Friday, January 14, 2011

Tories up, NDP down in new EKOS poll

The latest poll from EKOS tells a story similar to the one released by Angus-Reid two days ago. The Conservatives hold the lead, but it isn't the wide lead that seemed to have been forming in December.Of course, EKOS never found that the Tories were roaring ahead. So the fact that the Conservatives have gained 2.5 points from EKOS's last poll is of note. They now lead with 34.5%, ahead of the Liberals at 27.3% (+0.8).

The smaller parties take a step backwards, as the New Democrats are down 2.3 points to 14.8% and the Greens are down 0.6 points to 10.3%. The Bloc Québécois is also down a little.

The EKOS poll had a slew of other questions included, and I'll get to them soon. But first, the regional results.

In Ontario, both the Liberals and Conservatives have gained about two points. The Conservatives lead with 36.7% but the Liberals aren't far behind at 34.5%. The NDP is down three points to 14.4%, while the Greens are down one to 11.3%. The Liberals lead in both Ottawa and Toronto with about 39% support, while the Conservatives trail with 34.8% in both cities.

The Bloc has dropped two points to 39.7%, but still lead the Liberals by a wide margin. They're up three points to 20.7%, while the Conservatives are up one to 18.8%. The NDP has dropped two points to 10%. The Bloc leads in Montreal with 40.5% to the Liberals' 22%. But wouldn't it be more interesting if EKOS released the data from Quebec City?

In British Columbia, there has been very little movement. The Conservatives are up two to 37.8%, while the NDP is steady at 23.1%. The Liberals are up one to 21.4%, while the Greens are down two to 14.1%. The Conservatives are well ahead in Vancouver with 41.9%, followed by the Liberals at 24%.

The race has narrowed in Atlantic Canada, as the Liberals drop five to 32% and the Conservatives drop two to 31.8%. The NDP is miraculously back in it with a four point gain. They are now at 26.2%.

Big changes in Alberta, where the Tories are up 15 points to 60.6%. The Liberals are down nine to 17.2% while the NDP is down seven to 8.3%. The source of the gain seems to be in Calgary, as the Conservatives now lead there with 76.2%. The Liberals are second (barely), at 11.7% in the city. But, again, wouldn't it be more interesting if EKOS released the data from Edmonton?

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives are down six points to 38%, followed closely by the Liberals at 32% (+9). The NDP is down nine points to 15.7%. I say we chalk up that Liberal bounce to the small sample size.

With the results of this poll, the Conservatives would win 22 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 19 in the Prairies, 49 in Ontario, eight in Quebec, and 10 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 136.

The Liberals would win eight seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, seven in the Prairies, 44 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 17 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 93.

The Bloc would win 52 seats in Quebec.

The New Democrats would win six seats in British Columbia, none in Alberta, two in the Prairies, 13 in Ontario, one in Quebec, and five in Atlantic Canada for a total of 27.

Rather usual results, actually.

Now to the interesting tidbits in this poll. First off, Canadians are split as to whether they would prefer a Liberal or Conservative government. The Conservatives get the edge, however, as 39% (27% want a majority and 12% want a minority) would prefer a Tory government of some kind. The Liberals aren't far behind, with 37% wanting them to be in power (20% majority and 17% minority).

As to what is most likely to happen, 39% think the next government will be a Conservative minority, 21% think it will be a Liberal minority (optimistic bunch!), 15% think it will be a Conservative majority, and 10% think it will be a Liberal majority.

Considering that the greatest number of Canadians think we'll get the same result as what we have now, it's no wonder that 40% prefer that the election take place sometime in 2012. But 17% want it to take place now and another 15% think it should take place within the next four months. Another 21% want it take place sometime in the summer or fall of 2011.

If we break it down by party, we get an indication of their supporters' enthusiasm. The Bloc's voters seem to be the most keen to go, as 47% want the next election to take place now or within the next four months.

Surprisingly, Liberal supporters are the next most enthusiastic group, as 39% want the election to take place soon. The NDP's voters are at about the same level, at 38%.

Conservatives, however, seem happy with the way things are. Only 19% want an election to take place soon. Perhaps they think another election would just be a waste of time, or perhaps they sense an element of risk.

Another interesting question was on the subject of what motivates a voter into making their political choices. A party's platform appears to be the most important, as 44% of respondents chose it as their deciding factor. Another 19% think the leader is most important, while 16% make their decision based on the local candidate.

There were no significant variations by region or party on this issue.

Finally, EKOS also asked whether people would prefer a Conservative government or a coalition government. Note: EKOS did not say that the Tory government would be a majority (which is what I read somewhere), but did stipulate that the coalition would be between the Liberals and the New Democrats and be led by Michael Ignatieff.

