Thursday, July 8, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 6.3-pt Conservative Lead

Did anyone else go through poll withdrawal? Well, thank the good Graves because EKOS is here to give us a sweet, sweet hit. And it has a few surprises.This poll was taken over two weeks, rather than over one week as is usually the case. However, EKOS is providing the details of the weekly results, along with the full two-week results. As those latter results are given in more detail, those are the ones I will be using for the projection.

Compared to EKOS's last poll two weeks ago, 32.1% is a modest 1.1 gain for the Conservatives. The Liberals have dropped 1.9 points to 25.8%, while the New Democrats are up a full point to 17.5%.

That Liberal result is below their 2008 electoral result.

The Greens are down 0.8 points to 12.2% and the Bloc Québécois is up 0.4 points to 9.7%.

But this poll is far more interesting when we look at the weekly results. In the first week of polling, right in the middle of the G20 summit, the Conservatives were down to 30.6%, compared to 26.2% for the Liberals. But in the second week of polling, the Conservatives jumped to 34.4% and the Liberals sank to a woeful 23.9%. This is a bit of a surprise, as I frankly expected the Liberals to close the gap in the wake of the summit.

Back to the two-week results, the Conservatives are up three points in Ontario, of all places, and lead with 34.6%. The Liberals are down three to 32%, while the NDP is steady at 18.1%. The Tories lead in Toronto (!) with 40% (up six), while the Liberals are down three to 34.3%. However, the Liberals are ahead in Ottawa with 36.7%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is steady with 39.4%, followed by the Liberals at 20.9% (up two). The Conservatives and NDP are steady at 15.1% and 12.8%, respectively. The Bloc leads in Montreal with 37.8%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are up eight to 34.6%. The NDP is up two to 23.7%, while the Liberals are down nine to 20.0%. The Greens are down two to 16.7%. The Conservatives lead in Vancouver with 35.3%.

The Liberals barely lead in Atlantic Canada with 35.2%, despite the wonky second-result giving the NDP 42%! The Conservatives lead in Alberta with 57% and also in the Prairies. They are at 37.4% there, but that is down eight points. The NDP picked up those points, and is at 25.5%.

Looking at the demographic breakdown, we see that the Conservatives lead among males, with a ten-point spread between them and the Liberals. But the spread is reduced to two points among females.

The Conservatives win 69 seats in the West, 47 in Ontario, 5 in Quebec, and 10 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 131.

The Liberals win 13 seats in the West and North, 41 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 19 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 87.

The Bloc wins 54 seats in Quebec.

The NDP wins 13 seats in the West and North, 18 in Ontario, 2 in Quebec, and 3 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 36.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Worse-than-Dion and the Liberals make gains?! Well, yes. Compared to 2008, the Liberals are only down 0.4 points (or 2% of their 2008 result). But the NDP is down 0.7 points (or 4% of their support) and the Conservatives are down 5.5 points (or 15% of their support). Looking at it this way, this bad Liberal result is, comparatively, better than the results of their two main competitors.

But what if we take last week's polling results, where the Liberals were at only 23.9%?

In that case, the Conservatives (who are still down from 2008) win 143 seats, compared to 73 for the Liberals, 53 for the Bloc, and 39 for the NDP. The fact of the matter is that the spread between the Tories and Liberals in that poll is almost identical to the spread in the 2008 election. Simply put, you aren't winning a majority with 34%.

But that the Liberals polled so low in the more recent poll makes EKOS's next poll, which we can expect on the 22nd, will be eagerly awaited. Will the Liberals stay below 24% over the next two weeks?

86 comments:

  1. The G20, and the July holiday weekends may be the cause of those big changes in the second week's polls. We'll see.

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  2. You need to review this poll, Eric. Your account of the numbers is way off target.
    "Conducted for the CBC, the poll suggests the Liberals have the support of 23.9 per cent of decided voters. That’s nearly 11 points back of the Conservatives who had the support of 34.4 per cent, which Mr. Grave predicts would give them 142 seats." Gloria Galloway at the Mop and Pail.

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  3. I don't think I've ever seen such messed up and weird results. The NDP increase taxes in Nova Scotia and the party's support in Atlantic Canada increases substantially. The conservatives photo op in Toronto nearly destroys the city and they are at 40% there? The Liberals are then in the twenties in Ontario after the G20 after being neck and neck with the Conservatives for months without any controversies. I did notice though that in the second week besides horribly weird results in Atlantic Canada and Ontario the Liberals did fine else where. I had really thought they may have taken the lead over the last two week.

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  4. According to CBC pollster Frank Graves, “The fortunes of the Conservative Party of Canada and Stephen Harper now appear to oscillate more clearly with the national mood. When Canadians now feel better about the country they tend to assign special bonus points to Stephen Harper.”

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  5. Dio, please read the post again. The 23.9%, which I do mention, is the result of the last week of EKOS's polling.

    My reporting is on the two-weeks of EKOS's polling, which is also how EKOS is reporting it on their website.

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  6. I wonder how much of this result is courtesy of the G8/G20 summit. Or does it show reaction to the Harper Sales Tax in Ont. & BC.

    Nothing else has really happened and certainly nothing to support this kind of swing.

    So I think we should all relax and wait for the next Ekos before getting all bent out of shape.

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  7. Possible explanation is that people don't blame Harper for the G8/G20.

    Instead they blame the protestors and have rallied around the gov't and police.

    Once again the media is out of step with public opinion, keeping up the heat on civil liberties infractions by the police.


    Other theory is Grave's. Canada Day + Queen = happy, shiny people who are more supportive of their government.

    Anyways, if I were the CPC i'd be preparing a fall mini-budget with POISON PILLS that could force a fall election !

