Monday, January 13, 2014

What if the right was still divided in 2011?

After the Conservatives won a majority government in the 2011 federal election, there was much discussion about how a united left, or at least a merger of the Liberals and NDP, would have changed the outcome entirely. But what if we flip that hypothetical question on its head, and instead ask what would have happened if there wasn't a united right?

This scenario would assume that the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives never merged, and that the two parties continued to exist as separate entities. To estimate how this division of the centre-right vote would play out, I've made some simple calculations (there's no reason to inject too much complication into this hypothetical exercise). The vote that the Conservatives took in 2011 in each province or region remains exactly the same, except that it is divided between the CA and the PCs in the same proportion as in the 2000 election. Support for the other parties is similarly unchanged.

In each province or region, the party that had the most support in 2000 is considered the leading party for the calculations, so that they win all the seats in the region - except in Alberta and the Prairies, where I have given the PCs one seat (they won a single seat in each of these regions in 2000).

Of course, this doesn't take into account how a more divided political landscape would change the results. It assumes that all else remains equal - the New Democrats still surge in Quebec, the Liberals and Bloc still collapse, the Greens still do well in British Columbia, etc. We could endlessly speculate on how the presence of two parties on the right would have changed things (and feel free to do so in the comments section), but for the purpose of this exercise we are leaving these questions aside.

Note - because of how I have done this, the results likely under-estimate how the two right-of-centre parties would actually do. It assumes that the division of the vote is uniform within each province, though in reality you'd have some regions where the CA would get a larger proportion of the vote and other regions where the PCs would do better. But let's also leave that aside (the calculations assuming a Liberal-NDP merger have almost always disregarded these sorts of questions, not to mention the possibility that some Liberals and New Democrats would not vote for such a merged party).
Jack Layton and the NDP win the party's first election in its history, taking 30.6% of the vote. The Canadian Alliance places second with 26.8% of the vote, while the Liberals come in third with 18.9%. The Progressive Conservatives take 12.8%, while the Bloc and Greens bring up the rear.

The NDP wins Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and finishes a close second in Ontario. The Canadian Alliance wins British Columbia, Alberta, the Prairies, and Ontario, but collapses east of the Ottawa River. The Liberals manage a tight race in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, but don't win a single region, while the Tories come closest to coming out ahead in Atlantic Canada (thanks to Peter MacKay?).

Right away, it is clear how this division changes things dramatically. The West is still safely in CA hands, but Ontario becomes an unwieldy four-way race and Atlantic Canada is a close three-way contest. And it makes it possible for a party to win the election with less than 1-in-3 support.

In terms of seats, it would mean another minority government. But who would lead it?
The New Democrats win 118 seats, almost tripling their historic best, while the Canadian Alliance continues to grow with 109 seats. The Liberals fall to just 64, while the Progressive Conservatives win 12, the Bloc four, and the Greens one.

The New Democrats win the majority of seats in Quebec, but come up short in every other region. The Canadian Alliance wins the majority of seats in the four western provinces and a plurality in Ontario, but are shut out east of the province. The Liberals win half of the seats in Atlantic Canada and come up second in Ontario, while the Tories place second on the east coast but are shut out in Quebec.

Here again, the results are radically different. Not much changes in British Columbia or Alberta, but the division of the vote between the CA and the PCs gives the New Democrats three seats in Saskatchewan. In Ontario, the PCs would likely be more competitive but the division of the vote balloons the number of seats the Liberals can win (demonstrating how many of the actual races in the province were CPC-LPC) while only marginally increasing the NDP's haul. In Quebec, the New Democrats win a few more seats at the expense of the Conservatives, while the Liberals mostly take advantage in Atlantic Canada.

This would be a difficult House of Commons to manage. The New Democrats could pass legislation with the support of either the Canadian Alliance or the Liberals, but nothing passes without either of those parties' support. The NDP and Liberals could combine for a majority government of 182 seats, or somehow the Canadian Alliance and Liberals could combine for a majority of 173. The Canadian Alliance and Tories could combine for a plurality of 121 seats, but that would likely not pass muster with the Governor General.

If we continue the alternate-history narrative from the last time I made these estimations in 2009, the result would have been the re-election of the Liberal-NDP coalition, giving them a majority instead of a minority with 49.5% of the vote (a gain of five points). But it would have been a changing of the guard, with the Liberals dropping 41 seats and the NDP picking up 77, most of them from the Bloc Québécois (which drops 52 seats). The Canadian Alliance and PCs would also increase their caucuses, by eight and seven seats, respectively. So, as in 2011, the only 'losing' parties would have been the Liberals and the Bloc - all the others increased their seats.