Opinion is split: 40% said they wanted a Conservative government while 39% said they wanted a coalition government. Unsurprisingly, the Tories won out in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Prairies, while the coalition was on top in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

It doesn't appear that the coalition is the scary idea the Conservatives are hoping it is. The question said nothing about voting choices, but rather if you were "forced to choose". Nevertheless, while it isn't a bogeyman, the idea of a coalition benefits the Tories. They picked up about five points on the question, while the Liberals and New Democrats lost three. And what's more, if the Conservatives get 40% but the Liberals and New Democrats split the other 39%, that's a ticket to a Tory majority.

It's a high risk game, however. If the Tories campaign strongly on the coalition, it will give the other parties the legitimacy to form one after the election if the numbers work out in their favour. Perhaps Stephen Harper realizes that, come what may, this will probably be his last campaign as leader of the Conservative Party. If he wins his majority, one wonders whether he would want to lead the party through another election in 2015 or 2016. If he doesn't, and is replaced by a stable coalition, he may not want to be opposition leader until then.

If it's an all or nothing gamble, it seems like the right time to do it.

There will be a projection update on Monday. So check The Globe and Mail website on Monday morning, or buy a copy of their print edition to see a cliff notes version of the latest projection. I will post later in the day on Monday or Tuesday with the details of the update. Have a great weekend!

62 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Wow. 76% for the Conservatives in Calgary. I wonder if that is a high water mark for them in that city?

    It would be interesting to see the Edmonton results. I would imagine that the large majority of the Liberals 17% and the NDPs 8% are located within Edmonton City limits (though I would bet that the Conservatives are still leading). It would be nice if EKOS released the Edmonton numbers next time.

    Keep up the good work.

    Dave

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  2. This is a bit unusual, in that Angus Reid and EKOS tend to disagree quite a lot. And yet these two polls are very close.

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  3. Harper's last election ? Nope.

    If Harper won a majority it would be almost a sure thing he'd run in the election after that.

    Probably leaving midway through a second majority term to give his replacement time to get established.

    Reapportionment would increase seats in AB, BC, and Ontario. The other parties would have gone through divisive leadership campaigns. Public subsidies would be gone.

    Its likely he could increase his narrow majority into a more substantial one under such a scenario.

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  4. In such a case, the Conservatives would have been in government for 10 years, Harper as leader of the party for 14 years (counting his CA days).

    I think it would be more likely than not that after 10 years the Canadians would want a change for change's sake, especially considering Harper has never captured the public's imagination.

    Only Trudeau, King, Laurier, and MacDonald had been PMs for more than 10 years.

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  5. Eric its not up to Canadians whether Harper stays or goes.

    Its up to CPC party members. Look at our 3 largest provinces right now which all have "strong men" leaders that dominate their party like Harper does:

    Jean Charest has led his party since '98, Campbell since '93, McGuinty since '96.


    Campbell is gone in the new year so that's 17 years.

    McGuinty, if he wins re-election, will probably stay on for a half term so that's 16-17 years.

    Charest will lose. But you know he'd stay longer if he could.


    Harper serving a 1.5 majority terms fits in line with those leaders.

    You're suggesting he finally gets his long coveted majority and resigns half way through ??

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  6. "If the Tories campaign strongly on the coalition, it will give the other parties the legitimacy to form one after the election if the numbers work out in their favour".

    That would depend on how the other parties responded to Tory allegations that they'd form a coalition after the election. It only reinforces the legitimacy of coalition if the other parties don't reject the possibilty during the campaign.

    I suspect that the Tory thinking is that the Liberals can't campaign on the prospect of a coalition because that undermines their message (i.e., that only they can stop Harper) and results in bleeding on the left. On the other hand, as the Ekos poll shows, it might push up the Tory vote to the point where (with a split vote amongs the other parties) they could grasp a majority. I'd be curious to see how the party support of the 39% who'd vote for a coalition is split (given that it's less than the sum of NDP and Liberal support, both parties lose votes, but my bet is that the Liberals come off worse, in terms of lost votes, than the NDP).

    It's a catch-22 for the Grits. If they campaign on a coalition they'll have the legitimacy to form one, but not the seats. If they don't, even if they have the seats to form a coalition, they'll lack the legitimacy.

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  7. I'm suggesting that Harper may not want to do another campaign (particularly if he might lose), or may not want to govern the country until 2020. There's always a personal element in politics.

    I'm suggesting he might step down a year or less before the next election to give his successor time to get comfortable in the job, not half-way through.

    Obviously, if he is at 45% in the polls he'll probably stick around.

    But I don't think he will be. It's one thing to be governing as a minority against a weak opposition that appears opportunistic when it starts flexing its election-threat muscle. It's a very different thing to be an all-powerful majority that has been in government for 10 years and for which Canadians will be marking the calendar on when they can "kick the bums out".

    The style of governing that Harper and the Conservatives have developed is perfect for a minority government. I think there is a good chance it will be very unpopular as a majority government, however. We shall see.

