Friday, May 21, 2010

Projection: 129 CPC, 96 LPC, 51 BQ, 32 NDP

After three weeks of polls, I have updated the projection. This update means good news for the Conservatives, decent news for the Bloc Québécois and New Democrats, and bad news for the Liberals.Nationally, the Conservatives are up 0.2 points to 33.2%, and have also re-captured three seats bringing their total back up to 129. The Liberals are down 0.5 points to 28.4%, and they have also lost three seats, bringing their total to 96.

The NDP is up 0.1 points to 16.6%, the Bloc is up 0.1 points to 9.5%, and the Greens are down 0.1 points to 10.3%. All of these parties show no overall change in seats.

The Conservatives had a generally good three-weeks, making their seats gains in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and British Columbia. Their biggest popular vote gain comes in Atlantic Canada, where they are up 0.7 points to 32.1%. They also gained 0.6 points in BC (35.8%), 0.3 points in Ontario (35.5%), and 0.1 points in the North (30.0%). They were stable in the Prairies and Quebec but lost 0.2 points in Alberta, where they lead with 58.5%.

Aside from a gain of 0.5 points in the Prairies, the Liberals had a bad few weeks. Their seat losses come in British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and the North. They dropped 0.6 points in Quebec to 23.4%, 0.5 points in British Columbia to 23.9%, and 0.3 points in Alberta (16.7%) and Ontario (36.0%). They were also down 0.2 points in the North to 33.1% and 0.1 points in Atlantic Canada to 36.7%. Their gain in the Prairies brings them up to 22.3%, within striking distance of the NDP.

Speaking of which, they performed pretty well over the last three weeks. They did drop a seat in Ontario, but gained one in the North. Their biggest gain came in Quebec, where they are up 0.4 points to 12.1%. They also gained 0.1 points in British Columbia (26.3%) and Ontario (16.6%). They were stable in Alberta and the North, but lost 0.2 points in Atlantic Canada (23.2%) and 0.3 points in the Prairies (22.7%). So not all roses.

The Bloc is on an up-tick of late, gaining another 0.2 points. They currently lead with 38.4% in Quebec. With the Liberal loss, the gap has now opened up to 15 points.

The Greens did not have a lot of luck, losing 0.4 points in Atlantic Canada, 0.3 in Quebec and British Columbia (especially troublesome), and 0.1 points in the Prairies. They were stable in the North, gained 0.1 in Ontario, and 0.2 in Alberta. They are currently polling highest in BC with 11.8%.

Everyone had mixed results this month. The Tories made important gains in British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and Ontario, but look stagnant in Quebec and are not doing well (for them) in Alberta and the Prairies.

The Liberals had big drops in British Columbia and Quebec, and also lost ground in every other part of the country except the Prairies. That gain was good for them, but overall they are on the downswing.

The NDP had modest gains and modest losses, but can be pleased that their gains came in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

The Bloc is doing well in Quebec while their main opponents appear to be unable to do anything about it.

With 129 seats, the Conservatives outnumber the Liberals and NDP, who can only muster 128. And with 129 seats, the Conservatives can get legislation passed with the help of any one of the three parties. So, they are being upgraded to a stable minority.


  1. Let's see?

    Lib + NDP
    96 + 32 = 128

    CPC = 129

    In other words gridlock. Where only two Bloc votes or Independent votes can stall the Govt.

    Not really a great situation ??

  2. And with 129 seats, the Conservatives can get legislation passed with the help of any one of the three parties.

    Actually Eric I would say it is the opposite. Currently they have to get 11 other votes to have the majority. With your new figures they would need an additional 26 votes to get the 155.

    Plus with the combined Lib/NDP at 128 it would only take two members crossing the floor and the CPC would be out. You can guarantee a real recruiting campaign by both the Libs and NDP to get a couple of Bloc members or independents to join their caucus.

  3. Peter,

    No, 129 to 128 would not be a great situation for the Tories(although, in practice it would be 129 to 127, it's likely that Peter Miliken will keep getting elected, both to the house and as speaker - he likes that job too much to give it up). But at the end of the day, Eric's right it would be in substance no different than it is now. To get anything passed the Grits would need the support of both the Bloc and the NDP, while the Tories would only need the support of one of the other parties. The opposition parties would have the muscle to bring the government down (as they now do), but couldn't put together anything ressembling a stable government without at least the implicit support of the Bloc (which, as we saw last year, would be political suicide, at least in English Canada).

