% of 'decided' Canadians. At 44, he is one of the younger people on this list. He led the Progressive Conservatives in 2003 and undertook the merger between the PCs and the Canadian Alliance. Some would say that his "Orchard deal" has soured his chances as leader of the Conservatives, but Canadians seem to like him. He's been an adequate minister over the years and hasn't ruffled too many feathers.

Next on the list (13% and 19% of decideds) is Jean Charest, current Liberal Premier of Quebec and aged 51. Charest has always been assumed to have ambitions of being the Canadian Prime Minister. He was one of only two surviving PC MPs in the disastrous 1993 election, and took over as leader of the party until 1998. During that time, he increased the party's representation to 20 MPs and garnered 18.8% of the vote in 1997. He took over the Quebec Liberals in 1998 and became Premier in 2003, winning subsequent elections in 2007 and 2008. Some would say his premiership has been difficult, and he has certainly been a lightning rod of controversy, but his tenure as Premier does give him a record to stand on.

While he is currently despised in Quebec (this poll shows that only 22% of Quebecers have a good opinion of him), he is a cat with nine lives and seems to be popular in the rest of the country. Fifty-two percent of Atlantic Canadians have a good opinion of him (compared to 15% who don't) and 50% of Ontarians have a good opinion of him as well. He also has a more positive than negative rating in the Prairies and British Columbia, but is relatively unpopular in Alberta. With his perfect bilingualism, a record, and some support throughout the country, he could be a shrewd choice.

Next on the list (8% and 12% of decideds) is Stockwell Day, 59. Leader of the Canadian Alliance from 2000 to 2001, he came out of the 2000 election with 66 MPs and 25.5% of the vote, an improvement over Preston Manning's 60 MPs and 19.4% of the vote in the 1997 election with Reform. He faced some ridicule as leader but has emerged as an effective minister and now holds the Treasury Board portfolio. He is unlikely to be the next leader of the party, however, due to the baggage that helped sink him in 2000.

Also with 8% is current Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, 60. The oldest among the top candidates, Flaherty first became an MPP in Ontario under the Progressive Conservatives in 1995. He lost leadership bids in 2002 and 2004 for the provincial party, so he certainly has exhibited ambition. But after 15 years in politics, he may be at the tail end of his career and he doesn't seem to have had any sort of personal popularity in the country. For my part, I haven't heard any whispers about him as a possible successor, unlike for McKay, Charest, and the next person on this list.

Rounding out the top five with 6% is Bernard Lord. At 44, he is young and, unlike McKay or Jason Kenney, has a record as a leader. Lord was Premier of New Brunswick from 1999 to 2006, and during that time never lost the popular vote (he lost the election in 2006 but had more votes). He is bilingual and is likable.

Jim Prentice only garnered 3%, but he has been rumoured to be one of the likely heirs. He doesn't have the kind of national profile he would need for a run against someone like Charest, Lord, or McKay, and while he has been a good "fireman" minister, he hasn't exactly done anything spectacular. Lawrence Cannon, also on the list, is highly unlikely as a candidate. Kenney, though rumoured to be a possible candidate, is likely too divisive and right-wing to be a probable winner.

Not on this list, but who could be if Harper's departure becomes a reality, are Bernier, Tony Clement, Christian Paradis, John Baird, James Moore, etc.

We've gotten used to a revolving leadership door for the Liberals, but the Bloc Québécois, Conservatives, and New Democrats have had the same leaders for so long it is difficult to imagine anyone else at the helms. But, it will happen, and the leadership changes for all of these parties will, more than anything, drive their political fortunes for the next decade.

69 comments:

  1. don't you think that this poll was largely just a measure of name recognition? They asked Canadians as a whole - not just Conservative supporters - let alone party members who are the ones who will elect the next leader - so I think to most people the question is really "which of these people have you ever heard of?"

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  2. In my opinion, Stephen Harper will never step down as long as he remains Prime Minister. He likes minority governments just fine. In fact, I'd expect very sharp knives to be required to get him to step down as leader of the Conservatives should he lose an election.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see him losing an election and then successfully engineering a comeback in the next one.

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  3. I love the idea of the poll but as DL pointed out they need to put a screen on the questions.

    "Are you a member of the Conservative party ?" Y/N

    And then i'd weight that to CPC support in various provinces since its one member one vote who makes the pick.