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  8. I agree that the Liberals cannot easily campaign on a coalition with the NDP since they would indeed bleed on their left. If they were to they would also be attacked by the the Bloc who would say that they're dealing Québec out and rejection politics works in Québec. Furthermore, I just can't see Ignatieff signing on to another deal that has the blessing of the Bloc. Either scenario would be called and seen as a desperate admission of failure.

    If the Conservatives get in again would Ignatieff have or want another chance? Were he to then go the Liberal tradition would be that the next Liberal leader be a Francophone. This could seriously damage the Ontario Liberal machine, which is pretty well the present base of the party.

    The Conservatives would be in a very strong position, particularly with the new seats that would be created.

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  9. Eric what about the length of a leadership campaign ?

    The Liberal one was like a year. If he gives the new leader a year to govern then that's two years.

    A term is 4.

    So you're saying Harper could up and leave in 2 or 3 years from now. I just don't see it at all.


    "Canadians will be marking the calendar on when they can "kick the bums out"."

    "I think there is a good chance it will be very unpopular as a majority government,"


    This is highly speculative.

    Campbell did fine in his most recent election to win a third majority term even though people said the same things.

    Undoubtedly it'll depend on the state of the economy and whether they can balance the budget.

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  10. --- Eric what about the length of a leadership campaign ?

    The ones in BC are far less than one year, and Campbell is still acting as premier as the leadership race is going on. And Michael Ignatieff became leader in, what, a week?

    --- This is highly speculative.

    No it isn't. It's the complete unvarnished truth. Did you not get the memo? Chill.

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  11. Mr. Ignatieff and Michael Marzolini (Pollara pollster) have inadvertently opened a can of whoopass that the CPC will use on them in the coming election.


    Are you better off than you were 5 years ago when Harper took over?

    This frames the debate on the economy where the CPC enjoy a wide margin of public and logic support. It takes away from the social justice that the Liberals might have a chance on.

    Are you better off than you were 5 years ago?

    Did you have an Black berry? iPhone, iPad, HD TV? GPS for your car? wii? New Computer? new better car?

    Do you get cheaper better information from the internet?

    Do you still have your job? have you had a raise? (despite the crisis 90% of Canadians hung on to their jobs and gotten raises)

    Have you regained the 20-40% of your investment portfolio that was lost during the stock market crash?
    Have you made mortgage payments and own more of your house than you did 5 years ago?

    Have you been wiped out by H1N1? Global warming?

    The 15% or so of people that are worse off likely are (and should be) voting NDP.

    Mr.Ignatieff does not want the core Liberal voter to consider this question seriously.

    This will be a case study that you had better have accurate polls that yield the same results after modifiers are introduced before you take action. This will be as bad as "your time is up"!

    The CPC have identified the $2 vote subsidy as the poison pill to get the opposition to force an election. That is how you use polling information to your advantage.

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  12. Eric your statement was that this will "probably" be Harper's last election.

    I think we can both agree that this will "possibly" but not "probably" be Harper's last election.

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  13. BC Voice: The CPC have identified the $2 vote subsidy as the poison pill to get the opposition to force an election. That is how you use polling information to your advantage.

    I believe that this is based on a misreading of what Stephen Harper has said and a misunderstanding of what he wants. Harper is using the vote-based funding in a very different way.

    He has pledged not to call and election or force one with a poison pill this spring. Vote-based funding would be such a poison pill. In his interviews he has said that the funding will be part of the Tory platform in the next election, but he's showing no signs of bringing in legislation before then.

    To the Tories, vote-based funding is a tool to whip up the anger junkie base, sort of like law'n'order bills. The goal is not to get them passed, because if that happens, you can't wave them around any more.

    It there's a Tory majority we can expect per-vote funding to be removed. Otherwise, it will be there for some time to come. Along with the Senate in its current form and the obvious need for harsher punishments for... for... well, everything.

    That's what keeps the donations flowing.

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  14. John if Harper doesn't get a majority he'll include eliminating subsidies in the throne speech/budget anyways.

    The opposition will either have to let it pass or form a coalition.

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  15. John

    The NDP have no trouble in voting confidence in the government when the Government clearly indicates that it plans to get rid of the $2 vote subsidy?

    You either have confidence in the government or you don't.

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  16. Interesting that so far the polls seat projections are exactly the same as your Dec projection Eric-136 tories, 120 lib/ndp. It looks like we're frozen until the next big issue/contoversy/scandal

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  17. It is really too amusing to observe how anxious the left are to confirm the notion that PM Harper MUST vacate the Tory leadership if he does not secure a majority in the next federal election. Given that Mr Harper has governed for five years as if he actually had a majority government, I see no reason--and I think that most Tories would agree with this--I see no reason whatever why he should not continue to do the same for another five, or even ten years. Shall we say fifteen? Why not admit it. He is good at it.

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  18. off topic... Éric maybe pass it off to your friends at the G&M

    The press reports on Mr. Ignatieff's tour but does not provide any facts.