    I suppose in one limited sense, the Tories would be weaker because, at present, they can pass anything provided that any one party (or a handful of its members) abstain, whereas in Eric' scenario, an abstention by the NDP or a few members from the opposition parties wouldn't be enough to get them over the top. But in practice, that isn't going to be enough to make much of a difference. (In fact, that might make it even more embarassing for the opposition parties when they have to absent themselves en masses to avoid triggering an election).

    As for floor crossings, well, you never can tell. But neither of the current independents are people who would either be inclined (in one case) or welcome (in the other) in the opposition benches. As for the NDP and the Liberals recruiting Bloc MPs, those guys do some pretty goofy things, but just how do you think that will go over with the Canadian public? The Tory attack ads almost write themselves. Plus, floor-crossing works both ways and it's a lot easier when you're in the government to induce people to cross the floor ("Hey you, want to be a cabinet minister?" See Belinda Stronach, David Emerson).

  4. These are simply numbers at a point in time. Same with the EKOS numbers.

    It's almost impossible to extrapolate them into an election result. Elections do matter and so does the campaign. Any party could catch on fire during the campaign and about the only polls that are really accurate are those taken the day before the actual election. Even those can be off.

    What Eric does IMO is give us a snapshot of where the parties are and these monthly updates give us the trend. I don't think they do anything more than that not can they be expected too.

  5. My numbers are more than a point in time - they predict what the outcome of an election would be at this time.

    As they incorporate dozens of polls over months of time as well as historical results, the value of my popular vote projection is far greater than individual polls, or even a few of them.

  6. Ottawa will not relax relief well requirements for off-shore drilling in the North.

  7. I agree with Earl that it is hard to make predictions, at the same time, I think Erik is involved in a worthwhile enterprise. We certainly can make better predictions by employing and interpreting polls than without.

    This far away from an election (okay I'm assuming we are far from an election here), however, polls probably won't be especially accurate because the public is not very engaged.

    I think something like Ray Fair's presidential election equation offers a better predictor far away from an election. Fair looks at economic data in order to project election results. A month before an election I would look at the polls, but a year before, it makes more sense to look at the economy.

    Polls respond to the news of the day, but tend to revert to a mean underlying value (roughly the results of the 2006 federal election by my count).

    Moreover, we do have reasonably good predictions of what the economy will look like over the coming year, while we lack information on what the news will look like. Voters tend not to incorporate economic predictions into their decision-making, making economic projections a useful window into the future.

    This may prove my Hamburger Hill, but I think it is reasonable to predict that Harper's numbers will diminish after Carney raises interest rates. Similarly, down in the states, the Democrats numbers will improve as midterm elections approach amidst an economic recovery (they will probably still lose seats).

    Obviously something like a European economic meltdown or a major scandal is something that would prove me wrong. Still, it would also prove the polls of the day incorrect as well.

  8. Eric,

    No offense, but your numbers are a point in time estimate. True, they include a weighted average of recent polls and past election results (which - as an aside - is a somewhat suspect practice. Do we really think that the 2004 election has any predictive weight 6 years later?), but you're still measuring the outcome of your formula at this point in time.

    And I'm not sure I agree with you that the fact that you incorporate past polls make your methodology more accurate than, for example, a weighted average of the past five polls. True, you have more datapoints, but most of them are datapoints that are of less use in predicting current results. What you've done is reduced the impact of rogue polls (by increasing sample size) at the cost of increasing the impact of polls which are likely less to be representative of election day results. Hey, you gotta make a trade off somewhere, but it can lead to inaccurate results. To give you an obvious example, if you based your prediction of the October 2008 Election result on polls from 5 months earlier (as your current predictions do) you'd have gotten a result that was wholly inaccurate (although, I think your methodology probably works in an election campaign, because the pollsters come out with new polls more frequently so the old ones drop off much faster).

