Sunday, April 10, 2011

Liberal and Conservative ceilings after Week 2

Both the Conservatives and the Liberals have increased their seat ceilings in Week 2 of the campaign. It puts the Conservatives well over the majority mark but, for the Liberals, it puts them into the position of - potentially - being able to form government.

The ceilings are established by taking the best regional results for each party from all of the polls released during the week, and running seat projections with those results. Of course, these calculations are greatly influenced by the smaller samples of regional polls. But we can still draw some useful information from these ceilings, as it is unlikely that the parties are capable of outpacing the best polls when you consider that the best polls are likely a few points higher than reality thanks to the MOE.

The Conservative ceiling is based on obtaining roughly 45% of the vote nationwide, with roughly 50% in British Columbia, 66% in Alberta, 63% in the Prairies, 46% in Ontario, 25% in Quebec, and 45% in Atlantic Canada.

These results would give the Conservatives 25 seats in British Columbia, 28 in Alberta, 24 in the Prairies, 62 in Ontario, 12 in Quebec, and 15 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 167 seats. That's seven more than last week's ceiling.

The Liberals and New Democrats would each lose about eight or nine seats, with the Bloc dropping three to 44 in Quebec.

It's a ceiling that depends on a few things. The Conservative results in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec are not unrealistic. Ontario and Atlantic Canada would have to swing heavily their way, with the party piling up support in the two Prairie provinces.
The Liberal ceiling is based on the party getting about 35% nationwide, and 30% in British Columbia, 27% in Alberta, 25% in the Prairies, 43% in Ontario, 27% in Quebec, and 48% in Atlantic Canada.

These results would give the Liberals eight seats in British Columbia, two in Alberta, five in the Prairies, 55 in Ontario, 22 in Quebec, and 24 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 117 seats. That is 31 more than last week's ceiling.

The Conservatives would still win the most seats with 131, but with the Liberals being so close to the Conservative total and more likely to win the support of the other opposition parties, we would likely see the Conservatives defeated on the throne speech and Michael Ignatieff installed as Prime Minister with these numbers.

However, this scenario depends on many lucky breaks for the party. While their result in the Prairies is completely plausible, and we've seen the Liberals doing better in British Columbia lately and dominating Atlantic Canada in past elections, the results in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec are a little more fanciful.

Getting the support of 1 in 4 Albertans is not out of the realm of possibility, as the Liberals have done it before as recently as 2004. We've also seen the Liberals at over 40% in Ontario in past years, but in order for the Liberals to win this many seats this scenario requires the NDP vote to collapse in Ontario to 8%. That seems unlikely. And in Quebec, the Bloc vote needs to collapse to 28%. Again, that is less than likely, though the Liberals at 27% support in the province would not be unusual.

But the ingredients to a result that puts the Liberals at more than 100 seats do exist. We just haven't seen any consistent or steady results putting the Liberals in that range.

You can see today's projections on The Globe and Mail's website. They don't include today's Nanos poll, but do include the Ipsos Reid and Nanos numbers from yesterday. Tomorrow morning's update here will include these polls, as well as tomorrow Nanos and any other new numbers that appear.

42 comments:

  1. Always interesting info here. Thanks for that!

    I am wondering if you have done any comparison of Nanos daily polling from 2008 and this election. Are they similar pointing to another minority Conservative result in the end or do you see something completely different this time around.

    Richard

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  2. That 'Michael Ignatieff installed as Prime Minister' is something that Canadians need to remeber come 2May. Wasnt he installed as the leader of the LPC as well. Whatever happened to democracy?

    As usual Eric and interesting thread. I've been waiting to read this all weekend.

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  3. Hey Eric

    I was just wondering about the ceiling for the Conservatives saying that a possible 12th seat in Quebec could swing their way under the perfect circumstances. I was just wondering if there was a seat that you think is vulnerable to the Conservatives and what seat would that be

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  4. P,

    Yes, because Stephen Harper is just a beacon for democracy in this country. Pft.

    Eric,

    I'm wondering whether or not you have added that "star factor" to some ridings in your projection, specifically the two non-Lib held northern ridings, where two former Premiers are running, not to mention a former cabinet minister for the Cons in NWT.

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  5. How do you figure the Liberal ceiling is 35%? Not a single poll has them with over 32% support nationally (Nanos). What am I missing?

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  6. I'm sorry how is it the Liberals form a government with 117 seats??? I don't care what Harper says, this will never happen. The opposition parties ahve a responsibility to work with the government if they lose. If they don't want to we go to the polls again. it's simple.