This scenario is rather unlikely, considering that with a divided right the Liberals would have likely won a majority in 2004 and minorities in 2006 and 2008. It is hard to imagine that after three elections like that the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives would have still resisted a merger. But it is not entirely implausible, neither for the past nor the future - at this stage it seems easier to imagine the Conservative Party splintering again (say, if a Red Tory wins the next leadership race) than the Liberals and NDP merging. There is at least precedent for the former, and none for the latter. Divisions on the right in Alberta, for example, show how there can still be plenty of animosity between the two factions within the federal organization. There is no scope for such a disintegration in the short term, particularly under Stephen Harper. But nothing lasts forever.

60 comments:

  1. These calculations are interesting. They obviously are not 100% accurate, but it's very very interesting to see how much the merger on the right has helped them, and this estimate is proof of that. Personally, I am in favour of a re-splintered right (msotly because, in my opinion, the more parties the better). This situation shows to us that Canadians are, for the most part, socially left, but economically right ( as has been demonstrated by Harper's relentless focus on the economy). I therefore see such an election being challenged on a right/left basis, with the left advocating social services such as healthcare, pensions, etc. while the right puts forth a platform of economic policies. Would be a very interesting election indeed.

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  2. Interesting exercise, but would likely end up with very different result in reality. Everything depends on the leader. A significant factor in the NDP surge in 2011 was the presence of Jack Layton. I believe that the primary reason for the current LPC lead in the polls is Justin Trudeau. Who would be leading the PCs? Jean Charest? Peter McKay? Joe Clark?

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  3. IIRC your previous analysis of the PC-Reform merger showed that the Conservatives shed a decent amount of voters to other parties when they did that. Why assume that some of those voters wouldn't have stayed in the fold if the merger hadn't happened? They can't all have returned to the Conservatives. Brison is proof of that.

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    1. I just tried to keep it simple. There's no "right" answer.

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    2. True enough. I just worry that this gives succor to those who would like to unite the centre and left.

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    3. Good point, it is difficult to recontruct something from the past.

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  4. Based on seeing the percentages of the parties and the seat totals, if you go back to 2003, you will notice back then that the Alliance party in mid to late 2003 was losing support to the PCs and losing by-elections. Had the PCs continued gaining and if they didn't merge and went into another campaign the seat totals would have been similar to 2000 when the Alliance got 66 and the PCs 13. I feel that choice is always good in a society and that the merger should never have happened. I am a progressive-conservative meaning a red tory and feel that MacKay went against all moderate conservatives and why the Conservative party is doomed to fail in future elections. They project themselves as similar to that of the Republican party and look as if they have no compassionate soul to them like the old PCs. That is why I feel there has to be a PC party for those that don't want liberalism and those that don't want neoconservatism. There is always that group that wants moderation but conservatism. I feel the merger was a mistake for that reason but many others. The spectrum lacks balance. Of course, for those that are not politically savvy there is a progressive conservative party. The mainstream parties hope you never check that there are 10 to 14 parties without representation. Yes there are. I feel more has to be done to increase voter intention and the mainstream parties to me are just labels and could care less. I wish that all parties could be equal and so that minors can compete equally with the majors. The same goes with independents. The question is why do mainstream and label voters not care for democracy all that much. They continue and pretend to care for democracy. For if they did, they would demand changes. So yes, the PC party does exist and not to be confused with the Conservative party of Canada. The Conservative party hopes you never find out.

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    1. You have my sympathy cuz I have similar tendencies, even though I am an NDP supporter. Thats sounds off but even former PC PMs like Joe Clark (who was axed too soon imho, if he was PM of the PCs in the 1980s, I think the party would still exist) now support the NDP instead of the CPC. If that doesn't show how far to the right the conversation has gone. idk what does.

      I agree, more needs to be done to highlight the minors, and imho, the major parties should reach out to the minors. Many of the minor parties share similar views with the majors in some policies, or if they are more moderate than there main opponents (CPC) could be a good statuary to help them.

      They can help them out in some ways such as by having them participate in the selection of there candidate for each riding (as long as Canada uses FPTP, its necessary to have the caucus be like mini elections, or even replace the caucus with a full primary? why not as it would seem to be the more popular candidate) and if a major party like the NDP has a deal with the PC Party that helps it get in to parliament and grow to a degree (under a coalition label perhaps?), it might over take the more right wing CPC someday or merge with it, bring back more to the centre and/or at least reviving the PC name.