    Also, I have my doubts about the practice of weighing the poll results by size. That gives greater weight to bigger polls (i.e. Ekos), but I'm not sure that's a statistically valid practice. At the end of the day, the margin of error on a poll with a 1000 respondents (at the national level) isn't 3 times the margin of error on a poll with 3000respondents. In fact, once you get over 1000 or so respondents you don't get a huge increase in predictive accuracy (going from 1000 to 2000, for example, only reduces the margin of error from roughly 3.1% to 2.2%. Going from 1000 to 2800 - say in the latest Ekos poll, only reduces the margin of error to 1.9%) So it isn't clear why larger polls are given greater weight in proportion to their size, because there size is a poor proxy for their predictive ability. Essentially your weigting formula unintentionally skewers your results towards the EKOS polling out of proportion to what is statistically merited by EKOS' larger polls. I think if you want to give added weight to larger poll, that weight should reflect the improvement in their statistical predictive ability rather than merely their size.

    For what its worth.

  9. Earl,

    Notwithstanding my criticisms of the methodology, I do think Eric performs a useful role, in that he translates the polling numbers into the numbers that actually matter, i.e., seats. Even if those numbers aren't spot on (Sorry Eric, the Liberals aren't winning any seats in Alberta), they're nevertheless as useful guide.

    While I agree that polling numbers aren't great predictors of election results (especially polls taken outside of an election), they can be usefully compared to other polling numbers. So, for example, the fact that the Liberals are polling worse now than they were in 2008 doesn't mean that they're toast in the next election. It does mean that if they repeat their godawful performance from last time out, though, that they may be in trouble.

  10. Hi Eric and Carl:

    Obviously I didn't state my position in clear terms. As Eric says I do agree that if an election were held today that the results would be very close to what he predicts.

    What I'm trying to say is that even if an election were called today is that we have no guarantee that the results would mirror what the polls and Eric's predictions show as of today. Look at 1993 Kim Campbell went into the election leading in the polls. The same thing happened in 1984 with John Turner and in 2004 with Stephan Harper. All I'm trying to point out is that election campaigns have consequences.

    Just as some posters theorize about a coalition of the NDP and Liberals there's no proof that the parties could get together.

    As an election nears people become more interested in politics. Once a campaign is on it goes through phases where public scrutiny increases. I still believe that with the right platform Iggy could win either a majority or a large minority of seats. Similarly the campaign could could well play into a Harper majority if Iggy runs a poor campaign. I do think campaigns matter.

  11. I agree with Earl, the campaign is the most important time for all parties and poll numbers can easily and quickly change. In the next election campaign Harper will be under alot more pressure then he was in 2008 because he has had to deal with some real issues over the last year and a half. I'd say you'll see the opposition bashing Harper more so than each other.

    More so than any leader Ignatieff has best possibility to really benefit from a campaign because not only is he underestimated, there is still a large number of of people who are undecided about him. The Liberals don't have a platform yet so they could also see big improvements in the polls when one is finally released.

    I think the only way for Harper to get a majority is if the Liberals do much worse then they did in 2008. I doubt Harper has much of a chance of really improving his image so his only hope is to worsen Ignatieff's and the Liberals' image.

  12. I'm curius, Éric. Have you gone back and applied your model to the polls preceding the 2008 election to see how well you would have predicted its result at various intervals back from it?

    For example, how accurate would your model's prediction have been 1 week, 5 weeks, or 20 weeks prior to the actual vote?

  13. I do have plans for the next election and how I will handle it, so I hope my projection at that time will seem more relevant to some of you.


    --- I'm curius, Éric. Have you gone back and applied your model to the polls preceding the 2008 election to see how well you would have predicted its result at various intervals back from it?

    That is a very interesting idea. Perhaps a summer project when things will be quieter.

    I'll test my planned method of projecting the next election this way.

    I'll need about two months of pre-election polling for it. Does the Wikipedia page go back that far?

  14. Yes. February 2006 - October 2008.

  15. Eric, you might also try the Lispop site at WLU, they have a pretty thorough collection of polling data and I think they have the regional breakdowns as well (though I stand to be corrected - I only ever look at their national numbers)

  16. Eric I don't want to leave you with the impression that I don't value your work or find it interesting. In fact as you know I check this site virtually every day to see what you have to say.

