Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Success of the ABC Campaign in Newfoundland & Labrador

Premier Danny Williams is a popular guy in Newfoundland & Labrador. But his popularity transcends mere provincial politics, and he proved that during the last federal election.

Williams considered Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have broken his promises concerning equalization payments for Newfoundland & Labrador. As a result, he urged Newfoundlanders and Canadians to vote "Anything but Conservative", or ABC. This call had a limited appeal in the rest of Canada, but was certainly heard on the island. To aid matters, Williams made sure his Progressive Conservative Party did not work with their federal counterparts, crippling Harper's organization in Newfoundland & Labrador.

Because of Williams' ABC campaign, Newfoundland & Labrador bucked the trend that took place virtually everywhere else in the province, reducing the government's support significantly while, nationwide, the Conservatives took a larger share of the vote.

To get a real picture of the debacle, the best way to look at it is at the riding level.

We'll start with Labrador. Here, turnout dropped from 58% in 2006 to 38.6% in 2008, a loss of 3,680 votes. But while Todd Russell kept his seat, losing only 342 votes in all, and Phyliss Artiss of the NDP gained 341 votes for her party, Lacey Lewis earned 3,913 votes less than the Conservatives did in the 2006 election.

In Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte, turnout dropped by 6,250 voters, from 54.8% to 44.3%. But here again it was not just about Conservatives staying home. Gerry Byrne of the Liberals held on to his seat and picked up an extra 748 votes, while Mark Kennedy of the NDP lost 244 for his party. But Lorne Robinson had 7,338 votes fewer than his predecessor Conservative candidate in 2006.

In Random - Burin - St. George's, the Liberals kept their seat with newcomer Judy Foote, though she did lose 1,095 votes in a riding where 6,648 fewer people voted than in 2006. The NDP made a gain of 1,861 votes, but Herb Davis of the Conservatives dropped 7,441 votes.

Turnout dropped from 59.6% to 51.8% in Avalon, a total of 4,644 fewer voters. This meant a seat loss for the Conservatives, as Fabian Manning (now a Senator) lost 7,590 votes. That is almost 3,000 votes more than was lost to turnout. The Liberals elected Scott Andrews with 548 more votes than they had in 2006, while the NDP picked up 2,342 more votes in the riding.

The biggest drop in turnout, in real numbers, came in Bonavista - Gander - Grand Falls - Windsor, with 9,632 fewer voters. Nevertheless, Scott Simms of the Liberals increased his vote by 223, while the NDP picked up another 889 votes. Andrew House lost 11,022 votes for the Conservative Party.

The Conservatives lost another seat in St. John's South - Mount Pearl, where Merv Wiseman hoped to hold on to former cabinet minister Loyola Hearn's seat. While 2,840 fewer people voted here than in 2006, the Conservatives lost 12,320 votes - almost 10,000 more than might have been lost to the lower turnout. The Liberals benefited, electing Siobhan Coady (with a gain of 2,625 votes). The NDP also made a big gain of 5,898 votes.

Finally, in St. John's East, turnout actually INCREASED. An extra 402 voters went to the polls in this steadily growing riding. Conservative MP Norman Doyle was not running for re-election, and so Craig Westcott took his spot and lost fully 15,274 votes. This was also a bad riding for the Liberals, as they lost 9,134 votes. Jack Harris, former leader of the NL NDP and former NDP MP, came roaring back with a gain of 23,691 votes for his party.

In total, the Conservatives lost 64,898 real votes in Newfoundland & Labrador. To put that into perspective, the Conservatives lost 165,275 votes between 2006 and 2008 in the entire country. In other words, the ABC Campaign accounted for 39% of the Tories' losses in the 2008 election. Not bad for a province with less than 2% of Canada's population.

Both the Liberals and the New Democrats made gains at the expense of the Conservatives in this election. The Liberals bumped their popular support up to 46.8% from 42.8% in 2006. It was their fourth best result in the last nine elections, this despite having a historic low nationally.

The NDP increased their support from 13.6% to 33.7%. That was new ground for their party, as their previous best result recently was in 1997 when the party had 22% support.

There is some chance that the NDP can use 2008's success as a springboard to a seat gain. But that opportunity lies only in one riding: St. John's South - Mount Pearl. Winning two seats in Newfoundland & Labrador, after having never won a seat in a general election in the province prior to 2008, would be a big moral victory.