    I think McKay would likely retain his lead but Charest would drop and Prentice, Day, and Kenney would get a few more points each.

    Of course campaigns matter. I think people are who active as MPs have an advantage over premiers.

    I also think there is room for a far right woman in the mold of Danielle Smith but she'd need to be young-ish and have charisma (sorry Diane Ablonczy).

    I could see the CPC supporting Danielle Smith as leader. Rona Ambrose, Lisa Raitt, Leona Aglukkaq, Candice Hoepner and Shelly Glover could all fill that role.

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  4. Currently Prentice would be my choice but I'm not familiar with all the candidates. I'm surprised John Baird wasn't on the list as well as Tony Clement.

    When you mentioned one current Premier I thought it may have been Danny Williams. I'd be interested in seeing peoples opinions on him entering federal politics seeing he is such a controversial politician.

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  5. Williams seems very Newfoundland-first. It would be difficult seeing him as a national leader, and I don't believe he speaks French.

    Of the leaders on this list, Charest, Lord, and Cannon speak both French and English excellently.

    McKay, Prentice, and I believe Kenney are passable in French.

    Day and Flaherty are pretty bad.

    I'd put Harper between those latter two levels.

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  6. Stockwell Day is a fine minister, he was an excellent critic in opposition, but he belongs nowhere near the leadership.

    Being a young-earth creationist really torpedoes his crediblity with anyone with a brain.

    I see no obvious successor for Stephen Harper. I would suggest that a viable long-term stratgy for the Liberals would be to tarnish Stephen Harper, forcing the CPC to replace him - because they don't really have a replacement handy.

    Bernier's probably the best choice. Western voters are unlikely to support anyone who was in the federal PC party in any visible capacity (thus ruling out McKay and Charest), and it would be good to eliminate the claims that we're a western regional party by putting a francophone up front.

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  7. Eric I doubt linguistic considerations will play much of a part in the selection.

    The Liberals chose Dion and he communicated very poorly in english.

    Besides the Quebec membership is relatively small compared to the other provinces and the CPC has very few seats there anyways. And its likely that a one or two candidate will lock up that province's vote relatively quickly.

    Remember its one member one vote, not a delegate selection. So the kinds of concerns that shrewd political operators would have (electability, linguistic ability, gravitas, experience in ministries) are NOT going to matter as much.

    It'll be about who people like on a gut level and who speaks to their vision of Canada. And 90% of the people making the decision will be english speaking.

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  8. Shadow,

    Ambrose is too controversial. Glover is too vulnerable and neophyte. Lisa Raitt is a mess. Aglukkaq is too soft. Candice Hoeppner, well, she'd probably be an interesting choice, but she has zero name recognition outside of Manitoba.

    Diane Ablonczy is the best choice, whether or not she is in the Smith mold. She wouldn't have such a disparaging effect either as anyone in the Smith mold would, because I'm starting to think Smith will end up being one of those people you either really love or really hate.

    If I were a Conservative, I'd cross MacKay out (if anything comes of this Afghan detainee controversy, he's toast), cross out Charest, Day, and Kenney (either seen as incompetent or too right-wing), and focus on Moore, Lord, Ablonczy, Cannon, Paradis, Bernier (right-wing but lovable), and Baird.

    In all honesty, whenever Harper does step down, it's going to be pretty interesting to see the crop of leadership contestants. Like the 2006 Liberal leadership, it'll come after a time when a major leader stepped down, and all these unknowns stepped forward to take the crown. Who ever really gave consideration to Dion, Kennedy, Ignatieff and Rae? Who will ever really give consideration to Prentice, Moore, Bernier and Lord?

    Damn, hurry up and lose government, Conservatives. We need to see your leadership race!

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  9. I would love to see Shelley Glover as the next CPC, leader.

    Lisa Raitt, or Helena Guergis, would also be good picks.

    Maybe even Rahim Jaffer, could fill that role.

    Ed Stelmach would also be good.

    Grant Devine from Saskatchewan also springs to mind.

    Pierre Polievre, and John Baird would also be excellent picks.

    Someone like Bruinooge, or even Cheryl Gallant would make excellent choices for CPC, leader.

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  10. Williams has said he has no desire to be involved in federal politics.