    I think the polls you put up and more importantly your analysis gives us insights into where the electorate is at any given time and how it is moving. You capture trends and through the seat distribution show us how the various parties are doing in each region. I have to admit that I don't always agree with your seat totals, but have come to realize that I'm using my gut whereas you are using a sophisticated model. In the end a difference of one to three seats isn't of much importance.

  17. How is it that with a five point spread in the Tories' favour in Ontario, this seat projection gives the Liberals 48 seats and Tories just 43. In the 2008 election the Tories led the Liberals by a spread of 5.2 points and the result was 51 Conservative seats to 38 Liberal. There is something way out of kilter in this model.

  18. Peter,

    It's hard to establish a general iron-clad rule on floor-crossers. In retrospect, Belinda's move to Martin was perhaps ideal (personally) but it sure wasn't politically. Ditto for David Emerson when the delicate subject of potential re-election was also factored into the equation.

    My own sense of it is to avoid that at all costs -- it smells -- let me rephrase that, R-E-E-K-S of strong voter backlash at the "next" election. Floor crossing is not appropriate in the world of 21st century representative politics.

    To even go there, IMHO, is to undermine whatever chances that party has in an eventual election. But that's just me. Doesn't mean I'm right.

  19. Earl,

    "Just as some posters theorize about a coalition of the NDP and Liberals there's no proof that the parties could get together.

    As an election nears people become more interested in politics. Once a campaign is on it goes through phases where public scrutiny increases. I still believe that with the right platform Iggy could win either a majority or a large minority of seats. Similarly the campaign could could well play into a Harper majority if Iggy runs a poor campaign. I do think campaigns matter."

    I agree. But I still think that this Prime Minister faces the longest odds -- not to mention the twin disadvantages of considerable incumbency with a high level of voter alienation that flows from it and reticence surrounding the strong and omnipresent personality of Stephen Harper.

  20. Dio,

    There is no five-point spread in Ontario - currently the Liberals have 36% to the Tories' 35.5% in the province.

  21. Ron:
    It's hard to establish a general iron-clad rule on floor-crossers.

    I think to a large extent it depends very much on the circumstances. The two cases you cite did not make the party moved to the Govt. It already was.

    If moving causes the party moved to, to become the Govt it is a different scenario. As an "enabler" the member has a lot more clout which can be used to ensure maximum goodies for their riding. This could very well pay handsomely at the next election.

  22. Harper's path to a majority (or not):

    It appears that the Liberals and NDP are talking coalition again. I don't think that the Liberals understand that the reaction to the coalition in 2008 was not just about the involvement of the Bloc. The reaction IMO was very much about having the NDP involved in government. There are good Liberals on this board who have expressed their concern with keeping Mr. Layton as far from the levers of power as possible. There are others who would do anything to unseat Mr. Harper. Only an election will tell the tale. One thing we do know is that the PM's campaign against the coalition will be a real one and not one of fancy.

  23. Earl,

    I take Peter's point but might I respectfully suggest that we are nonetheless still on the horns of a dilemma:

    a) if the post 2008 prorogation effect is still de rigueur, there will be a tremendous voter backlash just like when the Dion coalition was in the works. (This dovetails with Earl's comment.)

    b) Now, if the idea of a Cameron-Clegg coalition eventually finds favour with the voters --- you still have to choose between two competing scenarios:

    i) talk coalition prior, during and after an election with or without a formal document or a signing (NO WAY would I do it in this manner);


    ii) Have Jack play the Clegg role during the campaign -- indicating that the NDP is willing to consider aligning itself with the eventual election winner in terms of seats tallied in the campaign.

    That friends is much more to my liking and to my mind would diminish both blowback and backlash. But again, I could be wrong.

  24. Ron:
    That friends is much more to my liking and to my mind would diminish both blowback and backlash. But again, I could be wrong.

    I think that in fact there is a positive way of doing this. Point out the UK experience, point out that it would only kick in if the Libs didn't get enough seats to replace the Tories but if combined with the NDP they did.

    That throws it back to the voters where it should be.

  25. Earl:

    Interesting pair of links.

    What has to be pointed out is that this "coalition" has worked well for the country in the past. And no the thought of Layton as Deputy PM turns my blood cold!

    Still it is a perfectly viable alternative with significant precedent behind it.