Regionally speaking, the Conservatives dropped everywhere in the province, while the Liberals made gains on the mainland of the island. The NDP's bump came on the Avalon Peninsula.To put the Conservatives' Newfoundland catastrophe into perspective, consider that the party's previous low (using Progressive Conservatives results prior to 1993 and PC + Reform/Canadian Alliance after 1993) since 1980 had been 32.3% in 2004. From 42.7% in 2006, the Conservatives dropped to a mere 16.6%. This after earning anywhere from 32% to 58% in the province over the last thirty years.

In an election that was a wide success, Newfoundland & Labrador was the party's black eye. In only three other provinces did the Tories drop in support from 2006: Nova Scotia (from 29.7% to 26.1%), Quebec (from 24.6% to 21.7%), and Alberta (from 65% to 64.7%). All of these losses were miniscule in comparison to the 26-point, 61% drop in support the party suffered in Newfoundland & Labrador.

But it's only seven seats, you say, and they've never won more than four of them in the last 30 years.

While this is true, the next election has three likely outcomes: a Liberal minority (either with a plurality of seats or as a coalition), a Conservative minority (most likely), and a Conservative majority. If there is to be a Conservative majority, it will be a very slim one. So slim, in fact, that those four seats may be the difference.

As the latest polls in Newfoundland & Labrador have shown, Danny Williams is as popular as ever. He may not run his ABC campaign again in the next election, but the rift between the provincial Progressive Conservatives and the federal Conservatives will not be an easy one to mend. The federal organization was ripped apart and humiliated in 2008. The party lost thousands of voters to the other parties and more to voter apathy. Can those bridges be re-built and those voters brought back into the fold?

Or will the Liberals and NDP sweep the province again?

49 comments:

  1. Williams enjoys something like an 80% approval rate.

    If he is even just negative on the Tories without actively running ABC again the Tories are toast.

    Eric, how about a listing of all the Provincial Premiers and their Provincial approval rates ??

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  2. I think Williams has made it clear he's learnt his lesson.

    He needs a seat at the table. Right now he's completely locked out with the feds and its not good for him.

    So he's already started to mend fences. He's vowed the ABC won't happen again and he described his last meeting with Harper as "warm and fuzzy".

    If Harper can deliver some goodies to Williams its possible we could even see him ENDORSE certain CPC candidates!

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  3. I think Williams has made it clear he's learnt his lesson.

    Trust Shadow to try and spin it.

    Harper has learned his lesson really. He can't shaft Williams and expect to get seats. So Harper has gone all touchy, feely.

    But given Harper's track record the chances of this really lasting are pretty small.

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  4. what do the polls in NL say if there was an election today?

    The CPC seems to be polling well in Atlantic Canada but not picking up seats according to Eric.

    Was there a impact of ABC outside of NL?

    If Danny says Harper is better than the others will that translate to more Maritime CPC turnout?

    Did people vote CPC in the RoC as push back against Danny Williams?

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  5. --- what do the polls in NL say if there was an election today?

    We have none.

    --- Was there a impact of ABC outside of NL?

    It seems that there wasn't. The Conservatives increased their vote in New Brunswick and PEI from 2006 to 2008, and had only a slight dip in Nova Scotia. Perhaps it played a role there.

    --- If Danny says Harper is better than the others will that translate to more Maritime CPC turnout?

    In NL, definitely. But Williams will have to argue WHY the Conservatives deserve their support again.

    --- Did people vote CPC in the RoC as push back against Danny Williams?

    I'd say that is extremely unlikely.

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  6. --- Was there a impact of ABC outside of NL?

    It seems that there wasn't. The Conservatives increased their vote in New Brunswick and PEI from 2006 to 2008, and had only a slight dip in Nova Scotia. Perhaps it played a role there.


    Or The CPC was in a position to sweep the Maritimes and Danny Williams as the true voice of the New East held the CPC surge in check?

    It is almost impossible to measure the impact of the ABC campaign outside of NL as it would not be the main issue outside of NL BUT might have been in the top 5 issues in the East. Any concessions Danny wins from the feds will eventually spread to NB, NS and PEI.

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  7. I think Shadow's right that Williams will probably go out of his way to make sure that some Tories get elected in the next election. Given the likelihood that there'll be another conservative government, he'll want to make sure he has someone at the federal cabinet table (and, in particular, someone who owes him a favour and knows that Williams can break them as easily as he made them), particularly if there's a narrow margin of victory for the conservatives.