    I have just noticed alot of comments in national stories about him where there's either hatred for him or people calling on him to be PM or come to their province, so that's why I'd like to see how he'd make out in a national poll.

    While I don't think he's fluent in french neither was Harper when he became PM.

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  11. I think if the Conservatives had a Progressive Conservative leader they'd be successful in the East. Though it's might be unlikely that the West would pick a Progressive Conservative to lead the party but who knows.

    Maybe they'll end up with a "Brian Mulroney", someone who isn't involved in elected politics yet.

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  12. If there is a CPC, leadership race may I also humbly submit the following names.

    Maurice Vellacott, Peter Van Loan,
    Gerald Keddy, Gary Goodyear,
    Tim Hudak, Sylvie Boucher, Robert Fife, Mike Duffy, Gary Lunn,
    and just for sh ts and giggles how about Conrad Black?

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  13. I just forgot my own personal favourite for CPC leader.

    I choose Dean Del Mastro, I feel confident that he could lead the CPC, to a massive majority.

    I would even take out a CPC, membership so I could show my devoted allegiance to Dean.

    I would love to vote for Dean for CPC, leader.

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  14. Forget Baird. He can pussy-foot around his homosexuality as a cabinet minister - but if he ran for the leadership - it would be hard to evade questions about his personal life. If this were any party other than the Tories, he could just say "I'm gay" and it would probably actually be an advantage - but in the Tory party it would be offensive to so many party members that his campaign would crash before it got off the ground.

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  15. Check out this poll shocker from Harris Decima!!

    Tories - 29%

    Liberals 27%

    NDP - 20%!! (it must be the Nick Clegg effect washing over the Atlantic!)

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  16. Not too surprising, considering their last poll was 32-29-17.

    HD has been pretty good in posting the full details lately, so hopefully I'll have a full report for tomorrow morning.

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  17. If the Liberals had somebody like Nick Clegg, I believe they would be staring at a majority.

    NDP, maybe parking lot for disaffected voters?

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  18. Of course 29+27+20 = 76% - that leaves a suspiciously large 24% as BQ/Green/Other

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  19. Out of respect to Shadow,

    The question must be asked is HD reputable and unbiased?

    Or are they to playing games?

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  20. Volkov you're a pretty good Liberal but a lousy Conservative.

    Basically when analyzing who you think might be successful in a leadership race go for the opposite of who you personally like.

    Ambrose is controversial ? Good, that will make her popular amongst CPC supporters. Same with Danielle Smith.

    Remember Canadians at large don't get to pick, just CPC members. And the most committed, partisan, and extreme ones at that.

    Someone like Diane Ablonczy is going nowhere. I like Prentice and Lord but they have zero star power and don't motivate anyone.

    People like Baird because he's loud and likes cats named after a certain fmr. Brit PM but nobody knows his sexuality (gay? bisexual? questioning?) and the shameless media would no doubt do what they always do and declare him gay, even if he's dating a nice woman at the time!

    But mark my words, there WILL be a woman in the race. If there isn't one the party will get one to run anyways because otherwise the optics are horrible.

    And I expect Shelly Glover is the only one gutsy enough to take the plunge. Our very own Sarah Palin would even be a serious contender to win it!

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  21. 29-27-20

    Those are some pretty disparaging numbers for Conservatives and Liberals.

    Who wants to team up to block the Dippers with me?

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  22. Say what you will but this poll (HD) is nothing but noise for the CPC, UNLESS something is proven about Guergis. The NDP doesn't gain permanently at the hands of the CPC. People are parking their CPC votes with the greens and NDP. That's my analysis. Once again and one more time a LPOC that can't capitalize on a CPC scandal misstep or mistake. It got to be disheartening when the governing party is shooting itself in the foot and you as the main opposition go absolutely nowhere. We might see Iggy go before the election yet.

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  23. Shadow you view everything from a hard right perspective. Danielle Smith has yet to win an election. She's considered far right in eastern Canada and that includes ON. She'd lose seats in ON. You don't seem to understand that the CPC still has to grow into a majority. Lord is the answer. Ambrose doesn't have the experience. Glover is a hard nosed punk. Maybe with some cabinet experience and some work on softening her image Glover might have a future but right now she's not even in cabinet. Harper has been smart enough to understand that the hard right DOESN"T sell east of Saskatchewan. Why are you unable to understand that?????