      Canada is know as a country of co habitation and co operation, why can't the politics be more like that?

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  5. I guess we need Big Jay to use his time machine to go back, prevent the merger, and see how close to the mark you came...

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  6. If the Conservative party, which wants to be viewed as strong on the economy fails and leads that party to a major recession, then the Liberal party will be the main beneficiaries and lead for at least a generation. Of course, I want competition since the Conservatives have that neocon and warmongering streak to them that Joe Clark warned about back in 2004 before the election.

    I just feel that being a progressive conservative meant being a real conservative before Reagan perverted the meaning. Liberals and Conservatives were almost the same but that was because liberals were meant to be social liberal and centrist while conservatives were meant to be social liberal, centre-right and for small business around the edges of manufacturing since manufacturing was a main hub of the economy back in the 70s, 80s and early 90s from what I have read. Why would neocons be good when they are usually populist, divisive and simply use emotion for policy. PCs respect opponents and wanted meaningful debate. Check out the Progressive Canadian party because I seriously feel we need more options and no more of this imported American political divisive nonsense which has made their politics simply impossible to work through. I hope Canada doesn't have any of it for much longer. We need our own independence in Canada. Why copy what America has?! Progressive conservatism must return since we need independence in nations instead of doing everything the Americans have done and expect a different result. The Conservatives hope you never know about the real PC party of Canada which is called the Progressive Canadian party.

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    1. The 70's, 80"s and 90's were good times but, don't forget that the books were out of whack when Chretien came to power in 1993-the fault of consecutive Liberal and Tory governments, although to be fair Mulroney tried to address the problem in the second half of his second mandate. The economy itself was one third the size it is today, the growth is primarily the result of Free Trade. So although those decades may have been good times for many Canadians as a whole are better off today.

      Populism can be socialist or leftwing or liberal as easily as it can be neo-conservative-prairie populism was the driving force behind the creation of the CCF-NDP. Liberals are just as susceptible to use emotion as policy as neo-conservatives. Who can forget the Kyoto protocol an agreement signed by the Liberals who had no plans or intentions of fulfilling the commitments made therein? Or the cancellation by Chretien of replacements for the Seaking helicopters. In 1993 when the contract waws cancelled the Seakings were already ancient and needed replacing but, the contract was cancelled because of emotion and an election promise. Today Canadians are still paying for this rash and ill-thought decision. Or the emotion invested into the Kelowna Accord; An agreement that simply handed over money-no strings attached-to First Nations. Now most people probably agree that Aboriginal people get an unfair shake but, handing over money without a plan or controls will not lift Aboriginals out of poverty.

      As for division the Liberal party has done more than its fair share to divide this country. Trudeau's constitution still divides many and to my mind at least has done little to unify Canada or at least endear Quebeckers to Canada. It did however, put in place the catalyst for two referenda and an on-going debate of Quebec's place in Canada.

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    2. Trudeau's implementation of the War Measures Act was a whole lot more divisive than the repatriation of the Constitution... By the time of the Constitution, people in Quebec were understandably already poisoned against any action he'd take.

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  7. You raise a very interesting point that I don't think many people have considered.

    If the CPC selects a Red Tory leader, the party falls apart. The hardliners out west wouldn't support such a leader, and would likely abandon the party immediately.

    Now, it would need to be someone who was clearly a Red Tory. And I don't think this is a regional bias - I think the hardliners would really like someone like Maxime Bernier as leader, for example - but if a new leader arose and talked about the need to be progressive (like Alison Redford does), I think the CPC would basically cease to exist as a national party.

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    1. The Conservatives shedding some votes on the right doesn't necessarily mean it ceases to exist as a federal party. Red Tories have won in Alberta by replacing those votes with new voters from the centre. That's not just Redford I'm talking about either - Peter Lougheed to pretty darn well at the ballot box as a Red Tory.

      I seem to recall you pronouncing upon the death of the BC Liberals for similar reasons too. How'd that prediction work out again Ira? I forget...

      John Diefenbaker managed to win with a pretty lively Social Credit party contesting the right part of the political spectrum too.

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    2. Is it even a given that a Red Tory as the next leader of the Conservative party would fracture the party?....Chance of winning as opposed to sureness of losing can be a strong influence on what happens no?