    Peter and Shadow can argue about who shafted whom more, but it's clear that both Williams and Harper came out of the 2008 campaign with scrapes and bruises. True, Williams made sure that Harper didn't win any seats in the 2008 election. Then again, Harper turned right around and enacted a budget in 2009 (with Liberal support) which stuck it to NFLD over equalization. Neither one of them comes out as a winner in that fight, and they probably both realize it which is why they'll come to some sort of modus vivendi next time out

    As to how the Tories will do in the next election, it's hard to tell with polls of Atlantic Canada since the margin of error is so large (typically between 7-11%), but the Tories seem to be in a range between the low and high 30s, which suggests that they're doing better than they did in the Altantic provinces in 2008, and that they've probably recovered some (or all) of their support from 2006 in NFLD.

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  8. Peter - if you were posting links to articles that actually contained some information, I wouldn't object, but you're linking what are effectively opinion pieces.

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  9. Agreed, please refrain from doing so in the future.

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  10. It is very unlikely any Conservatives will be elected in NL in the next election, unless a star candidate runs and as of now the Conservatives have no candidates in the priovince. Danny Williams is also very unlikely to endorse Harper, even if they are on better terms.

    As well can you explain Shadow what lesson Williams has learnt? Are you trying to say that your beloved Prime Minister has punsihed the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for not voting for him?

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  11. Carl you're weighing into the scrap Peter and I are debating and calling it a tie ?

    I really haven't seen any evidence of Harper going all "touchy, feely" as Peter says. Williams seems to be the one backtracking the most these days.

    The four or five seats Harper may have won but for Williams didn't cost him a majority government (he still would have fallen short).

    The billions Williams lost seem far more consequential.

    Who won this prize fight ? Who's more stubborn ? (Not necessarily a good trait either...)

    I'd say Harper came out on top.

    Attacking the feds is good local politics but in the long run it hurts the province more than it hurts the feds.

    Watching Charest lash out out at the federal government while he flails is just pathetic. Harper doesn't deal with people who pick fights with him.


    Anyways, in the long run, I agree its in the best interest of both men to come to a working agreement and help elect some CPC candidates so Newfoundland has a seat at the table after the next election.

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  12. Red Tory Liberal you know how politics work.

    Money flows towards power and influence.

    Without any cabinet members from Newfoundland their interests are either overlooked or ignored.

    Harper hasn't "punished" them. They've punished themselves by walking away from a chance to be part of the government.


    Heck, even during Liberal rule the Albertans were smart enough to elect at least one or two Liberals to send to Ottawa to be in cabinet.

    Williams shot himself in the foot and now he's backtracking.

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  13. --- Heck, even during Liberal rule the Albertans were smart enough to elect at least one or two Liberals to send to Ottawa to be in cabinet.

    Hmm, yes, I hear they drew lots to determine which riding would make the sacrifice.

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  14. So Shadow you pretty much summed it up, Harper punished people of this country because they disagree with his policies.

    Also Newfoundland and Labrador does have a Cabinet Minister at the table his name is Peter McKay and even when there was a Cabinet Minister who was from NL, Harper was still screwing over the province.

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  15. Shadow, that was a nonsensical claim. Most Albertans would have been very happy to have no Liberals representing them during the Chrétien years.

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  16. Shadow wrote:

    "Heck, even during Liberal rule the Albertans were smart enough to elect at least one or two Liberals to send to Ottawa to be in cabinet."

    That is accurate for the Chretien/Martin years but that was not the case during the Trudeau elections of 1972, 1974, or 1980.

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  17. While any party should be loath to unnecessarily lose even a small number of ridings, surely it is a bit melodramatic to refer to the 2008 Nfld result as a "debacle" or a "catastrophe".

    The loss of 2 or 3 seats does not a catastrophe make.

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  18. Eric things were a little different before the new financing rules.

    The Liberals did nothing about the Kyoto treaty and reaped the tax receipts of a developing oil/natural gas industry in Alberta.

    In turn, money found its way to certain candidates to help with their election fights.

    The business elite in any province want a seat at the table and somebody they can talk to.


    Red Tory Liberal how much time does Peter McKay have for Newfoundland ? He's a little busy. And look at the stimulus money. He paved over everything in NS. It tooks months and months for an agreement to be worked out with Newfoundland (they may have even been one of the last provinces to get money flowing to them if I remember correctly.)