    The only time ever in Canadian history the second place finisher was allowed to form a government they won the popular vote, and it was a provincial election, in Ontario.

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  7. Matthew,

    The 12th Conservative seat in Quebec is Chicoutimi-Le Fjord.

    Volkov,

    I have added that factor to the two Liberals in the North.

    Anonymous 13:51,

    It is a combination of regional results from different polls that puts them at 35%. The Conservatives haven't been at 45% either.

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  8. The 2008 election debate dropped the CPC 2+ points in the nanos poll from 37-36-37 to 35-35-34 right after the debates and raised the 2+ Liberals from 26-26-26 to 30-28-30.

    That was a 5% shift in the debates according to Nanos.

    EKOS had the CPC as 34-34-34 going in and 36-36-36 right after. a 2 point gain Liberals 27-25-25 going in and 24-25-25 coming out a modest loss.

    Harris-decima had CPC at 36-36-36 going in and 37-35-34 coming out - a modest decline and had the Liberals in at 26-23-24 going in and 22-22-24 out - modest decline.

    Summary Nanos had Liberals clear winners in debate. EKOS had the CPC mildly winning and HD had both the major parties losing a bit.


    There was sure a lot more polling in the last election.

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  9. The Liberals claiming that they can form a government from second place is the Conservatives Plan B for a majority. Here's how it goes:

    The Conservatives win a minority and reintroduce the same budget or one with less concessions to the opposition.

    They dare the opposition to vote against it.

    The opposition are foolish enough to take the bait and vote down the government.

    The Liberals go to the GG and request to form the government and are allowed.

    Public outrage is so strong and so swift that the Liberal lead government lasts a matter of days because opinion polls show their numbers at 20% ish and the other parties smell blood in the water, they vote down the Ignatieff government.

    After voting down the Ignatieff led rule from losing government, which plays into the become leader after losing anti-democratic narrative, Harper goes on to win a resounding majority after another election about two months from now.

    Harper is thinking, "go ahead make my day" try to vote me down and form a government after you lose.

    I really don't think even Ignatieff is that tone deaf politically.

    There will be no Liberal government unless they win.

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  10. Stephen Harper was for coaltions before he was against them. It's a historical fact and matter of public record. No amount of white-washing will ever clean that.

    A majority of MPs coming together and working on issues case-by-case is what a parliament is about. That's a democracy, that's how it works. If the Liberals / NDP / Bloc (and their majority MPs) vote on something that Harper has a tantrum over, that's life.

    Like Stephen Harper, I support coalition governments.

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  11. Anonymous 14:56..

    The scenario you played out was the same as in 2008. Even the Liberal leaders are in the same position: Dion was spent as a political force as will Ignatieff be. Even if his Liberals gets 80-85 seats, he will be 64 years old on May 12. If he ever gets to be PM it has to come out of this election.

    Dion is still running as a MP as he likely can`t get as well paying job with as little work involved anywhere else. Ignatieff will be long gone to Provence this summer.

    Logic won`t come in to it .... Ignatieff has nothing to lose.

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  12. No matter what the percentage is for Alberta, it is spread throughout all the ridings. There are zero seats in play for the Liberals in AB. The NDP may hold the Edmonton seat they have now.

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  13. The CPC is on the road to reduced minority. I don't think the Liberals can overtake them in terms of seats yet. Volkov your guys campaign has been head and shoulders better than the CPC so far. I can't think of a day when the CPC has had positive press coverage.

    If the Liberals form a government they will be hard pressed to eliminate the deficit with the promises they've made and the pressure from the supporting cast.

    Question:

    Why is the Champlain bridge in Montreal a Federal responsibility? Just curious.

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  14. And in another move that shows just how irrelevent this election is, the date of the French Language debate has been changed because of a Hockey game.

    Yep. That's how much we value the democratic process in Canada. That just makes me ashamed to be Canadian. What a clown show.

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  15. You're not listening other Anonymous,

    Stephen Harper would jump for joy if Ignatieff ever dared to go to the GG and try to form a government after losing. It guarentees Harper a majority a few weeks later.


    A losing coaliton is a very very different thing than a winning one. Not even Ignatieff will attempt it, which is why Harper will govern as though he has a majority, even if he doesn't.

    Also of interest more than likely all of the party's leaders will be gone after this election. Harper is probably the safest of them all for the longest amount of time, but the rest are toast within weeks of May 2.