    He had a event in North Vancouver with Scott Brison? and the local candidate at Kay Meek theatre. Max capacity of Kay Meek is 490.

    How many people showed up? How many were Liberal staffers? How much Money did the Liberal party raise? How many new Liberal members were signed up?

    Mr. Ignatieff boasts of the open mike unscripted questions he faces on a regular basis. Were there any hard questions? or is this a Liberal rally.

    Did anyone ask him what the Liberal party considers the economic impact of higher corporate taxes? How do they feel this will impact the unemployment rate?

    If that question is not asked and dealt with at each open mike then the whole open mike concept is obviously a scam.

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  19. Yes, because we always get information like that at events put on by the other parties.

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  20. BC Voice: The NDP have no trouble in voting confidence in the government when the Government clearly indicates that it plans to get rid of the $2 vote subsidy?

    You either have confidence in the government or you don't.


    Fortunately, Parliament isn't such a black-and-white, us-against-them place. Not yet, anyway. Useful work can still be accomplished.

    Harper has said that he will campaign on removing vote-based funding, but has not said that he will do so in this session. The Dippers can legitimately have a limited sort of confidence in a government that is being kept on a short leash by its minority status.

    It's sort of like having confidence in a vicious dog that's chained down. The confidence doesn't stop until you get inside the limit of the chain.

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  21. There are no platforms on the table so your seat projections are pretty meaningless right now.

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  22. Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more.

    As it should be.


    John I should say i'm surprised you're acting as an apologist for the NDP.

    Perhaps the Green party wishes for more time to prepare for an election as well ?

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  23. Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more.

    Wrong but explaining it to you is such a waste of time as you would simply refuse to accept that you or your buddies in the PMO were wrong.

    Harper governs at the pleasure of the House, not the other way around.

    Every pundit who plays with the math, as Eric does, realizes that Harper will come back with a reduced minority.

    The one question is will he remain as party leader or will he, after 5 years and three elections without a majority, be sent to the showers ??

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  24. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/political-combat--in-south-winnipeg-113864219.html

    Found another mention of you and this site, this time in the Winnipeg Free Press

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  25. The CPC have started the pre-election attack ads.

    They are clearly positioning the blame for the election on the Liberals and NDP.

    If they (the coalition) plan to vote down the budget they better have a better reason than increasing corporate tax cuts and buying the CF-35 in 4 more years.

    The seed of them calling an election to maintain the $2 subsidy has been sown.

    It will be an extremely hard campaign to justify their entitlements. We need an election as the Liberal party (and our coalition sidekicks) will go bankrupt if that meany Harper shuts off our $2 subsidy because no one will actually support us with $100 to $1000 donations made on their own free will.

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  26. BCVoR,

    My feeling is that questions about who caused the election, how and why, gets forgotten pretty quickly during a campaign. The "unnecessary election" theme was a Tory theme in 2000 and they didn't get any traction. Likewise, two-thirds of Quebecers didn't want a referendum in 1995 but the "OUI" side almost won anyway.

    Likewise, the party financing stuff is insider baseball to most people. It's interesting to you and me but not to almost anyone else. Sure, a large majority people are against party subsidies-- the way a large majority of people are against littering. But it doesn't get most people voting.

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  27. Peter wrote:

    " 'Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more.'

    Wrong ... Harper governs at the pleasure of the House, not the other way around."

    ===

    Peter, your statement on its face simply means that the House may vote non-confidence in the government.

    The very foundation of responsible government is that the Government (i.e. the PM and the other Ministers of the Crown) can be held to account by the House of Commons.

    But this presupposes that it is, in fact, the government that is governing. If the opposition were to be regularly passing bill against the government, it would make a mockery of the concept of responsible government.

    That is why conventionally there are certain areas where the opposition will not try to initiate bills -- for example, items that impact the public purse.

    Having said that, it is overstating somewhat to claim that the House can NEVER do anything contrary to the government's wishes.

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  28. again EKOS over polls (by population, number of seats) in Quebec.

    1267 for Ontario
    1110 for Quebec
    782 for the 4 western provinces

    Quebec has 75 seats and 7.9 Million people. The West 10.4 Million and 92 seats.

    Using Ontario as the base (13.1M) EKOS should shut down the polling in Quebec after 765 people respond.

    The WEST is really close to the Ontario ratio ... they should have 793 responses in the sample.

    Why does EKOS keep the program running for an extra 365 Quebec voters?

    They do this consistently. If it was just an aberration in sampling you would expect that the WEST or ONTARIO would be over sampled once in a while.

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  29. Peter, your statement on its face simply means that the House may vote non-confidence in the government.

    The very foundation of responsible government is that the Government (i.e. the PM and the other Ministers of the Crown) can be held to account by the House of Commons.


    Which was reaffirmed last year by the Speakers ruling in the Afghan Detainee's papers affair. My you do have a short memory !!