    Newfoundland has a place at the cabinet table in name only.

    You say things were bad before ?

    Alright that's fine, you're a partisan, anti-Harper type so that's what i'd expect you to say. But we're talking about the RELATIVE difference.

    Are things without a seat at the table:

    A) Better B) Same C) Worse ?

    The answer seems clear. The remedy is clear too. Williams knows this and will help Harper elect a couple MPs in the next election.

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  19. ---The loss of 2 or 3 seats does not a catastrophe make.

    It runs a little deeper than that.

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  20. ---The business elite in any province want a seat at the table and somebody they can talk to.

    Business elite = Albertans, gotcha.

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  21. Ira i'm talking about money and power, not what the man on the street thinks.

    Small donors was always the domain of the reform/alliance/CPC.

    Big money was the expertise of the Liberals. Anne McLellan was always a big fundraiser.


    Henry I bet the oil and gas industry would have wished they did have someone during the Trudeau years.

    They could have argued against the NEP at cabinet or at least let it be known to the folks back home that something was on its way.

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  22. New HD poll out Tory lead narrows:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory-lead-narrows-in-latest-poll/article1653188/

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  23. Eric said:

    "Business elite = Albertans, gotcha."

    When I refered to "the Albertans", yes, I was talking about elites. Business, political, intellectual, or others.

    Those with the power or money to influence an election.

    I thought the context would be rather clear since we were discussing the effect a premier could have on federal results and its impact for the province.


    Both you and Ira seem to have misunderstood me.

    Apologies all for not being clear enough!

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  24. Pulling back to the topic at hand, a few points:

    ABC was obviously successful in Newfoundland, but to say that it had a ripple effect in the rest of Atlantic Canada is to misunderstand the relationship between those provinces.

    People in PEI and NB (my home) don't give a fig's leaf about Newfoundland or offshore oil revenue. In NB, the CPC rode a 5-point upswing to nab 6 out of 10 seats (up from 3 out of 10); I somehow doubt that ABC is what kept them from winning, say, 9 out of 10 seats.

    The Conservatives sagged a bit in terms of popular support in NS, but I'd call that more of a Bill Casey factor than a Danny Williams factor...and those Casey voters will all be voting for their newly-minted Conservative incumbent in the next election, anyway.

    So, I guess my point is: ABC's effects were quite dramatic...in Newfoundland only. They meant pretty much nothing in the other Atlantic provinces.

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  25. No Shadow I'm not partisan I think Martin did stupid things to Newfoundland and Labrador as well, like getting rid of the Gander weather office for instance. Harper later re-instated the office, it was a very good move on Harper's front and it won him lots of votes during the 2006 election.

    Harper screwed all that up by lying to Williams and the province and it definitly cost him. When you look at how the party did in 2006 Harper could have definitly had a chance at 5 seats in the province.

    We also saw strategic voting in the last election like never before which could definitly be attributed to the ABC Campaign.

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  26. While any party should be loath to unnecessarily lose even a small number of ridings

    Really? In his third election Ralph Klein lost a bunch of seats in Edmonton ON PURPOSE because he didn't like having all those Edmontonians in caucus meetings.

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  27. Earl - Of course the Tory lead narrows; they were getting too far ahead. This pattern is remarkably stable. A Conservative majority frightens most Canadians, but a Liberal government also frightens most Canadians, so neither can ever be permitted.

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  28. If I may, I would like to briefly summarize the history to why the ABC campaign came about. I left the island for schooling back in 2002 but talking with the family the 2008 election was divisive for everyone.

    1. Back in the 80's, NL and the Federal government negotiated the Atlantic Accord. This contract gave NL the right to expropriate off-shore mineral resources (eg. oil or natural gas) without needing permission from the federal government. Unlike territorial resources which we under the responsibility of provences since Confederation, offshore was a federal responsibility until then.