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  8. I'll wait for the next poll to believe there is actually that much moment. There's no way the Tories lead in Toronto after the G20 shuts the city down. This poll is wacky.

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  9. "Dio, please read the post again. The 23.9%, which I do mention, is the result of the last week of EKOS's polling. "

    Indeed. The general media doesn't seem to care about that and seems to be reporting only the second week for obvious reasons. (Their obvious Liberal bias I suppose? ;) )

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  10. Even the second week polls of 34.4 to 23.9 to 17.9 after the G20 and the billion dollar boondoogle leave the CPC well below where they want to be.

    They still are counting on Leadership perception to translate into seats in an election.

    The coalition between the Green and NDP would likely get some Green MPs elected as well as move the NDP into the role as official opposition

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  11. Kevin I would report the most recent week's numbers if I was the media too!

    (Good or bad for the CPC. And when they have a bad week, which they inevitably will, shall we call it anti-CPC bias ??)

    EKOS already has a large enough sample size to justify reporting one week's figures.


    However, when looking at regional numbers i'd combine the two week's worth of numbers. Saskitoba and Atlantic Canada are prone to +12 one week and then -12 the next.

    So i'm with everybody else on a wait and see attitude towards those Ontario/Toronto numbers !

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  12. Éric: Will the Liberals stay below 24% over the next two weeks?

    Nope. Why? Because Frank Graves is wrong when he says, "In the absence of Parliament, we could speculate that it is merely a random survey error. But the pattern is far too pronounced and we can dismiss this hypothesis."

    Last week's Conservative and Liberal numbers (30.6% and 26.2% respectively) were plausible. This week's 34.4% and 23.9% are not; they're polling variance. It's that simple. Graves disappoints; he has to be a better statistician than that.

    As always, eyeball the trend chart on page 4 of the EKOS report and see whether the numbers make sense. This week, the Grit variance was down and the Tory variance was up. This may make for entertaining gloats and panics, but signifies nothing. The one-week spike doesn't fit the broad movement, pontificators notwithstanding. I'll supply the proof (nineteen times out of twenty) two weeks from today.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move on.

    Oh, and the Greens? Last week's 12.6% is about right and this week's 11.2% is a touch low. (I looked back after typing that and noticed that the 12.6% is the same adjusted number I gave last week--so while I may not be correct, at least I'm consistent.) Provincially the 16.7% in BC is pushing two points low while the 13.5% in Ontario is perhaps a point and change high.

    As always, these reality-check adjustments are relative to EKOS polls only. Not other pollsters. Not a hypothetical ballot box. I feel lucky. This is the week that everybody will understand that caveat and won't respond with LOTS OF CAPITALS. Really.

    But do take your best shot at my informal spline-fitting.

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  13. Shadow wrote:

    "if I were the CPC i'd be preparing a fall mini-budget with POISON PILLS that could force a fall election !"

    That seems like a dubious strategy to me.

    The Tories already have a fairly strong position in the House and the odds of them meaningfully strengthening that position in a fresh election are low.

    While the Conservative government needn't quiver in fear about a fresh election, neither do they have an especially compelling reason to deliberately precipitate an election.

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  14. The Conservatives lead in Toronto, but trail in Ottawa? It almost looks like someone has made a mistake and put the Toronto and Ottawa numbers in the wrong columns.

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  15. A couple of comments on this poll:

    First, before we read too much in the latest polls, let's put them in context. They show the Tories in the same range they've been in (according to Ekos, at least)more or less consistently since December (and where they were at the same time last year). Similarly, while the Liberal numbers in the second polling period are impressively low, 23.9% is well within the margin of error (which should be roughly 3% for a poll of 1,004 people, though Ekos doesn't report it) of the numbers the Grits have been polling at all spring. So on that level people should chillax.

    Second, if what we're seeing is a real change in Tory and Liberal support from the last poll (rather than just polling numbers bouncing around the real numbers), I can think of a number of reasons for it.
    (1) Parliament is no longer sitting, meaning that opposition parties have to worker harder to get air time. In contrast, the government gets to swan around to conferences and with the Queen, yada, yada, yada. So you'd expect the government to have a bump. We saw the same thing last summer when the Grits lost whatever bump they had coming out of their convetion over the summer, while Tory support inched up.

    (2) The G-20 was largely seen as a "win" by Harper. Sure, you can debate the merits of that perception, but most people aren't so it's the perception that matter. And for once, he managed not to be on the can when the group picture was taken.

    (3) In terms of Tory support in Toronto, I don't think the 40% number is all that unlikely. First, "Toronto", at least for the purposes of EKOS polls, includes the 905 belt around Toronto, which has a lot of Tory friendly ridings (and even within Toronto proper, Tories are hardly non-existent, they pulled in roughly 30% of the vote in the city in 2008 - significantly more than the NDP). Second, the actions of the so-called "black bloc" protestors, to some degree, helped to justify the security cost in the public's eye (empasizing the point that the failure of civil society groups to openly and explicitly criticize the use of "a diversity of tactics", to use the euphamism, utterly undermines their message). Third, to the extent there were issues relating to G-20 security, the brunt of them appear to have been borne by the Toronto Police Service (who apparently can't handle rioting anarchists, but who are surprisingly efficient at rounding up innocent people) and the Provincial government (for its inexplicable decision to pass a secret regulation and then mislead the public as to what it meant).

    Finally, BC, while you're right that the Tories would probably prefer to be doing better than 34% (doesn't ever government dream of sitting at 50, 60 or 80% in the polls?), consider the similar polling numbers in July, 2008. At that time the tories were crusing along at 33-35% (according to IR and Environics) while the Grits were dogging closely behind at 30-32%. Three months later, the Tories pounded the Grits in a general election. Two years later, the Tories are in the same place they were back then, and facing another rookie Liberal leader, while the Grits are at least 4-6 points back of where they were back then. Perhaps not the ideal outcome, but not a bad place to be in.