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  16. Other other anonymous,

    Dion is actually dedicated to being a public servant, representing his constituents and building the Liberal Party. He is now and was for many years before contemplating running for leadership.

    Ignatieff on the other hand is, well you know the story. Yeah he's gone, so he might do something crazy to be PM for a day so he can write it on his Cv and put it in his memoirs.

    He's definately not beyond wanting to be appointed PM by the GG, not the people of Canada. We all know how he became leader of the Party, and even an MP in an unloosable riding where no one else was allowed to run for nomination.

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  17. As always, much very helpful information here. One of the things that 538 and others do around US elections time is to analyze which seats are in play for its readership. Of course, those of us who have the time could go riding by riding and figure those things out, but it's quite helpful (beyond simple ceiling and floor projections) to know how many ridings have genuine contests that are close enough that things could change. Glad to see the strong collaboration w/ the Globe! Hopefully they'll eventually pick you up the way the Times picked up Nate.

    Cheers, Doug Johnson Hatlem

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  18. Earl said "If the Liberals form a government they will be hard pressed to eliminate the deficit with the promises they've made and the pressure from the supporting cast."

    Thats where their carbon tax comes in folks!!!!! Funny how the media has failed to mention that. And we already moan the price of gas is high.

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  19. Earl the current prediction coming from Eric is 153 seats.

    That's an INCREASED Tory minority.

    By the way the Liberals are having trouble of their own. Read this run down:

    http://www.punditsguide.ca/2011/04/national-poll-bump-masks-liberal-organizational-weakness-on-the-ground/


    Not sure what you base this notion of a decreased Tory minority on.

    Just being a nervous nelly eh ??

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  20. P there is no "Carbon Tax" in the Liberal platform, rather a plan for cap and trade despite the fact that the US, which is by far our largest trading partner, has no plans to implement a similar policy. Combined with unfair trade with China, and a high dollar this (Cap and Trade) would further damage Canadian exporters. And you are right Harper and the press have yet to go after the Liberals on the issue. Another reason I say the CPC is running a BAD campaign.

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  21. the conservatives are a whisker away from finally getting some balanced posative media coverage as sun tv takes to the airwaves a week from tomorrow...they finally have a voice to do their bidding...this new station (known as fox north by the more hostile forces)has been widely and highly anticipated by the masses and will steal the show - at least for a while...what a better time to debut than with two weeks left in the campaign.....i wonder what effect this will have on the cash strapped cbc....

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  22. Earl, you can call it what you like my friend. Still means higher taxes on gas, homeheating etc etc

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  23. Shadow I hope I'm being a nervous nelly as you put it. Looking at Nanos I don't think so. Looking at IR I certainly am. Neither changes the fact that I'm not impressed by the CPC campaign. Also think the press is giving very uneven coverage favouring the Liberals heavily. That doesn't help.

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  24. I'm really skeptical of the calculations for this ceiling. I fail to see the justification for taking the best results in every riding. It's like cherry-picking the ideal scenario for your party. I think the right way would include using some MOE. But here, you can get the Liberals at 55 seats in Ontario simply because one daily poll of Nanos had them at 42%. Only because out of the new 400 observations, there were more liberals...

    I have a really hard time picturing the Liberals at 117 seats lol

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  25. P it also doesn't change the fact that the CPC and Harper have yet to make the Carbon tax as you call it, or cap and trade as the Liberal platform refers to it, a major issue. Given the success of the CPC with Carbon Tax in the last election this inaction is puzzling. Unlike the Dion carbon tax which promised to return most of the money in tax reductions the revenue from this incarnation goes right into new spending! Time for the CPC campaign to wake up!!!

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  26. Anonymous

    You argue that the government would fall on a budget that has even less in it for the the three other parties then the previous one did, but yet Stephen Harper has already announced support for various things that the oppositions originally wanted: for example the couple billion dollars that Quebec wanted for the HST. Though if the government falls it would never happen on the budget anyway, but instead on the throne speech. After which Igniatieff would see the GG for head of government with the support of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois which he will need. If they don't su
    Port him we will go to election right away without him getting a chance to be PM. If they do support him then for another election to happen one of those three parties would have to vote their own coalition down, which I can guarantee won't happen for at least a couple years because the Bloc ave nothing to gain because they will finally be in power and it's not like they can go past the Quebec hordes and this will be the closest to power th NDP will ever be so why risk a conservative majority. The liberLs would only ever overthrow themselves if they knew they could win a majority or get close.
    Seeing how the Right vote represents only 40% of the voting population and the other 60 goes to the left I really can't see an uproar like you describe either. You will be surprised how happy people can be when their voices are heard and a coalition government means that 60% of the population will have the government instead of the 40% that currently control the government.