    2. Then in during the Paul Martin government, the equalization formula was being ammended. The Martin government (simple explanation) wanted to include the revenues generated from the off-shore, so that NL would effectively recieve less equalization, as its economy due to Hibernia and other sectors were doing quite well. That's where Danny Williams replaced the Canada Flag with the Newfoundland Republic Flag on all the provincial buildings. NLers were pissed because Quebec's Hydroelectric resources (which they recieve a good portion of Labrador's Upper Churchill Dam), is NOT included in the Equalization formula. So from NL's point of view Quebec would still recieve a generous equalization funds, while the NL would get less. As we remember Paul Martin did NOT change the formula, and Danny ended his protest with him. From that defense of the province (& provence economically doing well), he would go on to win 44 of 48 seats in the 2007 election

    3. Then during Harper's 1st term, he proposed and subsequently changed the ammending formula to equalization. Bill Casey votes against the government in protest, and is kicked out of causus. Danny Williams, sees the change in equalization would reduce the money transferred from Ottawa. During the election it was a simple campaign where voting federally Conservative was seen as traitorous to the Province.

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  29. Éric - I've rambled on before about how valuable I find scatterplots of these poll results, but I just dropped a polynomial trendline into one of them and the thing that just blows me away is that the NDP's polynomial trendline is a straight line. It rises slowly from the beginning of 2009 to the present, but it rises, inexorably, at a constant rate.

    You don't see a lot of straight polynomial trendlines.

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  30. NorthernRaven can I get your take on something Danny Williams said recently ?

    He was complaining about Quebec Hydro not giving him transmission space to sell energy to the US.

    He commented on how the political configuration in this country will always benefit Quebec to the deteriment of Newfoundland.

    Almost every party sees seat rich Quebec as key to victory, where as Newfoundland just doesn't offer as much by comparison.

    Liberal governments, Brain Mulroney's government - considerably more Quebec seats than Newfoundland seats.

    However, given Harper's recent stumbles in Quebec I detect something of a missed chance for Williams.

    Had Harper gone on and won 5 seats in the last election, compared to 10 in Quebec that strikes me as one of the smallest gaps in recent history.

    A promise to work like crazy to elect all CPC members might have made Harper inclined to exercise his constitutional powers to force Hydro Quebec to play fair.


    Who knows, maybe the next election after this one we'll see something like this if Harper still has difficulties with Quebec but Atlantic Canada is becoming more and more of a base for him.

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  31. Ira

    but you're linking what are effectively opinion pieces.

    Get used to it. All politics are opinion not hard facts.

    What you are bitching about means you don't understand politics.

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  32. Williams seems to be the one backtracking the most these days.

    No way Shadow, why should he. He's a "HAVE" province now thanks to hydro and oil.

    Get used to it, Harper goofed.

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  33. Shadow,

    "If Harper can deliver some goodies to Williams its possible we could even see him ENDORSE certain CPC candidates!"

    Nope. Danny like his federal counterpart is ego driven. He enjoys being king in NL. He's not about to blow any of that credibility by even nodding in favour of candidates of a party he previously despised. Not even in your dreams, Shadow.

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  34. Shadow,

    "A promise to work like crazy to elect all CPC members might have made Harper inclined to exercise his constitutional powers to force Hydro Quebec to play fair.


    Who knows, maybe the next election after this one we'll see something like this if Harper still has difficulties with Quebec but Atlantic Canada is becoming more and more of a base for him."

    Shadow, please get real. Éric can confirm my position that the day that happens, the Bloc will coast to victory in Quebec with a close to 70/75 seat win. This Prime Minister is known for many things -- being incredibly stupid is not among them.

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  35. "As we remember Paul Martin did NOT change the formula, and Danny ended his protest with him."

    As I recall Raven.. he did. Following the deal tho he signed a 1 off deal with NL... The 2005 Atlantic accord. Which removed the province from the cap/clawback of resources. A deal I might add, that provinces like Saskatchewan who were asking for the equivalent deal did not receive (even tho the finance minister of the day was from here). As Red Liberal says Harper punishing a province for wiping out the party within its borders.... except it was Martin...

    Anyway when Harper enriched equalization, he suggested to Mr. Williams that he could have the new equalization program, or the old 1 off deal. (I can't remember which was eventually chosen...) But that's the day I remember the ABC campaign started with Williams wanting his cake and eating it too.


    While I do not fault Mr. Williams for wanting the best deal for his province... I still hold a grudge for taking down the Canadian flag. I look forward to the day when he is replaced and I can again consider NL part of Canada. Until then, when I talk to my family out there I continually tell them about Canada and suggest they move here and enjoy living in our wonderful country.

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  36. Ron not every federal Tory is in the bad books with Williams.

    Someone like Tim Powers, who has long been rumoured to be mulling a run against Siobhan Coady (although he denies it) has frequently defended the premier in the national media.

