Thursday, September 23, 2010

Will the long-gun registry cost a party seats?

As I'm sure everyone and their mother knows, the plan to scrap the long gun registry was defeated 153-151 last night in the House of Commons. In order for the opposition to get those numbers, however, eight Liberal MPs and six New Democratic MPs had to "flip-flop", voting to keep the registry when they had voted to scrap it in the past.

Every Conservative and their mother immediately threatened these Liberal and NDP MPs with the loss of their seats come election time. In fact, the Conservatives are pushing hard against the MPs in these ridings and plan to do so during the next electoral campaign.

Talk of whether the NDP and Liberals will rue the day they "flip-flopped" was rife in the Ottawa punditry. The Liberals whipped their vote, and rumour is that the NDP put a lot of pressure on some of their MPs to toe the party line, at least those that weren't at a great risk of losing their seats.

But what of the 143 Conservatives who were whipped by their own party to vote to kill the registry? Though the Conservatives do not hold many urban ridings, they do hold some. And if this issue really is about "urban elites" trying to treat hunters as farmers as criminals, than we can expect the Conservatives to take a hit in some of their urban ridings.

So, I decided to take a look at those "flip-flopping" Liberal and NDP seats, as well as a few Conservative urban seats. Are the MPs from these ridings really at risk because of the long-gun registry?

We'll start with the Liberals and their eight MPs who changed their votes.The chart above shows these ridings, in order of risk from low (top) to high (bottom).

Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor, represented by long-time Liberal MP Scott Simms, is not at great risk. Simms was re-elected in 2008 with 70% of the vote, followed by the Conservatives at 15%. While the Liberal Party itself grew its vote by 9% between 2006 and 2008 in Newfoundland & Labrador (not points, but growth), Simms saw his support grow by 35%. Though the Conservatives did have strong showings in 2004 (42%) and 2006 (40%), they currently don't have a nominated candidate and it would take a lot of angry people to unseat Simms.

Labrador is also a safe riding. Todd Russell should not be worried - though any riding with such a low turnout is always at risk of a surprise. Here, Russell grew his vote between 2006 and 2008 by 37%, also outperforming the party as a whole in the province. The Conservatives don't have a candidate nominated here, and though they did have 40% support in 2006 in the riding, they were only at 8% (10 points behind the NDP) in 2008.

Madawaska-Restigouche in New Brunswick is another safe riding. Jean-Claude d'Amours, long-time MP for the riding, increased his vote by 1/4th from 2006 to 2008, this while the party as a whole dropped 17% in the province. D'Amours hasn't had a huge majority since 2004, but he is still safely ahead and with a uniform swing we can expect him to get 52% of the vote next time.

Nipissing-Timiskaming is not as safe as the ones above, but is still a good bet for the Liberals. Anthony Rota won the seat with 45% of the vote, holding steady in his riding while the Liberals saw 15% of their vote disappear in Ontario in 2008. With the way things are going in Ontario, I project he could take 47% of the vote with only 29% going to the Conservatives, so he is not at any real risk.

In Yukon, Larry Bagnell has a long history in the riding. And while the Liberals dropped 27% from 2006 to 2008 in the North, Bagnell only saw his vote drop by 6%. The Conservatives haven't been over 33% in the last three elections, and since Bagnell appears to have been able to resist wider change he also appears to be relatively safe.

This is also the case for Scott Andrews in Avalon. This riding was won by the Conservatives in 2006, which makes it ripe for the picking. The Conservative vote did not erode here like it did in the rest of the province, but Andrews did increase his vote share at a higher rate than the party did in Newfoundland & Labrador. With a uniform swing based on the current projection, Andrews should win with 49% to the Conservatives' 37%, but that is not as much of a gap as the other ridings above have.

Malpeque, Wayne Easter's PEI riding, is at risk. The Liberal vote in PEI dropped 9% between 2006 and 2008, but Easter's dropped 12%, from 51% in 2006 to 44% in 2008. The Conservatives were within striking distance at 39%, and Tim Ogilvie is set to try to take the riding for the Tories during the next go. Though my projection would give Easter a 48% to 41% edge, it is still a close one and Malpeque will be a riding the Tories will target.