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  24. Hi Earl,

    As usual the voice of common sense and reason.

    You have a the right handle on what the CPC needs as a leader.

    Hard right wing fanatics do not sell well in Ontario, Quebec, or the maritimes.

    They do not sell well in parts of BC, or even Manitoba.

    If the CPC, wants to obliterate itself, they will heed the advice of Shadow, and choose Glover.

    Shelley Glover, has a tendency to exercise poor judgement, and say ridiculous things.

    After Harper leaves, I hope the CPC does pick a clown.

    But I don't think they will.
    I don't think the CPC, is into suicide.

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  25. I don't think the CPC, is into suicide.

    Pity !!


    A Real Pity !!

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  26. That HD gives some definitely strange seat results. Will post tomorrow morning.

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  27. Shadow,

    As Earl so wisely pointed out, right-wing doesn't sell too easily east of Saskatchewan. Smith has interesting ideas, but she's new, untested, and in all honesty we know little about her. And that's a "we" as in Canadians.

    Furthermore, the Conservative Party is interested in governing, like the Liberals are. They aren't going to choose someone who "fires up the base" if it means destroying credibility among that segment of the population you actually need to win.

    Glover could be a firebrand attack dog minister, but like Palin, she will never get elected after that much exposure. Ambrose is controversial because she's a clutz - that's not the kind of controversial you want. Same goes with Raitt, and to a lesser extent, Aglukkaq.

    Ablonczy is a safe bet. Hoeppner is less safe but not terribly off the mark. Verner isn't bad either. These are the kinds of candidates that a party interested in governing wants. Not a Day, not a Palin.

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  28. "Why are you unable to understand that?????"

    Earl you're confusing my objective analysis with my personal wishes.

    As I said above, I like Prentice or Lord for the leadership. Although I also find Shelly Glover personally impressive.

    As for viewing things from a hard right perspective its nessecary to do so if you want to understand the likely outcome of a CPC leadership campaign.

    The people who vote in these things are committed partisans who are much further to the right than the general populace.

    Look at the last go around: Harper, Clement, or Stronach ?

    I supported Stronach (doh!) but the result was the, at the time, very right wing Alliance leader with a resounding first ballot victory.

    BTW Earl calling Glover a punk reflects very poorly on you. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by your word choice. Do you mean to say she's a partisan ?

    As for softening her image, she's a proud metis woman who got kicked out of her abusive home by her substance addicted parents after she got pregnant at 16. She worked her way up from nothing to become a respected and effective police officer.

    I don't hold the fact that she is as tough as nails against her, I imagine she had to be to survive living through such tough times.

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  29. Let me make something extremely clear here, particularly to Shadow and his cohorts who are very obvious.

    In the past I have voted for and supported the Progressive Conservative party. Certainly Mulroney and Clark.

    I cannot and WILL NOT support this Reform/Alliance neo-con evangelical RIGHT party that now calls itself Conservative.

    They are nothing more than the idiot right from the USA allied to the Evangelical movement. As such they actually represent only a small part of the Canadian political spectrum. By use of Rovian attack politics, outright mistruths and other despicable American ideas they have currently managed to obtain power.

    An example is the abortion nonsense. This was settled back about 1990 by the Supreme Court. It is a NON discussion. It's the law, like it or not. How can they do something in foreign policy that is a settled issue here ??

    Secondly this country has had a history of social programs supporting the people. It is one of the things that have made us unique as a country. To even suggest that support for women or help for immigrants or a host of other programs can be hit to get the Govt out of its self induced deficit exceeds scandalous.

    And NO Shadow, the Liberals did not force the Govt. to do this. The Govt always had the option to say NO. But supporting their Big Corp friends was more important than the country.

    Let's face another fact here. This country is NOT ready for a female PM. We had one who was appointed, we all know what happened in the next election !

    No Maggie Thatcher

    No Gro Harlem Bruntland

    No Indira Gandhi

    Not gonna happen.

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  30. Spoiler alert, but...

    The NDP rise seems to come out of three areas: BC, Ontario, and Saskitoba.

    The rise in Ontario isn't two big - only two percentage points, from 17% to 19%. You can't really attribute the rise to that.

    Saskitoba has a 9-point swing to the NDP, but given the usual margin of error, I wouldn't put too much stock in that.