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    3. Party fractures do happen of course but, it seems unlikely at this point. As the 2000 election demonstrated conservativism in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic (some may even argue Alberta a la Alison Redford) is "Red Toryesque". You don't win power in this country federally or provincially without winning over the median voter. Hence, Stockwell Day picked up an underwhelming 2 seats in Ontario.

      After 10 years of the party lead by the social and fiscal conservative wing I think the last election demonstrated the high water mark for that philosophy. A small majority government does not position the Conservatives as Canada's "new natural governing party".

      With an aging demographic Red Toryism is probably in ascendance at the moment. You will not win over many seniors by promising to cut the CPP payments for example.

      In any case with the exception of Jason Kenny all potential successors to Harper are socially left of the PM, Flaherty, MacKay, Jim Prentice.

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    4. Ryan ,

      Social Credit was an odd beast. It was both conservative yet socialist in its philosophy. As a British Columbian I'm sure you know that the Socreds here in BC while "conservative" socially and partially "conservative" fiscally spent a large amount of money on capital infrastructure projects and Crown corporations-actions that one could easily label left wing even socialist!

      Oh dear I think I just heard Wacky turn in his grave. Sorry Wacky I didn't mean it!

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  8. And with the leadership race to give each riding equal weight, it is not as fantastical as one might think. Atlantic Canada + Quebec + Urban Ridings = majority of seats.

    For this reason, though, I imagine centrist (from the CPC's perspective) candidates would have an easier time of it. Conservative members might be pretty unlikely to vote for a candidate who is likely to tear the party apart...

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    1. Interestingly, I'm betting that while a Red Tory leader would likely divide the party, she or he would stand a better chance than Harper (or another far right leader) in the federal polls. A far right-led Conservative Party will always have less sympathy than a more moderately right Conservative Party in this country... A Red Tory leader seems the most likely way for the CP to get back to over 40% in a federal election.

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    2. What they really need is someone who can get the support of both the hard right and centre right wings of the party. That could be a tall order though.

      There was some handwaving that having a more centrist leader for the BC Liberals would divide that coalition though. It did a little bit, but at the end of the day we won, so... yah...

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    3. Except a Red Tory leader could well lose the west (particularly Alberta) to an upstart protest party.

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    4. Could, but won't necessarily. 15-20% of the vote in Alberta going to a federal version of Wildrose wouldn't cost very many seats.

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    5. Ira,

      Alberta is currently under "Red Tory" management in the form of Alison Redford. The West particularly Alberta is changing. A good portion of "Albertans" are displaced, Maritimers, Newfoundlanders, Ontarians British Columbians, Saskatcheweigians and Quebeckers who are well adapted to Red Tory ways.

      We have all heard that Liberals campaign on the left but, govern in the centre perhaps, a Red Tory leader would campaign on the right but govern from the centre?

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    6. Thus really cementing your "canbede" position.

      In actual fact the Liberals have essentially, as long as I've known them, governed right of centre on economic issues and left of centre on social issues, but not great divergence in either case !!

      The current CPC Govt can best be compared with the Tea Party in the USA bede. Not supportable in Canada IMO !

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    7. Peter,

      So keeping the GST was a economic conservative policy? Not legislating gay marriage until the Courts forced the issue was socially progressive?

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    8. bede, You're confusing doctrine with practice. The Liberals are right-of-centre economically, and often (but hardly exclusively) centrist/leftish on social policy. The latter reflects Canadians' position generally, but couldn't accurately be described as definitively socially progressive - and there are divergences from public opinion... Often, Liberal positions on social issues are expedient, and sometimes progressive, but only where there's no negative impact on the key issues, which are largely economic. And on those, again, they are right of centre - or better, simply pro-business. The doctrine may state that phenomena like the GST are counter to "free market" right-of-centre ecnomics, but the practice is that free market policies are almost never implemented by any party - simply because the role of government is to create and implement policies that protect, serve and fund business. Sometimes there are inconsistencies, because it's not a uniform system and there are internal tensions between the various interests, but the net effect is overwhelming clear.

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    9. Peter,

      I am sorry you have such a short memory and that your knowledge of this country does not include the rather common expression, Liberals campaign from the left but, govern from the right. It is a sad testament but, certainly does not require you to insult people.

      History if full of examples of Liberals not governing "right of centre on economic issues" or even campaigning right of centre on economic issues. I suppose your memory only stretches back to when Iggy was leader but, had you been interested in Canadian politics back in the Autumn of 2008 you would remember that Dion campaigned on a carbon tax-generally not looked upon as a "right of centre economic" policy. Back in 1976 the Liberals introduced wage and price controls-once again not a right of centre econiomic policy or perhaps the 1980's when the introduced the National Energy Program-once again not a right of centre economic policy. There are plenty other examples from the Liberals' terms in government.