Finally, the only Liberal riding in serious danger is Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Keith Martin's riding. He only won by a few votes in 2008, after winning close races in 2006 and 2004. He did resist some of the Liberal change in British Columbia (losing 2% rather than the party's 30% vote decrease in the province), but Troy Desouza, who almost took the riding in 2008, will be the Conservative candidate next time. The uniform swing projection gives Martin an easy 42% to 28% win, so the trend is positive, but it is a riding that the Liberals will need to fight for if they want to hold on to it.

The NDP was specifically targeted on this issue as the party was officially allowing its members to vote their conscience. In the end, most of the NDP "flip-floppers" are safe, but two of them will have a big fight on their hands.Peter Stoffer made the news with his press conference, but he is probably the safest of the NDP members who changed their vote. He won with 61% in 2008, crushing the Conservative candidate who had 21%. His vote grew in his Nova Scotia riding while the party's diminished in the province as a whole. He has put together very big vote totals, has resisted outside change, and the projection gives him a 31-point lead. He's safe.

Claude Gravelle in Nickel Belt is also safe. Though his vote in 2008 grew at a lesser rate than the party's did in Ontario, he still had a 47% to 26% lead over the Liberal candidate. The Conservatives have not been a factor here in the last three elections, so there is no reason to think they suddenly will become a factor.

Timmins-James Bay is another safe NDP riding, represented by Charlie Angus. He won it with 57% in 2008, while the Liberals were at 22% and the Conservatives 18%. He has had more than 50% of the vote in the last two elections, while the Conservatives have not managed more than 20%. The projection would give him a 30-point lead, so he is in no danger.

It is a little less safe in Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, where Carol Hughes faced stiff Liberal competition in 2008, winning with 46% and taking the riding from them. Her vote grew at a greater rate than the party's in Ontario, and the projection gives her a nine point edge. But, here again, the Conservatives have never been a factor. While this is a relatively safe riding for the NDP, it is at risk of being lost - but to the Liberals.

Sudbury, Glenn Thibeault's riding, is definitely at risk. The NDP vote here has held relatively steady over the last three elections, going from 30% in 2004 to 35% in 2008. It has generally been a Liberal-NDP contest, as it was a Liberal riding prior to 2008. But the Conservatives did put up a 26% number here in 2008, so the next election will definitely be a three-way race between Thibeault, Carol Hartman of the Liberals, and Fred Slade of the Conservatives. The LGR could be the kind of issue that decides such a close contest.

The riding most at risk for the NDP is Welland, represented by Malcolm Allen. It had been a Liberal riding before 2008, when Allen won with 33%. That was only one point ahead of the Conservatives at 32% and five points ahead of the Liberals. Leanna Villella will try to take the riding for the Tories in the next election, and the projection gives her a shot at it. With uniform swing, the NDP would take 31% of the vote, with the Tories and Liberals tied at 29% apiece. So this riding is definitely at play.

All of this hubbub over "flip-flopping" MPs has been about the possibility of Conservative growth. However, the Tories hold several urban ridings, many of which were won by small margins in 2008. That the MPs from these ridings were whipped into scrapping the registry could hurt them.

I've taken a look at a few ridings I believe could be at risk because of the LGR vote, especially if voter displeasure goes both ways.As you can see, at least eight ridings are at play. If the next election is about the LGR, then these ridings will certainly be at risk of going over to the Liberals, NDP, or Bloc Québécois.

Ottawa-Orleans, represented by Royal Galipeau, has seen close races since 2004. Galipeau won in 2008 with 45% to the Liberals' 39%, but his vote grew at a lower rate than the party's did in Ontario. I project a 41% tie here in this riding, which means it could go either way.

Edwin Holder's London West was won by the Conservatives for the first time by only four points in 2008. Doug Ferguson of the Liberals will try to take it back, and with a uniform swing in support he would take it back with 37% to 35%.

Surrey North, represented by Dona Marie Cadman, has been an NDP riding, won by them in 2006 with 46% of the vote. The NDP is projected to take it with 36% to the Conservatives' 32%, so if the LGR becomes an issue it could hurt the Tories here.