    And then we come to BC, where the NDP bumps up ahead of the Conservatives to 31%, but that's only 2-points ahead of the last HD poll. Liberals drop one point, Conservatives three. I don't know how much you can attribute the rise to that, either.

    So, in my humble opinion, I don't put too much stuck into those numbers. The biggest NDP rise comes out of Saskitoba, and while the rises in BC and Ontario would bump the NDP up a tad, I don't see it bumping them up an entire 3 percentage points.

    If anyone wants to see the polls, here is the new one, and the one just before.

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  31. Of course Layton blackmailed Martin. It was political blackmail and its perfectly legal.

    You have of course documentary evidence ??

    I thought so, none !!

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  32. Oh, woops.

    Just to note, "Cory" is actually me, I just forgot to sign out of that e-mail after logging on to Google Calendar.

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  33. Please take it from a former Conservative (for whatever that's worth...)

    The next leader of the CPC is The Alberta Clipper, otherwise known as Monte Solberg.

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  34. --- Just to note, "Cory" is actually me

    And here I thought I had a new groupie. Oh well, you've been outed.

    --- The next leader of the CPC is The Alberta Clipper, otherwise known as Monte Solberg.

    I saw him and a group of others at the Heart & Crown in Ottawa one night, back when he was an MP.

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  35. Éric,

    What was your impression of him?

    (C'est un gars solide?)

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  36. Well, I just saw him, didn't speak to him. I remember thinking he was okay but a bit partisan.

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  37. Peter ask and you shall recieve:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Canadian_federal_budget#Changes_following_the_Liberal-NDP_deal

    Liberals made changes demanded by the NDP to avoid an election.

    If that's not political blackmail I don't know what is.

    The NDP aren't pushovers. They'll need cabinet seats in a formal coalition if a Liberal wants to be PM next go around.

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  38. Éric,

    No one does partisan any better than the Conservative Party.

    Part of the reason why I'm now a Liberal (from Red Tory to Liberal that is.)

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  39. --- The NDP aren't pushovers. They'll need cabinet seats in a formal coalition if a Liberal wants to be PM next go around.

    I disagree. Depending on the situation, the NDP could very well support an Ignatieff throne speech for a few concessions. Better than a Harper thrown speech with no concessions.

    Imagine the CPC and the LPC were within 10 seats of one another. In such a situation, Ignatieff would have a better chance of getting legislation passed on a case-by-case basis than Harper would (which is how he is currently operating).

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  40. Shadow,

    We didn't exactly fall off the turnip truck this morning -- we all know that any talk of coalition will inevitably lead to Conservative re-election.

    No wonder it's your mantra. Can't say that I blame you but we Liberals don't plan on falling for that insane idea!

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  41. Liberals made changes demanded by the NDP to avoid an election.

    That's NOT documentation!!

    Get real !

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  42. Part of the reason why I'm now a Liberal (from Red Tory to Liberal that is.)

    That's a perfectly reasonable move. From Red Tory to Liberal is not an unreasonable step given that the current CRAP party is anything but socially progressive !

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  43. Volkov/Cory the base of the CPC is NOT interested in governing or compromise. Its Harper and co who are. Ever read bloggingtories ? Ever read the National Post ? Its like a civil war these days.

    I know you like Ablonczy and she's a good minister but if you think she would have a serious shot of putting together a leadership campaign and enough charisma to win over CPC voters you're crazy.

    Stockwell Day probably could. Hoepner is liked for taking on the gun registry and she has charisma. So does Glover. Ambrose is controversial because she messed up the environment file - like the base cares. Danielle Smith could run and win, provided she becomes premier and Harper retires a long time from now. Raitt and Aglukkaq can play the victimhood thing, being persecuted by the lamestream media and opposition always scores you points with the base.

    Verner is French so rule her out right now. Same with Pardis. Maybe not Bernier because the libertarians like him and he told off Quebec.

    In the end the CPC will pick someone who fires up the base, not someone who appeals to the middle because its the base who does the voting.

    Strategically this is unfortunate but its the reality of the situation. You and Earl shouldn't let your personal feelings cloud your objective judgement as to what is likely to happen.

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  44. I think the NDP will support a Liberal government without any cabinet posts.

    The NDP want what they think is best for Canada and they would have a much easier time working with the Liberals then the Cons.