      The same can be said of social programs. Just because the Liberals introduced the Millenium Scholarship Fund does not equate to them governing "left of centre on social issues". The Liberal party sometimes puts in place leftist social policy but, on abortion and gay marriage they acted as social conservatives! Cutting transfers to provinces in the 1990's was not governing from the left on social issues!

      The Liberal party is a mixture of many people and policies. Generally speaking if one was to compare them with political parties throughout the world they would most likely be listed as a small "c" conservative party.

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    10. "[The Liberals] would most likely be listed as a small "c" conservative party."

      I believe that is the point both Peter and I were making.

      Once again, a little reminder, please leave out the snide condescension. It's unbecoming.

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    11. Chirumenga,

      I am not sure what point Peter or you were trying to get across.

      I do know that Peter started off his comment by calling me "Canbede" a made up name meant to insult by referencing Voltaire's Candiede.

      Unfortunately, you are not much better than Peter by accusing me of "confusing doctrine with practice" which I consider little better than "snide condescension". The fact that neither you or Peter has heard It is a bizarre comment to make since my post to which both you and Peter reply references Redford in Alberta and that province's changing demographics.

      You and Peter may disagree that Redford is a Red Tory or that her policies while in office diverge significantly from that position but, neither of you brought up that line of arguing. Instead you both write about the Liberal party being "right of centre economically"-which is only partially true and depends who is leading the party. Plenty of examples exist to demonstrate the Liberal party is at least sometime "left-of-centre economically". At the present time one doesn't really know where the Liberals stand on anything since they have not published many economic policies.

      Perhaps both you and Peter do not like the well known expression; "Liberals campaign from the left but, govern on the right" but, it has been in common parlance for at least half a century and perhaps demonstrates Liberals are confused by their own doctrine and practice. They campaign against the GST only to keep it once in office, in the early 20th century they favour free trade but, by the latter half of the century they oppose it. They opposed conscription only to introduce conscription late in the War. They campaign against wage and price controls in 1974 only to introduce wage and price controls two years later. This schizophrenic approach to politics surely demonstrates the Liberal party has no doctrine only practice.

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    12. "Liberals campaign from the left but, govern on the right" is a truism I have several times noted on this blog. Not sure what you are trying to argue. It's obvious that one can find policy exceptions to the espoused line of ruling parties - it's been long acknowledged that rulers will do what's necessary to further their overall objectives, even if it means implementing policies they would ordinarily object to... a striking example is FDR's New Deal.

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    13. My point was merely: 1. if "Liberals campaign on the left but govern on the right" perhaps a Red Tory leading the CPC would do the inverse; campaign on the right but, govern on the left/ centre. 2. In reply to Ira who opined a Red Tory leader (CPC) may have trouble holding the West. That Alberta is currently governed by a Red Tory premier in Alison Redford, combined with changing demographics may make a Red Tory more appealing and therefore do better in the West than one would expect.

      Instead of civlised conversation I get tossed insults and a asinine comment from Peter regarding the Tea Party. A rather unusual comment as a comparison between the "Tea Party" and CPC is difficult since, the "Tea Party" is a diverse grouping of local clubs/ committees each with their own agendas, candidates, policies and goals. One can not compare the "Tea Party" with the CPC on policy since the "Tea Party" does not possess coherent or homogenous policies amongst themselves. One could compare a "Tea Party" with the CPC but in order to do so one would have to 1. specify which particular "Tea Party" and 2. hopefully provide some context and criteria for comparison.

      Since, Peter had levelled an insult against me I decided to reply and demonstrate how simplistic and only partially correct his claim of Liberals governing "right-of-centre economically and left-of-centre on social issues" was.

      Also not to be rude but, my understanding of a truism is; an expression that is obviously true or as logic a statement that expresses nothing new or interesting.

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    14. Peter's reference to the Tea Party could hardly be construed as either an insult or asinine. You might disagree, but it's a reasonable assertion. The "Canbede" comment was completely lost on me, but as I see it, any play on words with Candide is more tenuous than with Venerable.

      Your understanding of truism and mine are essentially the same, in that the Liberals running left and ruling right is obviously true. I wouldn't push so hard that it's uninteresting, but it isn't a novel observation.