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  16. Leonard,

    Keep in mind that "Toronto" for the purpose of EKOS polls probably includes large parts of the 905 belt aroud the city of Toronto, which are relatively Tory friendly. Also, it's not as if the city of Toronto, proper, is the Tory wasteland people purport it to be. True, the Tories didn't win any seats there last time out, but they did pull in 25-30% of the vote - i.e., significantly better than the NDP. Given their support in the 905 belt, 40% support in the Greater Toronto Area is hardly implausible.

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  17. Henry,

    You're probably right that the Tories aren't going to be forcing an election any time soon (and I think Harper has been putting out some pretty strong signals to that effect in recent weeks). The reality is they know they're not going to knock-off the Bloc in Quebec (which they thought they might in 2008), so realistically they aren't going to win many more seats than they have now. So why would they give Iggy a chance to try to knock them off when they're just as likely to end righ back where they are now (i.e., a very powerful minority government). Better to force him to force an election (which, if it plays out like it did last fall, might actually get the Tories a majority government).

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  18. Apparently even Conservatives don't believe this poll.

    I think its a tad low, even for Ekos, but it is still highly significant of stagnation and overwhelming lack of leadership in the Liberals at the moment.

    Well, "leadership" is the wrong word - everyone loves Peter Donolo. But our media exposure, the ability to attach ourselves to events and stories and voters is really killing us. Its even more important during the summer recess where the House isn't sitting.

    And I agree with Leonard - I have no clue how the Conservatives lead in Toronto, but not Ottawa. Just seems odd.

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  19. Carl, good point on the distinction between 416 and 905 (one many people miss). That said, Harper had been trailing the Liberals by a fair bit in the GTA.

    I see two reasons why Harper gained from the G-8. Firstly, the end of the summit replaced stories about the cost of the summit with relatively positive news about things going Harper's way.

    Secondly, events in Toronto may have produced a rally around the flag effect - a common reaction when people fear for their safety. I suspect that Harper's early 2009 poll bounce was similar - people feared for the fate of the country.

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  20. You have to wonder Leonard if they didn't do that?? Ottawa is always Tory strong so they trail?? Hello ??

    Anybody got any comment on the new GG? Looks like a good choice and my only quibble would be his age. Five year term and he's 69 now. Pushing the envelope a bit ??

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  22. Volkov that memo is hilarious !

    You know why they sent it out right ?

    Ignatieff will be well on to his leadership tour by the time the next EKOS poll comes out. If Tories backslide a little the media narrative will be:

    "Ignatieff Gains Momentum From Cross Canada Trek"

    or something to that effect.

    Lol, better to take our lumps now and dampen the celebrations so we can step on Donolo's media narrative next time 'round.

    Strats are so silly. They're always plotting this inside baseball stuff. Basically they're like nuculear weapons - totally useless but everybody needs to have them so nobody gets rid of them unless everybody does!

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  23. John,

    it's not clear to me that Graves is a better statistician than that. EKOS' decision last fall to start prompting for "another party" alongside the CPC, LPC, NDP, GPC and BQ baffles me to this day - I can't see how it does anything but allow people who won't actually vote say they will, and it's a large part, along with their suspiciously high GPC numbers, of why they consistently have the LPC and CPC polling lower than other pollsters do.

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  24. Leonard: The Conservatives lead in Toronto, but trail in Ottawa? It almost looks like someone has made a mistake and put the Toronto and Ottawa numbers in the wrong columns.

    No stranger than this week's top numbers. If the country distributions are somewhat questionable, why should individual cities make any more sense?

    Believe it if it sticks in subsequent weeks. Which is another way of saying, don't believe it.

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  25. Peter maybe the new GG is outreach to seniors ?

    Yeah it would be pretty embarrasing if the guy's health were to become an issue mid-term. But they can always be replaced pretty quickly anyways.

    Only issue I could see is if the CPC were locked into an epic showdown again the coalition and midway through making his decision the GG croaked! LOL but what are the odds of that happening ?

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  26. John said: "Last week's Conservative and Liberal numbers (30.6% and 26.2% respectively) were plausible. This week's 34.4% and 23.9% are not; they're polling variance. It's that simple. Graves disappoints; he has to be a better statistician than that".

    Sorry, why were last week's numbers plausible while this week's numbers aren't?
    Polling variance affects both polls, so a priori, neither is obviously more (or less) credible than the other. You're guilty of the same crime you condemn Graves for.

    In any event, Graves is right in this respect, if you look at the Tory numbers since January, they seem to bounce around a fairly consistent average of 32-33%. Sure there may be two or three polls below that average, but that's invaraibly followed by a period above that average. Neither of the recent polls are inconsistent with that suggestion.


    For the Grits, there has been a steady downward trend since February. Neither of the latest polls are inconsistent with the suggestion that that trend is continuing. Yes, there was a slight uptick in June, but did that market the end of that trend or was that just the a sampling error? There's no way of knowing, et, although both of the recent polls would tend to support the latter conclusion.

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  27. Hoosier,

    Granted, the Tories have been behind the Liberals in "Toronto", but I don't think its fair to say that they've been trailing by a lot. Eric had a post a few weeks ago showing party support in "Toronto" over the past few months which was quite interesting in that regard. Basically, from March through until early June, the Tories have been dogging pretty close behind the Liberals (and, on occasion, dipping ahead). So I could see the Tories being ahead of the Liberals although not by 6%.