It could also hurt them in Kitchener Centre and Kitchener-Waterloo, represented by Stephen Woodworth and Peter Braid, respectively. These were extremely narrow wins in 2008, and both of these ridings have a long prior history of Liberal representation. In both ridings, the former Liberal MPs will be standing again for election, and a uniform vote swing gives them both over to Michael Ignatieff.

Mississauga-Erindale was another close riding, won by Robert Dechert for the Conservatives in 2008. Again, the former Liberal MP will be running in the next election, and with the vote going 43% to 42% in 2008, it will be a very close contest in this Toronto-area riding.

Beauport-Limoilou in Quebec City is one that is expected to fall to the Bloc due to the Conservative drop in support in the province. It was won by small margins in 2006 and 2008, and with the Bloc a champion of the LGR (and support for it higher here than anywhere else in Canada), there is a very big risk of this seat being lost.

Finally, North Vancouver. It is at a very big risk of being lost to the Liberals. It was a Liberal riding in 2006 and 2004, and the gap was only five points in 2008. The Conservative vote grew at a lower rate here than the party's did in the province as a whole, and a uniform swing would give the Liberals an 11-point gap over the Conservatives. So this one is definitely at play.

A political insider once told me that local factors don't account for more than five points. If that's true, my uniform swing projection for each of these ridings would make someone safe only if they hold a 10-point lead.

With this in mind, the only Liberal seat in danger would be Malpeque. The only NDP seats at risk of going over to the Conservatives would be Welland and Sudbury. Three seats in all.

All eight Conservative ridings I've selected would be at risk. In other words, the long-gun registry issue could end up costing the Conservatives five seats, but I wouldn't call it so cut-and-dry as that.

In general terms, every party has something to lose on this issue. Neither the NDP nor the Liberals want to lose their rural representation, as they have too little of it already. But the Conservatives also can't risk losing their urban representation, something they also have very little of.

If this issue divides along urban and rural lines, then the Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats all stand to lose ground in the regions of the country in which they desperately need to make gains.


  1. Don't forget Thornhill! Why does everyone always forget Thornhill? It was Liberal since the beginning of time, and sits right on the northern border of Toronto. No trace of rural gun-nuttery there, its all about the soccer moms (and a significant jewish population, but thats another story)
    Reading the numbers, you might think that Peter Kent is reasonably safe, but in the previous election the Libs had an extremely weak candidate in 2008 specifically because in the leadership contest that preceded the election she switched sides (from iggy to rae), and managed to alienate almost everyone in the party. The result of that was no ground game, no party support, and in the face of an overwhelming conservative campaign (they poured everything they had into that riding) they got Peter Kent elected.
    The Liberals have now nominated a new strong candidate in Karen Mock (former Executive Director of B'nai Brith Canada) and with a little help from the party this riding would definitely be in play, even before the gun vote. After the gun vote, we're looking at a significant swing back to red. I doubt there are any gun-totin' types in Thornhill, and the fact that PK voted with the Cons on this one should be 100% proof that Harper whipped the vote.

  2. Sorry to nitpick, Éric, but there's a small typo ... when introducing the NDP chart, you write, "We'll start with the Liberals and their eight MPs who changed their votes."

    Anyhow, thanks for the great analysis!

  3. Keep in mind also that Welland is an almost entirely urban industrial seat - in all likelihood Malcolm Allen will gain more votes by having decided to support the registry than he will lose. Similarly, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is basically suburban Victoria and i think that Keith Martin would have been taking more of a risk if he had stuck with wanting to scrap the registry.

  4. Eric you may want to switch around your NDP/Liberal graphics, they're backwards from where you're discussing them.

    BTW - The Conservatives don't whip private members bills. A vote is either whipped or it is not. And this one was not.

    Urban CPC candidates run on a platform of scrapping the registry and focusing on cracking down on hand guns instead while redirecting the millions saved from the registry to hiring front line police officers.

    That was the promise to the voters made in the last election by those 8 urban CPC members.

    Which is why they voted to kill the registry of their own volition without being whipped.