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    15. I don't look upon Peter "Tea Party" comment as an insult but, in terms of the conversation it had very little relevance. The conversation was based on a hypothetical scenario of what if the CPC picked a Red Tory as the next leader. Therefore the "Tea party" comment is asinine as well as being for the most part incorrect perhaps even untrue! Perhaps his intent was benign but, it sure did not come out that way in his writing.

      Peter often tries to discredit the CPC or the OPC and that is why he references them to the "Tea Party" regardless of whether or not any linkages exist. Peter certainly didn't attempt to prove or substantiate his assertion in his quote above. Indeed, he can't because at base they are smears not well reasoned arguments.

      Peter is a hyper-partisan and so I don't expect him to be objective but, I also think calling me "Canbede" is pretty rude since it implies I only see what I want to see or that my head is in the sand.

      I understand why you may think the link tenuous but, I assure you it is a direct attack upon me. A week or two ago Peter underneath one of my comments wrote: "Thus cementing your Candiede position". I didn't take much notice since, the comment was not addressed to me but, once he wrote "Canbede" it was easy to put two and two together. So in about two weeks Peter insults me twice!

      Not acceptable behaviour especially from one who wears his party colours on his sleeve. As someone who has supported the Liberal cause I can assure you that such attitude hurts the Liberal party and reinforces the perception Liberals are arrogant.

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  9. Interesting stuff. I always wondered what direction the Canadian Alliance under Stephen Harper would have taken if they did not merge with the PCs. Would they have still pursued the "ethnic vote"? Would they have been able to shake off the Reform/Alliance's poor brand east of Manitoba?

    If the 2011 election did result in a NDP minority government with an Alliance official opposition. I would not be surprised if the Liberals and PCs merge into a unified centrist alternative to the more ideological parties.

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    1. That is an excellent point. A merger of PC's (Red Tory's) with the Liberal party would have very likely been something that might have been considered.

      From a philosophical point of view they would at first glance seem to have more in common than the Liberals and the NDP do. If the Conservative party were ever to come apart that sure seems like a potential outcome....

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    2. not just philisophically... the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives have far more in common in terms of policies than the NDP and Liberals do. (At the federal level, that is)

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    3. True, but there are probably bigger problems at play for any PC/Liberal merger scenario. Most political mergers I can think of are cases of big fish eating little ones: Reform eating the PCs in Canada, the Liberals eating the Nationals in Australia, or the Liberals eating the Social Democrats in the UK. In these cases, the big fish (who's too rarely big enough to win majorities) convinces the small fish that it's most definitely worth being eaten, as living on the political fringe is not a life worth living.

      With the Liberals and PCs both serving as Canada's historic Big Fish, their sense of rivalry (and superiority) will likely have made any merger too painful for either ego. Each will consider themselves to deserve advantage in a merger. I think that would even hold for a PC party as diminished as it became in reality: Scott Brison crossed the floor, but surely most "dyed-in-the-wool" Tories would feel ill at joining their century-old rivals?

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    4. Ah but you are talking mergers. I'm not. What I am suggesting is that the Liberals if they handle it properly can gain sufficient Red Tory votes to gain the majority of seats. That's all it's about, Regaining Govt. If they got a real majority in the House that would be even better but simply removing this CPC govt has to be the first objective !

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  10. Not too relevant of a question, but why did you divide Canada up the way you did? BC, Alberta, Prairies (Manitoba and Sask?), Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic?

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    1. I suspect it is because that's how poll data is typically available. Aside from Nanos (who aggregates Alberta and the prairies), the major pollsters all release data in this way.

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  11. How many of you saw the Jan Ghomeshi interview with Joe Clark ??

    A real eyeopener !! Which led me to speculate that if the Liberals went after the Red Tory vote, which wouldn't be that hard as the parties were never that far apart, would that be enough to kick the CPC out ??

    Got a hunch that's a Yes !!

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  12. Eric,

    I am confused by your extrapolation. You stated that you divide the "right" by the relative per centage the PCs and Alliance garnered in the 200 election.

    The Alliance took 25.5% of the vote in 2000. The PCs took 18,.84 for a total of 44.33%.

    The Alliance portion of the "right" vote in 2000 was 57.5%. The PC portion was 42.5%. However, in your calculations for 2011 you give the PCs only 32.3% of the "right" vote and the Alliance 67.7% of the "right vote.

    Why the discrepancy?

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    1. You appear to be mixing up the PCs' 1997 results with their 2000 results. The Tories took 12.2% in 2000 under Clark, and 18.8% under Charest in 1997.

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    2. Right you are Eric.