    It will be interesting to see if they will pull a Nick Clegg and ask for a new Liberal leader if Ignatieff still has low approval ratings. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see his numbers improve during an election.

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  45. Shadow,

    How do you know there will be a Lib/NDP formal coalition?

    Were you invited to the secret meeting?

    Can you state categorically that you know of this coalition plan?

    Do you know for sure that the NDP, will be offered cabinet seats in the event of an Ignatieff government?

    Are you now conceding that Harper is finished?

    How far is Harper willing to crawl, to retain his grip on power?

    Was Harper blackmailed by the Liberals over the stimulus spending?

    What will Harper offer to the BLOC, to avoid an election?

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  46. Eric I disagree with your disagreement.

    The NDP basically did what you are suggesting in Ontario. In the following election they lost support and seats to the Liberals.

    Accept nothing short of a formal coalition with cabinet seats was the lesson NDP strategists took away from the Ontario experience.

    And remember its the NDP who holds all the power. If they want a coalition with cabinet seats it happens. Its not up to Iggy.

    The NDP wants the seats so they'll get them, or there won't be a coalition.

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  47. No coalition is necessary. Faced with another Harper minority or an Ignatieff minority willing to give concessions on NDP policy, the NDP will choose the latter.

    They did it in 2006 and it worked wonders for them at the voting booth.

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  48. Faced with another Harper minority or an Ignatieff minority willing to give concessions on NDP policy, the NDP will choose the latter

    And that's ignoring the fact that the Bloc, with the biggest seat count, will definitely support the Libs over the Cons without any formal agreement

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  49. How do you know there will be a Lib/NDP formal coalition?

    Were you invited to the secret meeting?

    Can you state categorically that you know of this coalition plan?

    Do you know for sure that the NDP, will be offered cabinet seats in the event of an Ignatieff government?


    Of course he can't !! You do know what fearmongering means ?

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  50. I don't think it's appropriate to call the compromises a minority makes political blackmail. It's a deal, and deals are generally required to govern with a minority. The conservatives have certainly done it once or twice.


    Anyway, I think maybe I'm reading this argument wrong; but I'm not inclined to believe someone moderate will be the leader of the CPC regardless of whether they'll do better in an election. The CPC was in a different place when they last had a leadership race, and I don't think they made the pick they did because they thought Harper was more moderate or electable. Day was a liability, and Stronach was completely untested. Harper... sort of also was mind you.

    But with the relatively consistent returns the Conservatives get, I suspect they'll just pick someone who the base is comfortable with.

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  51. I'd like to clarify how thw CPC chooses it's leader, as I think many here have little idea.

    Here's why we won't likely see a hard-right, So-Con as our next leader:

    "The leader was selected by a system in which each of the party's riding associations was allocated 100 points, which were allocated among candidates in proportion to the votes that he or she received. This system was selected as a condition of the merger, to prevent the far larger Canadian Alliance membership base from overwhelming that of the Progressive Conservatives."

    From the article

    This system has been kept not only to protect former PCers, but also to pick a leader who will do well, in ridings where the party needs to make inroads.

    It's a good, sensible system, and I hope it will provide a good, sensible leader.
    (Prentice of course)

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  52. Eric a coalition isn't nessecary for whom ? Its all up to the NDP leader whether he gets cabinet seats or not.

    The system is set up in such a way that the GG won't select a Liberal PM over a Conservative one with more seats without some kind of formal agreement from the other parties already in place.

    So the NDP has all the power.

    If you can give me a compelling reason why the NDP would accept an accord but no cabinet seats i'm willing to listen.

    Its a bizzare arguement to make though and a 180 reversal from the precedent set last go around.

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  53. --- Eric a coalition isn't nessecary for whom ? Its all up to the NDP leader whether he gets cabinet seats or not.

    Not at all.

    --- The system is set up in such a way that the GG won't select a Liberal PM over a Conservative one with more seats--- without some kind of formal agreement from the other parties already in place.

    There doesn't need to be a formal agreement at all. There can be a statement from the opposition parties saying they would support a Liberal throne speech. Or, the GG could very well just try to give Ignatieff a chance after a quick non-confidence vote for Harper.

    --- So the NDP has all the power.