    In any event, given the sample size for Toronto, the margin of errors is probably something like 7-10%, so statistically, the Grits and Tories are tied. I have no trouble believing that.

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  28. How is it possible that in the June 22-29 week - NDP support was 18.3% and in the July 2-6 week, NDP support was 17.9% - yet when they combine the two weeks they say NDP support is 17.5%??? Surely the average of 18.3 and 17.9 should be 18.1 - no?

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  29. 69 is not that old...Reagan was first elected President when he was 69 and Mitterand was President of France into his 80s. The job of GG is a walk in the park compared to actually governing (not that Reagan ever did much of that!)

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  30. Carl: Third, to the extent there were issues relating to G-20 security, the brunt of them appear to have been borne by the Toronto Police Service (who apparently can't handle rioting anarchists, but who are surprisingly efficient at rounding up innocent people) and the Provincial government (for its inexplicable decision to pass a secret regulation and then mislead the public as to what it meant).

    If we blame the Tory feds for the abysmal handling of the violence, we may well see a dip in Conservative polls down the road. The blame cloud is still circling.

    But do we lay this fiasco at the feet of the Grit provincial government? Or the stealth Dipper mayor? All we're lacking is a Green councillor to complete the set. There will be no shortage of opportunity to point partisan fingers, but let's pretend there was a Green as well and simply not go there.

    Fortunately, some fingers will be pointed. They absolutely must be because the behaviour of the police was utterly unacceptable. Yes, some lowlifes were being thugs and goons. That's not a reason for the police to mirror them; that's when it's most important for our guardians of the peace to set an example.

    I realize that I'm at the back of the pack on this issue, but I find it interesting that the matter unites journalists from Steve Paikin to Mark Steyn--the latter leading a veritable chorus on the right. We'll take the far-leftie position as read; outside of the spectrum, the Green Party was unsurprisingly in early on the calls for an enquiry.

    I stated earlier that With very high confidence, there were no such undercover police at the G20 disturbances. On reflection, I'm less sure of that. Why did the police leave the bait cars to be trashed? And if they would do the latter, why not the former?

    I'm still puzzled as to why, though. What did anyone--the police, the mayor, the premier or the prime minister--have to gain from the violence? Or was it really simply a police force that was astoundingly incompetent at all levels?

    And which answer is scarier?

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  31. Carl: Third, to the extent there were issues relating to G-20 security, the brunt of them appear to have been borne by the Toronto Police Service (who apparently can't handle rioting anarchists, but who are surprisingly efficient at rounding up innocent people) and the Provincial government (for its inexplicable decision to pass a secret regulation and then mislead the public as to what it meant).

    If we blame the Tory feds for the abysmal handling of the violence, we may well see a dip in Conservative polls down the road. The blame cloud is still circling.

    But do we lay this fiasco at the feet of the Grit provincial government? Or the stealth Dipper mayor? All we're lacking is a Green councillor to complete the set. There will be no shortage of opportunity to point partisan fingers, but let's pretend there was a Green as well and simply not go there.

    Fortunately, some fingers will be pointed. They absolutely must be because the behaviour of the police was utterly unacceptable. Yes, some lowlifes were being thugs and goons. That's not a reason for the police to mirror them; that's when it's most important for our guardians of the peace to set an example.

    I realize that I'm at the back of the pack on this issue, but I find it interesting that the matter unites journalists from Steve Paikin to Mark Steyn--the latter leading a veritable chorus on the right. We'll take the far-leftie position as read; outside of the spectrum, the Green Party was unsurprisingly in early on the calls for an enquiry.

    I stated earlier that With very high confidence, there were no such undercover police at the G20 disturbances. On reflection, I'm less sure of that. Why did the police leave the bait cars to be trashed? And if they would do the latter, why not the former?

    I'm still puzzled as to why, though. What did anyone--the police, the mayor, the premier or the prime minister--have to gain from the violence? Or was it really simply a police force that was astoundingly incompetent at all levels?

    And which answer is scarier?

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  32. Only issue I could see is if the CPC were locked into an epic showdown again the coalition and midway through making his decision the GG croaked!

    The speculation is that in a constitutional problem Johnson won't be anywhere near as "co-operative" as Jean has been. Could be interesting.

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  33. Everybody's gone to the cottage. The CPC supporting fat cats of course have their home phones forwarded so they can readily answer surveys. While the hard working Liberal supporting backbone of the nation salt of the earth types did not, so they could not answer surveys.Besides, they were out cooling off in the lake, since they are not fat cat CPC supporters staying inside the air conditioned cottage.

    Dewey defeated Truman because the poll only got people with phones...

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  34. DL,

    One sample was larger than the other, that's why you're getting the weird averages.

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  35. Carl: Sorry, why were last week's numbers plausible while this week's numbers aren't?

    From looking at the trend of the graph on page 4 of the EKOS report. Last week's numbers landed more or less in the middle of a faired curve; this week's didn't. And (as Volkov pointed out), the Tories seem to share that view.

    We'll have a better idea in a couple of weeks. However, I myself wouldn't rejoice or despair if I were a Tory or Grit. Those talking points sounded--wait for it--quite reasonable and measured. Including the discounting of a future Iggy bump.

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  36. "Good or bad for the CPC. And when they have a bad week, which they inevitably will, shall we call it anti-CPC bias ??"

    I didn't say it was pro-PC or anti-PC. I was merely mocking the oft-claimed pro-LPC bias of the media.

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  37. Mark this date, John and I agree on something.

    I thought the handling of the G-20 protests by the Toronto police services (and others forces) was abysmal. While I don't go for the conspiracy theories that the cops were instigating the violence, I still think they did an awful job (in fact, its not obvious that they're smart enough to be agent provocateur).