    That was NOT non-confidence. That was holding the Executive to account before the bar of the House. The absolute foundation of responsible Govt !!

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  30. Peter,

    "governs at the pleasure of", in its plain meaning, can mean only the defeat of the government.

    I do not claim that voting non-confidence is the only thing the opposition can do. Indeed, I referred quite plainly to such "overstatement".

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  31. "governs at the pleasure of", in its plain meaning, can mean only the defeat of the government.


    Yes but defeat of the Govt does not require confidence!! That's your error.

    Bills are routinely defeated or amended without the Govt losing "confidence".

    By tradition "money" bills are confidence bills, but that's only by tradition not law. Which in essence means only the Budget bill is confidence. Now Govt can declare a specific bill "confidence" before that bill comes to a vote but this privilege is rarely invoked.

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  32. The CPC leadership question should be interesting post election. I see 3 ways it can go...

    1) Tory minority, they hold power: Harper weakened a bit, but his skill at keeping power in these situations and the perpetual election risk should hold opponents at bay.

    2) Tory majority: Harper has a victory glow around him for a year or so, then contenders for power get itchy feet and feel safe attacking due to no election risk for another couple of years. Harper now has to fight in the backrooms to keep internal opponents off-guard or will see his own 'Paul Martin' show up. A new challenge for him, thus an unknown as to how well he'll handle it.

    3) Liberal minority or majority: good bye Harper

    I suspect #1 is what will happen, then the question quickly becomes how long Harper wants to keep on this treadmill.

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  33. Peter is partially right given the law.

    The house can pass legislation that the government would then have to abide by.


    More realistically tho, Shadow is quite correct. The opposition is nearly powerless.... And really, it seems they are too scared to try.


    The government has several tools... like declaring something a confidence vote. (did you know the average liberal missed 35 votes this last year?? Iggy himself rarely showed up missing 106... more than any other MP) Moving opposition days (like they learned from Martin), And playing around with various procedural tactics.

    They can simply ignore a bill... since the opposition can't really put any teeth into it beyond a vote of no confidence. Like the act to respect that the Kyoto accord exists.

    What if something gets though the house? Well. The Conservatives have learned from the Liberals on that one. Think it'll pass the senate??


    What really came out of the Detainees paper Peter? A couple people from various parties got assigned to look at the documents.... See any fallout from it yet?? or is it just business as usual??


    The reality is, as Shadow put it "Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more."

    And running around scared; demanding an election outside of parliament,... but quietly missing votes or supporting the government inside parliament..... isn't going to change that dynamic at all.

    Except when there is a case in 08. When Harper decided he wanted it to.

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  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  35. Peter,

    I think we're getting lost in definitional confusion.

    One might mean 3 different things with the phrase "defeat of the government" in a Westminster Parliament:
    1) Non-confidence has been voted, necessitating either dissolution or resignation
    2) The governing party has lost a general election
    3) Some vote has gone against the government in the Commons

    I was using definition #1. Hence my clarification of your comment "governs at the pleasure of". Usually when such phrasing (I serve at the pleasure of) is used it indicates the ability to "fire" someone from the post

    Let's recall the original statement to which you objected:

    "Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more."

    While overstated, the point is that Parliament has limited capacity to initiate new measures without the government's support. Parliament can reject many proposals but creating new ones is conventionally more narrow.

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  36. "Harper governs at the pleasure of the House, not the other way around."

    Let's be very clear here, Harper governs at the pleasure of her majesty. Not Parliament, not the house. The government isn't chosen by Parliament, it's chosen by the Crown.

    Whether a Prime Minister can get his legislative agenda enacted or not depends on whether he can garner support in Parliament. But that's only one aspect of governance (and, in practice these days, a government can do a lot without enacting much beyond a budget bill). By convention, the Queen (or her representative in Canada), in the event that the Prime Minister loses the confidence of the House, will either accede to the Prime Minister's request that she (he) call an election (see, Paul Martin, 1995) or asks the Prime Minister to resign (in practice, a Prime Minister who can't get a dissolution will resign without being asked, but he must resign only when asked to do so). Incidentally, the fact that the Prime Minister remains Prime Minister on the dissolution of the House of Commons belies the claim that the Prime Minister serves at the pleasure of the House since, in that case, the Prime Minister remains Prime Minister until either he or she resigns, or is asked to do so by the Crown.

    The Prime Minister is accountable to the house, but he serves at the pleasure of the Crown.

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  37. Peter you've badly misunderstood me.

    "Parliament can do what Harper wants and no more."

    Note i'm referring here to both the house and the SENATE.


    I simply mean that anything that becomes federal law in Canada needs Harper's approval because he has a majority in the senate.

    Its a response to John's comment about the NDP being able to get things done in Ottawa.

    Opposition motions and private members bills now need the green light from Harper.