  5. Excellent point, now I can wait for the headlines tomorrow about conservative MPs under pressure because of their unpopular long gun vote, ha!

    Our media appears to take the media frames directly from the conservative party and not spend a minute looking at numbers, or statistics. So it is up to people like you to do a good job of educating us.

    Hope this site becomes as popular as fivethirtyeight :)

  6. Two things, Eric:

    One, you mixed up the Liberal and NDP charts. Nice graphics, though.

    Two, I'm very impressed with the work put into this, though 42% for Keith Martin as a Liberal is very hard for me to believe. If anything, he has a worse chance of keeping his seat than does Wayne Easter, who has a long history in the riding. I like Martin a lot, but even if in the next election the Liberals looked to get a majority, I'd still say there's a big risk of him not being there.

    However, that is the problem with uniform swing models, isn't it? If watching the UK election taught me anything, it's that swing projections are not the most reliable method ever to determine the seat count, and especially so the individual district count.

  7. Liberal and NDP graphics should be reversed.

  8. My suspicion is that in fact the effect will be very slight.

    Sure the CRAP will target the NDP but will the voters switch to the Cons or to the Liberals.

    Quite bluntly anybody who votes NDP will NOT switch to the Tories. They will vote Liberal.

    The real question is how many Tories will survive in Quebec ??

  9. Fascinating annalysis. I think the LG issue will end up costing the tories votes in urban Ont and BC. Unless the momentum dramtically changes, in at least the seats Eric mentioned. I predict a Tory loss/Lib gain of about 30 seats.

  10. Sorry for the mix-up with the graphics everyone, fixed.

  11. I continue to wait in vain for any CPC supporter to answer this question:

    Do you support scrapping the short gun registry as well as the long gun registry? All the effectiveness arguments apply equally. The cost savings can only be realized by scrapping both since they share a lot of infrastructure.


  12. "BTW - The Conservatives don't whip private members bills. A vote is either whipped or it is not. And this one was not.

    Sorry Shadow but every media outlet has said bluntly that it was a Tory whipped vote. The CPC members from Quebec would NOT have supported the Tory position if there was NO whip. They know what their constituents want !!

  13. "... if voter displeasure goes both ways..."

    That is the most important caveat of this whole post.

    My feeling is that long after this issue is forgotten by urban women, it will still fester come election time with rural voters. The issue simply is not as big a deal to those it doesn't effect.

    Some of the flip-floppers now have an integrity/credibilty issue also, which may wound them more then the 5%.

    The CPC members will not have that issue, as they have been consistant. They were all elected with the understanding that they would vote to scrap the LGR.

    They also were not whipped. I'm suprised you put that in there Eric.

    Do you know something I don't? When was it announced that the CPC caucus would be whipped on this vote?

    It couldn't hurt to fix that.

  14. "Urban CPC candidates run on a platform of scrapping the registry"

    Is that a fact?? I live in an urban riding and I don't recall any leaflets i got from the Tories saying anything about scrapping the gun registry. If it was their policy, they went to great lengths to conceal it in ridings where they knew it would be unpopular. I wonder whether Tory candidates in Quebec City had billboards up saying "Vote for Josee Verner - your ANTI-long gun registry candidate in Louis St. Laurent!!" I think not.

  15. I'd support scrapping the short gun registry. There's no benefit to the registry that can't be matched at lesser cost with greater diligence on PAL applications.

    On North Vancouver, that's not an entirely urban riding.

  16. I'll play.

    The shortgun (I'll assume you mean hadgun registry) has been around since 1934. I belong to multiple gun clubs and shoot both handgun and long guns. Personally I don't think the registration of anything helps from a public safety point of view. Registration is just a number on a piece of paper or in a computer database. Since the majority of gun crime is committed with unregistered handguns the question becomes "how much money do you want to spend tracking the guns of law abiding citizens"?
    Though the handgun and long gun registry share "alot of infrastructure" there are many many more long guns and the costs to track/enforce these guns are huge. Remember that longguns in the registry only account for two percent of all gun crime. My question is why are we spending so much money on only two percent of all firearm related deaths? As a handgun shooter I am content with our current licensing and registration requirements. Our laws surrounding handguns have now made it easier to buy one off the black market that go through the hassel of gaining one legally. Any more regulations (like banning them) will have no impact on their criminal misuse.
    Our current licensing system is only O.K. at screening potential gun owners. The old FAC system actually stopped more people from getting legally owned guns than our current one. Since government regulation only affects law abiding citizens our licensing system is all we really need. The registration of long guns is the biggest waste of taxpayer money I have ever seen. If if somehow makes you feel safer...then good for you.