    Not necessarily. The Bloc could support a throne speech instead of the NDP. And the NDP does not have all the power - they have the power to have some role in government via concessions, or the power to have no role in government as they do now.

    --- If you can give me a compelling reason why the NDP would accept an accord but no cabinet seats i'm willing to listen.

    I already did, several times. If Ignatieff promises to put a few NDP policies in his budget, like Martin did, that could be enough to get the NDP's support. As I already said, it worked wonders for Layton in 2006.

    --- Its a bizzare arguement to make though and a 180 reversal from the precedent set last go around.

    No precedent was set last go around, as the government was not defeated.

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  54. Peter:

    "I cannot and WILL NOT support this Reform/Alliance neo-con evangelical RIGHT party that now calls itself Conservative.

    They are nothing more than the idiot right from the USA allied to the Evangelical movement. As such they actually represent only a small part of the Canadian political spectrum. By use of Rovian attack politics, outright mistruths and other despicable American ideas they have currently managed to obtain power."

    First of all you sound like a three year old throwing a temper tantrum.

    Secondly you obviously don't know or understand American politics. What passes for the Republican party in the US these days bears little or no resemble to the CPC. The GOP would, if could get away with it, end everything from welfare to Social Security. When have you last heard heard Harper invoke God? The GOP would meld church and state and have sold their soul to the reverend Dobson. Why don't you spend some time listening to the oracles of the GOP, Micheal Savage and Rush Limbaugh or reading the legislation signed into law by the AZ governor last week.

    The US Supreme court with a GOP majority recently recognized Corporations as having the same first amendment rights as those of a person giving the Corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts during election campaigns advertising in favour of a candidate for office.

    I don't agree with the abortion announcement made today but practically it will have no effect. Nothing prevents other members of the G8 from financing that part of the initiative. More to the point few African cultures permit abortion. The GOP zealots in the US would eliminate a women's right to abortion period even if the women's life were in danger. On top of that they'd outlaw family planning.

    Then there is gun control. Harper has stated he would get rid of the long gun registry. Big deal when compared with what the the GOP supports. Yes the right to bear arms means you have the right to show up at a Presidential rally wearing a hand gun. In many states it means you can carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit which is ridiculously easy to obtain. T

    The GOP wants a flat tax, the Liberals here want lower income taxes, not lower consumption taxes. Do you see the similarities?

    Finally I've left out the militarism which runs rampant in the GOP.

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  55. Well Shadow you should let your personal hopes and aspirations cloud your judgement. The base as refer to it includes people like AJR and myself. Without us, you are sucking wind. The next leader will likely speak French better than Harper. BTW that is one reason he beat Stronach who couldn't speak French at all. As AJR has said before if the CPC moves hard right on social issues he is gone. So am I. So is ON and the rest of Canada east of SK. Do you really think the next leader of the party or the powers that be in the party want sit in opposition perpetuity? Blog writers do not represent anyone's views other than their own and their readers.

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  56. Eric there was certainly a precedent set, Jack Layton was promised a cabinet seat and signed an agreement with Dion.

    Harper remains PM if he gets the most seats. He brings in a throne speech. Layton could easily abstain from commenting on the throne speech and the budget and Harper remains as PM.

    Therefore, assuming Layton holds the balance of power like he does now, the Liberals can do nothing without the support of the NDP.

    Layton calls all the shots in that scenario.

    So your compelling reason that the NDP would support Iggy is that they could get policy concessions ?

    Ok sure. But that's not an answer. The question is why stop there.

    What reason is there for Layton to back down from his '08 policy of cabinet seats and accept a lesser price ?

    Mentioning the NDP gains in 2006 after concessions isn't a good example considering that was the year of "lend me your vote" and the sponsorship scandal election.

    Also the configuration is different because Martin had the most seats in parliament so he was the natural PM. The Ontario example is the relevent one that NDP strategists are looking at becuase it involved a second place finisher taking power.

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  57. Peter:

    Layton did blackmail Martin in a political sense. He told Martin privately and publicly what had to be in the budget to get NDP support. When the budget was presented with the items the NDP demanded, Layton chirped proudly about his price. It is a matter of record.

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  58. AJR79 what makes you think the points system helps Prentice ?

    He's an albertan and the ridings are weighted to the east due to western under representation in the HOC.