    First, they let a handful of trouble-makers more or less run amok in the city, rather than rounding them up when the first rock hits a starbucks. Then, probably because they were embarassed by their pathetic underreaction on the Saturday, they spend Sunday afternoon rounding up people's whose only crime was being a bunch of lookie-loos.

    Add to that the Toronto Police Service's disingenuous handling of the "5m" regulation (and that of the McGuinty Government, which has shown an apalling lack of judgement on this file) and heads should be rolling.

    Frankly, I'm surprised that Miller hasn't asked for Chief Blair's resignation yet. If I were him I would be pissed (1) because the first thing I heard about this "5m" regulations was in the front pages of the Toronto Star; (2) that the chief had gone directly to McGuinty to ask for the regulation rather than clearing it (or at least informing) the police services board; (3) that he misrepresented what the regulation said (and had his people harrassing people on the basis of that faux-power); (4) failed to control actual rioters and hoolingans when push comes to shove (what's the point of having extraordinary police powers, if they police couldn't enforce basic laws against smashing windows); and (5) did a heck of a job of rounding up and arresting utterly harmless and innocent people.

    That a left-of-center mayor (and his trained poodles at city hall) are putting up with this (and even defending the TPS) is astonishing. Heck, my sympathies are decidely to the right (and, as often as not, with the police), and I think that heads should be rolling.

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  38. Fall election over the senate ?

    No. Just Doug Finley putting on a show of strength.

    The CPC has the votes in the senate to reject the finance committees changes.

    How do I know this ?

    Because when the opposition initially tried to strip the items in the full senate a week or so ago the Liberals failed to show up.

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  39. Whether the Liberals are actually stupid enough to actually force an election.... their constant guerrilla tactics of never confronting issues in parliament but using the committees and Senate to nag at the CPC is wearing incredibly thin.

    They are no longer fooling anyone.

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  40. The CPC has the votes in the senate to reject the finance committees changes.

    Apparently not according to the piece on CTV.

    They need the support of Independent Senators to get the majority I think and that could be iffy here, very few like the omnibus bill.

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  41. Peter,

    Technically, you're right, the Tories only have 51 out of 103 Senators (there's one vacancy and another senator has been suspended). So, technically the can be outvoted on this one.

    In practice, it probably won't be a problem. Lowell Murray put forward a motion in the senate a number of weeks ago to do, essentially, what the finance committee did. It lost when a large number of Liberal senators conveniently failed to show up for the vote. I'm not sure why we'd expect a different result this time.

    Moreover there's really nothing to be gained for the Liberals by having the bill go back to the commons. From their perspective it was bad enough that they had to let this bill pass the first time because they didn't want to fight an election, what kind of goofs would they look like if they had to do it a second time after their senators held it up. And all the while the Tories would be making hay about the unelected senate overriding the will of the elected commons - that stuff's just catnip to them.

    If the grits were anywhere near ready to fight an election, I might be able to see them taking a run at the Tories - it would give them an early confidence vote in September. But given that Liberal polling numbers are disastrous (and have been for months) and their fundraising still lags far behind the Tories (and has taken a step back from last year), I don't see that happening.

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  42. Peter I think they're two seats away from an outright majority.

    But the Liberals have one member, Raymond Lavigne (I think?), who is not allowed to vote because he's under some kind of investigation.

    On the initial omnibus vote every CPC member showed up. 10 or 15 opposition members did not. They would need everybody to show up which hasn't happened in a very, very long time.

    So the CTV story is just trying to sensationalize things.

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  43. Peter ever heard of the McGuinty Eco-Levy:

    http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2010/07/08/14643786.html

    Try and blame this piece of work on Harper. McGuinty is a a slime regulating massive ways in the way we are taxed and sneaking them in. He's worse than Campbell in BC. I voted for this guy three times, I was stupid!

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  44. So the CTV story is just trying to sensationalize things.

    I disagree but you may be correct. However dumping a lot of other stuff into an omnibus budget bill is totally incorrect !!

    I agree with Ralph Goodale that Parliament has to address the rules to prevent this kind of abuse. Many of the things in that omnibus bill should have actually been in separate bills.

    AECL
    Canada Post
    Environment rule changes
    Etc.

    Incidentally the Senators objecting include PC Senators !

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  45. what kind of goofs would they look like if they had to do it a second time after their senators held it up.

    At least it would have shown some Liberals still have balls !!

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  46. Yeah Earl heard about tat little gem today on CBC.

    In a way I've sympathy because of the Provinces massive debt.

    Mind, last time I vote for McSquinty !!

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  47. Peter if the article is correct the new tax DOUBLES the cost of cement. Think what this does to small and medium sized contractors. This tax on everything wasn't debated or even announced. They just imposed it. Now that's dictatorial. I think as news of this seeps out McGuinty is dead. Me, I'm going cross border shopping for a lot more than gas!

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  48. "I agree with Ralph Goodale that Parliament has to address the rules to prevent this kind of abuse. Many of the things in that omnibus bill should have actually been in separate bills."

    Huh? if it was a bad bill he would have voted against it.

    I absolutely agree that there should have been several? Dozens probably of separate bills....

    But why would the liberals oppose it in speech but not actions if it is infact bad for Canada? Either they don't think it is as bad as they claim it is... or they care more about their own fortunes than they do the people of Canada. Which is it??

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  49. This rebellion against sales taxes is fascinating.

    Atlantic Canada and Quebec have both raised their HST's. I think its around 15% in Nova Scotia which is just crazy.

    In Europe all EU countries are obligated to have a VAT, usually in the 20 +-5% range.