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  27. It's all crystal ball gazing Dan, but usually when you try to please everyone, you please no one.

    It would be much easier to herd cats than to keep a Liberal NDP, Bloc coalition together.

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  28. Earl i'd be worried too if I only watched CBC or CTV. Its true they have been very negative.

    But according to Canadians the CPC is running a better campaign than the LPC:

    http://www.canada.com/Tories+marks+their+national+campaigns/4589580/story.html


    Paul Wells made a very good point, which is that the national media only sees what the CPC wants them to see.

    There is a photo op in the morning and a rally in the evening.

    What does Harper do all day that makes him late to everything ?

    He's meeting with supporters behind the scenes, meeting with ethnic media, getting the support of community leaders across the country.

    These behind the scene events are CRUCIAL.

    Omni media is going to be more important in somewhere like Vancouver or Toronto than CTV !

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  29. I just want to address a few issues regarding the possible outcome of another Conservative plurality without a majority.

    First:
    "[Ignatieff i]s definately not beyond wanting to be appointed PM by the GG, not the people of Canada. "

    Newsflash, EVERY PM is appointed by the Governor General, no PM has ever been appointed by the "people of Canada". We are not in a presidential system, people, no one except for some people in Calgary has ever voted for Stephen Harper, who is elected only as MP of Calgary Southwest. Stephen Harper has never been voted in as PM nor has he ever been chosen by the people of Canada to be PM.

    It is the GG, and the GG alone, who appoints someone as Prime Minister. He must choose someone who can be expected to maintain the confidence of the House. This normally means the leader of the party with the most seats, but there is no law that says so. If Joe Blow down the street had more chances to maintain the confidence of the House than any party leader, the GG should in theory appoint Joe Blow as PM.

    As to the possibility of Harper being defeated after the election, someone mentioned something about the budget, that would be modified to include many provisions asked for by the opposition parties, so they would have to support it.

    Here's the thing, the Harper government was defeated on a motion of no confidence based on charges of contempt for Parliament. Given that, it would be hard for the other parties to justify giving confidence into Harper and his Conservatives. "Yeah, we know that you hid information from, misinformed and even lied to Parliament and we know that you're not above using prorogation to undermine Parliament's authority, but since we've had an election, all is forgiven!"

    OK, stranger things have happened in politics, so it's not impossible. But I think it's a bit unlikely. I think there is a high likelihood that Harper won't even get to a budget, he'd be defeated in the Throne Speech.

    Finally, as to what would follow should this happen, we have this scenario:

    "Public outrage is so strong and so swift that the Liberal lead government lasts a matter of days because opinion polls show their numbers at 20% ish and the other parties smell blood in the water, they vote down the Ignatieff government. "

    Unlikely. If there was indeed a backlash against the Liberals after such an event, the most likely party to benefit from the anger would be the Conservatives. Even if the Liberals would become weak to the point of vanishing, the other parties wouldn't pull down that government because then the Conservatives would get a majority and they would lose their influence on government policy.

    No, if it happens and there is a backlash, then what is likely is that the Libs, the NDP and the Bloc will try to maintain the government as long as they possibly can, to let the anger die down and their numbers rise up.

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  30. "Stephen Harper would jump for joy if Ignatieff ever dared to go to the GG and try to form a government after losing. It guarentees Harper a majority a few weeks later.

    Not really. I think you're right that an Iggy government in those circumstances would be terribly unpopular. But why would the NDP or Bloc vote it down in those circumstances? They'd have a ton of leverage that they could use to extract concession from the Liberasl. Why would they jeopardize that leverage by bringing down the government? In the long-run, such an arrangement would be disastrous for the Liberals (since they'd become puppets for the NDP/Bloc), which is why I don't think we'll see an attempt unless Liberal numbers dramatically change, but if they did, it's far from obvious that the government would fall immediately (or that Harper would still be around when it did).

    Of course, the bigger problem is that a Liberal led government wouldn't be able to accomplish anything since it would be stymied by a Conservative led senate. Historically the Senate has been reluctant to act as a road-block to the commons in large part because of it's perceived lack of legitimacy. But that probably wouldn't be a problem for a conservative Senate if the Conservatives have the most seats in the house and the Liberal government is a sketchy alliance of Bloc and NDP MPs. The Senate isn't a confidence house, of course, so it couldn't trigger an election, but it could make sure that no government legislation gets enacted.