    And a lot of good the points system did at the last convention, protecting the PC party and all. The leader of the Alliance become leader of the CPC! Lol, kinda puts that notion to rest.

    I really don't see much of a structural advantage in the points system, especially since the ballot is STV and proportional.

    It gives someone like McKay a chance but that's about it. The most likely winner is someone who runs up big margins in the Prairies, does well in BC and Ontario (except Toronto) and gets a couple points from Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

    Basically the Harper victory formula.

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  59. Shadow,

    The Liberals, Bloc and NDP could all decide to defeat a Conservative minority the first chance they get, do you then think the Governor General would call an election just months after one? No.

    Obviously the NDP wants cabinet seats but if the Liberals aren't willing to give it to them then the NDP will either have to support the Liberals or support the Conservatives and they definitly won't want to continue supporting the Cons.

    So while the NDP might hold some power they still only have to options, support a left of centre government or support a righ-wing government.

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  60. As for the matter of a coalition after the next election Harper can and will use that threat in the next campaign. By offering to join a coalition with the NDP with Bloc support the opposition gave Harper the ammunition he needs. IMO no amount of denial from Iggy will be enough to defuse the issue.

    Dion did this. Iggy has to live with it. It really doesn't matter what Iggy's intentions are. In fact all the CPC would have to is comb through Liberal blogs to find Liberals across the country advocating a new coalition. Peter wants one badly if need be to get rid of Harper.

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  61. Shadow,

    Then the CPC falls flat on its face if it opts for the "fire up the base" option. Harper and co. have the right idea, because the bulk of Canadians are not right-wing. They're moderates and centrists, often times flowing between centre-left and centre-right, but never straying too far from the center.

    That's how Harper won in 2006 alongside the sponsorship scandal. That's how he's continued to get adequate leadership ratings. That's how he's been able to manage governance. He's moderated the party, and for a very specific reason - they wouldn't be governing otherwise.

    So if the Conservatives choose a leader who only fires up the base, then I look forward to the next few years of easy Liberal governance. But if they choose someone who is competent and politically moderating, then I'll look forward to a fight.

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  62. When the budget was presented with the items the NDP demanded, Layton chirped proudly about his price.

    True enough but that isn't the kind of crap Shadow was spewing. Look Douglas exacted a price for his support of Pearson, National Health Care.

    It's perfectly normal to get something in return for support. It's a different thing to yak, as Shadow does, that there is a signed agreement in place. Outside of the Dion fiasco there has never been any signed agreements.

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  63. The US Supreme court with a GOP majority recently recognized Corporations as having the same first amendment rights as those of a person giving the Corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts during election campaigns advertising in favour of a candidate for office.


    Completely incorrect Earl. Corporations achieved person status in the USA back in 1898.

    What the Supreme Court did recently was overturn laws meant to limit political donations from Corporations. Laws that had been put in place in an attempt to prevent corporate takeover of the political process.

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  64. I received the most amount of hits ever yesterday. Does anyone know why?

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  65. Volkov I don't suffer under the illusions that Earl does.

    The next leadership race could be damaging in the short term, these things often are.

    But generally the pattern of political leaders is to elect someone who secures the base.

    Then once in position that leader slowly moderates and reaches out to the middle. Because they have the trust of the base they can do that.

    Could you imagine if someone other than Harper supported a stimulus package ? We'd have reform 2.0 created.

    BTW nobody picked Ignatieff for the leadership. Dion was to the left of past Liberal leaders.

    I can tell you that if you guys actually hold a race you'll be getting someone like Kennedy.

    And the NDP probably won't pick Mulcair, it'll be some radical labour leader.

    That's just how these things seem to work.

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  66. And the NDP probably won't pick Mulcair, it'll be some radical labour leader.

    Actually if you look at the NDP history that hasn't ever happened.

    Douglas
    Lewis
    Broadbent
    Layton

    None are radical labour leaders. Rather they have tended to be, with the exception of Layton, more cerebral socialists than anything else. Layton having come from Toronto civic politics doesn't really fit the theme.

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  67. Éric: I received the most amount of hits ever yesterday.

    Out of curiosity, how many?

    Does anyone know why?

    Probably because you're a recognized clearinghouse for polling information and your reputation has been growing over time.

    Plus, people flock here for the mature, incisive, cogent, civil, non-repetitive, reasoned analysis of your groupies.

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