      Cheers!

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    3. It would be interesting to use the polling numbers from a bit prior to the merger. IIRC the PCs were on a major upswing relative to the Alliance at the time, no?

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    4. I'm slowly building my polling archive, but my incomplete record from before the merger suggests you're right. SES polling (now Nanos) had the Canadian Alliance at about 12%-13% in mid-2003, compared to 16%-19% for the PCs.

      For the record, Liberals were between 46% and 52% and the NDP at 10%-15%.

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  13. Any speculation as to what would happen should the Liberals be able to recruit substantial Red Tory support ??

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  14. BTW, this discussion inspired my latest article for The Huffington Post Canad:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/15/stephen-harper-red-tory-rebellion_n_4602755.html?utm_hp_ref=the-pulse

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    1. In order for you to maintain the semblance of non-partisanship and impartiality I assume you will be following up on the long term impact of the Liberal party if Trudeau delivers the same results (in the election , not the polls) as Ignatieff. Would that be the end of the stand alone Liberal party?

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    2. If the Liberals start dropping in the polls to the extent where that becomes a possibility, most certainly I will. It is worth writing about the potential consequences of a Tory defeat because that is what the party is heading towards.

      Plenty was written - by me as well - about just how horrible things were looking for the Liberals in the aftermath of the 2011 election. Context is important. It would be silly to write about the prospects of a Green Party government or the disappearance of the NDP when neither of those things are plausible at the moment.

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    3. Wow, the photo they gave your article features Rob Anders... The future leader? Somehow finding someone further to the right of Harper?

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    4. And yet you are comfortable writing about hypothetical scenario that Harper will lose the next election badly and splinter the right of centre factions forever.

      The premise of your articles is, and I quote that "If Conservatives lose the next election, and particularly if they lose badly, members will ask themselves what went wrong and how to fix it. "

      There is no indication in the polls that the Conservatives will lose the next election badly. Are you ready to state here and now that they will? Of course not. That would be like saying Chretien would be trounced by Kim Campbell based on the polls after Ms Campbell was made CP leader.

      There is an equally probably chance that either the Liberals of NDP will be flirting with losing officila party status depending how bad Mulcair and Trudeau are in a national campaign.

      There is not a single example in Canadian history where a rookie opposition leader (or 3rd party leader) has badly defeated a veteran incumbent.

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    5. "There is no indication in the polls that the Conservatives will lose the next election badly"

      Of course there is. The current polling averages give them 27%, a drop of 13 points from 2011. They'd lose the election by seven points, and put up their worst result as a united party.

      Does that mean they will end up with such a result? Of course not, and I never say they will. But what if they do? What if current trends hold? That's a question worth trying to answer.

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  15. The problem with this is its way too over simpilfied to be an accepted alternative events (If the rise of the NDP and now the Liberals is a leason on anything, its a party can be very secessful with the right leader, so it cant be assumed the PC wouldnt have found there Layton eventurally and risen back to a higher position, maybe with the preimer of NL for example, and the Canada in 2000 is NOT the Canada today).

    If anything is learned, its that Canada should have a new voting system to elect a goverment most canadians prefer, simular to what happens in Australia (which I encorage Canadians to look into as a case study on what elections to both the House and Senate shold be like once the smoke of debate has cleared).

    My 2 cents and challege for this blog (or heck, give me something to do as a project) is to come up with a result of what 2011 election would look like under a preference voting system.

    I also want to see a what if based on this sinario which I cant do by myself: In the 1970s, PT (I cant spell Pierre Treadu on the fly, bear with me) had a minority goverment witb the susport of the NDP. What of he was able to do a meage then (or at least a permenate coalition like in Australia with the Liberals and Nationals)? What would have been the aftermath of elections in the decades after (and the refroms that might have followed, like an elected senate, preference voting etc.)?

    That would be interesting to see, cuz it might have held the right togerther, been less elections (1980, 2006, and others wouldnt have happened), and maybe other parties like the Greens would be in a stonger position than now (In Aus, we had the Greens win a seat in the house at the same time, but the senate has had Green senators snice the 90s).

    If anyone has done this before, please direct me to that so I can look into it. Id be very greatful, and can also use it to look into my sinarios that can only add to the possibilies. If not, id love to do it but cant by myself.

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    1. Kucha,

      I think it would be near impossible to recreate Canadian elections based upon the Australian electoral system of preferential voting. In preferential voting one lists their preferred order of candidates. In Canada however, we only list one so you would need to construct or hypothesise data that does not exist.