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  31. @Anonymous: "Seeing how the Right vote represents only 40% of the voting population and the other 60 goes to the left I really can't see an uproar like you describe either. You will be surprised how happy people can be when their voices are heard and a coalition government means that 60% of the population will have the government instead of the 40% that currently control the government."

    I don't think it's accurate at all to claim that only Conservative votes are right and all others are to the left.

    First, within the Liberal party itself, there are the Paul Martin-type Liberals who would generally consider themselves to be on the right of the political spectrum. Definitely closer aligned to Conservative ideals than NDP.

    Second, the Bloc was primarily created as an offshoot of the Conservative party, and are largely a party focused on decentralizing power away from the federal government - rather closely aligned with the political right in that sense. So, again, seems very odd to state that it's a purely left party in that 60%.

    There was a strong resistance by the population the last time the coalition tried to form and that was largely because people didn't like the combination of parties coming together.

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  32. Simon ... there is the law and there is what actually happens within the law.

    Canadians have always placed a significant level of importance on the leader of the national party on their local votes (http://www.ces-eec.org/pdf/LeaderVoteChoice.pdf)

    So, while no one may be legally voting for Stephen Harper (or any other leader) as Prime Minister, effectively and intentionally, that is what they are doing.

    There is a reason that we have a Governor General in the first place and that is to bring in judgement rather than hard and fast rules for managing everything. As such, those intentions and the desire of the population do have to weigh in on the decision making (whether or not it is actually required that they be considered).

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  33. @Carl:

    Historically, coalitions (though this wouldn't be one in theory) tend to be good for the main partner and bad for the junior partners. I think that Ignatieff becoming PM this way would face an initial backlash, but I doubt that it would be sustained in the long-term. With time, I think people will get used to how this works and become friendlier to the idea of parties collaborating instead of stubborn partisanship.

    As to the idea that the Senate would block everything such a government would do... first, a lot of the Conservatives now in the Senate are not like present-day Conservatives, they are more flexible and pragmatic like the Progressive-Conservatives of old. The Senate doesn't have a strong tradition of a party line, Senators are more independent in general and less partisan. Also, since they're not elected, they are usually extremely reluctant to block anything. The traditional job of the Senate is to advise and tweak bills, by consensus if possible, not to act as a second chamber.

    For the Senate to start acting as you say would create a constitutional and political crisis of massive importance. I think the backlash from this would easily dwarf the backlash that would be created by voting down a possible Conservative minority government and replacing it by a Liberal minority government.

    @Mike

    You're right that the 60% that supports the Liberals, NDP and Bloc aren't all to the left, but they are centrists, center-right at most.

    The Bloc however isn't really an offshoot of the Conservative Party.

    First, because the Conservative Party didn't exist then, it was the Progressive-Conservative Party that was more centrist than the current party.

    Second, because only a few MPs of the Bloc came from the PC era, and those are mostly gone now.

    Third, because the Bloc is mainly the equivalent of the PQ on the federal level, and the PQ is clearly the mainstream left, center-left party in Québec, supporting trade unions and with a social-democratic platform.

    In the case where, let's say, proportional representation happened and the parties were forced to seek coalition partners, the Bloc might be tempted to become the natural partner of the Conservatives, based on the shared desire for more autonomy for provinces. Note that this desire comes from different places, the Bloc wants Québec to be more autonomous, the Conservatives just don't like government in general, and so they prefer the Federal to intervene less because it is stronger than the provinces.

    Anyway, in such a context, the Bloc and Conservatives could be partners, but the Bloc would clearly drag the Conservatives' social and economic policies to the center, because its voters are on the left-wing in general, and clearly more left-wing than voters for the Liberals.

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  34. @ Simon ...

    "In the case where, let's say, proportional representation happened and the parties were forced to seek coalition partners, the Bloc might be tempted to become the natural partner of the Conservatives, based on the shared desire for more autonomy for provinces. Note that this desire comes from different places, the Bloc wants Québec to be more autonomous, the Conservatives just don't like government in general, and so they prefer the Federal to intervene less because it is stronger than the provinces."

    This sounds like you just want to disagree for the sake of disagreeing ... "the Bloc is different ... even though they want the same thing, they're different"

    "Anyway, in such a context, the Bloc and Conservatives could be partners, but the Bloc would clearly drag the Conservatives' social and economic policies to the center, because its voters are on the left-wing in general, and clearly more left-wing than voters for the Liberals."