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  38. John,

    I think there are really two subsets of #1. One is a Tory minority, but astrong-one, say 140-150 seats. In that case, I don't see any prominent Tories making a push against Harper (especially given that, at the top end of that range, if you elect an opposition speaker, get few floor crossers, and/or win a few by-elections, you've got a majority government.

    On the other hand, you might have a really weak Tory minority government, say, with 130 seats. In that case, you're only a few resignations, floor-crossing, what-have-you away from Prime Minister Iggy/Layton. In that scenario, while I can see people being pissed at Harper, I don't see them wanting his job for two reasons (a) a leadership campaign would preduce the sort of uncertainty an animosity that would result in the floor-crossings, resignations, etc, making it a self-fulfilling prophesy and (b) Kim Campbell - i.e., no one wants to be the person who wears the can for a previous prime minister.

    So the only way Harper is leaving is if he wants to leave. As Eric points out, this is entirely plausible for a man with (still) young children who might decide that spending time with them is more valuable than political trench warfare in the sewers of Ottawa (especially since he's probably missed a lot of time with them over the decate). I could see him doing that if he wins a Majority government in which the Liberals are pummelled. I could see him doing it if he wins a relatively strong minority, casting himself as a Conservative Moses who cannot cross into the promised land and whose people must go on without him. In either case, he'll be able to claim (with considerable credibility) that he's accomplished his goal of making the Tories the new "natural governing party" and leave on a high note).

    I'm not sure I'd bet on Harper resigning if he wins, everyone knows the man's an enigma, so it's possible.

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  39. Shadow: John I should say i'm surprised you're acting as an apologist for the NDP.

    Your surprise is surprising. Explaining the workings of a healthy Parliament isn't being an apologist.

    Good government suffers when every action can only be seen through the lens of advantage or disadvantage to a single party. Partisans need to lift up their heads and look around. It's not a zero-sum game, and the ultimate winners and losers aren't the politicians or party hacks; they're the people of Canada.

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  40. John the people of Canada benefit to the degree that Harper wins.

    When policy options are in conflict its obviously a zero sum game.

    Non-partisans need to come down from the clouds, sort out what they believe, and get behind a party that represents those beliefs.


    Any other approach to politics is inconsistent, confused, and incoherent.

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  41. I don't think you can be any more wrong, Shadow. If what you say is true, what's the point of the show and dance of a campaign?

    The ability to see the other side of the story, a good policy or idea coming from another party, or that the other guy isn't the "enemy" shows maturity and intellectual honesty.

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  42. Eric

    I don't think you can be any more wrong, Shadow.

    But he isn't wrong if you accept his ideal of a total CPC dictatorship? That's all he wants, that's all he's ever pushed. He's nothing if not consistent.

    In your and my view he's completely wrong but in his "one party" view he's correct.

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  43. Eric I never said you have to agree with your party on everything.

    I certainly don't.

    The question is whether they, on balance, offer the best set of ideas to advance your country.


    The point of a campaign ?

    Most Canadians don't have time to research politics and stay informed.

    Research shows that undecided voters are low information voters.


    Being undecided is perfectly fine in THAT situation.

    People who are informed but still haven't made up their mind to back a party ?

    Well I think i've made it clear how low an opinion I have of them.

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  44. What an arrogant thing to say.

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  45. Eric said: "The ability to see the other side of the story, a good policy or idea coming from another party, or that the other guy isn't the "enemy" shows maturity and intellectual honesty."

    Very true, and a point Susan Delacourt (who, I confess, I don't normally think much of) touched on today:

    "In my long years of covering Harper in opposition and talking to him through those years, what really distinguished him as a politician, in my view, was his ability/willingness to see the world through the eyes of his opponents. I can't tell you how many times I talked to him about the Liberals; how he was analyzing the leadership style of Chretien and Martin, why they would do what they were doing. That's just basic smarts -- how do you win over non-supporters unless you understand why they're backing your adversary and how your foes tick? But it's surprising how few politicians will do that very thing -- respecting their challengers."

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  46. Shadow said: Non-partisans need to come down from the clouds, sort out what they believe, and get behind a party that represents those beliefs.

    Why?

    I suspect that the beliefs of most people are a hodge-podge of believes that cross party lines. One could, for example, support abolishing the gun registry and increasing taxes on big corporations (a set of beliefs shares by a lot of NDP/Tory voters in the Prairies). One can support a robuts and principled foreign policy (say, with respect to Israel) and still believe in larger government (the NDP's position with respect to Israel was one of the reasons Bob Rae dumped that party). So it shouldn't be a suprise that a lot of people jump from party to party depending on the issue of the day.

    In fact, "non-partisan" probably an accurate discription of the political attitudes of most Canadians outside of the tiny fraction who are actively engaged in politics. Good thing too, because otherwise governments would never change.

    It's the people who say I'm voting blue/red/orange, come hell or high water, who worry me.

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  47. "It's the people who say I'm voting blue/red/orange, come hell or high water, who worry me."