    For the most part Americans HATE sales taxes. However, there is a movement that Mike Huckabee is involved in. On this side of the border is Andrew Coyne.

    Which essentially says eliminate all taxation and replace it with a single sales tax.

    My own personal opinion is that i'd like the HST taken down a couple notches. 10% I can live with. Governments need money to function. Anything over that number is too high for me though.

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  50. For better or worse Harper changes the course of history:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harpers-pro-austerity-position-could-seal-his-legacy---for-good-or-bad/article1632397/

    Its impossible to overstate just how important that G20 communique was. Economic policy tends to be consensus oriented. Harper set the default position of every economic institution and government to fiscal consolidation and made Obama's call for more stimulus an outlier.

    The funny thing is that if Harper's wrong he'll go down in infamy. If he's right nobody will really notice or care beyond establishing that boring, vaguely positive feeling Paul Wells was talking about today.

    No news is good news I guess.

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  51. Peter if the article is correct the new tax DOUBLES

    I don't think it is that extreme but certainly you end up paying a tax on a tax and that certainly isn't fair.

    Live too far from the border to cross border sadly.

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  52. Peter: In a way I've sympathy because of the Provinces massive debt.

    From the linked article, "The provincial government doesn't collect or administer the fees... Stewardship Ontario administers the program on behalf of industries and fees reflect industries' cost to collect, transport, sort, recycle and dispose of the products."

    So the government never sees this revenue. It's used to cover some of the "external" costs of the product.

    Ontario has lots of experience with this. Time was when people were charged $5.00 to dispose of every tire--unless, of course, they just chucked the old one in the ditch. Now there's a fee when you buy the tire and the old ones are taken back without charge.

    I have some used solvents. Disposing of them will be tiresome. Whose lawn can I dump them on? Somebody? Anybody? Come on, I paid the full price of production, marketing, sales and profit, so Somebody Else should now be responsible for disposal costs...

    It does feel a bit odd defending a Grit premier who's made a number of bad decisions from a Grit. But this decision wasn't bad, and we should recognize the good ones.

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  53. Peter: "At least it would have shown some Liberals still have balls"

    Would it? If Iggy just rolls over AGAIN in the fall, wouldn't that just emphasize the point that they are, or more accurately, HE is, gutless? Why give the Tories and NDP another opportunity to make that point?

    In any event, balls, maybe, but not brains. If they're going to let the bill get enacted as is anyways, where's the payoff to making a big stink about how horrible it is?

    And there are real downsides for the Liberals to delaying the budget bill in the Senate. For one, Harper may decide that he needs a mandate from the public to get the budget bill through the senate (traditionally, the senate won't bloc a bill on which an election was fought). So, if come September, the Tories are comfortably ahead in the polls (a not unrealistic possibility), that could give him an excuse to call an election. At this point, I don't see the Liberals being to keen on doing that.

    Second, the constitution contains provisions for dealing with possible deadlocks between the Senate and the House. Namely, it allows the Queen (on the advise of her Prime Minister, bien sure) to appoint an extra 4 or 8 senators (as Mulroney did back in the day to get the GST passed). Not only would doing so give the Tories a stranglehold in the Senate for the foreseeable future, it would also prevent a future Liberal government from being able to appoint any more senators until the number of senators in each Division returns to its normal number. How keen do you think the Grits are about ending up in that situation?

    Now, Mulroney took a lot of flack for "stuffing" the Senate to get the GST passed, but I think the optics of doing so in this case are quite different. In this case, there isn't a vocal public uproar against the budget bill, as there was with the GST, and in any event, the Tories would point out that this wouldn't be a problem if the Liberals would only support their senator reform proposals. Long-term, that would be a significant blow to the Liberals.

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  54. "On the one hand there is the austerity camp who fear that bond markets will revolt at high national debts; they argue that tackling unsustainably high deficits will spark a private-sector revival. On the other hand is the stimulus camp, featuring Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who believe weak demand for products and services will tip the economy back into recession, perhaps depression, unless governments spend more."

    Yep but austerity doesn't mean massive deficits and insane expenditures on photo ops either. He can't have it both ways.

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  55. Long-term, that would be a significant blow to the Liberals.


    Sorry Carl but you are wrong. The public doesn't give a damn about the Senate.

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  56. Peter: "Sorry Carl but you are wrong. The public doesn't give a damn about the Senate.

    You misunderstood my point, it wasn't that the public cares about senate reform. Rather, the point was that having the Tories dominate the senate (espcially if they decide to stack it with an extra 4 or 8 senators) would be significant blow to Liberal fortunes in the long-run.

    Think about it, let's imagine that sometime next year, or the year after, the Liberals manage to recover enough in the polls to put together a minority government with the NDP (which, let's face it, is probably the best they can do these days). Just how productive do you think that government would in a scenario where the Tories have the most seats in the house of commons and dominate the senate?

    And think how unproductive it would be where the Liberals had previously (and recently) set a precedent for carving up and holding back budget bills passed by the commons? Think the Tories might be inclined to return the favour?

    No, the Liberals aren't going to be doing anything that gives the Tories an excuse to add more Tory senators. And given that, even without stacking the Senate, the Tories will gain an absolute majoirty in the Senate later this year anyhow, the Liberals aren't going to want to create any precedents that might come back to haunt them if they ever manage to get their act together and form the government.

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  57. (espcially if they decide to stack it with an extra 4 or 8 senators) would be significant blow to Liberal fortunes in the long-run

    Would it be? Think about the last time the Tories did that and the following election??

    As to why the Liberals didn't fix the bill in the House?? Simple isn't it? Tinker with a Budget Bill and it is instantly "Confidence"!! Nobody wanted an election.