  26. Mr. O'Dowd:

    Even scenario b part(ii), were to play out you'd need the Liberals to acknowledge that they were open to a coalition - that's what Cameron did. I think it is a given that the Harper Conservatives would rule out a coalition with either the NDP or the Bloc during an election campaign. Once the Liberals acknowledge that they are willing to negotiate a coalition with the Liberals it again becomes Harper's us against them election which I think he believes he can win with a majority.

  27. Peter the only time Federal politics that there has been a working arrangement between the Liberals and NDP was in 1972-74. I would venture to say that did not work well for anyone but the LPOC which managed to pull the plug on its partner and get re-elected with a majority government.

    The period I think you are referring to was 1963 to 1968 when there wasn't an effective opposition, due to infighting in the PC party over Mr. Diefenbaker's leadership. At the same time the economy was pumping out growth and the political philosophies of the NDP and Liberals for the most part were in harmony. There wasn't an arrangement formal or informal, just an agreement on the issues.

  28. Earl:

    I think you are wrong but will have to do a bit of research to get the real facts not the spin.

    Seems to me Trudeau had a minority at one point.

  29. Earl:

    Sorry the html won't work on here.


  30. Hi Peter:

    Trudeau's minority was from 1972 -74, the period I mentioned.



  31. Earl:

    Yep but do note there are a lot of these minority situations. All surviving for various periods without any formal agreements between the parties.

    In other words that record shows that no formal coalition is required !

  32. Peter,

    Not to beat a dead horse but I believe in positive reinforcement for the voters. That means pushing prior and during a campaign EXCLUSIVELY for a majority mandate.

    In my view, we must not be seen as courting the NDP and the BQ. It's for them to say that THEY are perhaps open to supporting the party coming out of the election with the most seats -- not the other way around, IMHO.

    Liberals have to give them Liberalism and sell it for all its worth. Once the numbers shake out, then we can legitimately reassess our position, should that become necessary.

  33. Earl,

    Please call me Ron or Ronald. My Mom calls me Ronnie, even though I don't "WELL" as well as Reagan did!

    I agree with your premise regarding US vs. THEM. That is why I'm so strenuously against even informal talks prior to the numbers on election night. This Prime Minister is no strategic dummy -- he badly needs the opposition parties to act like idiots (He need a flashing red warning light that says "Coalition Ahead") otherwise he's out of office, plain and simple.

    That is his only path to a majority despite his personal handicaps. Put another way, are we collectively dumb enough to play into his pre-packaged and pre-scripted scenario? I hope to hell not.

  34. Ron:
    Not to beat a dead horse but I believe in positive reinforcement for the voters. That means pushing prior and during a campaign EXCLUSIVELY for a majority mandate.

    No argument there but as in the UK case it must be on the table, the possibility.

    Otherwise you are cheating the voters, plain and simple.

  35. Hi Ron:

    I agree with Peter and once Chantel Hebert a very good journalist with impeccable sources has reported that talks have begun already begun between Chretien and Broadbent, Harper has all he needs. Layton has also said he will do a deal. Unless Iggy outright lies to the electorate and says he will never consider an arrangement with the NDP and Bloc and then turns around and does so, the option of a coalition or arrangement is on the table.

    IMO the best way for the LPOC to beat Harper is to move decisively to the centre and produce policies that Canadian in their entirety can embrace.

    Right now and for the foreseeable future I think Canadians want social issues left alone. We want better control of immigration, while not discouraging immigration. Finally we want fiscal security.

    Harper fails on my first idea. He has left open the door for changes on social issues. A serious error. I'm totally convinced that a majority Harper government would not move on social issues except at the margins by reducing funding for groups the social conservatives don't like. Depending on who you talk to Harper personally is either an evangelical Christian or an occasional church goer. No-one knows because he hasn't pushed religion and has not advertised his own religious views.

    IMO Canadians want government spending reduced somewhat without cuts to social programs. They are also prepared to accept tax increases that are either dedicated or seen as necessary. They want surpluses and debt paid down. They do not want new programs with few exceptions (one being catastrophic drug coverage). Canadians want to see our debt paid down both at the federal and provincial levels.

    That I think gives the Liberals a very good basis for a sound and salable platform. What do you think?

  36. Earl:
    IMO the best way for the LPOC to beat Harper is to move decisively to the centre and produce policies that Canadian in their entirety can embrace.