    I bet someone like General Hillier (also rumoured a a possible candidate) could also garner an endorsement, being allied to neither camp in particular.

    Most recently Powers was the only voice willing to defend Williams when the national media absolutely crucified the man for getting heart surgery in the US.

    Interestingly Harper didn't comment. It was seen as the perfect oppertunity for him to get a shot in and he didn't.


    Harper's restraint in not joining the attacks on Williams shows the truce is well underway.

    Whether it turns into an alliance, well we'll see.

    Rumour has it that when more crown assets go on the chopping block Williams is interested in buying up (at a good price) the shares in Newfoundland's off-shore oil industry that the Feds are holding.

    A sweetheart deal will be the key indictator to watch for in evaluating the health of the Harper-Williams relationships.

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  37. Peter, I did go to the bother of reading this particular hotlink of yours...

    As Ira said, partisan junk.

    But I am wondering if you can explain to me...


    "The problem with voluntary surveys, Sheikh said, is that groups such as aboriginals, low-income earners and immigrants tend not to take part."


    That is one of the general problems that people have been talking about. If I am right, it is considered the most important, yes?


    So here is my questions:

    If Mr. Sheikh so vehemently disagreed with the voluntary option.... how did it become an option that was presented to Mr. Clement? It should have been torpedoed before it got near the minister if it was such a bad option shouldn't it??

    If Mr. Sheikh so vehemently disagreed with the voluntary option.... why did it take a month after the announcement for him to do so? Didn't he know about it before it was announced? in the first week after?



    Why wouldn't those groups fill it out if their particular minority group claims it is in their best interests?? If they are likely to get a bigger piece of the pie by being noticed??

    Please explain the evidence and reasoning for these groups not taking part. Are they more lazy? More concerned about the sensitivity of the data? or the government entity they are giving it to?

    Is threatening the poor, the immigrants to Canada and minorities with fines and jail time for non compliance really the best course we can come up with?? Is that really the place the left would like to stand up and be "tough on crime"??

    Yes, I am aware that you are going to use the argument that few if any are ever charged... But. if we have given up on using the stick to enforce compliance... isn't it effectively voluntary already??

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  38. Interesting article peter....

    Last poll HD had was 34-27-17

    Of course that was taken from the last press release... not this one where they seem to be pushing liberal fortunes both in the headline and in the falsified numbers easily check-able in the last release.

    This HD poll you linked: 31-26-18

    In other words... the tories dropped 3, the liberals gained... -1?? huh??, and the NDP.. out of those 4 points gained... 1

    Stellar numbers for those that oppose the tories, no?

    Perhaps to bring some balance to the that headline others should read... "Liberals fall below 20% in Quebec" or... "Opposition Liberals and NDP fail to gain from tory weakness"

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  39. Shadow,

    "Someone like Tim Powers, who has long been rumoured to be mulling a run against Siobhan Coady (although he denies it) has frequently defended the premier in the national media.

    I bet someone like General Hillier (also rumoured a a possible candidate) could also garner an endorsement, being allied to neither camp in particular."

    I hope Tim runs. He would be a good candidate for them. In fact, I wish his friend Warren would also find a riding but I digress.

    Shadow, it may amuse you somewhat to know that I suggested to the PMO immediately prior to Hillier's retirement as CDS that the CPC should recruit him as a candidate. Interesting to see that they are finally picking up the general's baton. (Too bad we don't have field marshals but you go with what you've got when writing.)

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  40. Shadow says "Almost every party sees seat rich Quebec as key to victory, where as Newfoundland just doesn't offer as much by comparison."

    This has been true in the past. After the CPC bent over backwards and solved the "fiscal imbalance" and did everything possible and they only got 11 seats in Quebec.

    The Bloc has effectively left Quebec with 25-35 seats. Atlantic Canada has 32 seats.

    It is a given that Mr. Williams is the most influential politician in Atlantic Canada. His influence extends to blocking the Hydro Quebec purchase of power companies.

    Should Mr. Williams fully support Mr. Harper as the clear cut best choice for Atlantic Canada and have NL Hydro fair passage through Quebec as a federal campaign issue it would be be a bigger vote getting than anything that Harper could possibly do for Quebec.

    With most of the "Quebec" land in question being First nations Mr. Harper has a lot of levers and influence to do this.