    Goodale is right though, when the House comes back redo the Standing Orders so this kind of omnibus Bill isn't possible any more. That's responsible Govt not the kind of Tory trickery we're seeing.

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  58. Those job numbers are INSANE. What the heck happened, I was worried all week we'd see something like 0 +-5000 jobs created.

    Harper 1, Krugman 0.

    At least in Canada this looks like a self sustaining recovery. No double dip unless the US tanks and we're dragged in.

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  59. Peter,

    You can't have it both ways, by suggesting that (a) the public doesn't care about the Senate and (b) stacking the Senate is politically dangerous.

    In any event, are you seriously suggesting that it was stacking the Senate that did Mulroney in last time? (As opposed to the formation of the Reform Party and the recession, neither of which is duplicated these days). If it mattered at all, it was stacking the Senate to pass the GST (a wildly unpopular piece of legislation), not stacking the Senate per se, which hooped Mulroney. This isn't the same situation at all.

    And, given the loss of the Quebec by the Liberals, and the reality that minority governments are likely to predominate for the foreseeable future, yes, controlling the senate matters.

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  60. Peter asid: "As to why the Liberals didn't fix the bill in the House?? Simple isn't it? Tinker with a Budget Bill and it is instantly "Confidence"!! Nobody wanted an election."

    Gee, thanks for that blinding flash of the obvious. It's a good thing we've got you around for those sorts of profound insights.

    Of course, as Ralph Gooddale well knows, as a practical matter, there's no procedural way to prevent omnibus bills (and, in any event, the government is free to designate any of its bills as confidence bills, so even splitting the budget legislation doesn't prevent them from getting them through. If the Liberals are unwilling to fight an election over a 900 page budget bill, do they really want to fight one over AECL?

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  61. Something I find interesting here is that the Conservatives seem to do better when the government isn't doing anything.

    That bodes well for their fortunes should they win a majority, as they'd likely enact policies and then go away for extended periods. Recall how some right-of-centre governments in the western provinces have reduced the sitting of the legislature in the name of cost savings (Ralph Klein completely eliminated the fall session for a number of years).

    If the CPC poll better when there's no political news coming out of Ottawa, then it would be in their interests to prevent political news from coming out of Ottawa.

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  62. Shadow - The US may well tank. I'm hard-pressed to find another developed nation that is managing its recovery as badly as the US.

    The great depression began because the US government tried to run the economy. It persisted because they continued to try to run the economy. It only ended when the government ran out of money at the end of the war.

    Why don't they learn?

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  63. Those job numbers are INSANE.

    Yeah I agree unless we're seeing an early result from widening our export operations? But even then these when you compare to the US losses are astounding !!

    The real question of course is where are jobs coming from?? Service, mfg,agri??

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  64. No double dip unless the US tanks and we're dragged in.

    That's the big worry and I think there is a very good chance it will happen. We need to distance ourselves more from the USA. Diversify if you ask me.

    More like:
    Harper 0
    Krugman 0

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  65. Really Shadow?

    Job numbers in one economy that Krugman doesn't even talk about where austerity isn't even being employed are marks against him? If the United States had the reeession that Canada did, I don't think he's be sounding any alarm about stimulus.

    I feel that for Canada, if the emerging economies of the world are not harshly effected by reducing demand from the United States and Europe then Canada may be able to make out alright in the face of stagnant or shrinking economies elsewhere in the industrial world.

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  66. Incidentally, for those of you who don't believe these data, I suggest you take all of the poll results from the last few months, display them in a scatterplot, and look at the trends.

    The July 6 CPC number looks a bit high, but the Liberal number is entirely in keeping with the recent downward slope. It doesn't look at all out of the ordinary.

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  67. Well, there's another Tory senator, making it , at worst 52-52. Granted, a tie would be a win for the Grits, but this means the Tories only need one absence or abstention to win.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/834161--pm-appoints-new-senator-before-crucial-budget-vote?bn=1

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  68. I stand corrected, a tied vote means the proposed amendments would be defeated. So the tories, will win that.

    I suppose the Grits and the independents/PCs could still kill it collectively, but I don't see them voting against the budget bill as a whole.

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  69. If the Liberals are unwilling to fight an election over a 900 page budget bill, do they really want to fight one over AECL?

    Do the Tories want to fight an election on selling off a National Icon !!

    Same question isn't it Carl ?

    And in fact Standing Orders can be changed to prevent things like this budget omnibus.

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  70. Well, Peter, we know the Liberals weren't willing to fight an election over selling of a "national icon", because they let the budget bill pass through the house of commons.

    As for amending the standing orders to prevent passing omnibus budgets, how would you propose to do that. Most budget bills are, of neccessity, omnibus bills, as they invariably require amendments to dozens of acts (consider, for example, Ralph Goodale's 2005 Budget bill).

    So how do you draft a rule to prevent "bad" omnibus budgets bills, without blocking "good" omnibus budget bills? The determination of "good" and "bad" is ultimately a judgement call, that's hard to make a rule for.

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  71. Peter you're joking right ?

    90% of Canadians have probably never even heard of AECL. Those that have are probably anti-nuke Greenpeace types who are glad we're getting out that bussiness !

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  72. Kevin have you read Krugman's hyperbolic claims lately? He just said we're entering the third depression in history.

    If America was really going into a depression we would be too.

    Canada isn't like Australia. Our primary trading partner is still the US, not China. And our ability to export resources like oil and natural gas to Asia is very limited.

    Given our relative size i'll admit that the Canadian jobs numbers would be a very small data point to an American economist.

    But it got front page billing on the huffington post today, along with a suggestion that people move to Canada to find work! Lol.