    Works for me although we do need to address a couple of other points. First is how to fund the coming load on the health care system and also what do we need to do to upgrade education?

    I agree that taxes probably will have to increase and there is also the Arctic problem. But sound policies can be developed for both issues if we can get the troops out of Afghanistan and cease pouring money into that sinkhole.

    RE; Minority Govt. Found a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know and put a post together. Wouldn't work on here so it's on World Politics. Also the link post I put in for it Eric is having trouble with. So all I can suggest is hop over and look for "Recent Minority Govt".

  37. Hi Peter:

    Thanks for the information. Without being trite there's nothing new there. As I indicated earlier the Pearson minorities worked because the Liberals and NDP had similar goals. What Wikipedia doesn't mention are the internal wars in the PC party as Dalton Camp spearheaded a campaign to depose John Diefenbaker as leader. The Liberals also received the the support of Social Credit on many issues and were only a few seats short of a majority. The Liberals tried time and time again to poach MPs from both Social Credit and the NDP. Hazen Argue was probably the most prominent MP to cross the floor going from the NDP to the Liberals in 1962. The Pearson minorities worked IMO because they were not dependent on one party for support and because they were only 6 and 2 seats respectively short of a majority. In those days virtually all MP's were paired so that if a government member was away the opposition MP he or she was paired with didn't vote.

    The Trudeau minority saw a formal agreement between the NDP and Liberals. I believe it had a time limit of 18 months and shortly after that the Liberals engineered there own defeat. This period of minority government was characterized by runaway spending and deficits. A 2 cents a litre tax was imposed to pay for Petro Canada's acquisitions. The tax had an expiry date but because deficits were so high legislation was introduced to make the tax permanent even though Petro Canada no longer received the money. I would not call this successful period of minority government. You may well differ.

    The Clark minority government lasted only as long as it did because it took an inordinate period of time to meet Parliament. Clark famously couldn't count and did nothing to bring the Créditistes on side when his budget came to a vote. In addition Clark tried to govern as if he had a majority thinking the Liberal Party which was leaderless due to Trudeau's resignation wouldn't vote against the budget. This minority government passed no significant legislation and was an unfortunate failure. The budget that was defeated included spending cuts and tax increases, most notably a thirty five cent increase in the federal tax on gasoline. That tax was designed to reduce Canada's dependence on foreign oil and to bolster federal tax revenues. Trudeau who campaigned against the tax then proceeded to go even further but in drips and drabs so the impact wasn't felt.

    The Harper minorities have not been a success IMO because they too have had to spend more than they ought to have because minority governments are constantly in electioneering mode.

    As you say we need to address the problem of Canada's aging population. That is why I proposed for the LPOC platform that they support and campaign on a platform of no new spending and moderate cuts to current spending and some tax increases. Running surpluses and paying down Federal debt will put Canada in much better position financially to weather the graying of Canada.

    Again I welcome suggestions to what the LPOC's platform should contain.

  38. Wedge Politics:

  39. Actually Earl I was quite surprised at the number of minorities we've had. Far more than I thought and going back quite far.

    As to the Tories, aside from the stimulus, a lot of which hasn't been spent either, their problem seems to come from another direction.

    It's almost a "personality" thing? Plus Harper seems to be trying to create a different kind of system from what we traditionally have had. It's not exactly a Presidential system and I wonder just where he is going? Almost rule by fiat, and that isn't us. Plus now apparently we cannot question anybody other than Ministers. It's really between this and the detainee business as if he wants no control by Parliament at all?

    Yes some spending cuts, some realignment of spending to yield better bang for the buck and mild tax increases to handle the deficit.

    Number of other issues to deal with as well. But lets leave these housekeeping bits aside.

    But really in the end what could take the Libs over the top is a "vision". That's what they need and so far haven't produced.

  40. Yes, the Liberals would do better if they actually proposed something Canadians liked. That's hardly news.

    The trouble is, that's not really what the Liberals do, and that's why the Liberals haven't won an election on merit since Trudeau did it in 1980.

    After losing the government to Brian Mulroney, they returned to power only after the PC party had fractured into 3 pieces (PC, Reform, Bloc), and continued to hold power as long as their opposition was mere fragments of parties rather than whole parties.