    Scrapping the short gun

    Scrapping the long gun registry...yes.

    If they both where scrapped would it have any effect of the criminal misuse of

  17. Eric I have some criticms of your assumptions here.

    You seem to be assuming that LGR issue has a +-5% effect depending on whether a seat is rural or urban.

    *IS the effect really equal?

    Even if the issue were 50/50 when polled there is a gap in INTENSITY. Rural Canadians vote over this issue. Urban Canadians don't, they care about hand guns.

    *How is support split up?

    1 party (CPC) can claim virtually all of those that oppose the registry but for a handful of NDP MPs.

    3 or 4 parties divide up the pro-registry side.

    *How will votes change based on this issue

    All CPC candidates have already run an election with their pro-registry views known. Why would their totals go down in urban ridings ? This issue has been around for 15 years.

    14 NDP/Liberals are now running in an election with a different position.

    They're the only people who should experience changes in vote totals based on this issue and not CPC candidates.

    My read on which MPS are vulnerable:

    Scott Simms, Todd Rusell, Scott Andrews, Wayne Easter, Jean-Claude d'Amours, Anthony Rota, Keith Martin, Larry Bagnell, Malcolm Allen, Glenn Thibeault.

  18. Great analysis Eric.

    However, the LGR vote is simply one issue the tories have targetted to keep their base happy. In the end other issues such as the census, the jet fighter purchase and yes, even the Income trust fiasco will turn up at doors across the country.

    The dynamics are changing and the LGR is just one of the factors as we see Tory support dwindle.

  19. hey paul ~ the registry now costs 4million per year to maintain... the real money that it cost to implement was expensed years ago... that being said, I would say that 87 years of criminalizing cannabis to be a far worse waste of taxpayer money than the registry... or how about $1billion for 3 days of fascist policing brought to you by Stephen Harper and friends... or how about $10billion for prisons that we don't need?
    I think that when it comes to credibility it was really important that iggy was able to show he has control of his mp's and that the liberal party is a united and disciplined going concern.... when the liberal motion to restore the long form census passes parliament it will make the liberals look good again... Harper is a stealth campainer and is very disciplined... his fear based tactics are currently quite outragous however...

  20. "when the liberal motion to restore the long form census passes parliament it will make the liberals look good again..."

    Altering a money bill... Will that be a confidence motion that is the stumble that Harper is looking for out of the opposition in order to make it look like someone else force the election?? Or will it not be a confidence motion at all.. and therefore just be ignored?? Harper looks mean again and iggy goes back to looking like Dion....

    "hey paul ~ the registry now costs 4million per year to maintain..."

    Except the police report moved stuff around an eventually came up with $66 million...

    "or how about $1billion for 3 days of fascist policing"

    Or how about a few million for the policing and most of the 1 billion in construction and security costs...

    "$10billion for prisons that we don't need?"

    Really?? there is several million criminals out there that need to go to jail. for example. My dad moved to town. Same postal address. But he hasn't gone yet to notify the police of the change of address. According to the laws surrounding the registry... That puts him outside the law. And the penalties do range from fines to jail time. But on top of that... The guns are still at the farm (since there are no gophers, coyotes, or game animals in town). And I am not (yet) licensed, since I have no interest in discussing my sexual and relationship history with government bureaucrats. I would be facing jail time too. (except that, thankfully, my province refuses to enforce the legislation beyond the paperwork). There is obviously a great need for those jails you dismiss.

  21. Eric - any thoughts on the impact of the LGR issue on the Tory vote in Quebec? I've just recently moved to Montreal, but from what I've seen in the news, the LGR is very popular here. I know the Tories are only expected to win a few seats in Quebec in the next election, but this can't have helped them here...