    Except that the Bloc doesn't seem to want a social agenda at the federal level. I agree, at a provincial level, the Bloc and PQ are more left-leaning, but their desire for decentralization and a minimalist federal government clearly is a right-wing agenda at a federal level, which is the focus of the next election.

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  35. @Mike

    I disagree. People consider the leader as a factor in their vote, but it doesn't mean that they vote "for the PM". And if there are those who think so... political systems shouldn't function based on the bad understanding some people have of them. If people believed that by voting PQ, they are voting for independence, it still doesn't mean that Québec should be independent every time the PQ ends up with a majority government, to accommodate these people's bad comprehension of the political system.

    As to the governor-general, the reason the position exists is to represent the monarch and to defend the UK's interests against the will of the colonists... of course, the position evolved, and I do believe it has a role. It should have a duty to keep the PM in check by making sure he doesn't overextend his authority. Too bad that Michaëlle Jean was unwilling to do so, twice conceding prorogation to Harper AGAINST the will of Parliament, which is a direct violation of the spirit of the constitution and of the traditions the Canadian parliamentary system relies on.

    The Conservatives spoke of "coup d'État" when the other parties attempted to do a coalition, but the truth is that the government undermining the authority of Parliament, the only democratically elected body in federal politics, twice to avoid facing it is the closest to a "coup d'État" we have ever gotten to in this country, with the government abusing its power to go against the will of the people's representatives and prevent them even from sitting in Parliament.

    In a representative democracy, if the majority of representatives want someone to be PM, that means the people would prefer that person to be PM and to form government. That's how it works. So if the majority of MPs, from the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc, support Ignatieff as PM over Harper, then Ignatieff is the PM desired by the people of Canada, as demonstrated by the vote of their representatives.

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  36. @simonvalee ...

    I think it's impractical and, frankly, illogical, to try and claim that the intention of voters should be ignored when tallying their votes ("People consider the leader as a factor in their vote, but it doesn't mean that they vote "for the PM". And if there are those who think so... political systems shouldn't function based on the bad understanding some people have of them.")

    "As to the governor-general, the reason the position exists is to represent the monarch and to defend the UK's interests against the will of the colonists"

    I'm sorry, but this is a ridiculous claim. It's 2011. The position does nothing of the sort.

    "Too bad that Michaëlle Jean was unwilling to do so, twice conceding prorogation to Harper AGAINST the will of Parliament, which is a direct violation of the spirit of the constitution and of the traditions the Canadian parliamentary system relies on."

    It's amazing the contradiction that is present in your posting. There were no votes on prorogation, which is the only way to know whether or not something was against the will of parliament. So, at some level, you feel that public intentions, whether or not they follow the actual letter of the law, are important. At the same time, Jean should have no discretion whatsoever in her role and must follow the letter of the law. Yet again, that is a further contradiction as Jean's role provides her with discretion.

    "In a representative democracy, if the majority of representatives want someone to be PM, that means the people would prefer that person to be PM and to form government. That's how it works. So if the majority of MPs, from the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc, support Ignatieff as PM over Harper, then Ignatieff is the PM desired by the people of Canada, as demonstrated by the vote of their representatives."

    And here is the biggest misinterpretation of all. Yes, that's technically what happens. However, if the people do not wish for their MPs to follow a different PM, they'll make it known (as they did the last time this was tried). The MPs, knowing that it will impact their likelihood of getting re-elected are allowed to take this in to consideration and change their mind (again, this is what happened).

    Everything you state is technically correct, except you forget that in a democracy, the intentions of the people have a way of getting heard and changing the mind of those in power ... and this is a good thing.

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  37. Simon is me, BTW.

    @Mike

    It seems to me that you want to impose your interpretation of the voters. There is no way to affirm without a doubt that voters do what they do for the reasons that you claim they do it for. To support your claims, you would need to have the PM elected directly, which isn't the case at all. When we vote, we only vote for the MP in our riding, that is the only result the vote clearly establish. Anything else is interpretation and, more often than not, spin.

    "It's amazing the contradiction that is present in your posting. There were no votes on prorogation, which is the only way to know whether or not something was against the will of parliament."

    All parties except the Conservatives' opposed them, both times. If there had been a vote, it would have failed. It was Jean's moral duty as GG to ask Harper to prove he had the support of Parliament to prorogue it, whether by a vote or by letters of support or any other way. Jean did nothing of the kind, and Harper couldn't have done it if he had wanted to, because it was clear to anyone that only the Conservatives wanted to prorogue Parliament in those two instances, and they had no majority.