    As soon as two of those three pieces rejoined, they lost their majority, and then shortly thereafter the government altogether.

    The Liberals have been in dcline for 30 years because they don't stand for anything. In the last election, they were the first choice among urban single women and Canadians with post-graduate degrees. That's it. That's all they have for support. And that's all they're going to have for support until they actually come up with a meaningful platform.

    And no, "Jobs Jobs Jobs" isn't actually a platform. it's just slogan.

    I would love to see a majority government. I think Chrétien's majority was better for the country than Harper's minority is (because minorities are terrible, terrible things that only cause harm). But the best chances for a majority (or even a majority coalition) involves the Conservatives.

  41. Hi Earl,

    I think your analysis is excellent. I agree that this Prime Minister has strongly held religious views (like many of us) but he is by nature a devastatingly cunning political strategist which can mean only one thing -- the art of compromise and sublimination of his own personal views in this area is never too far from his mind.

    This guy lives to win big and he will do whatever it takes to achieve that. Do I think the CPC can do that with Harper at the helm? Nope, not in a month of Sundays but you can count on this PM to give it the good old college try!

  42. Ira,

    That's two people now who think Harper can possibly pull it off. Imagine what egg I will have on my face if he does. Won't be either the first or last time but I doubt the Conservatives have a decent shot at a majority as long as this Prime Minister continues to lead them. But again, never say never, I suppose.

  43. I would love to see some coalition talks between the CPC and the Bloc.

    I don't think working with the Bloc needs to be the political death sentence the three main parties claim it is. Also, since the Bloc did splinter off from Mulroney's PCs, there's some common ground there.

    A strong decentralisation platform should attract Bloc support, and decentralisation is consistent with the small government Stephen Harper wants.

  44. Hi Ron and Peter:

    Ron I disagree about Harper's religious orientation. However IMO it doesn't matter because Harper believes in and practices separation of church and state.

    Ron, Harper getting a majority is only difficult because of the Bloc. My feeling is that he can do it on the issue of a coalition between the NDP and Liberals. There we differ.

    Peter the Liberals vision doesn't have to be earth shattering. Again given the times I think people would settle for a "Vision" of a frugal and careful Canada with the vision being responsible government not afraid to make difficult choices to maintain Canada's economic security. Iggy can sell that in a way Harper can't.

    As to references about Harper's governing style it's no different than that of his predecessors. Chretien didn't have aides testifying before HOC committees because the committees were run by Liberals. The HOC has never before tried to assert the powers it is now claiming. Basically in a majority parliament none of this NONSENSE happens because the Parliamentary committees are controlled by the party in power. Harper is doing nothing different that PM's before him. Fortunately while the Liberals and Bloc and NDP may care , most Canadians don't, recognizing it for what is - Nonsense!

  45. Earl:
    Again given the times I think people would settle for a "Vision" of a frugal and careful Canada with the vision being responsible government not afraid to make difficult choices to maintain Canada's economic security. Iggy can sell that in a way Harper can't.

    I think you are correct here.

  46. As to references about Harper's governing style it's no different than that of his predecessors.

    Here we are totally in disagreement. Despite your "spin" in fact you are not correct.

  47. It doesn't matter if the Liberals and the NDP talk coalition. Canadians will not alllow two losing parties to form a government. If the Liberals put it forward during or before an election their numbers will tank, just like they did last time.
    Canada will only accept a coaltion from a very weak minority government looking to stay in pawer a litle longer.

  48. All,

    I find Ira's comment about agreement with the Bloc interesting but how would Ira get over the hurdle of sovereignty? My impression is that you could offer the BQ the moon (and then some) and it would still not be enough to get anywhere.

    On another note, someone should remind this Prime Minister that he is on his second MINORITY mandate. That does not give him the right to control committees (and whom they happen to put on the witness list). Please tell the PM to give me a call when he GETS his majority and I will be more than happy to back him up so he can follow the tactics of Chrétien and all the others.

  49. Peter I hesitate to bother trying to have a conversation with you because when you don't like what I say you don't refute it with facts, you just call it "spin". Well if it is spin refute it.

    In any event here's more facts for you and a few questions. Can you find a time since 1950 when Parliament has exercised its authority to demand documents from a government with a majority government in power? How about in a minority situation? Just wondering because I can't recall any. I'll even take take examples before 1950 in Canada.