    I never objected to people changing parties from time to time as their beliefs, circumstances, and the parties themselves evolve.

    My objection is to the sub-section of people who are informed about politics and yet for some reason can't get behind a particular party.


    Voting demands choosing. Supporting bits of everybody doesn't cut it. Like it or not politics has winners or losers.

    Not being able to advocate for a party which you think, on balance, is the best shows a level of disengagement and democratic irresponsibility.

    For some reason, however, the notion of non-partisanship is lauded as the mark of a refined sort of person.

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  48. "My objection is to the sub-section of people who are informed about politics and yet for some reason can't get behind a particular party...

    Voting demands choosing. Supporting bits of everybody doesn't cut it. Like it or not politics has winners or losers.

    Not being able to advocate for a party which you think, on balance, is the best shows a level of disengagement and democratic irresponsibility."

    My, that's a simplistic world view.

    First, we don't vote for parties, we vote for individual politicans. That's a subtle point, but one that is too often forgotten. Why should people be expected to "get behind" or "advocate for" one party over another, when all we they're asked to do is to chose between one particular politician over others. And individual politicians matter, I can think of a number of politicians who get elected, despite their party brand, on the strength of their personal charisma (Ralph Goodale, Peter Miliken, Sven Robinson and Maxime Bernier come to mind).

    Second, why should peoplle be expected to "get behind" or "advocate for" one party or another? One of the things I learned (and was drilled into me) when I first got involved in politics was that, for most people, politics is not one of their top priorities. That isn't a criticism, it's a statement of fact. People have jobs, lives, families, social commitments, etc. which consume their time and energy - party politics falls way down that list.

    Moreover, to the extent people are involved in "political" activities, most of them occur outside of the party structure. I'd suggest that more people are members of community groups, activist groups, lobbying organizations, you name it, than are members of political parties. These are non-partisan organizations, in the sense that their commitment is to achieve particular policies, regardless of who implements them, but they are certainly political organizations. (In practice, of course, they may have sympathies with one party over another, but those sympathies are policy driven). Given that people have limited resources to devote to their political activities, why should they do so on party basis, if they really care about specific policies which may cross party boundaries.

    Third, politics is not neccesarily about winners and losers. Indeed, at its best, politics is about compromise and consensus. Good policies are ones where everyone wins, or at least, everyone can live with the results. We see that in Ottawa. Jason Kenney is widely regarded (fairly, if somewhat surprisingly) as being one of the government's most competent ministers in large part because of his ability to reach consensus with other parties and interest groups on complicated issues. For example, on the immigration reform bill last summer when he reached a deal, first, with the Liberals, then, when Iggy shafted his immigration critic (anyone wondering why Maurizio Bevilacqua did nothing to help the Liberals win the Vaughn by-election?) with the NDP. The same could be said about the broad consensus amongst the serious parties on Afghanistan. To the extent that you associate being non-partisan with not believing that politics is about winning and losing, than no wonder it's seen as being indicative of a more refined mind.

    That said, I will agree that some claims of non-partisanship are just self-serving nonsense, by people who define partisanship as "believing and advocating for things other than those that believe and advocate for".

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  49. My objection is to the sub-section of people who are informed about politics and yet for some reason can't get behind a particular party.

    You mean they can't support the CPC, your "honesty" is as suspect as many of them!!

    For some reason, however, the notion of non-partisanship is lauded as the mark of a refined sort of person.

    Because it is. It's the person who understands that there is NO party which completely represents their views/desires. Something you apparently cannot understand. Thus your obvious partisanship is seen as almost a self-conviction problem. You have to keep pushing to keep yourself convinced.

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  50. And I believe that Shadow is putting his focus in the wrong place. Parties are supposed to appeal to individuals, individuals are not supposed to warp their own views to that of a party.

    People are complicated and contradictory, parties tend to be less so. If a person's views straddle the platforms of two or more parties, they are likely to vote for whatever party most aligns with them when it is time to vote.

    If a person digs the Conservatives because they are big on issue A, but then suddenly the party takes a position on issue B that the voter does not agree with, they may move over to the Liberals because they are on the same page on issue B and are more or less the same on issue A. If the Liberals then take a position on issue C that is then distasteful to the voter, the voter may drift back to the Conservatives because their position on issue C is more important to that individual voter than the position they took on issue B.

    It's a very upside-down and partisan view to think that people need to get behind a party like it's their duty. Parties want people to think that way, but it is up to parties to constantly try to woo voters with good policies and ideas and to keep in line with the views of their constituents.

    Parties are constantly in flux, as are voters. To say that people need to get behind a party is ridiculous. Parties need to get behind people.

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  51. To say that people need to get behind a party is ridiculous. Parties need to get behind people.


    Absolutely correct and well said. Thanks

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  52. Carl
    Not being able to advocate for a party which you think, on balance, is the best shows a level of disengagement and democratic irresponsibility."