    I say moral duty, because nothing prevents the GG legally to act as Jean did... but then nothing prevents the GG from dissolving Parliament any time he chooses, or selecting his son-in-law as PM. Much of the system is based on tradition and gentlemanly code of honor to regulate actions of those in power, rather than hard law (like in the US or France).

    "And here is the biggest misinterpretation of all. Yes, that's technically what happens. However, if the people do not wish for their MPs to follow a different PM, they'll make it known (as they did the last time this was tried). The MPs, knowing that it will impact their likelihood of getting re-elected are allowed to take this in to consideration and change their mind (again, this is what happened)."

    That's not what happened. What happened was that Dion, who was favorable to the coalition, was replaced by Ignatieff who had been cool about it from the get-go. When that happened, Ignatieff just stopped it dead in its tracks, convinced that Harper would be humbled by its threat and that Canadians would soon flock to him and grant him a majority in an election in the short-term, so he didn't need to go to a coalition. BTW, polls diverged, of four polls, three indicated that Canadians were basically split in two over the issue, only one, Ipsos, claimed that a majority was opposed to the coalition and wanted a new election. If you live in the West, the vast majority of people there was against the coalition, but in the East, it was split, even favorable in Québec.

    You seem to presume a lot more about the will of the people, as if it was easily known. But it's not because you have a few people shouting in front of an MP's office that the people are really angry. You can't know for certain, even polls aren't certain, and can be biased either way.

    Even if we knew for sure what people wanted, it still doesn't bind the system to do that. We have a government that is thoroughly hated by 60-70% of people right now in Québec, people, in clear majorities, would want them out, but they can still govern because "the only poll that matters is the one on election day". Note that this isn't all bad, governments should be able to take unpopular but necessary decisions, which wouldn't be possible if governments were forced to step down whenever they became unpopular.

    It's important for the representative democracy to work technically. We can't have a system that outwardly is responsive to people's intentions, but in private, behind closed doors, is being twisted and perverted by ambitious politicians.

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  38. " There is no way to affirm without a doubt that voters do what they do for the reasons that you claim they do it for."

    Amazing how I can show a study that indicates people vote based on their feeling for national leadership and that's not sufficient to prove that people vote for PM. Yet, at the very same time, you can post the below based upon pure conjecture. Incredible.

    "All parties except the Conservatives' opposed them, both times. If there had been a vote, it would have failed."


    "You seem to presume a lot more about the will of the people, as if it was easily known"

    I don't presume to make any such assumptions. I merely presume that MPs act upon what they think is most likely to get them elected. Judging by the success rates of incumbents, I'd say they're pretty good judges of that.

    "It's important for the representative democracy to work technically. We can't have a system that outwardly is responsive to people's intentions, but in private, behind closed doors, is being twisted and perverted by ambitious politicians."

    You can't take the human out of human interactions. Better to plan for it and accept it than strive for a reality that will never exist. Politicians are, and always will be, ambitious and seek to take advantage wherever they can. Hoping for, expecting, and planning for the opposite is a practice in futility.

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  39. "Amazing how I can show a study that indicates people vote based on their feeling for national leadership and that's not sufficient to prove that people vote for PM. Yet, at the very same time, you can post the below based upon pure conjecture. Incredible.

    "All parties except the Conservatives' opposed them, both times. If there had been a vote, it would have failed.""

    The simple distinction between my affirmation and yours is that you are affirming something about ALL voters, all millions of them. I am affirming something about the 308 representatives in Parliament, people who generally vote according to the party line, especially on important issues, based on the announced positions of the parties themselves.

    So basically, my affirmation is on solid ground about a few people people whose positions are publicly known, yours is not and is about millions of people with different opinions and varying degrees of interest for politics.

    "You can't take the human out of human interactions. Better to plan for it and accept it than strive for a reality that will never exist. Politicians are, and always will be, ambitious and seek to take advantage wherever they can. Hoping for, expecting, and planning for the opposite is a practice in futility."

    I'm sorry, but I'm not understanding the point you're trying to put across. It seems like you're saying that the rules by which Parliament is supposed to work should be completely ignored if you can prove (or even just argue) that public opinion supports it or is indifferent to it. I can't agree with that, Parliament has to follow its own rules and logic, if people don't understand how it works, they have to be taught so, if possible by example.