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  41. --- solved the "fiscal imbalance"

    No, it wasn't solved.

    --- Mr. Harper has a lot of levers and influence to do this.

    Actually, he has none. That land belongs to the province of Quebec. If he wanted to try something like this (and he doesn't), I would welcome it, as it will ensure a PQ victory next time around, without hurting HQ at all.

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  42. -- solved the "fiscal imbalance"

    No, it wasn't solved.

    ==========================

    That is obvious. Quebec still gets 8.5 Billion dollars of equalization payment while having social programs far in excess of the other provinces.

    The "fiscal imbalance" gets resolved with these payments being reduced to 0.

    The levers that Mr. Harper and the any federal government has along with equalization formula is the billions of direct federal support of the First Nations.

    The fact that Quebec has reduced their effective representation in the Federal government.... and solidly entrenched it to 25-35 seats has made reduced them to minor player in Federal politics.

    Atlantic Canada 32 seats and Sask/Man 28 seats each are as vote rich as Quebec.

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  43. Ah, but ignoring Quebec makes it all the more difficult to get a majority elsewhere. The Conservatives can't count on Liberal weakness forever.

    Then, of course, there is the little problem that neither the Prairies nor Atlantic Canada threaten separation.

    Or the fact that with 1/4 of Canada's population and a big part of its economy, the federal government can't antagonize the provincial government and hope to get anything constructive done.

    And Quebec's lively defense of provincial jurisdiction is often taken up by the other provinces as well.

    If the Conservatives want to run a government for all non-Quebecers, they can, but it is not the path to success. It is also, well, rather un-Canadian.

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  44. Peter -

    What you are bitching about means you don't understand politics.

    I understand politics just fine. What you're doing with those articles is trying to conduct politics, rather than discuss politics.

    I'm not here to be campaigned at.

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  45. Its not just the CPC...

    The Liberals saw that they have a top end absolute max of 30 seats in Quebec.

    They have a chance for 32 seats in Atlantic Canada.

    Mr. Williams delivering 6 NL seats has the Liberal Atlantic caucus at 17 while the Liberal Quebec caucus is 14.

    Mr. Martin already was gave Danny Williams special treatment (better than Quebec).

    If push came to shove and Quebec was being unreasonable in allowing NL power to run through Quebec the Liberals would be very hard pressed to support Quebec. There is less political potential reward in doing so.

    Mr. Williams was lining up Liberal influence last election. If the Liberals were in power, either in a Minority of in cahoots with the NDP Mr. Williams would have huge influence at the cabinet table.

    He has to decide if he can afford to wait for the Liberals to be in position to pay him back or if NL is best served with less, but some influence in Harper's camp.

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  46. Ron who cares how many seats the BQ wins if the Tories have a slim majority!

    After redistribution it'll be even less of a problem.

    Eric claims that Harper can't govern unless he works with Quebec but in many instances its Quebec that's standing in the way of important economic reforms like the reduction of interprovincial trade barriers.

    Harper can get tough with Quebec through an expansive reading of constitutional powers and a cooperative supreme court to back him up.

    The people of Atlantic Canada don't care much for Hydro Quebec these days.

    Again, watch the returns next election. If Atlantic Canada is more of a base for the Tories than Quebec then expect some action.

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  47. http://thechronicleherald.ca/Canada/1194353.html

    Negotiations have been launched between the federal government and Quebec in an attempt to strike an offshore drilling deal similar to those that have enriched Atlantic provinces.

    Federal Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis expressed confidence this week that the sides are moving toward an arrangement that could unlock the potential windfall in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    "I feel there is momentum — as much on the provincial side as for the federal government," Paradis told reporters during a news scrum in Montreal this week.

    "I’ll do everything in my power to get a breakthrough."

    Paradis and his federal colleagues will be walking a fine line as talks go forward. The deposits straddle a much-disputed maritime border between Quebec and Newfoundland.


    Right now Quebec has the advantage as it has 11 members in the CPC caucus and a cabinet minister actually working for Quebec (instead of just complaining and begging) and NL has no one.

    However if Danny Williams wakes up and smells the coffee The Eastern Bloc has 32 seats and Quebec 25-30.

    In the interests of a stronger fairer Canada I would see Quebec getting the same offshore Oil rights at exactly the same time as they agree to a fair deal to get NL electricity cross their territory OR when the equalization payment to Quebec go to zero.

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