    My, that's a simplistic world view.


    Not only simplistic but inherently incorrect. The responsibility of the voter in a modern democracy is to be informed. With modern communications that's not a major task.

    "Informed" also means the odds of supporting at all times a specific political party is probably zero. Because invariably there will be things the voter can't agree with from every party.

    So now we understand the inherent dichotomy that "support" means. Something Shadow simply can't. Probably because he doesn't feel "safe" unless he is part of a group of some kind. Parties represent many things one of the major of which is the "like minded" !! That they also represent hidden forces is never mentioned.

    While all parties practise a sort of Orwell mind control, "Ministry Of Truth, etc" some do it far more forcefully than others.

    Some of the blatant "spin" coming out of the parties is quite remarkable, in part because it is so obvious. All one has to do is listen to about thirty seconds of Dimitri Soudas to know he is lying big time. Can Shadow see that?? I doubt it.

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  53. "Parties need to get behind people."

    I would have said "Parties need to get OUT IN FRONT of people", since I think one of the roles of political parties is to provide political leadership. But your key point, that the onus is on the party to earn support is well taken.

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  54. Carl the difference between parties and individual politicians is meaningless in our current political system.

    Secondly, you're still misunderstanding me. I'm specifically refering to the smaller sub-section of people who are involved in political discussion, not the majority of Canadians.

    (Ex. when you see someone on a blog boast about being non-partisan and looking down their nose at declared supporters of one party or another. As if the inability to make up your mind or hold principles is a chief virtue.)

    Day to day people are uninterested and uninformed about politics. Its why 40% of them don't vote right off the bat.

    Its the job of the politically interested to reach out to those people on behalf of parties.

    Here's what Eric says:

    "To say that people need to get behind a party is ridiculous. Parties need to get behind people."

    Who exactly does he think runs parties ? Elves ?

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  55. Ex. when you see someone on a blog boast about being non-partisan and looking down their nose at declared supporters of one party or another. As if the inability to make up your mind or hold principles is a chief virtue.

    Well if that doesn't lay out his problems nothing does !! Non-partisan simply means not supporting some specific party, that's all.

    Any intelligent person does not blindly support any specific party!! Because there is no party out there that in any way can present a program that can appeal to all. Ideology, specificity, slant, all get involved. To claim one party is for all is to create a pseudo "God" party and we all know that does NOT exist !!

    "Here's what Eric says:

    "To say that people need to get behind a party is ridiculous. Parties need to get behind people."

    Parties need to LEAD, not push but LEAD !Which seems to be the last thing that Shadow wants.

    And that "leading" means reaching out to the public and actually listening to the people out there.

    Something the CPC does not do well, I would have said the Liberals as well but the past summer seems to indicate a change there.

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  56. Peter please don't respond to my comments if you refuse to read them properly.

    As I said above, nobody is talking about supporting Every! Single! Position! of a party.

    I certainly have a number of differences with the CPC and Harper that I no problem expressing from time to time.


    Somebody has got to be in charge.

    Its incumbent on all responsible citizens to decide, on balance, who they think is the best choice and then advocate for that party.


    This idea that those of us who are politically involved/aware can sit back and let the parties come to us is ridiculous, arrogant, and lazy.

    Parties are made up of individuals. Most of the work is done by volunteers. This is front line democracy.


    Being a declared partisan (of any stripe) is a very honourable thing indeed.

    And there's certainly nothing wrong with changing parties from time to time either if circumstances change for you.

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  57. --- And there's certainly nothing wrong with changing parties from time to time either if circumstances change for you.

    I think people do that all of the time, and that the "non-partisan" people you're talking about realize that their support changes often, and they don't want to be a partisan supporter of one party or another.

    Undecided and non-partisan people can still be informed and have strong opinions. If they feel that no party aligns with those opinions, why would they choose one party to be a partisan supporter of?

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  58. "If they feel that no party aligns with those opinions, why would they choose one party to be a partisan supporter of?"

    Because we have elections and they're required to make a choice if they want to be engaged and responsible citizens.

    Your choice may change every cycle but you're still going to need to make one.

    If you believe your choice is valid you should be willing to advocate for it.


    (Of course judges, officials, journalists, etc. should keep that choice private or not even vote.)

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  59. Then they make their choice on voting day. Are you suggesting they have to be partisan supporters of that party until the next election?

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  60. "Are you suggesting they have to be partisan supporters of that party until the next election?"

    One vote doesn't do much.

    Getting out there and convincing others to vote the same way as you, however, actually has an impact.


    The average person might be too busy to follow politics.

    But for those of us who are informed and active ?

    There's NO excuse not to be backing somebody. People usually only vote if they have somebody to vote FOR.

    Parties are really just everyday individuals networking across the country. The more people they can convince to come out and vote the less who stay home.

    Being a partisan is a really positive thing for our political process.

    Being non-partisan doesn't really do much of anything.

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