    The other point I was getting at is that Canada's success also justifies our economic model. If we had run up the huge deficits that Krugman is always defending we'd be in a far, far worse position than we are now. Paying down debt instead of stimulus seems like a good strategy.


    Regardless, America isn't heading to a depression despite Obama's best efforts. Its going to experience a prolonged period of stagnation, not contraction, until a new political class restarts economic activity.

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  73. @Peter

    Trying to engae you in a non-confrontational mamer and taking your question at face value.

    Yeah I agree unless we're seeing an early result from widening our export operations? But even then these when you compare to the US losses are astounding !!

    The real question of course is where are jobs coming from?? Service, mfg,agri??



    Before this global set back the biggest problem in Western Canada was under employment. Western Canada needs immigration to clean up to move into the high tech construction oil extraction (potash, uranium) jobs that we are scrambling to fill. All these jobs along with the infrastructure support (new cities, roads etc) and Doctors and nurses and teachers is driving the employment out here in a way that we haven't seen in a generation.

    Billion Dollar mega projects are in the wings waiting.

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  74. 90% of Canadians have probably never even heard of AECL. Those that have are probably anti-nuke Greenpeace types who are glad we're getting out that bussiness !
    I think you'll find lots of people in Ontario know about AECL. Especially anyone within 100 miles of Pickering, Darlington or Douglas Point.

    And there is a one word campaign slogan that will be used to describe the problem with selling AECL. Actually not a word, a number: 407.

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  75. Those job numbers are INSANE.

    The bad part is, according to Don Drummond, they aren't in mfg or resources but in Service industries. That's not good for the long term results IMO

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  76. Carl wrote:

    "Well, there's another Tory senator, making it , at worst 52-52 ... a tied vote means the proposed amendments would be defeated. So the tories, will win that."

    Not so fast. One of those 52 Tories is the Speaker of the Senate (Noel Kinsella) and he cannot vote except in case of a tie.

    In other words, the Tories _could_ lose the vote 52-51.

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  77. BC
    Western Canada needs immigration to clean up to move into the high tech construction oil extraction (potash, uranium) jobs t

    That's the problem with these current figures. Yes it is great to see this many new jobs but as Don Drummond said these are in the vast majority "service" jobs.

    That's things like Health Care etc. These don't earn us any foreign exchange but they do cost us taxes. Follow where this is going ?

    It's more jobs for sure but at what cost to the economy ??

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  78. Peter I think only 18,000 of the jobs were in the public sector so this is still a largely private sector expansion.

    More doctors and nurses are always good too. A healthy population is a productive one. So from a taxes standpoint I think its a good investment.


    As for the service sector, there's nothing wrong with those jobs. Of course they don't pay the wages of the trades but they do help create better lifestyles and happier, more productive citizenry.

    Most of the manufacturing and resource sector jobs have been trickling in all year now. They're what have made the service sector jobs possible.

    Service sector jobs are signs of a healthy economy - people are getting paid, money is flowing freely, and people have confidence.

    There really isn't any downside to this report Peter. No dark clouds!

    Now the only worry is what comes next because the blistering pace of job creation is unlikely to be sustained.

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  79. Service jobs are what mature economies create. Agriculture and manufacturing jobs are generally only created by developing economies.

    This is a remarkably consistent pattern. Leftists often deny it because it disproves the labour theory of value, but the data keep coming.

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  80. There really isn't any downside to this report Peter. No dark clouds!

    I agree on that. I would however disagree that service jobs are "good". Of course they are if you consider only the internal economy. But in today's globalized world that isn't good enough.

    We need more exports and that's not what service sector jobs create.

    As an indicator of the overall health of the economy these are indeed good signs. Now for July we need an equal increase in export oriented jobs, eh?

    Also, if as expected, the US economy stagnates, and the signs seem to be there, then we do have economy problems. That's my one big worry as a stagnant US means less demand from Asia and Latin America for our resource exports and that ripples right back through our entire economy.

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  81. Globe
    Jobs Report



    Another concern is the type of jobs being created. Retail and other
    service-sector jobs tend to be more temporary, based on flexible hours,
    and are often lower-paying, economists said. The goods-producing
    industries that make many of Canada’s exported products saw a net job
    loss
    in June.

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  82. Peter: "We need more exports and that's not what service sector jobs create."

    Why do we need more exports? That's mercantalist economics and it was discredited centuries ago. A dollar of GDP is a dollar of GDP, it doens't matter where it comes from (i.e., services, manufcaturing, etc.).

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  83. Why do we need more exports?


    Because we import knot brain. Plus the wealth of the country is defined by it's trade balance !!

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  84. For those of you who have attended the Harper School Of Economics I will try to explain why merchandise exports are important and why we should be trying to swing our economy that way.

    Exports can basically be broken down into three categories, merchandise, agricultural and resource.

    Merchandise equals things we make, cars, home products, anything manufactured.

    Agricultural is fairly obvious but don't forget we may export wheat but we buy a lot of citrus etc. Particularly from the USA.

    Resource should be fairly obvious. Problem with resources is two fold. First they are finite, oil wells go dry, mines deplete. Secondly once they are out of the ground not much is done to them before export. In other words very little Value Added.

    As an aside the only renewable resource we export is lumber. Think on that ye hewers !!

    Our biggest trading partner by far is the USA. Historically with them we have run a negative trade balance on merchandise and agri. What has always kicked us into the positive region has been resources, particularly oil.

    As trade flows shift, and they have markedly in the last couple of decades we start to look like going negative overall if we don't pick up the merchandise sector. That's why export oriented jobs are so important.

    Right now we buy far more from Asia, China in particular, than we export. That has to be corrected if we want our economy to grow. And again resource exports aren't the answer even if they can be used to fund improved merchandise productivity.

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