  22. Paul wrote: Remember that longguns in the registry only account for two percent of all gun crime. My question is why are we spending so much money on only two percent of all firearm related deaths?

    So here's a counter take on that for you.

    Doesn't the low number of firearm related deaths by registered long guns show that the registry has been effective, register long gun and few long guns will result in fire arm related deaths?

    And since we aren't spending a lot of money on this long gun registry, reportedly under $4 million, why would we risk increasing deaths from unregistered long guns in order to save less than $4 million?

  23. hey paul ~ the registry now costs 4million per year to maintain...

    If you read the police report closely it states that there will be 4 million in savings per year....not 4 million to run.
    Later in the report is states it cost around 66 million to run per year.
    You actually think any government could run something for 4 million?

  24. "That the MPs from these ridings were whipped into scrapping the registry could hurt them."

    When they were elected, it was clear that this would be part of what a CPC MP would do.

    If those urban CPC MPs were whipped, then the rural Bloc MPs were also.

    I didn't know the Bloc whipped private members bills. Maybe you should look at how many of those ridings could switch.

  25. "Doesn't the low number of firearm related deaths by registered long guns show that the registry has been effective, register long gun and few long guns will result in fire arm related deaths?"

    No, Considering gun deaths were low before (and already trending their way lower) it only shows that having the registry is no better than not having the registry.

    Atleast in the short term. Anyway.

    However... since you say it is working and preventing deaths.... Can you point to an actual case somewhere where the gun registry prevented a life from being taken?

  26. Dirt cheap illegal tobacco accounts for 50% of market in Ontario.

    AJR79 i'll trust this will put an end to the OT posts about how legalizing drugs would end crime/drug cartels ??

    12-15% GST/PST/HST price advantage (plus whatever sin taxes and new regulatory costs) would keep the cartels active.

  27. Ouch. As predicted the Ignatieff SLIDE is on!

    We're back to a 6 point gap, up from a 3 point gap 2 weeks ago.

    Chantal Hebert talked about how a fall election could work for the Tories in her new column.

    That's pretty much what i've been saying for about a month now, look to november after the Ontario municipals.

  28. liberal supporter,

    "Do you support scrapping the short gun registry as well as the long gun registry? All the effectiveness arguments apply equally. The cost savings can only be realized by scrapping both since they share a lot of infrastructure."

    Will a former Conservative do? Of course, there is a not insignificant portion of Conservatives who would like to abolish both registries. A) They will not ever say so publicly for fear of passing for fringe wackos and B) This Prime Minister knows he has to support licensing and the short-gun registry to remain politically viable.

    Hope the above helps.

  29. DL,

    "I wonder whether Tory candidates in Quebec City had billboards up saying "Vote for Josee Verner - your ANTI-long gun registry candidate in Louis St. Laurent!!" I think not."

    Having worked for Josée in the last election, I can confirm that your position is absolutely on target. Yours truly had access to all the signs and leaflets and no mention was made in those I saw about abolishing the long-gun registry.

    P.S. All this B.S. about whipping the vote is meaningless. They were not whipped (forgive me, I'm a lawyer) as a matter of law but they sure as hell were as a matter of fact. NATIONAL CPC policy reflected a desire to abolish the long-gun registry. That was part of the platform. Conservative MPs knew that in spades going into the vote. They also knew that going against this Prime Minister's strongly held personal views would be hazardous to their political health. They all were well aware that they would be dumped in a New York Minute as a CPC candidate if they did not tow the party line. Hence, they were the object of a de facto whipping but not a deliberate one.

  30. so I can settle on the 66million dollar per year maintenance price tag to keep the registry... still makes it a pretty big lie for conservatives to be going on tv and saying that it is costing us billions of dollars in current expenditure..
    and about the liberal bill to reinstate the long form cencus.. would this be a confidence motion? if so it may put Harper in murky water trying to justify a winter election over the long form cencus... would set up the culture war campaign pretty nicely...

  31. To Ron

    Are you telling me people in Josee's riding who care enough about gun control that it would influence their vote were unaware of her position as a CPC candidate ?