    Oh, and I didn't notice this post:

    "Except that the Bloc doesn't seem to want a social agenda at the federal level. I agree, at a provincial level, the Bloc and PQ are more left-leaning, but their desire for decentralization and a minimalist federal government clearly is a right-wing agenda at a federal level, which is the focus of the next election."

    Yes, the Bloc does have a social agenda at the federal level. They are in favor of the gun registry for instance, they were in favor of gay marriage, they also have left-leaning positions generally on crime issues (a federal jurisdiction), etc... Some issues do belong to the federal government and the Bloc tends to have left-wing positions on them. Also, in terms of international politics, the Bloc is clearly left-wing. That's because it seeks to represent Québec's "consensus" on such issues that it knows belongs to the Federal government, which means generally the positions supported by the PQ (and sometimes even the Québec Liberals) in the National Assembly, and this "consensus" tends to be to the left of the Canadian center.

    Also, I think you misunderstand. The Bloc doesn't want a weak Federal government, it wants Québec to be more autonomous. These objectives may coincide often, but not all the time. If a party came to power and promoted a strong central Federal government but exempting Québec from it (asymmetrical federalism), the Bloc would be quite satisfied with that. The Conservatives? Not so much.

    And I don't see the issue of decentralization being important in this campaign at all.

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  40. "So basically, my affirmation is on solid ground about a few people people whose positions are publicly known, yours is not and is about millions of people with different opinions and varying degrees of interest for politics."

    Actually, mine is based upon a scientific study and yours is based upon your idea that you know what people think. It's funny that a scientific study of people's intentions isn't enough for you on a website that is based upon extracting polling information to determine the expected voting patterns of the country. Weird how sometimes you accept something and other times you don't.

    In general, I don't know what you're looking for here. What's the point you're trying to prove? Is it the fact that I disagreed with you once that you now to want to write paragraph after paragraph aiming to find a snippet of something where I was wrong? Doesn't that seem rather trivial as opposed to just trying to make an actual point? Reading three screens of lines with 8 words per line is pretty exhausting and I'd think there's a more concise way for you to convey whatever it is that you want to convey

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  41. Your study only says that leaders are a factor in how people vote, you try then to affirm that this means that everyone actually votes for a PM, and so the party with the most votes should form the government, caving in to this "voters' intention", even if the other parties, forming a majority, would prefer another party. This is basically an interpretation on your part which I believe is too simplistic and not a good reason for decisions regarding government formation.

    On the other hand, my affirmation about the prorogation wasn't about public opinion, it was about how the Chamber of Commons didn't want to be prorogued, but Harper did it nonetheless. The reasoning here is simple, Liberals, NDP and the Bloc were the majority in Parliament, they had announced that they were opposed to prorogation, the party line is strong in Canada, hence, the majority of MPs were opposed to prorogation.

    Do I need to explain even further the difference?

    My larger point is: a coalition or an "entente" to replace a minority Conservative government with the Liberals, even if the Conservatives have more seats, would be legitimate and democratic according to the rules and principles of the parliamentary democracy we live under. Your affirmation that the "intentions" of the voters should be taken into account is unworkable, because there is no way to know for sure what these intentions were nor any mechanisms in our system that would allow us to rule conclusively on them.

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  42. @Simon ...

    I did not claim that only the person who gets the most votes should or could be PM. I said that the GG in listening to the desire of the other parties should reflect upon voters intentions, not just the intentions of MPs. That's all.

    You initially claimed that no one directly votes for PM - I should a study that indicates that's what most people are voting for. Somehow you want to to translate this to indicate me as saying all people are voting for a President and that's the only person who can ever hold power. I make no such claim.

    You also want to dig things up claiming at various times that the GG was either morally wrong or legally wrong (it goes back and forth). Fact is, neither is true.

    The GG handled things perfectly within her rights and perfectly within the responsibility of the position. The fact that a short-term prorogation managed to completely destroy the coalition pretty much indicates it was quite wise of Jean to allow things to be put on hold for a while. It wasn't Jean that indicated the people thought it was unpopular - it was the Liberals when they killed their plan. Jean bought time for everyone to calm down (well, via Harper's request) - the Liberals killed the coalition government.

    As for your point that it would be legitimate for the Liberals to form a government with 2nd place in seats ... of course it could be. It's happened before and could happen again. Similarly, things could play out just as they did last time and that would be legitimate again. It has been quite some time now, I thought most had realized and accepted that what had happened was legitimate, because, after all, the opposition has - otherwise at least one of them would bring it up during th election.

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