    Secondly the last time National Security was involved as contentious issue between the government and opposition was the Bomarc Missile crisis of the early 1960's. The Diefenbaker government had signed a treaty with the US which permitted the deployment of Bomarc anti aircraft missiles on Canadian soil. The US insisted this included Bomarc missiles armed with nuclear weapons. The Diefenbaker government insisted it did not. In the 1962 Federal Election Diefenbaker suffered a humiliating defeat being reduced from the largest majority in Canadian history to a minority government. One of the issues was the deployment of the nuclear armed Bomarc missiles. Diefs's minority quickly disintegrated over the deployment of the nuclear version of the Bomarc missiles and was defeated twice on the same day in non confidence motions over his government's failure to permit the deployment of said missiles. At no time did the Liberal's use the minority status of parliament to attempt to obtain secret cabinet memos, memos between ministers and their aides or Department of National Defence documents regarding the Bomarc missiles and what had actually been agreed to. There was a reason - the Liberals had a leader who understood both Parliament and politics. Pearson knew that either he or a successor could be in a similar situation as the government in a minority situation and did not want to set a precedent that would come back to haunt his party. The parliamentary atmosphere of those days was truly poisonousness with extreme personal animosity between Diefenbaker and Pearson.

    If you think I'm "spinning" you, you might want to read "Renegade in Power" and "The Distemper of Our Times" by Peter C. Newman.

  50. All,

    Today, Chrétien did not directly deny that talks are swirling perhaps between himself, Broadbent and Romanow.

    That means we could be in business. Now, to put you to work: if we go this route, either before or during an election campaign, what will be the effect on the previous Liberal and NDP party vote?

    Will the combined Liberal and NDP vote tally rise?


    Will both the Liberals and NDP lose part of their vote, and if so, to whom?

    Put another way:

    Does the leftist vote stay solid, increase or splinter after an agreement or coalition?


    Does the centrist vote stay where it is or does it shift, either in a combined Liberal-NDP direction or does some of it head in the direction of the Conservatives?

    Tuesday Evening Quarterbacks, Anyone?!

  51. Earl:
    The parliamentary atmosphere of those days was truly poisonousness with extreme personal animosity between Diefenbaker and Pearson.

    Indeed it may have been but however you "spin" this the rights of Parliament triumph over ANY govt !!

    Agreed it only really surfaces in a minority situation. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist !!

    As to Peter Newman he doesn't have credibility with me. OK ?

    Now lets forget realistic here for a change. Harper campaigns on "Transparency and Accountability" and proceeds to trash both of them !! Anybody who espouses the "rights of the executive" is immediately a "troll" !

    Clear ?

  52. On another note, someone should remind this Prime Minister that he is on his second MINORITY mandate.

    Absolutely, thanks for pointing that out !

  53. Peter I don't spin and you don't read. Too bad. I think in the future it would be best if you extended me the courtesy of not responding to my posts since you don't have anything constructive to say. I will assuredly extend you the same courtesy. Clear? Got It!

    Best wishes,


  54. Peter I don't spin and you don't read.

    I read quite well. Sadly you can't see your own fallacy.

    It doesn't matter whether the particular right has ever been exercised, if it exists as Milliken says it does, then there can be no argument if it is used.

    Also the Bomarc thing was what caused us to kill the Avro Arrow and give up our chance to lead world aviation. So I wouldn't use that as an example of anything !

  55. Ron here is your answer:

  56. Peter,

    Dief did the right thing in scraping the Avro Arrow program. Canada could not sustain that type of a program alone and it was clear that the U.S. or any other country would not partner with us on a permanent basis.

    We only have to look to Europe to see what lies behind their strategic fighter, namely a three-country consortium. I think that says it all.

    Where I strenuously object was Dief's stupid decision to ditch our prototypes into the Great Lakes. They should at least have made it into museums, not to mention air shows.

  57. Dief did the right thing in scraping the Avro Arrow program.

    I disagree. Partially because he used a really wimpy excuse and partially because the aircraft never flew with the engines designed for it.

    If it had flown with the Iroquois engine it would have set new records for speed. Buyers would have beaten a path to our doors.


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