    Are they stupid ? They really believed she supported the registry ?? HUGE stretch!

    To Kevin

    Bennett's private members bill will likely be ruled out of order because its money related, which only the government can introduce.

    If it does pass it'll go die in the senate.

  32. Shadow,

    Most people are not that politically sophisticated at the riding level. What follows is conjecture: I would imagine that most people in the riding assumed (incorrectly) that she was pro-gun registry (like most Quebecers) without defining whether she happened to be pro one or both registries. Secondly, I would guess that the next biggest group of constituents had no idea whether she was pro or anti gun registry. Finally, political junkies and some CPC members in the riding would know that her view necessarily reflected national party policy.

    Does the above work for you?!

  33. Shadow,

    I trust you are a useful idiot who can be counted on to never disagree with the party line.

    Excesive taxation is the buck-toothed brother of prohibition.

    You're just a tool, ponce.

  34. Ron my guess is that a lot of those unsophisticated types were part of the 37% that didn't vote.

    Of those who did the thing is most people in Canada vote by political party.

    Its been 15 years in which everyone in the party has been vocally criticizing the registry. Guns came up in the 2008 french leadership debate.

    They knew she was a Conservative right ?

    I just don't buy that people assumed she was pro-registry. Going against your party brand is a big deal, you have to spell that out and advertise that to differentiate yourself in the minds of voters.

    I don't buy that now they've suddenly "discovered" she's not pro-registry and she will lose votes.

    Common sense tells me that people who care about saving the gun registry enough for it to INFLUENCE (very important point) their vote already voted against her because she was CPC.

    You're probably right that everyone else is wrong, has no idea, or doesn't care.

  35. The analysis of Newfoundland ridings doesn't take into account the anti-CPC campaign waged by Danny Williams in the last election. That's not likely to be the case in the next election.

    I've seen mention on Newfoundland politcal blogs that Fabien Manning might leave the Senate and contest the Avalon riding. If that happens, it will be a tough hold for the Liberal Party.

  36. Agreed, but gaps of 40 or 50 points are hard to over come in just one campaign.

  37. scotrock,

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Pretty much sums up the Stephen-Danny dynamic in relation to Jean Charest.

    Danny knows that Ottawa cannot form a common front with his government in relation to a hydro corridor and challenging the Quebec Energy Board in the courts -- but he needs federal support to whatever extent is deemed politically wise and appropriate.

    Translation: an entente cordiale, if you will, that will eventually pay some political dividends for both men. Chalk it up to Harper's dislike for Charest along with his majority-seeking political strategy.

  38. AJR79 drop the insults, it degrades both yourself and your arguments.

    "legalize it and tax it" is a classic line used to promote legalization of marijuana. That line has now been discredited.

    Define "excessive taxation".

    Even if we drop sin taxes and just keep the 15% HST in the maratimes there will still be costs associated with safety/regulation/farm inspection, EI premiums, bussiness licensing.

    And the first person who can convince a jury that pot is harmful will make millions just like they did against tobacco companies.

    The only people who can't be sued, don't pay taxes, and don't deal with red tape are illegal drug cartels.

    Frankly I have yet to hear a solid pro for legaization from you and that's for marijuana let alone hard drugs.

    There's plenty of cons.

  39. Shadow,

    Some of us are willing to look at decriminalization and tax licensing for soft drugs but legalization appears to me as a bridge too far.

    Of course, I'll state it up front that I have absolutely no expertise in this area so I could be dead wrong.

    But clearly, the policing approach is nothing more than an abject failure -- especially in the United States.

  40. To all of you.

    Way back in the 60's there was a thing called Haight-Ashbury. Part of the Anti-Viet Nam agenda indeed. But also a source of counter-culture and real freedom.

    Part of that of course was a real pro free drugs thing. At one point there was a real chance of marijuana being legalized !!

    After that was defeated it came out that Big Tobacco had done all sorts of things including designing packaging and creating advertising slogans.

    So Shadow that's what Big Business wants. You can't stop them, live with it !

  41. There's an important dynamic at work in the politics of gun control. I don't think you've taken it into account.

    Gun control is only a ballot issue for those who oppose it.