      I think the Canadian election Study (CES) may be your best bet. You can download the data then import it into SPSS or another statistical analysis program and manipulate the results.

      On a final note I do know that in Australia and Ireland where preferential voting takes place the candidate ahead on the first count is usually the winner.

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    2. Its not as impossible as you may think. Most Australians (90% ish) vote as the party they are voting for would have them. In most cases with thrid parities, they give second preference to their centre such and such other (so liberal or consevative in Canada's case). So on that basis, its easy to see who would be the true winner, not the person who gets 30% ish but still wins (most winners in canada get 40% ish, but in a three way contest, its possible). Its a better way to do elections to a lower house where an "artificial" majority is nessary, but if it is to be, rather one that gets 50% + 1 than anything less.

      Unsarally the leader after the frist count ultimarly wins (epecailly with 51%+), but not always. For example, the riding of Melbourne is Green, after a close contest between Green and Labour (which won the primary, aka frist count, vote) which Green won on preferences.

      I will look that up thanks, does it have voting pattens based on ethnicity? Id love to see how french canadiens and indigenous canadians voted.

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  16. Other interesting sinarios I'd like to do are these (the frist two are based on New Zealands Maori Seats, so have some base.)

    1. If French Canadians had there own seperate electorates:

    instead of Quebec being given 25% ish of the parliment (not sure if thats an act by the consitution or a law), what if that 25% was for electorates accross Canada in which people who identity as French Canadians were the only ones allowed to vote in (these electorates would be super imposed over the non FC ones)?

    How would that effect the make up of the house? Notwithstanding new parties that would come out ("French Canadian" party, "FC Left", "FC Right" etc.), surley there must be studies of voting patterns of the last few elections which can give a good awnser.

    2. If Aboriginal Canadians (frist nations, inuits, and metis) had there own seperate electorates:

    like my FC idea, but done differently as they would be calculated in a different manner like so:

    The average population of French Canadians and Non French Canadians togerther per hypotertocal electorate plus one. The plus one is imporant to make it farier to natives. So if that hypo electorate has 100,000 FC and non FC people and the average of a native electorate is 110,000, adding one reduces that avarage to under the non native (FC+NonFC) average to 90,000.

    This might seem much, but even with this fomula, native electorates only end up being 7 to 8 addisional seats in the house (FC electorates is from exsisting seats), so enough to be a voice but not dominate the house.

    Again, how would this influence the make up? How would they look today if they existed?

    3. If there were a few seats (2 non native (maybe 2 more if you have 2 French Canadian ones as well) and 1 native seat) for canadian ex pats and canadians overseas. I wish this was done instead of the current system because I feel canadian citizens (and nationals by goverment act, like citizens of other commonweath nations that have lived in Canada for a year ish, or other groups consitered honerary Canadians) from all over the world should be represented in parliment.

    How the method of vothing would detremine these seats outcomes is a debate (I prefer STV), but snice its such a small number, it would most likely be another seat each for the consevatives (PC) and liberals as is the case with an Australia territory like NT, where only two senators are elected, often one from each major party.

    4. An elected senate:

    Its a bit of a streach, but if you use the data on how each province and territory voted in an election, and then evisioned the Canadian senate was elected the same way the Australian one is (you can use the current numbers in the Canadian senate, yet for provinces only half of the provinces senators would be elected, or on a more Australian model (2 senators for each territory, 12 senators for the 10 provinces (6 up for election)), how would that look like? You can also mix it up with a USA division system (some provinces/territories up for election, some not). The possibilities are endless, yet I hav never seen anyone do that on the net. I hope someone has.

    So thats my bit of what Id like to see and work on with someone.

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    1. Representation for the House of Commons is set out in the Constitution Act, 1867 under S. 37. The section is amended from time to time to increase or in theory decrease seats to the Commons. The seats are set out by province.
      Changes to this section are made through an Act of Parliament usually in conjunction with changes to the Election Act.

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    2. I wonder if there will ever be a time when the parliment just sets a number of seats and adjust to that number based on the census? This is an American thing, but one that even Europe is doing, so cant be that bad (as long as it remains in a workable fashion, like 100k ish but no more than 200k, as atm the USA should be at 600 seats in the house).

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  17. I think this was a fanciful excursion without much more than introducing an idea of a split vote. Thing that isn't factor is when you split the PCs from the Reformers, you didn't factor in the new personality that would be representing either party. I am quite sure people vote the MP that they like best, not the party.

    Wayne

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