    This is important. This is why every major federal politician in the US opposes gun control, but any decent poll of Americans shows that the majority supports greater gun control.

    Since the anti-gun voters actually vote based on other issues, politicians with pro-gun positions can still win their votes.

    Conversely, since the pro-gun voters DO vote based on that issue, taking a pro-gun stance is the only way to win their votes.

    As I said, this is true in the US. If it is also true in Canada, then the Conservatives just won several seats.

  42. Shadow,

    The thing that bothers me, is that you bring up prohibition again like you are actually interested in an honest debate of the facts.

    Go look at that other thread. Your dishonesty is saved for posterity.

    I don't normally resort to insult, but I call them as I see them. Calling you a ponce, and a chalatan won't cause me any lost sleep.

    I think you'd drink Harpers piss, and try to convince us it's champagne. That's how highly I value your opinion.

    I had enjoyed debating you, even when we disagreed, as you'd occasionally cause me to look at things in a different light. This latest debate has shown me that you never learn anything from our discourse, and choose to dishonestly represent my position every time.

    Go look into why pot is illegal in Canada in the first place.

    I'm sick of trying to educate you; as I can't penetrate your bull-headed intranigence WRT anything that disagrees with Harper doctrine.

    If you want to impress me, find me one example, from all of your thousands of comments, where you are critical of PM Harper.

    If you can do that, I'll eat my hat.

    If not, consider us done.

    I have no interest in being spun by the dishonest.

  43. Ira,

    "As I said, this is true in the US. If it is also true in Canada, then the Conservatives just won several seats."

    Agreed but I don't think the 14 seats in play will be going Conservative. My sense of it (such as it is)is that this government will see to it that wads of $$$ will be plowed into each contest. I would guess that will pay small dividends -- perhaps a seat or two will change hands and fall into the CPC column.

  44. "All this B.S. about whipping the vote is meaningless. "

    So true. Can't call it 'whipped' on the CONs part; they've got too much flip-flop blood on their hands for accountability, income trust, the G20, no deficits-to-biggest-deficits, caustic means of getting 'things done', raising taxes ala HST, EI premiums etc.
    No doubt those will cancel out any benefit of the long-gun vote in rural Canada, but they will be weighted across the country.

  45. AJR79 you're being intellectually dishonest. I linked to an article and you didn't address it because you've already made up your mind on this issue. You don't want a debate, you want a crusade.

    Andrew Coyne recently tweeted how blogger's opinions would be more respected if they didn't call themselves LIb blogs, Dippers, Tories, etc.

    This is one example of a kind of preening, selfrighteous arrogance I cannot abide.

    Its this belief that compromise, being in the middle, is somehow morally superior to principled men and women on the left or the right.

    Genuine departures from orthodoxy don't bother me. Its when people magnify them to establish themselves as above the partisans, as if those departures were the mark of an exceptionally honest and principled person.

    Worse its seen by such people as an integral part of their identity. This narrative they're weaving around their lives about being wonderfully intransigent, taking on ALL sides even their own could basically be boiled down to:

    I'm a rebel!! That makes me awesome!

    Your request that I prove where I differ from Harper smacks of this. I believe i've sketched a fairly good profile of yourself.

    (As per where I disagree with PM Harper I just said recently that i'm open to pot decriminalization but NOT legalization.

    The CPC killed decriminalization when they came to power. Ignatieff has backed away from it too.

    In the past i've said I disagree with Harper's stance on marriage equality.

    Its very rare that I disagree with the man. You take that as the mark of a sycophant becuase it doesn't fit your pre-concieved notions of the world.

    I see that as sharing a common world view.)

  46. AJR79,

    I think we've established that Shadow is his own man. He doesn't always stick to the party line.

    Now let's please move things forward. Thank you.

    Both of your views deserve respect, even when some of us happen not to agree with them. As you both know, respect should always be a two-way street.

    Just a little friendly advice from some people's favourite Liberal.

  47. Hey Ron you said you helped elect Josée in 2008 ?

    And now you're a big Ignatieff backer ?

    May I ask what happened to make you change your mind ?


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